As discussed on my last blog (Knowledge Areas), there are 10 knowledge areas that align with 5 process groups.
If you can memorize the matrix (image in the post before this), you’ve literally covered at least 60% of the exam, and that makes things much easier to study. A technique to fill up the matrix would be to break down the knowledge areas into smaller parts and filling them up according to the process groups.
You can start by listing the 10 knowledge areas on the left hand side (use the mnemonic device explained last week to fill this up) and 5 process groups on the top.
Once you’ve done this, go ahead and fill up the activities that easily correspond to the knowledge areas. For instance, “plan risk management” is an activity in project risk management knowledge area. This would not belong in any other area, so enter this in the project risk management part of the matrix. Then, think about what this activity is; this is called “plan risk management,” which means it would be in the PLANning process group. The process group’s name gives away the other part of the answer. If the activity has the word “plan” in it, it has to be in the planning process group.
Next, fill out the two activities in the closing process group (there’s only two: close project and close procurements) and the two activities in initiating process group (develop charter and identify stakeholders).
For the rest, try to memorize the ones that would go in the monitoring and controlling process group, the planning process group (other than the ones that say “plan” in it), and the executing process group. Once you get this technique down, practice filling up the matrix as much as possible. It’s guaranteed to help out with this exam more than anything!
Let’s take example of ‘change request’ As stated above, each of the process is tied up with other processes so we can identify distinct path based on one of the major input or output. The ‘change request’ is also related with certain number of processes so we can visualize a path which belongs to it. Consequently, I visualize below ‘change request cycle’. So if you understand it you will get a good hold of all topics related with ‘change request’.
As per PMBOK version 5 the change request could be the output of almost of all Executing processes except two - 9.2 Acquire Project Team & 9.3 Develop Project Team , all Monitoring and Controlling and only one Planning process process – 12.1 Plan Procurement Management.
‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process is triggered when the change request is generated from its source processes. All changes, no matter how small, should go through change control (4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control). Project change management is controlled by Change Control Board (CRB) which is authorized to assess the change and approve it or not.
On contrary, if project team member accepts any change without using change control it could adversely affect scope, schedule or cost. The by passing of ‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process and implementing the change without analyzing its impact on project (cost and schedule) is called ‘Scope Creep’.
I recently attended a seminar by Mark Langley (CEO PMI) in Dubai where he stresses on ‘change management effectiveness’. According to his statistics it is one of the key area to have high performance projects (by the way the second is ‘active sponsor’). So the question is, how can the change request be effectively managed? And the answer is provided by 7 principles of ‘Perform Integrated Change Control process:
Develop method to identify changes Project manager may request daily email status update to address any issue of the day from the team. Weekly phone call from the customer or main stakeholder to find out any change that could affect the project. Project manager should keep himself up to date from any environmental, technical or legal changes that may affect the project.
Address and manage changes quickly Project manager should be able to understand the effect of delay in implementing urgent changes. So there must be a procedure to fast track the approval of change requests when its urgent.
Evaluate impact of changes Project manager should track and document the impact of all changes in an issue log or change control log. This practice enhance own change control skill and also develop lesson learned for other similar projects.
Review, assess and decision on change request Change control board (CRB) evaluates the change request based on who initiated it and what type of change is asked for. The impact of change on scope, schedule, cost and quality is also determined. After analyzing change request the decision is made whether the change should go ahead?
Implement approved changes Once the change request is approved by change review board (CRB) and sponsor (sponsor may or may not be part of CRB) only then it should be implemented. The ‘Approved Change Requst’ is one of the output of the ‘Perform Integrated Change Control’ process. The approved change request is implemented by ‘Direct and Manage Project Work’ process which belongs to Executing process group. Once the approved change is implemented it is verified in ‘Control Quality’ process. In the case where change request is originated from procurement management knowledge area then after change implementation the verification of it is done by ‘Control Procurement’ process.
Does change request implementation adjust project baselines? It is important to know that not every approved change request implementation calls the need to update performance measurement baselines (schedule, cost and time). The effect of approved change request implementation can be visualized as:
Coordinate approved changes As discussed above in point 5 that the change request is implemented by ‘Direct and Manage Project Work’ process which belongs to ‘Project Integration Management’ knowledge area. This means that the change implementation is integrated across the project. Changes in one area might require update in other areas. For example update to the product scope baseline usually result in changes to budget and schedule baselines. So you need to assess the impact of a particular change right across the project.
There are 10 knowledge areas, and the book is divided into the chapters depending on the areas. They’re all very important and overlap with the process groups (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling, and closing). Refer to this matrix.
It will solve at least 50% of the test questions, which would be phrased like
“In what process group does conduct procurements occur?”
The answer to that would be “executing process group” Or
“What are the processes that take place in the project stakeholder management?”
The answer to that would be “identify stakeholders, plan stakeholder management, manage stakeholder engagement ,and control stakeholder engagement.”
The first thing to do when you get into the exam room is to draw this matrix and fill all the boxes correctly on a scratch paper they provide you with. It will save you a lot of time in the exam.
Memorizing all this seems like a daunting task, but with the help of mnemonic devices, it’d get easier to memorize them. For instance, for the knowledge areas, take the first letter in every knowledge area and associate a phrase that would help you remember with these letters.
a) I – In (Integration)
b) S – Summer (Scope)
c) T – Time (Time)
d) C – Cruel (Cost)
e) Q – Queen (Quality)
f) H – Has (Human Resources)
g) C – Cold (Communications)
h) R – Runny (Risk)
i) P – Porridge (Procurements)
j) S – Snacks (Stakeholder)
More information about the process groups next week, and a way to fill the matrix easily is also coming up!
The new ITTO's game has been developed for the PMBOK 5th edition. Watch the video and learn how to play.