The Project Management Institute (PMI®) organizes management into nine areas of specific knowledge. These knowledge areas contain processes that are distributed over the project life cycle in five process groups. The nine knowledge areas and the processes contained in those knowledge areas can be further explored in the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (Pmbok Guide).
Project Integration Management
The processes contained in this knowledge area are Develop Project Charter, Develop Project Management Plan, Direct and Manage Project Execution, Monitor and Control Project Work, Perform Integrated Change Control, Close Project or Phase. Integration Management is the only knowledge area that has processes in every process group. This is kind of the balancing knowledge area, where the other knowledge areas come together.
The processes contained in this area are Collect Requirements, Define Scope, Create WBS, Verify Scope, Control Scope. The scope of the project determines what things are included in the project, and often, specifically what is NOT included in the project. When the scope is determined, some items that could be part of the project, might be deferred to a follow on project. This is how the scope is defined and controlled. Changes to the scope always result in changes to budget and schedule. The continual addition of features to a project is the definition of scope “creep” and is the number one reason that so many projects either fail or have major budget and schedule over-runs.
The processes contained in this area are Define Activities, Sequence Activities, Estimate Activity Resources, Estimate Activity Durations, Develop Schedule, Control Schedule. This knowledge area has to do with developing a schedule for the project. At first first glance, the process Estimate Activity Resources might seem like something that would more likely be in the Project Cost Management, and it will definitely impact project cost, but in this instance the process has to do with determining how many people will be assigned to the project and whether the resources assigned to the project will be junior or senior resources, that assignment may make the difference in how quickly portions of the project are completed and, of course, how much it will cost.
The processes contained in this area are Estimate costs, Determine Budget, Control Costs. This has to do with preparing for specific costs of the project and how to analyze where the project is in regards to cost and budgeting, and in making sure the expenses of the project are provided for.
Project Quality Management
This knowledge area contains the processes Plan Quality, Perform Quality Assurance, Perform Quality Control. These processes make sure the project produces quality deliverables and maintains the quality of workmanship proscribed in the project quality plan.
Project Human Resource Management
The processes contained in this area are Develop Human Resource Plan, Acquire Project Team, Develop Project Team, and Manage Project Team.
Project Communications Management
The processes contained in this knowledge area are Identify Stakeholders, Plan Communications, Distribute Information, Mange Stakeholder Expectations, Report Performance. This knowledge area has to do with keeping people appraised of where the project is, any significant variances to where it should be, and managing the expectation of everyone involved.
Project Risk Management
The processes contained in this knowledge area are Plan Risk Management, Identify Risks, Perform Qualitative and Quantitative Risk Analysis, Plan Risk Responses, Monitor and Control Risks. All projects have inherent risks, it is the project managers job to get the experts involved in the project to help identify those risks, then to manage those risks to prevent issues.
Project Procurement Management
The processes contained in this knowledge area are Plan Procurements, Conduct Procurements, Administer Procurements, Close Procurements. Most large projects will require some elements of procurement. This can be outsourcing to procuring finished products as the building materials for your project. Procurements need to be handled with the same care and planning as any other part of the project.
These nine knowledge areas are presented in the PMBOK guide version 4 on page 43 in a graphical format. It is something that you should memorize and be prepared to copy identically onto a “brain dump” sheet given to you at the PMP testing center. It is often easier to jot down this type of memorized material before even starting the test so that you don’t mix it up in the heat of the moment.