Have you just begun the PMP® exam preparation? Are you confused with new terms like Knowledge Areas, Process Groups, and a Process? If any of answer is Yes, this blog will give you a kick start in your PMP® exam preparation.

In this article I am answering:

  1. What are the processes?
  2. What are the Process Groups for?
  3. What are the Project Management Knowledge Areas as per PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition?
  4. Tools and Tips for preparing for the exam

1. What are the processes

In PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition , all processes are defined in terms of input, output, and tools & techniques. A process is a set of activities to produce desired output. These set of activities includes getting needed input, applying tools & techniques on them to generate the output you want. Thus, activities in projects take some input, these are refined using tools & techniques to create the output.

For example, you need information from your customer representatives. For which, you have prepared questions to interview them. Here list of customer representatives is the input, information you produced is the output and interview is the tool for that information. During the interview, steps of preparing questions and asking questions to selected customer representatives are the activities of transformation of customer representative list (input) to the Information (desired output). Now this produced information can be used as an input to other processes to generate another output. Like, you can apply decomposition tool to create a hierarchical breakdown of items(output) from the information you produced in the interview(input).

PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition defines Process as:

A systematic series of activities directed towards causing an end result such that one or more inputs will be acted upon to create one or more outputs

2.What are the Process Groups for?

A process group is created to club processes which have same management focus.
The PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition defined five management focus, as follows:

  • Initiating: Processes which helps in starting up project or phase. These are grouped under Initiating process group.
  • Planning: You need to plan many things to produce project deliverables like but not limited to schedule, cost, quality, resources, communication, etc. Processes which helps in making a proposal of doing something are clubbed under planning process group.
  • Executing: Planning does not make any difference till you start doing or executing, the processes facilitating the executing of the plan falls under executing process group.
  • Monitoring & Controlling: We all know that “:no plan survives contact with an enemy”, so you need to continually keep looking into the learning / variances which are generating on day to day basis. Processes which monitor the execution of project falls under this process group.
  • Closing: Processes which brings completing to project or phase are grouped under closing process groups.

This is how PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition defines process group

A logical grouping of project management inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. The Project Management Process Groups include initiating processes, planning processes, executing processes, monitoring and controlling processes, and closing processes. Project Management Process Groups are not project phases.

3. What are the Project Management Knowledge Areas as per PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition?

Another way to group processes is to bind them by the specialized nature of work they facilitate doing. In PMBOK, these specialized areas are named as Knowledge Areas. For example, those processes working on project scope related area can be grouped under Project Scope Management knowledge area.

A process is mapped both in a process group and in a knowledge area. The process which helps you in doing scope planning falls under planning process group, and since it is about working on the scope, we also put it under Scope Management knowledge area.

Let’s look at the ten knowledge area PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition covers

  1. Project Integration Management: This knowledge area tells you how to bind all processes of project management to achieve project objective, it ensures that schedule and cost plans are integrated. It provides integrated monitoring and change management of the project. This knowledge area manages the complete life cycle of a project from its starting till the end.
  2. Project Scope Management: This knowledge area helps you in managing project scope. It works on scope related processes like requirement elicitation & analysis, preparation of scope statement and even validation of scope.
  3. Project Schedule Management:  This knowledge area helps you in identifying at what point, what is happening. It also keeps eyes on what is going as per plan and where re-planning is needed. It helps you in identifying and managing project timelines.
  4. Project Cost Management: This knowledge area is all about money. Cost is planned for each project activities, some money is reserved for future uncertainties and also cost is monitored during execution and when needed, cost is re-planned to manage the variances.
  5. Project Quality Management: Processes included in this knowledge area ensures quality of project deliverables. This also includes process improvements, quality audit, and controlling activities to achieve customer satisfaction.
  6. Project Resource Management: This knowledge area groups all the processes required to plan needed resources, acquire them for the project, develop & improve their skills and manage them for the project performance.
  7. Project Communications Management: This knowledge area confirms the proper plan of information needed by different stakeholders, distributing that information to them and monitoring if the stakeholder’s information needs are met.
  8. Project Risk Management: Uncertainties or risks are the potential of losing value of project deliverables. Thus processes are grouped which helps in identifying risks, prioritise risks based on their impacts & probability of occurring, identifying risk responses if risks occur and monitor them throughout the project.
  9. Project Procurement Management: Sometime purchasing or acquiring of products are needed from the outside sources. This knowledge area includes processes necessary to manage and control the contract from these outside parties.
  10. Project Stakeholder Management: This knowledge area includes processes needed in identifying project stakeholders, make and monitor them engaging to the desired level.

This is how PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition defines Project Management Knowledge Area

An identified area of project management defined by its knowledge requirements and described in terms of its component processes, practices, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques.

4.Tools and Tips for preparing for the exam

You need a unique way of learning which supports you to crack the exam in the first attempt. Our association with you starts from your enrolment for 35 contact hours to giving the PMP® exam. Thus, the best thing you can do to start PMP® preparation is to enrol in our online program

Here are some tips which I am providing after researching hundreds of test takers experiences:

  1. Commit to doing PMP® by enrolling to our education program.
  2. Set a target date and make a study plan to prepare for the exam. Initially, no need to master each knowledge area, just do sufficient preparation required for a project manager.
  3. Take a minimum of 2000 practice questions before hitting the final exam, take questions from at least three sources.
  4. Take four full-length exams before your final exam to develop endurance.
  5. Taking practice exams will not support you until you analyze the wrong options and fix your identified weak areas.
  6. Join discussion forum and participate in discussions around PMP®.

I highly advise you to prepare the study plan which will give you a good kick start for your PMP® exam preparation.

I hope this blog helped you in planning and preparing the PMP® exam, to explore more you may check our video for the same: