Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (The Process Matrix— Human Resources Knowledge Area)



In the last post, I went through the 3 processes in the Quality knowledge area (chapter 8 of the PMBOK® Guide).

In this post, I go through the 4 processes in the Human Resources knowledge area (chapter 9 of the PMBOK® Guide).

Here’s where we are so far: the boxes in green are what has already been covered, and the boxes in yellow are being covered in this post. (Boxes in grey are to be covered in future posts.)

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

Here’s the portion of the process matrix that lists the processes in the Quality knowledge area, which is chapter 8 of the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge area # Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
HR 4

1

3

Here’s a description of the four processes that are included in the Human Resources Knowledge Area, 1 of which is in the Planning Process Group, and the remaining 3 of which are in the Executing Process Group.

Process

Group

Process

Number

Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 9.1 Develop Human Resources Plan
Identifying project roles and responsibilities, create staffing management plan.
Executing 9.2 Acquire Project Team Confirming human resource availability and obtaining team.
9.3 Develop Project Team Improving team interaction and team environment.
9.4 Manage Project Team Optimizing team performance by tracking member performance, resolving conflicts, providing feedback.

9.1 Develop Human Resources Plan

The roles and responsibilities must be agreed upon beforehand, because if there is a problem, people need to know who to turn to for expert advice or for decisions to be made. The staffing plan allows the project manager to know who is available for how much time during the course of the project.

These two questions of “what role will team members play?” and “what team members are available?” are answered in the planning stage.

9.2 Acquire Project Team

The first part of executing a project is obtaining the team members from the human resources department.

9.3 Develop Project Team

Here is the process that takes the “team members” and turns them into a team that works together.

9.4 Manage Project Team

This process is where the “continuous improvement” part of the project, where you try to fine-tune the performance of the members of the team as individuals (by measuring their performance by increasing their skills), to reduce conflict between individual team members (through conflict resolution techniques), and for those conflicts that do arise, to create lessons learned to prevent similar conflicts from happening in the future.

These three processes are fairly easy to understand in connection with their names, so remembering what their basic purpose is should not be too difficult.

The next post will cover the next Knowledge Area, that of Communications management.

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Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (The Process Matrix— Quality Knowledge Area)



 In the last post, I went through the 3 processes in the Cost knowledge area (chapter 7 of the PMBOK® Guide).

 In this post, I go through the 3 processes in the Quality knowledge area (chapter 8 of the PMBOK® Guide).

Here’s where we are so far: the boxes in green are what has already been covered, and the boxes in yellow are being covered in this post. (Boxes in grey are to be covered in future posts.)

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

Here’s the portion of the process matrix that lists the processes in the Quality knowledge area, which is chapter 8 of the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge area # Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Quality 3

1

1

1

Here’s a description of the three processes that are included in the Cost Knowledge Area, 1 of which is in the Planning Process Group, 1 of which is in the Executing Process Group, and 1 of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

Process

Group

Process

Number

Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 8.1 Plan Quality Identifying quality requirements and/or standards for the project and product; documenting how project will demonstrate compliance.
Executing 8.2 Perform Quality Assurance Auditing quality requirements and results from quality control measurements to ensure appropriate quality standards are used.
Monitoring & Controlling 8.3 Perform Quality Control Monitors and records results of quality activities to assess performance and recommend necessary changes.

8.1 Plan Quality

The question being answered here is: what are the quality standards that will be used on the project?

8.2. Perform Quality Assurance

The question being answered here is: are the quality standards appropriate for the project? The auditing focuses on the quality of the processes themselves.

8.3 Perform Quality Control

The question being answered here is: are the deliverables meeting the quality standards? The monitoring focuses on the quality of the deliverables. If they don’t meet the standards, then this becomes a basis for a recommendation for change. Basset boasts burst of brillianceBasset boasts burst of brilliance

The next post will cover the next Knowledge Area, that of Human Resource management.

Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (The Process Matrix—Cost Knowledge Area)



In the last post, I went through the 6 processes in the Time knowledge area (chapter 6 of the PMBOK® Guide).

In this post, I go through the 3 processes in the Cost knowledge area (chapter 7 of the PMBOK® Guide).

Here’s where we are so far: the boxes in green are what has already been covered, and the boxes in yellow are being covered in this post. (Boxes in grey are to be covered in future posts.)

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

Here’s the portion of the process matrix that lists the processes in the Cost knowledge area, which is chapter 7 of the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge area # Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Cost 3

2

1

Here’s a description of the three processes that are included in the Cost Knowledge Area, 2 of which are in the Planning Process Group and 1 of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

In essence, this is almost an exact parallel to the Time knowledge area which was covered in the last post, and is covered by chapter 6 of the PMBOK® Guide. The 2 Planning processes take high-level estimates and bring them down to a specific, practical, step-by-step level. The 1 Monitoring & Controlling process checks to see if the project is on track, in this case with regards to costs as opposed to schedule, and if it is not, manages changes that bring it back on track. However, there are only 2 planning processes as opposed to five, so the processes in this knowledge area are quite a bit simpler overall.

Process

Group

Process

Number

Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 7.1 Estimate Costs Developing an approximation of the monetary resources needed to complete project activities.
7.2 Determine Budget Sums up the estimated costs and add reserves to establish an authorized cost baseline.
Monitoring & Controlling 7.3 Control Costs Monitoring the status of the project to update project budget and manage changes to the cost baseline.

Let’s take a closer look at the process descriptions, taken from the PMBOK® Guide. I think if you pay attention to the essence of what each process is, you will see how they flow from one to the other.

7.1 Estimate Costs

Costs are estimated by various methods that are based on past projects, on top-down or bottom-up estimates, or on averaging between pessimistic, neutral or optimistic assumptions. This gives you an estimate or ballpark figure of the project costs.

7.2 Determine Budget

Here, in a parallel to 6.5 Determine Schedule, once you have the work packages broken down into billable units of work called activities, you can now start adding them up to get the project baseline. Add the reserves for those risks which you’ve planned for (contingency reserves) and you get the cost baseline. Finally add the reserves for those risks which you’ve NOT planned for (management reserves) and you get the cost budget.

7.3 Control Costs

Here you use the tools such as earned value to find out whether your project is proceeding according to plan or not. This gives you a precise basis for recommending what to do to get it back on track.

The next post will cover the next Knowledge Area, that of quality management.

Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (The Process Matrix—Time Knowledge Area)


In the last post, I went through the 5 processes in the Scope knowledge area (chapter 5 of the PMBOK® Guide).

In this post, I go through the 6 processes in the Time knowledge area (chapter 6 of the PMBOK® Guide).

Here’s where we are so far: the boxes in green are what has already been covered, and the boxes in yellow are being covered in this post. (Boxes in grey are to be covered in future posts.)

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

Here’s the portion of the process matrix that lists the processes in the Time knowledge area, which is chapter 6 of the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge area # Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Time 6

5

1

Here’s a description of the six processes that are included in the Scope Knowledge Area, 5 of which are in the Planning Process Group and 1 of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

Process
Group
Process
Number
Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 6.1 Define Activities Identifying actions to be performed to produce product deliverables.
6.2 Sequence Activities Identifying and documenting relationships among the project activities.
6.3 Estimate Activity
Resources
Estimating type and quantities of resources (human and material) required to perform each activity.
6.4 Estimate Activity
Durations
Approximating the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with estimated resources.
6.5 Develop Schedule Analyzing activity sequences, durations, resources requirements, and schedule constraints to create product schedule.
Monitoring & Controlling 6.6 Control Schedule Monitoring the status of the project to update project progress and manage changes to schedule baseline.

Let’s take a closer look at the process descriptions, taken from the PMBOK® Guide. I think if you pay attention to the essence of what each process is, you will see how they flow from one to the other.

6.1 Define Activities

Okay, in the last planning process for the previous knowledge area, 5.3 Create WBS, the process of work to produce deliverables was broken down to the level of the work package.

This process Define Activities takes it one more step, to the level of activities.

6.2 Sequence Activities

Okay, you have a WBS which is now broken down into activities. In what order to you do them? Do you have to do them all one after another (series relationship) or can you do some of them simultaneously (parallel relationship)? By the time you are done, you know WHAT needs to be done and in WHAT ORDER.

6.3 Estimate Activity Resources

But how long will the project take? To get that answer, you need to find out WHAT RESOURCES you have to do the project, both human and material resources. For example, this process will result in telling you that you have 5 staff members, each of whom can work only ½ day or 4 hours on the project.

6.4 Estimate Activity Durations

Let’s continue with the example from the previous paragraph. If the result of 6.2 Sequence Activities is that the project will take 100 man-hours from start to finish, and you have 8 staff members who work half-time on the project, you can tell that the project will take 100 man-hours / (5 staff members x 4 hours/day) or 5 days.

6.5 Develop Schedule

This is the finalization of the schedule, the end result of the process that started in 6.1 Define Activities. This becomes the schedule baseline of the project.

If you picture what these processes DO, then you can see how the order they are listed in is quite logical.

6.6 Control Schedule

Now switching to the Monitoring & Controlling process group, Control Schedule tells you whether you are proceeding according to schedule, ahead of schedule or behind schedule. If there are changes to the project which require a change in schedule, those changes are managed here.

This is obviously in the Monitoring (check) and Controlling (act) process group with regards to the schedule.

The next post deals with the Cost Knowledge Area.

Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (The Process Matrix—Scope Knowledge Area)


In the last post, I went through the 6 processes in the Integration knowledge area (chapter 4 of the PMBOK® Guide).

In this post, I go through the 5 processes in the Scope knowledge area (chapter 5 of the PMBOK® Guide).

Here’s where we are so far: the boxes in green are what has already been covered, and the boxes in yellow are being covered in this post. (Boxes in grey are to be covered in future posts.)

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

Here’s the portion of the process matrix that lists the processes in the Scope knowledge area, which is chapter 5 of the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge area # Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Scope 5

3

2

Here’s a description of the five processes that are included in the Scope Knowledge Area.

Process
Group
Process
Number
Process
Name
Process Description
Planning 5.1 Collect Requirements Defining and documenting stakeholders’ needs to meet the project objectives.
5.2 Define Scope Developing a detailed description of the project and product.
5.3 Create WBS Subdivides project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.
Monitoring
& Controlling
5.4 Verify Scope Formalizing acceptance of the project deliverables with the customer.
5.5 Control
Scope
Monitoring status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline.

Let’s take a closer look at the process descriptions.

5.1 Collect Requirements

What do the stakeholders require to meet the project objectives? In this process you take the high-level requirements from the project charter and produce a detailed list of requirements.

Main question answered by this process: What do you need to get the project done?

5.2 Define Scope

The purpose of this process is to create a project scope statement, which puts everybody on the “same page”. This project scope statement creates a detailed description of the deliverables of the project and the work required to create them. This is where the rubber meets the road, so to speak.

Main question answered by this process: How do you get the project done?

5.3 Create WBS

The previous process of “Define Scope” gives the final address of the destination, but the “Create WBS” breaks things down like the GPS system in your car which can give you specific instructions like “turn left here”, “go straight 2.0 miles”, etc. that, if followed, will get you to your destination.

All three of the above processes are part of planning, but they go from general to specific in terms of the level of detail. Now for the two processes in the Monitoring & Control group.

5.4 Verify Scope

Verifying the scope means taking a deliverable and asking the customer and/or sponsor to review to make sure it conforms to the customer’s expectations of the scope.

5.5 Control Scope

Control scope means to monitor the status of the project and product scope to see whether the project is proceeding according to plan. What happens if the scope is deviating from what was in the plan? Then changes are suggested to either get it back to the original plan or to adjust the plan accordingly.

So to distinguish these two processes from the Monitoring & Controlling group, Verify Scope monitors the deliverables
and verifies them with the customer. Control Scope monitors the scope and compares it to the scope baseline. If there is a deviation, this is where the project is steered back on course, or the scope baseline is adjusted to make the path the project is now on the new course.

The next post deals with the Time Knowledge Area.

Passing the #PMP Exam—Study Group Discussions (The Process Matrix—Integration Knowledge Area)



 In the last post, I showed how you can use logic and a few numbers to memorize the pattern of where the 42 process groups go in the matrix formed by the 5 process groups and 9 knowledge areas.

Here’s the final result.

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

Of course, this just tells you WHERE the processes go. The next step of learning the processes is learning the NAME of the processes. Our study group found that it was best to memorize them row by row, in other words, by each knowledge area.

The reason for this is simply that this is the order the material is presented by the PMBOK® Guide. If you are studying the knowledge areas chapter by chapter, then thematically grouping the processes by knowledge area helps you put it together in your mind.

Let’s take the Integration Management Processes first.

Here’s the portion of the process matrix that lists the processes in the Integration knowledge area, which is chapter 4 of the PMBOK® Guide.

Knowledge area # Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration 6

1

1

1

2

1

Here’s a description of the six processes that are included in the Integration Knowledge Area.

ProcessGroup ProcessNumber Process
Name
Process Description
Initiating 4.1 Develop Project Charter Develops document that formally authorizes project and documents stakeholder needs & expectations
Planning 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan Documents integration of all subsidiary plans (from all knowledge areas); project management plan is primary source on how to manage project across all PM  process groups
Executing 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution Performing work defined in project management plan
Monitoring & Controlling 4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work Tracking progress to meet performance objectives defined in project management plan
4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control Reviewing change requests and managing changes to deliverables, or project management plan itself
Closing 4.6 Close Project or Phase Finalizes project across all PM process groups; formally closes project

In the above table, I have listed in bold those words in the process descriptions that match the process groups they are in.   This may help in memorizing them.   Let’s take a closer look at the process descriptions.

4.1 Develop Project Charter

The Project Charter is the formal “green light” to the project and is done as part of the initiating process. Just think of “green light” and “go.” It’s the high-level statement of what the objectives of the project are.

4.2 Develop Project Management Plan

The Project Management or PM Plan is actually the “mother of all plans”, meaning it combines the individual plans that cover all of the other knowledge areas and integrates them together.

NOTE: All of the processes in the Executing and Monitoring & Controlling Process groups have the phrase “project management plan” in them, so it shows you how vital this process is.

4.3 Direct and Manage Project Execution

What’s in the plan that comes out of process 4.2 gets DONE here. Remember the plan-do-check-act cycle? This is the DO part.

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work

This is the CHECK part of the plan-do-check-act cycle. What are you checking for? To see if the project is progressing as planned in process 4.2. What happens if you’re NOT on track and you want to get back? Then you go to the NEXT process, which is

4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control

Here is where you evaluate requests for changes to get you “back on track” to complete the project according to the plan developed in 4.2. Let’s say you’re behind schedule, and you want to get back on schedule. Then this process evaluates the request for a change. You may end up changing the deliverables themselves if the scope changes, and you will have to change the plan itself to accommodate this change.

4.6 Close Project or Phase

If the project does proceed to the point where the deliverables are completed within the plan developed in process 4.2, then you get formal closure of the project or phase from the customer and/or sponsor of the project. This process shares the word “formal” in common with the first process 4.1.

If you look at the definitions of the processes and see how they are related, then it is easier to memorize the process names and their order.

Tomorrow I go through the Scope Management Knowledge Area processes.

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.