5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Memorizing the Processes (Step 4: Planning Process Group)

2. Processes in the Planning Process Group





Process Description
Planning 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan Coordinates all subsidiary management plans and integrates them together with performance baselines into a comprehensive project management plan.
Planning 5.1 Plan Scope Management Documents how scope will be defined, validated, and controlled.
Planning 5.2 Collect Requirements Determines stakeholder needs and requirements to meet project objectives.
Planning 5.3 Define Scope Develops detailed description of the product and project.
Planning 5.4 Create WBS Subdivides project deliverables and project work into smaller, more manageable components.
Planning 6.1 Plan Schedule Management Establishes policies, procedures and documentation for all other time schedule management processes.
Planning 6.2 Define Activities Identifies and documents specific actions to be performed to produce the project deliverables.
Planning 6.3 Sequence Activities Identifies and documents relationships among the project activities.
Planning 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources Estimates the type and quantity of resources (material, human, equipment or supplies) required to perform each activity.
Planning 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations Estimates the number of work periods needed to complete individual activities with estimated resources.
Planning 6.6 Develop Schedule Analyzes activity sequences, resource requirements, durations, and schedule constraints to create schedule model.
Planning 7.1 Plan Cost Management Establishes policies, procedures and documentation for all other cost management processes
Planning 7.2 Estimate Costs Develops an approximation of the monetary resources needed to complete project activities.
Planning 7.3 Determine Budget Aggregates the estimated costs of individual activities or work packages to establish an authorized cost baseline.
Planning 8.1 Plan Quality Management Identifies quality requirements and/or standards for the project and product; documents how project will demonstrate compliance with quality requirements.
Planning 9.1 Plan Human Resources Management Identifies and documents project roles and responsibilities, required skills, and reporting relationships; creates staffing management plan
Planning 10.2 Plan Communications Management Develops an appropriate approach and plan for project communications based on stakeholders’ needs and requirements, and available organizational assets
Planning 11.1 Plan Risk Management Defines how to conduct risk management activities for a project.
Planning 11.2 Identify Risks Determines which risks may affect the project objectives and documents their characteristics.
Planning 11.3 Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis Prioritizes risks for further analysis by assessing and combining their probability of occurrence and impact.
Planning 11.4 Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis Numerically analyzes the effect of risks on overall project objectives.
Planning 11.5 Plan Risk Responses Developing options and actions to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to project objectives.
Planning 12.1 Plan Procurement Management Documents project purchasing decisions, specifies the approach, identifies potential sellers.
Planning 13.1 Plan Stakeholder Management Develops appropriate management strategies to effectively engage stakeholders throughout the product life cycle, based on analysis of their needs, influence, and potential impact on project success.

This chart with its process descriptions actually gives a sufficient explanation of the processes without my having to go into further details, because the purpose is understand the flow of one process to another.    However, I will mention some general trends which will help you memorize that flow.

3.   Trends in Planning Processes

a.  Management Plans

You should look at the processes as you go down the list of knowledge areas and understand why it is that one process comes after another.   For example, it should be clear that the FIRST planning process for each knowledge area is “Plan X Management”, with “X” standing in for the name of the knowledge area.    The output of each of these processes is the “X Management Plan”, which is one of the subsidiary plans that goes into the overall Project Management Plan.    The purpose of each of these subsidiary plans is to provide the policies, procedures and documentation for managing all of the other processes for that knowledge area.

The ONLY exception is the Integration knowledge area called “Develop Project Management Plan,” which has as its output the Project Management Plan I just mentioned.    The Project Management Plan consists of the

  • 9 knowledge area subsidiary plans (for all knowledge areas other than Integration)
  • 4 additional subsidiary plans (Change Management Plan, Configuration Management Plan, Process Improvement Management Plan, and Requirements Management Plan)
  • 3 performance baselines (scope, schedule, cost

As far as the other processes go, they go from estimates to final values, with time duration estimates for the schedule coming before the final schedule model, and cost estimates coming before the final cost baseline.    Identification or definition comes before analysis, so that Define Activities comes before analyzing their order in Sequence Activities, and Identify Risks comes before risk analysis.    Also, qualitative analysis comes before quantitative analysis, so that qualitative risk analysis (is the probability of occurrence and/or the impact on the project low, medium, or high) comes before the quantitative risk analysis (the expected monetary value of each risk).

With these trends in mind, it should be pretty easy to memorize the order within each knowledge area, and with your already having memorize the orders of the knowledge areas, you can piece together all 24 of these processes in not too much time.    THIS IS IMPORTANT for two reasons:

a)   Many questions on the PMP and CAPM certification exams are of the “what happens next?” type.   You need to read the description of where you are NOW in the processes, and then you can look at the 4 possible answers to see what happens next.    If you are able to reproduce the order of the processes, the majority of which are in the Planning Process Group, these questions will go from being  difficult to being relatively easy.

b)  Many questions on the PMP and CAPM certification exams are those asking about the inputs and outputs of processes.   In the Planning Process Group, the outputs of one process are often the inputs of the next process.   So if you want to know the inputs of a process, you can look at the previous process and figure out what the output of that process would be.    Likewise, if you want to know the outputs of a process, you can look at the next process and figure out what the input of that process would be.    These clues often make these types of questions also go from being notoriously difficult to being if not easy, at least doable within a reasonable time frame.

The next post will cover the 8 processes in the Executing Process Group.


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