Passing the #PMP Exam—Memorizing the Processes Step 4: Gaming the System INITIATING PROCESS GROUP

 1. Introduction—GAMES 1 and 2 (memorizing by knowledge area, process group)

In the steps towards mastery of the processes of project management, we have covered memorizing of the process groups (step 1), the knowledge areas (step 2), and the names and meanings of the 42 processes. Now we are at the point where we are memorizing the order of the processes, and I refer to this as “gaming the system.”

What I mean by this is that you should start playing games with flashcards to help you memorize the order of the processes and their contents.

You should make 42 flashcards, preferably of the larger 4 x 6 variety than the usual smaller 3 x 5 size. On the back of each card, you should just put the name of the process, such as “Close Procurements”, and on the front of the card you should put the PMBOK ® Guide chapter number of the knowledge area the process is in and the number of the process it is among those processes for that area

For example, for Close Procurements you would have 12.4 Close Procurements. This tells you that it is in chapter 12, which happens to be the Procurement Knowledge Area and it is process number 4 about of those in the Procurement Knowledge Area. These “index numbers” for all the processes are contained in the PMBOK® Guide itself. There is a summary for all the processes in each knowledge area at the beginning of each chapter from 4 through 12.


Memorize the processes by knowledge area if that is the way you studied the material. Pay attention to the NAMES of the processes, their ORDER within each knowledge area, and which PROCESS GROUP they belong to. You need to be able to do this within 10 minutes or less. Plan to do this every week, every other day, or even every day as long as you do it consistently until you get to this point.

Once you have the names of the processes down, you are ready for the next step. In reality, the processes are not going to be done in the precise order of the knowledge areas (horizontally across the matrix). They are more likely to be done by order of the process groups (vertically down the matrix). So you need to get to the point of being able to do GAME 2, which is described as follows.


Memorize the processes by process group. The largest process group has 20 processes in it, and memorizing these is the longest task, but it is also the most important, because the planning process group is going to follow the list of processes going down the matrix for the most part. (We’ll get to the exceptions when we discuss integrating the processes as Rita Mulcahy has devised them in a future post.)

NOTE: Keep these cards after you’re done with the game, because the next thing you’ll need them for is writing down the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs associated with each process.

To aid in memorizing the processes by process group, let’s spend a total of 5 posts, one post for each process group, in summarizing the processes in that process group using the definitions we used before from the PMBOK® Guide.

2. Processes in the Initiating Process Group





Process Description
Initiating 4.1 Develop Project


Develops document that formally authorizes project and documents

stakeholder needs & expectations

Initiating 10.1 Identify Stakeholders Identifying project stakeholders, that is, people impacted by the project, and documenting their interests, involvement, and impact on the project.

There are only 2 process groups in the Initiating Process group.

4.1 Develop Project Charter

The Develop Project Charter process is the drawing up of the high-level statement of what the objectives of the project are. It documents what the stakeholders need and expect as of the result of the project.

10.1 Identify Stakeholders

After having read the Develop Project Charter process, you can see why the other initiating process is Identifying Stakeholders, because these will need to be identified before you can go ahead and developing a strategy to manage their needs and expectations.

Most of the initiating process is done within 4.1 Develop Project Charter. This is a key process in the integration knowledge area. 10.1 Identify Stakeholders is a process in the communications knowledge area and it is a key step towards getting the Project Charter complete.

This post was relatively short because there are only 2 processes involved; the next post will cover the 20 processes of the planning process group, so it will be quite a bit longer!

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