PMBOK Knowledge Areas
The Project Management Knowledge Areas are fields of specialized processes involved in managing projects. There are 10 Knowledge Areas commonly used in project management: project integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resource, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholder management (Project Management Institute, 2017). Project Integration Management involves processes required to identify and combine various activities across the process groups (PMI, 2017). In strategic project management, this knowledge area is critical to facilitate project alignment with the company’s strategy.
Project Scope Management is focused on ensuring that the project involves the activities necessary to complete the project and does not incorporate any wasteful or excessive work (PMI, 2017). For example, in strategic project management, project plan reviews and evaluations can be applied to prevent inadequate use of human resources. Project Schedule Management involves the processes needed for timely project completion, whereas Project Cost management focuses on budgeting, funding, and cost control (PMI, 2017). Both knowledge areas support strategic project management by evaluating compliance with schedule and preventing high overhead costs.
Project Quality Management concerns the implementation of the company’s quality policy, as well as product and project quality control (PMI, 2017). This area of knowledge is crucial to strategic management because it supports revenue generation from products or services created as part of the project. Project Resource Management combines activities required to determine, obtain, and use resources for the project (PMI, 2017). These typically include planning and evaluation, as well as resource use monitoring. In strategic project management, these processes help to anticipate and control project costs throughout the duration of a project.
Project Communication Management is focused on the processes associated with project information collection, creation, control, and dissemination. This can help in strategic project management by achieving employee buy-in and supporting performance in project areas dependent on human resources. Project Risk Management involves the activities required to identify, analyze, control, mitigate, and respond to various project risks (PMI, 2017). This knowledge area is crucial to prevent losses resulting from a project, thus contributing to strategic project management. Project Procurement Management includes acquiring external products or services, and Project Stakeholder Management is concerned with identifying stakeholders, analyzing their needs, and engaging them as necessary. Both of these knowledge areas help in strategic project planning and implementation.
The knowledge areas identified above rely mostly on information-rich inputs, including project schedules, technical requirements, quality management plans, company policies, financial data, and registers (PMI, 2017). However, financial and material inputs are important in individual knowledge areas, such as Procurement and Cost Management. The tools and techniques used in each project area include expert judgment, meetings, visual data representation, data analysis, testing, and reviews (PMI, 2017). The resulting outputs include measurements, performance information, updates to plans and documentation, and reports (PMI, 2017). For example, in Project Quality Management, outputs include quality control measurements, performance reports, and updates to project management plans, as well as updated issue logs, risk registers, and related documents. In Project Resource Management, the primary output is the resource management plan, supported by a team charter, risk register updates, and assumption logs (PMI, 2017). The outputs generated by different Knowledge Areas can be used to support strategic project management by facilitating implementation, cost-effectiveness, and outcome quality.
PMBOK Process Groups
The generic phases of the project life cycle include “starting the project, organizing and preparing, carrying out the work, and ending the project” (PMI, 2017, p. 548). At the first stage, the primarily involved working group is the Initiating Process Group, which defines the project and obtains authorization for it (PMI, 2017). This Group can also be involved in starting new project phases. The inputs used by this Group include stakeholder register, company strategy, and needs assessment results, whereas the key output is a Project Charter (PMI, 2017). At the organizing and preparing stage, the Planning Process Group is heavily involved, which produces and refines project scope, plan, and objectives. The inputs involve preliminary project documentation, as well as other data sources, including risk appraisals, resource reviews, and more. Various data analysis tools are used to turn this information into project specifications and plans.
At the working stage, Executing and Monitoring and Controlling Process Groups work together to fulfill project plans and control progress (PMI, 2017). The Executing Group uses project documentation and resources to ensure the successful creation of project deliverables, and the Monitoring and Controlling Group uses data about processes to generate updates to project documentation and reviews. The tools and techniques used by these groups may involve data analysis, tests, meetings, and evaluations. Lastly, the Closing Process Group participates in the final project stage, analyzing the project and product-related data to assess project success and plan for completion. The outputs created by this Group include project reviews, project closure plans, and various reports (PMI, 2017). The transition between different process groups occurs through information exchange supported by meetings, reports, and related techniques. For instance, once the second stage of a project is completed, all documentation is passed on to the Executing and Monitoring and Controlling Process Groups, which begin the next project phase upon receiving the management’s approval. The structured transition process helps in maintaining the chain of accountability and the linear nature of each project.
Project Management Institute. (2017). A guide to the project management body of knowledge: PMBOK® guide (6th ed.). Newtown Square, PA: Project Management Institute, Inc.