6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work: Inputs

Today starts the New Year of 2018, and I wanted to act on a resolution to continue my blogging project of going through the entire 6th Edition PMBOK® Guide so that I am prepared not only to take the PMP exam based on this new edition, but to help teach the material to others.

I left off before the holidays on Chapter 4 Integration Management, and that is where I will continue starting today.    The last process I covered was Process 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan.   Not surprisingly, the output of that process is, of course, the Project Management Plan, which is really like a book that contains several chapters, each of which is a management plan of one of the other knowledge areas.

The next process goes from the Planning Process group to the Executing Process Group, and the Process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work consists of exactly what it says:   leading and performing the work as defined in the project management plan, which is the output of Process 4.2 Develop Project Management Plan.   However, there is also another objective of this process and that is to implement approved changes.   These are the output of another process 4.6 Perform Integrated Change Control.    So already you’re seeing that processes are not like a linear set of actions done like passing the baton in a relay race.    It’s more complicated in that the batons are coming from different directions, and they all have to passed forward simultaneously.

Let’s review the inputs to this process so we know all the elements that are going into the process.

1. Project management plan

This should be obvious because now that you’ve planned the work, it is time to work the plan.

2.  Project documents

The PMBOK Guide lists some project documents that are of particular relevance to this process.   What I’m going to do is organize them according to the knowledge area they are pertinent to.


  • change log–this contains the status of all change requests–those that have been approved will be implemented by the project team
  • lessons learned register–this contains the output of Process 4.4 Manage Project Knowledge, which is the result of a periodic review of the project.   These are used to avoid repeating mistakes and therefore to improve the performance of the project.


  • Requirements traceability matrix–if there are deliverables that are being worked on during the process 4.3, then if there are any issues involved with their completion, the requirements traceability matrix will help in tracing the underlying requirements connected to those deliverables and who is responsible for owing those requirements.


  • Project schedule–this will show the list of work activities, their durations, the resources that are supposed to work on them, and their planned start and finish dates, which will be communicated to the project team
  • Milestone list–this shows the scheduled dates for specific milestones, which will be communicated to management


  • Project communications–specifically performance reports for the previous work cycle or iteration, the status of deliverables, and any other information that describes the status of the project


  • Risk report–provides information on overall project risk along with summary information on identified individual project risks–this is the high-level or “big picture” description of the risk environment of the project.   It is the output of process 11.2 Identify Risks.
  • Risk register–provides information on specific threats and opportunities that may impact project execution.

3.  Approved change requests

These are located in the change log document listed above, and are the output of process 4.6 Perform Integrated Change Control.   The approved change request may be

  • defect repair, correcting a defect that has been detected after the work has been done
  • a corrective action, correcting a defect that has been detected while the work is being done
  • preventive action, correcting a defect that may occur in the future if the work continues on its present course

In a parallel to the Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, I refer to these as the Ghost of Defects Past, the Ghost of Defects Present, and the Ghost of Defects Future, respectively.

These can take the form of either changing the work to fit the plan, if the work has deviated from the plan.   Or, if upon reflection it turns out the plan wasn’t realistic, then you may have to adjust the plan to fit the work, in which case the project management plan will have to be amended, along with any pertinent project documents (like the project schedule, for example).

4.   Enterprise Environmental Factors (EEFs)

The EEFs are conditions not under the control of the project team that can influence a project; these can be either internal or external to the organization.   The EEFs that can be inputs to Process 4.3 Direct and Control Project Work are:

  • The organizational structure, culture and management practices
  • Infrastructure (what facilities and/or equipment are available to do the project work)
  • Stakeholder risk thresholds (in particular, what are the allowable cost and schedule overrun percentages that are allowed before reporting is required to management)

5.  Organizational Process Assets (OPAs)

The OPAs are the processes, policies, procedures, and knowledge bases used by the organization performing the project.    These will be contained within the Project Management Organization or PMO of an organization, if one exists.  The OPAs that can be inputs to Process 4.3 Direct and Control Project Work are:

  • Organizational standard policies, processes, and procedures
  • Issues and defect management databases and procedures for  defining issue and defect controls, issue and defect resolution, and action item tracking
  • Performance measurement databases
  • Change control and risk control procedures
  • Project information from previous related projects

In the next section, I will go through the tools and techniques of Process 4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work.    As processes go, this is where a lot of the time of the project is spent, namely, on doing the project work to create the project deliverables, because that is what the project is all about!