Exploring the Project Management Knowledge Areas

We talked about the five process groups and They are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. Each process group is made up of a collection of processes used throughout the project lifecycle.

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), these processes into 10 categories that it calls the Project Management Knowledge Areas. These groupings, or Knowledge Areas, bring together processes that have characteristics in common. For example, the Project Cost Management Knowledge Area involves all aspects of the budgeting process, as you would suspect. 

Therefore, processes such as Estimate Costs, Determine Budget, and Control Costs belong to this Knowledge Area. Here’s the tricky part: These processes don’t belong to the same project management process groups (Estimate Costs and Determine Budget is part of the Planning process group, and Control Costs is part of the Monitoring and Controlling process group). Think of it this way: Knowledge Areas bring together processes by commonalities, whereas project management process groups are more or less the order in which you perform the project management processes (although remember that you can come back through these processes more than once). The PMBOK® Guide names the

10 Knowledge Areas as follows:

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management
  • Project Stakeholder Management

Project Scope Management:

The Project Scope Management Knowledge Area has six processes, 

  • Collect Requirements:  Planning
  • Define Scope:  Planning
  • Create WBS:  Planning
  • Validate Scope:  Monitoring and Controlling
  • Control Scope:  Monitoring and Controlling

Project Scope Management is concerned with defining all the work of the project and only the work needed to successfully produce the project goals. These processes are highly interactive. They define and control what is and what is not part of the project. Each process occurs at least once—and often many times—throughout the project’s life.

Project Scope Management encompasses both product scope and project scope. Product scope concerns the characteristics of the product, service, or result of the project. It’s measured against the product requirements to determine successful completion or fulfillment. The application area usually dictates the process tools and techniques you’ll use to define and manage product scope. The project scope involves managing the work of the project and only the work of the project.

Project scope is measured against the project management plan. The scope baseline is made up of the project scope statement, the work breakdown structure (WBS), and the WBS dictionary.

Project Time Management:

The Project Time Management Knowledge Area has seven Processes

  • Plan Schedule Management: Planning
  • Define Activities:  Planning
  • Sequence Activities: Planning
  • Estimate: Activity
  • Resources: Planning
  • Estimate: Activity
  • Durations: Planning
  • Develop Schedule: Planning
  • Control Schedule: Monitoring and Controlling

This Knowledge Area is concerned with estimating the duration of the project activities, devising a project schedule, and monitoring and controlling deviations from the schedule.

Collectively, this Knowledge Area deals with completing the project in a timely manner. Time management is an important aspect of project management because it concerns keeping the project activities on track and monitoring those activities against the project management plan to ensure that the project is completed on time.

Although most processes in this Knowledge Area occur at least once in every project (and sometimes more), in many cases—particularly on small projects—Sequence Activities,

Estimate Activity Durations, and Develop Schedule are completed as one activity. Only one person is needed to complete these processes for small projects, and they've all worked on at the same time.

About Author
Mahmoud Qeshreh