Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (Chapter 3—Memorizing the Processes) Step 3: The Matrix



 The first two steps assist you in memorizing with the use of logic the 5 process groups and 9 knowledge areas. Now you are ready for step 3 … The Matrix!

What this means is actually memorizing the positions of the 42 processes of project management among both a) the process groups and b) the knowledge areas.

Step 1. Let’s draw a chart or a matrix with the process groups written along the columns at the top, and the knowledge areas written along the rows to the left.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration
Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements

In filling out the schematic, a gray area means that it is filled with one of the 42 processes. If the area is white, this means that there are no process groups in the intersection of that process group and the knowledge area.

Step 2.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration
Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements

Going across, integration is the knowledge area which binds all of the other knowledge areas together so it has processes across in all five process groups. That is why the gray goes all across the integration knowledge area row.

Step 3.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration
Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements

Going down, planning is the process group which covers every knowledge area, because the scope management plan includes the management plan of every knowledge area. That is why the gray goes all the way down the planning process group column.

This gives you the a) row (integration knowledge area) and b) column (planning process group) that cut across the entire chart. Consider it the major spine of the matrix. From here, it is easiest to memorize the pattern going downwards.

Step 3.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration
Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements

The next largest group going downwards is in the monitoring & controlling process group, which is the process group that does the “check” and “act” portions of the iterative plan-do-check-act loop. It covers every knowledge area EXCEPT human resources; the way we remembered this in our group is that someone has to be DOING the monitoring and controlling, and that person is assigned through—human resources. So adding this column we get the above result.

Step 4.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration
Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements

Next we take the “executing” column. Here we skip, after integration, the “scope-time-cost” trio of the traditional “iron triangle” of constraints, and we also skip “risk”, which we remembered in our group by thinking “why would you want to execute something risky?” That gives you the almost-final schematic.

Step 5.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration
Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements

In the initiating and closing process groups, the two “bookends” of our set of 5 process groups, there are only 2 knowledge areas involved. Of course “integration” is one of them, which we know by the rule stated in step 1.

In the case of initiating, the other knowledge group involved other than “integration” is “communication”, because before you can start planning, you need to communicate with the stakeholders to see if the project can even get the “green light” to go forward.

In the case of closing, you would expect to see a “formality” to the procedure, and this is especially true with contracts, which are formal, legal documents. Contracts are involved in a project if there are procurements or supplies that you get from an outside company. So besides integration, closing involves the “procurements” knowledge area.

That’s the complete pattern! Congratulations. Now we go on to the next steps, which are figuring out HOW MANY groups go into which grey box. If it’s a white box, of course, the answer is ZERO.

Step 6.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration 6
Scope 5
Time 6
Cost 3
Quality 3
Human Resources 4
Communications 5
Risk 6
Procurements 4

2

20

8

10

2

Draw an extra row to the left of the matrix and an extra column at the bottom.

Here’s how to memorize the numbers going across at the bottom.

a. First put a 2 in the first (leftmost) and fifth (rightmost) column.

b. For the number in the second column, take the 2 in the first column and add a 0 to get 20.

c. For the number in the fourth column, take the 20 in the second column and divide it by the 2 in the first column to get 10.

d. For the number in the third column, take the 10 in the fourth column and subtract the 2 in the fifth column to get 8.

Check your numbers by seeing that they add up to 42.

Here’s how to memorize the numbers going across at the left.

The first three numbers are like a telephone area code, 656, with the first and last digits the same.

The fourth number is half of the third number. (This prevents you from erroneously remembering the first three as 5-6-5, because you can’t cut 5 in half to get a whole number.)

The fifth through eighth numbers start from 3, the number right above, and go 1 step higher each time until you get to 6, the same number at the top of the column.

The last number is 4. There’s no real easy way to remember this, but remember that all of the numbers must add up to 42. If you forget the last number is 4, just add up all the other numbers to get 38, and then realize the only number that will fit in that box that makes the ENTIRE group add up to 42 is 4.

The whole purpose of these check digits are so that, when you are doing the brain dump and you write down the processes, you can check whether you’ve put them in the right column (i.e., under the right process group) and in the right row (i.e., next to the right knowledge area).

Step 7.

Just remember four more digits, and the rest of the puzzle is simple to complete.

a. Remember that under Monitoring & Controlling process group, the first two knowledge areas have 2 process groups in them; all the others in that row have only 1 process group.

b. Remember that under the Planning process group, the two knowledge areas that deal with PEOPLE, human resources and communications, have 1 process group each.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration 6

2

Scope 5

2

Time 6
Cost 3
Quality 3
Human Resources 4

1

Communications 5

1

Risk 6
Procurements 4

2

20

8

10

2

Using just those 4 numbers, you can use the check digits to the left of each row and at the bottom of each column to logically conclude that the number of process groups in each cell is the following:

Step 8.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration 6

1

1

1

2

1

Scope 5

3

2

Time 6

5

1

Cost 3

2

1

Quality 3

1

1

1

Human Resources 4

1

3

Communications 5

1

1

2

1

Risk 6

5

1

Procurements 4

1

1

1

1

2

20

8

10

2

If you need a step-by-step set of instructions how to figure that little logic puzzle, send me a comment and I’ll spell it out in detail.

The next step is the name of the processes, which I will do row by row for each knowledge area.

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