5th Edition PMBOK Guide–Memorizing the Processes Step 3: The PM Matrix



The first two steps assist you in memorizing with the use of logic the 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas. Now you are ready for step 3 … The Matrix!

What this means is actually memorizing the positions of the 47 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
Stakeholder

In filling out the schematic, an X means that it is filled with one of the 47 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

 X

 X X  X

 X

Scope
Time
Cost
Quality
Human Resources
Communications
Risk
Procurements
Stakeholders

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

 X

X      X               X

 X

Scope     X
Time     X
Cost     X
Quality     X
Human Resources     X
Communications     X
Risk     X
Procurements     X
Stakeholder     X

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 4.

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

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 5.

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

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 6.

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

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 “stakeholders”, because you have to identify the stakeholders before you start doing detailed 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 box that has an X. If it’s a white box, of course, the answer is ZERO.

Step 7.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration 6
Scope 6
Time 7
Cost 4
Quality 3
Human Resources 4
Communications 3
Risk 6
Procurements 4
Stakeholder 4
 47

2

24

8

11

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 multiply it times the sum of the first 2 numbers in the rows, 6 + 6 = 12, to get 2 x 12 = 24.

c. For the number in the third column, take the sum of the last 2 numbers in the rows, to get 4 + 4 = 8.

d. For the number in the fourth column, this is simply a matter of taking the total 47, and subtracting the other columns and getting the remainder, 47 – (2 + 24 + 8 + 2) = 47 – 36 = 11.

Check your numbers by seeing that they add up to 47.

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

The first three numbers are like a telephone area code, 667, with the first and second digits the same, and the third one equaling 7, the last number of the total number of processes, 47.

The fourth through seventh numbers are 4, 3, 4, 3, which is a sequence that adds up 7, the third number, repeated twice.

The eighth number is 6, 2 times the seventh number.

The remaining number of processes not accounted for, if you take 47 processes minus the number of processes listed in the first through eighth numbers, is 8 processes.  If you divide these in half, you get 4 processes in each of the ninth and 10 numbers.

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 8.

Just remember the place of three digits for the number of processes, and the rest of the logic puzzle is simple to complete.

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

b. Remember that under the Planning process group, the knowledge areas that deals with handling PEOPLE, human resources, has 1 process.

Initiating Planning Executing Monitoring & Controlling Closing
Integration 6      X      X       X

2

    X
Scope 6      X

2

Time 7      X                 1
Cost 4      X                 1
Quality 3      X      X                 1
Human Resources 4

1

     X
Communications 3      X      X                 1
Risk 6      X                 1
Procurements 4      X      X                 1     X
Stakeholder 4      X      X      X                 1
47

2

24

8

11

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 6

4

2

Time 7

6

1

Cost 4

3

1

Quality 3

1

1

1

Human Resources 4

1

3

Communications 3

1

1

1

Risk 6

5

1

Procurements 4

1

1

1

1

Stakeholder 4      1

1

1

1

 47

2

24

8

11

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.

Once you have done this logic puzzle, you can see for yourself that the number of processes for each process group show certain regular patterns, and knowing the check digits on the bottom and the left can help you when you are memorizing the names of the processes.    What will happen is that you will memorize, let’s say, 90% of the names of the processes, but you’ll be missing about 4 or 5 of them.    If you know the pattern listed above, you will remember exactly WHERE on the matrix the missing processes should go, which often times is half the battle of remembering what the process names are.

In the following post, I will start the next step which is memorizing the names of the processes, knowledge area by knowledge area.

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4 Responses

  1. Thank you its excellent information. Step 8 stakeholders management process I think miss placed

  2. The sum of “Monitorin & Controling” becomes equal to 11… You have mentioned 10. This is very confusing

    • Thank you, and may blessings be upon you for noticing my mistake. In the 4th edition, it turns out the numbers of the columns add up differently than in the 5th edition, and you noticed that something didn’t add up correctly. The sum of Monitoring & Controlling process group IS equal to 11, like you said. It turns out the sum of the Planning process group is equal to 24, not 25. These two mistakes cancelled each other out, so the total of all the processes is still 47. I am truly grateful not just for those who read my blog, but those who read it carefully enough to point out any mistakes. You have just saved many others from being confused! 🙂

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