What are the Process Groups and Knowledge Areas? This was one of few doubts that came to my mind when I started preparing for my PMP Certification Exam and I referred the PMP reference books and the PMBOK Guide for the first time. Many questions regarding the process groups and knowledge areas started bothering me. For example:
- Why is the PMBOK Guide not organized as per the Process Group instead of Knowledge Areas?
- How did this Knowledge Area thing come up? and
- Why are the Knowledge Areas needed at all?
I believe that there will be many professionals who have just started the PMP Exam preparation may have the same doubts, and are struggling to find the relationship between the process groups and the knowledge areas.
Therefore, in this blog post I’ll try to clear those doubts regarding the process groups and knowledge areas.
Okay, let’s get started…
(Please Open Page-43 on the PMBOK Guide fourth edition, if you’ve access to it. It will help you to visualize the concepts discussed here in this blog post.)
The Project Management process groups are a logical categorization of tasks or activities in a way that the projects are being performed.
For example, first you initiate the project, and then you make a plan for it. Once the plan completes, you will execute it. Monitoring & controlling process shall be performed throughout the project and at the end, when the project completes, it is closing.
Therefore, you have seen that process groups are arranged in way that the projects are taken from Initiating to Closing, and in all projects, all of these five process groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing) are required to complete the projects.
Now, you may be thinking –
- What about the Knowledge Areas?
- How they are grouped?
- Do they also have any logical relation?
- What is the relationship between the knowledge areas and the process groups?
First of all, knowledge areas are designed to group those areas which have common knowledge characteristics. This means, knowledge areas are divided to keep the same type of skill set (or knowledge) into one group.
Let’s say that you are in a planning process group, developing the plan for your project. In this process, to calculate the budget you will use two processes; Estimate Costs and Determine Budget.
Now, come to the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group. In this process you have to monitor the project activities to keep control on them. Here, Control Cost is the process that is used to control the project costs.
Now, look at these processes
1. Estimate Costs
2. Determine Budget
3. Control Cost.
You just saw that the first two processes belong to the Planning Process Group, and the third process belongs to the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.
Now, let’s have a look on these processes again. Did you find anything similar among them?
Yes, they are talking about things related to the “Cost.”
Therefore, they are grouped together and named the “Project Cost Management” knowledge area in the PMBOK Guide.
In the same manner, if you look at these three processes:
1. Plan Quality Process
2. Perform Quality Assurance Process, and
3. Perform Quality Control Process
You will notice that Plan Quality is a Planning Process Group’s member, Perform Quality Assurance is a member of the Executing Process Group and Perform Quality Control is a member of the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.
Now, look these processes again. Don’t they talk about the same thing – Quality? Although, they belong to different process groups, they are talking about the things related to the “Quality.”
Therefore, these three process groups are collected together under the one knowledge area and named “Project Quality Management.”
Now, you have seen how the Knowledge Areas are designed. They are designed to keep the same knowledge in one group.
Answers to rest of your doubts are as follows:
- There is no logical relationship among the knowledge areas.
- And, also there is no relationship between the knowledge areas and the process group.
Let’s have a quick summary on the process groups and knowledge areas:
- Process Groups are logical categorization of the project management processes in a way that the project moved from initiation to closing.
- In Project Management Knowledge Areas, project processes are grouped as per their similarities on the subject.
- The PMBOK Guide is organized as per the Knowledge Areas to ease the process of acquiring the skills for the project professionals.
Here, the discussion about the project management process group and knowledge area finishes. I have tried my best to clear the cloud; however, if you have any suggestions to improve this blog post or you need to discuss further – you are welcome to do so in comments section.
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