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

PMBOK® Guide defines all processes as input, output, and tools & techniques. And, a process is a set of activities to produce the 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; tools and techniques refine them to create the output.

For example, you need information from your customer representatives. For which, you have prepared questions to interview them. Here the list of customer representatives is the input. The information you produced from customer representatives is the output. And, the interview is the tool for that information. During the interview -You prepare questions to ask them from  selected customer representatives. These are the activities of transformation  from the input to output.

Now, we can use this produced information as an input to other processes to generate another output.

Like, you can use a decomposition tool to create a hierarchical breakdown of items(output).  Here you can use information produced as an input.

PMBOK® Guide defines Process as:

A organized sequence 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 defined five management focus, as follows:

  • Initiating:  We group processes together as Initiating when these help in starting up project or phase
  • Planning: You need to plan many things to produce project deliverable like but not limited to:
    • schedule,
    • cost,
    • quality,
    • resources,
    • communication, etc.

Processes which helps in making a proposal of doing something we club them in the 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 the executing process group.
  • Monitoring & Controlling: We all know that “: no plan survives contact with an enemy.” So, you need to keep looking into the learning/variances generating on day to day basis. Processes which track for the execution of project falls under this process group.
  • Closing: Processes which brings completing to project or phase, we group them in closing process groups.

This is how PMBOK® Guide defines process group

A rational 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?

Another way to group processes is to bind them by the specialized nature of work they facilitate. In PMBOK® Guide, these specialized areas are Knowledge Areas. For example –

Those processes working on project scope related area, PMBOK® Guide group them under Project Scope Management knowledge area.

PMBOK® Guide map a process both in a process group and in a knowledge area. The process which helps you in doing scope planning falls under the planning process group. And, since it is about working on the scope, PMBOK® Guide also put it under the Scope Management knowledge area.

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

  1. Project Integration Management: This knowledge area tells you how to bind all processes of project management to achieve project objective. it ensures integrated schedule and cost plans. 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 in identifying at what point, what is happening. It also keeps eyes on what is going as per plan and where we need re-planning. It helps you in identifying and managing project timelines.
  4. Project Cost Management: This knowledge area is all about money. We plan cost for each project activities. And, 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 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 the value of project deliverables. Thus processes are grouped which helps in:
    • Identifying risks,
    • Prioritize risks based on their impacts & probability of occurring,
    • Identifying risk responses if risks occur,
    • Implement risk responses
    • Monitor them throughout the project.
  9. Project Procurement Management: Sometimes 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,
    • monitor them engaging to the desired level.

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 needed for the PMP® exam. Thus, the best thing you can do to begin PMP® preparation is to enroll in our our online program

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

  • Commit to doing PMP® exam by enrolling to our education program.
  • 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.
  • Take a minimum of 2000 practice questions before hitting the final exam, take questions from at least three sources.
  • Take four full-length exams before your final exam to develop endurance.
  • Taking practice exams will not support you until you analyze the wrong options and fix your identified weak areas.
  • Join discussion forum and participate in discussions around PMP® exam.

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:

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