When studying for the PMP exam, many students focus on project life cycle process groups. This is understandable because knowing the project life cycle is crucial to any project management professional. There are five process groups to learn within the PMBOK:
- Monitor & Control
However, this isn’t all you need to study. It is as important to learn the PMP knowledge areas to which these process groups belong.
The knowledge found in the PMBOK is very interlayered. Each knowledge area includes several relevant processes, and each process belongs to a process group. To understand process groups, you must understand the individual processes, and in order to do that, you must understand knowledge areas. This reason is why it doesn’t work to cut corners when studying for the PMP exam.
The goal of the PMP knowledge areas is to help students learn and fully understand efficient project management. These knowledge areas classify and lay out the processes that need to be executed in any project in order to do it well. This is essential study material in the PMBOK and in PMP exam course prep overall.
In today’s blog, we will cover the individual processes and learn to which PMP knowledge area they belong. We will also summarize each of the 10 PMP knowledge areas, including their main purpose and everything you can expect to learn from them. For a deeper dive into PMP knowledge areas, we encourage you to check out a PMP exam prep course, whether self-guided or with the help of a live, virtual instructor.
The 10 PMP Knowledge Areas In the PMBOK
As stated above, you can find 10 key knowledge areas within the PMBOK designed to help you grasp project management and pass your upcoming PMP exam. These processes include:
PMBOK Knowledge Area #1: Integration
Appropriately enough, integration is one of the project management knowledge areas that has the most overlap: it includes processes contained in each of the five process groups. The processes you’ll find in this knowledge area include:
- Developing a project charter
- Developing a project management plan
- Monitoring and controlling work
- Directing and managing work
- Performing integrated change control
- Closing the project
By studying the integration PMBOK knowledge area, you can learn how to efficiently execute and deliver a project from end to end.
PMBOK Knowledge Area #2: Scope
The scope management section of the PMP knowledge areas is all about how to handle project scope. Scope has six processes to cover, four under the planning group and two under monitoring and control. The planning processes include:
- Planning scope management
- The collecting of requirements
- Defining the scope of the work
- Creating a work breakdown structure (WBS)
Meanwhile, the two monitoring and controlling processes are validating scope and controlling scope.
PMBOK Knowledge Area #3: Schedule/Time Management
The Schedule knowledge area, or Time Management area as it’s called in the PMBOK 7th Edition, is an extensive section about the best practices for allotting and managing the proper amount of time for a project. It includes seven processes: six in the planning group and one in monitoring and control. The planning processes are:
- Schedule management planning
- Defining activities
- Sequence of activities
- Estimating activity durations
- Estimating activity resources
- Schedule development
The one monitoring and control process is called Schedule Control.
After studying the schedule knowledge area, you should have a sense of how to manage your time for a particular project so that you complete it before the deadline and without much struggle.
PMBOK Knowledge Area #4: Cost
When it comes to cost, the expectation is that you will learn how to successfully execute a project within a planned budget — and even save money if possible. There are four processes included in this knowledge area:
- Planning cost management (planning)
- Estimating costs (planning)
- Determining the budget (planning)
- Controlling costs (control)
PMBOK Knowledge Area #5: Quality Management
Quality checking and management are an important part of any project management. This ensures that the quality of the project is still meeting standards while moving towards the deadline. There are three processes in the quality management knowledge area. Each one belongs to a different process group.
- Planning quality management (planning)
- Performing quality assurance (execution)
- Controlling quality process (monitoring and controlling)
PMBOK Knowledge Area # 6: Resources
Previously known as Human Resource Management, this knowledge area is all about delegating the right tasks to the right people for the most efficient execution of the project. There is one planning process — planning the resource management. Three other processes fall under the execution process group. These include:
- The initial acquisition of the project team
- Developing the team
- Managing the project team
PMBOK Knowledge Area #7: Communication
With so many different stages to a project and so many hands on board, good communication is essential. It’s a manager’s job to ensure all the right information goes to the right people when they need it. This PMP knowledge area covers internal communication within the team and external communication to executives and shareholders. There are three processes in this knowledge area, each belonging to a different group:
- Planning communications management (planning)
- Managing communications (execution)
- Controlling communications (monitoring and controlling)
PMBOK Knowledge Area #8: Risk Management
There are risks inherent in every project, and it is the job of the project manager to mitigate and minimize the impact of those risks. There are six processes in this knowledge area, five belonging to planning and one belonging to monitoring and control. This is because the best way to manage risks is to prevent their impact ahead of time.
The five planning processes in the risk management knowledge area are:
- Planning risk management
- Identifying risks
- Performing qualitative risk analysis
- Performing quantitative risk analysis
- Planning risk responses
The one monitoring and control process is, of course, controlling risks.
PMBOK Knowledge Area #9: Procurement
Nearing the end of the PMP knowledge areas is procurement. Procurement is all about the purchases that go into each project. There are four processes in this knowledge area, each a part of a different phase:
- Planning procurement management (planning)
- Conducting procurements (execution)
- Controlling procurements (monitoring and control)
- Closing procurements (closing)
PMBOK Knowledge Area #10: Stakeholders
The final knowledge area has to do with stakeholder management. Through this section, you will learn how to manage expectations to keep stakeholders happy with the progress of the project. There are four processes within this knowledge area:
- Identifying stakeholders (planning)
- Planning stakeholder management (planning)
- Managing stakeholder expectations (execution)
- Controlling stakeholder management (monitoring and control)
Each PMP knowledge area has one or more processes that fit within the five core PMP process groups. By understanding the process groups and knowledge areas, project management professionals can do what they do best more effectively.