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

1. Introduction

This series of posts assumes that you have already memorized the names of the 47 project management processes, and you are ready to go on to the task of memorizing the tools & techniques.    This post covers chapter 10 of the 5th Edition PMBOK® Guide, the Communications Knowledge Area.

2.   Communications Knowledge Area Processes

Here’s a description of the three processes that are included in the Communications  Knowledge Area, together with a listing of the Tools & Techniques used in those processes.


Number & Name
Process Description Tools & Techniques
10.1  Plan Communications Management Develops an appropriate and plan for project communications based on stakeholder’s information needs and requirements, and available organization assets. 1.  Communication requirements analysis

2.  Communication technology

3.  Communication models

4.  Communication methods

5.  Meetings

10.2  Manage Communications Creates, collects, distributes, stores, retrieves project information in accordance with the communications management plan. 1.  Communication technology

2.  Communication models

3.  Communication methods

4.  Information management systems

5.  Performance reporting

10.3.  Control Communications Monitors and controls communications throughout the entire project life cycle to ensure information needs of the project stakeholders are being met. 1.  Information management systems

2.  Expert judgment

3.  Meetings


3.  Communications Knowledge Area Tools & Techniques

Here’s a closer look at the tools & techniques used in the communications knowledge area.   Many of these are used in multiple processes.

a.  Communications requirements analysis (10.1 Plan Communication Management)

This determines the information needs of the project stakeholders.

b.  Communication technology (10.1 Plan Communication Management, 10.2 Manage Communications)

Various factors are considered in choosing the communication technology to be used on a project:

  • Urgency of the need for the information
  • Availability of technology
  • Ease of use
  • Project environment
  • Sensitivity and/or confidentiality of the information

c.  Communication models (10.1 Plan Communication Management, 10.2 Manage Communications)

The basic steps of a communication model are

  • Encode
  • Transmit message
  • Decode
  • Acknowledge
  • Feedback/response

d.  Communication methods (10.1 Plan Communication Management, 10.2 Manage Communications)

The basic communication methods are

  • Interactive communications (for a multidirectional exchange of information):   meetings, conference calls, videoconferencing, etc.
  • Push communications (send to specific recipients who need to receive the information):  letters, memos, reports, e-mails, etc.
  • Pull communications (for large amounts of information to be accessed by recipients as needed):  intranet sites, e-learning, etc.

e.  Expert judgment, meetings (10.1 Plan Communication Management, 10.3 Control Communications)

These are used in planning to make sure the various detailed aspects of the communication management plan are put into place.    During monitoring & controlling of communications, used to resolve problems, make decisions, and suggest changes to the project and/or communications management plan

f.  Information management systems (10.2 Manage Communications, 10.3 Control Communications)

This is a tool, not a technique, used to facilitate the other techniques and manage

  • Hard-copy documents
  • Electronic communications
  • Electronic project management tools (Microsoft Project, Primavera, etc.)

g.  Performance reporting (10.2 Manage Communications)

This is the collection and distribution of performance information to tell the various interested stakeholders how the project is going.

This set of tools & techniques is relatively straightforward in terms of understanding why they are used with communications, because most of them even have the word “communications” in them.    The only caveat is that some of them are used for more than process.

The next post will cover the tools & techniques of the next chapter, chapter 11 of the 5th Edition PMBOK® Guide, that of the Risk Management knowledge area.



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