Passing the #PMP Exam: Inputs and Outputs—Communications Knowledge Area


1. Introduction

In this next series of posts on memorizing the processes, we move on to the final step 6, which is memorizing the INPUTS & OUTPUTS associated with each of the 42 processes. In order to breakdown the memorization into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 9 posts, one for each knowledge area. (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

This post covers chapter 10 of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Communications Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 5 processes, one of which is in the Initiating Process group, one of which is in the Planning Process group, two of which are in the Executing Process Group, and the last of which is in the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

2. Review of processes in Communication Knowledge Area

As a review, here is a chart which gives a summary of the processes themselves, plus the tools & techniques used as part of that process.

 

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
10.1  Identify Stakeholders Identifying project stakeholders, that is, people impacted by the project, and documenting their interests, involvement, and impact on the project. 1.  Stakeholder analysis

2.  Expert judgment

10.2  Plan Communications Determining the needs of project stakeholders for information and defining a communication approach. 1.  Communication requirements analysis

2.  Communication technology

3.  Communication models

4.  Communication methods

10.3  Distribute Information Making relevant information available to project stakeholders. 1.  Communication methods

2.  Information distribution tools

10.4  Manage Stakeholder Expectations Communicating with project stakeholders to meet their needs and address issues as they occur. 1.  Communication methods

2.  Interpersonal skills

3.  Management skills

10.5  Report Performance Collecting and distributing performance information (status reports, progress measurements, forecasts) to project stakeholders. 1.  Variance analysis

2.  Forecasting methods

3.  Communication methods

4.  Reporting systems.

 

3.  Definition of inputs, outputs

The inputs for a given process are the documents or results of other processes that are used in order to do the process. The results of going through the process are the outputs. These outputs are then used as inputs for some other process.

4. Generic inputs

Before we start, there are two “generic” inputs that are used in many, many processes. The term “generic” inputs is not to be found in the PMBOK® guide; that’s just my term I made up in our study group to clue people in to the fact that they are included as an input in more processes than you could probably name off the top of your head.

A. ENVIRONMENTAL ENTERPRISE FACTORS (EEF)

This is the “company culture”, or factors that are external to the project but which influence the project’s success. These can include the company databases and, in particular, the project management software used by the company.

B. OPERATIONAL PROCESS ASSETS (OPA)

Written procedures, policies, and guidelines that are used by the company to guide all operations, including projects. Lessons learned would be an important part of OPA.

Think of the operational process assets as the “hard copy” (written procedures), and the environmental enterprise factors as the “soft copy” (software and the company culture or “unwritten rules” that govern how work is done).

NOTE: Tools & Techniques will be listed for the purpose of completeness and for reference, but their detailed description will be omitted, because it is contained in the blog posts specifically covering Tools & Techniques for that knowledge area.

10.1 IDENTIFY STAKEHOLDERS

To remember the inputs for this process, remember that the purpose of this process is to identify all people and/or organizations that are impacted by the project.

INPUTS

10.1.1 Project charter

This is the output of 4.1 Develop Project Charter process.

10.1.2 Procurement documents

This is the output of the 12.1 Plan Procurements process. It is used to identify those stakeholders that are parties to any contract with a supplier.

10.1.3 Enterprise environmental factors

Company culture, government/industry standards

10.1.4 Organizational process assets

Templates of stakeholder register from previous projects.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES (for details, see Tools & Techniques Communications post)

10.1.1 Stakeholder analysis

10.1.2 Expert judgment

OUTPUTS

10.1.1 Stakeholder register

This is the output of the process, which gives the following information about stakeholders.

Register information

Description

1. Identification information Name, organization, role in the project, contact info
2. Assessment information Requirements, expectations, influence on project
3. Stakeholder classification Internal/external, supporter/neutral/resistor

10.1.2 Stakeholder management strategy

This includes identification of key stakeholders, level of participation in the project for each stakeholder, and potential strategies for gaining their support.

10.2 PLAN COMMUNICATIONS

This process details the information needs for the project stakeholders and defines a communication approach to keep them informed.

INPUTS

10.2.1 Stakeholder register

This is an output of the process 10.1 Identify Stakeholders.

10.2.2 Stakeholder management strategy

This is an output of the process 10.1 Identify Stakeholders.

10.2.3 Enterprise environmental factors

The communication process must be done according to the company culture.

10.2.4 Operational process assets

Communications issues from previous projects.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES (see Tools & Techniques Communications post for details)

10.2.1 Communication requirements analysis

10.2.2 Communication technology

10.2.3 Communication models

10.2.4 Communication methods

OUTPUTS

10.2.1 Communications management plan

This gives the stakeholder communication requirements, as well as details regarding the frequency, means, and format of the communications. It includes guidelines and templates for project status meetings, project team meetings, e-mail, and online or electronic meetings.

10.2.2 Project document updates

The stakeholder register and stakeholder management strategy may need to be updated.

10.3 DISTRIBUTE INFORMATION

The purpose of this process is to make relevant information available to project stakeholders.

INPUTS

10.3.1 Project management plan

The communications management plan is a part of the project management plan, which is an output of the 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan process.

10.3.2 Performance reports

These are outputs of the 10.5 Report Performance process. These reports are to distributed in the project meetings based on this process.

10.3.3 Organizational process assets

Lessons learned, communications procedures from previous projects.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES (see Tools & Techniques Communications post for details)

10.3.1 Communication methods

10.3.2 Information distribution tools

OUTPUTS

10.3.1 Organizational process assets updates

Project reports, project records, lessons learned may need to be updated.

10.4 MANAGE STAKEHOLDER EXPECTATIONS

This process is for communicating and working with stakeholders to meet their needs and address any conflict issues as they occur.

INPUTS

10.4.1 Stakeholder Register

This is an output of the process 10.1 Identify Stakeholders.

10.4.2 Stakeholder management strategy

This is an output of the process 10.1 Identify Stakeholders.

10.4.3 Project management plan

The communications management plan is a part of the project management plan, which is an output of the 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan process.

10.4.4 Issue log

This documents and monitors the resolution of issues. This is used to maintain a constructive working relationship with the various stakeholders.

10.4.5 Change log

This documents changes that occur during a project. These must be communicated to the appropriate stakeholders.

10.4.6 Organizational process assets

Change control procedures, lessons learned from previous projects, issue or conflict resolution procedures.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

10.4.1 Communication methods

10.4.2 Interpersonal skills

10.4.3 Management skills

OUTPUTS

10.4.1 Organizational process assets updates

Lessons learned for future projects. Causes of issues and reasoning behind their resolution.

10.4.2 Change requests

Stakeholder expectations may result in a change request to the product or project.

10.4.3 Project management plan updates

The communications management plan may need to be updated.

10.4.4 Project document updates

The stakeholder register and issue log may need to be updated.

10.5 REPORT PERFORMANCE

The purpose of this process is to collect and distribute information on the performance of the project, including progress reports and progress measurements.

INPUTS
10.5.1 Project management plan

Information on project baselines.

10.5.2 Work performance information

Status of deliverables, schedule progress (EV), and actual costs incurred (AC).

10.5.3 Work performance measurements

Earned value (EV) vs. planned value (EV), earned value (EV) vs. actual costs (AC)

10.5.4 Budget forecasts

Estimate to completion (EAC) vs. Budget to completion (BAC)

10.5.5 Organizational process assets

Performance reporting templates.

TOOLS & TECHNIQUES

10.5.1 Variance analysis

10.5.2 Forecasting methods

10.5.3 Communication methods

10.5.4 Reporting systems

OUTPUTS

10.5.1 Performance reports

These contain the performance on the project and comparison to the performance measurement baseline.

10.5.2 Organizational process assets updates

Lessons learned documentation, reasoning behind any corrective action chosen to respond to issues.

10.5.3 Change requests

If the project performance is off the performance baseline, changes requests may be generated. These become inputs to the process 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control.

The next post will cover the inputs and outputs of the Risk Management Knowledge Area.

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