5th Edition PMBOK® Guide—Step 5: Memorizing Tools & Techniques (Integration Knowledge Area)


1. Introduction

In this next series of posts, we move onto step 5, which is memorizing the TOOLS & TECHNIQUES associated with each process.   In order to breakdown the memorizing into more bite-size chunks, I am going to break down this topic into at least 10 posts, one for each knowledge area.   (There may be some knowledge areas that require more than one post.)

This post covers chapter 4 of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide, which covers the Integration Knowledge Area. This knowledge area contains 6 processes, with at least one process in each of the 5 process groups, with Monitoring & Controlling Process having two processes from this area.

2.  Integration Knowledge Area Processes

Here are the six processes in the Integration Knowledge Area, followed by a brief process description, and a list of the tools & techniques used in each process.

Process
Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
4.1 Develop Project Charter Develops document that formally authorizes project and provides project manager with authority to apply organizational resources to project activities. 1. Expert judgment

2. Facilitation Techniques

4.2 Develop Project Management Plan Defines, prepares, and coordinates all subsidiary plans and baselines (from all 9 other knowledge areas) and integrates them into a comprehensive project management plan. 1. Expert judgment

2. Facilitation Techniques

4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work Leads and performs work defined in project management plan and implements approved changes to achieve the project’s objectives. 1. Expert judgment

2. Project management information system

3. Meetings

4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work Tracks, reviews, and reports project progress against performance  objectives defined in project management plan. 1. Expert judgment

2. Analytical techniques

3. Project management information system

4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control Reviews change requests; approves changes and manages changes to deliverables, OPAs, or project management plan itself; communicates their disposition 1. Expert judgment

2. Meetings

3. Change control tools

4.6 Close Project or Phase Finalizes project across all PM process groups; formally closes project or phase 1. Expert judgment

2. Analytical techniques

3. Meetings

3.  Tools & Techniques of the Integration Knowledge Area

If you look at the above chart, you will see that many of the tools & techniques are used in several of the processes.  Let’s take a look at each in turn.

a.  Expert judgment (all processes 4.1, 4.2, 4.3, 4.4, 4.5, and 4.6)

Integration is the most complicated knowledge area since it integrates all the other processes from the other 9 knowledge areas.  For this reason, expert judgment is used for ALL processes in this knowledge area

b.  Facilitation Techniques (4.1 Develop Project Charter and 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan)

Facilitation Techniques are used for the two processes which “Develop” a major project document, such as the Project Charter and Project Management Plan.  Facilitation can be used as synonymous with “brainstorming”, when you want to get everybody’s input not just to get the best ideas from the team, but to make sure that the entire team “buys into” the results.

c.  Analytical Techniques (4.4 Monitor & Control Project Work, 4.6 Close Project or Phase)

You use “analysis” after you have managed to gather together project information (which is project data that has been prepared in a relevant and useful form for the project team).  This is most needed when you monitor project work (which is where you get the project information from), and at the end of the project, when you need to analyze the success of the project and put those elements of the project that were not successful into a “lessons learned” document.

d.  Meetings (process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work, 4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control)

Meetings are required by the entire project team when there is a need to bring up any problems that occur during the course of the project (during Direct and Manage Project Work).  Any solutions to those problems that are presented are “change requests” which then must get analyzed before recommendations for acceptance or rejection in the Perform Integrated Change Control process.

e.  Project management information system (4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work, 4.4 Monitor & Control Project Work)

This is used in conjunction with both processes that have to with implementing project work (Direct and Manage Project Work), and monitoring to see whether that work has been done or not (Monitor & Control Project Work)

f.  Change Control

This is useful only for the 1 process that deals with this topic, namely Perform Integrated Change Control.

If you take a moment to reflect on what the essence of each of these six processes is, you can figure out what tools & techniques belong to them.

4.  Test Yourself!

To test yourself on these tools & techniques, take the same index cards you used to memorize the names of the processes back in steps 3 and 4.  Remember that you have the name of the process on one side, and the name and process number of the process on the other.  On the side that contains the name and process number, put “Tools & Techniques” underneath and list the tools & techniques you find in the above chart under each list.

You then need to take the six index cards and shuffle them with the name of the process showing face up.  Then take the first card in the pile and see if you can name the tools & techniques for that process.  You get no points for guessing “Expert Techniques” because that is one of the tools & techniques for every process in Integration!   Pretty soon, you’ll be getting more and more of them, and when you can do this successfully 5 times in a row, that is 1 out of 10 knowledge areas under your belt as far as tools & techniques is concerned.  Congratulations!

Integration is one of the easiest knowledge areas for which to memorize Tools & Techniques because a) each process has only 2 or 3 tools & techniques at most and b) the tools & techniques are similar across the six processes, occurring in easily recognizable patterns based on what the gist of each process is.

After the weekend posts, on Monday I will do a series of posts for the Scope Knowledge Area, the 2nd out of 10 knowledge areas that is covered by chapter 5 of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

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