The Ten Knowledge Areas of Project Management

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  • 0:02 What Are Knowledge Areas?
  • 2:17 Knowledge Areas
  • 8:42 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laury Hales

Laury has taught in professional adult education settings for over 10 years and is currently working on a PhD in Organizational Psychology.

To help organize all the knowledge a project manager needs to effectively perform the role, project management has been organized into 10 best practice areas, or knowledge areas. In this lesson, we'll introduce each of these knowledge areas.

What Are Knowledge Areas?

As a project manager, your day is full of different activities, all with the goal of getting your project to a successful end. Creating schedules, controlling costs, managing change requests and stakeholders, and monitoring activities are just some of the things you do every day. You need to know each of the processes and have the skills to accomplish these daily tasks. There's a lot to remember. Just how do you remember everything that needs to be planned, executed, and monitored for a properly coordinated project?

Knowledge areas provide a way to organize and categorize knowledge and skills needed in a particular specialty. Processes, key concepts, and activities are group into common areas. By grouping many processes and activities into a few areas, it's easier to understand and remember. Also, knowledge areas describe the overall knowledge and skills you'll need as a project manager.

There are 10 knowledge areas a project manager uses. It's important to understand that project management knowledge areas are not linear. While managing a project, you may use the knowledge areas multiple times daily. In very simple terms, cooking a meal uses the same principles as project management knowledge areas. For a typical meal, an entrée and one or more side dishes will be prepared. The chef must know and apply the different knowledge areas of food preparation, such as menu selection, food safety, kitchen equipment safety, cooking, and dish presentation to coordinate the meal. In the same way, a project manager uses specialty knowledge and skills to coordinate a project.

It's not easy to remember a list of ten items that sound formal and stiff. A mnemonic is a fun and easy way to help remember something. For the ten knowledge areas, you really only need to remember key words, since 'project' and 'management' are in all of them. So, to help remember integration, scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, risk, procurement, and stakeholders, a silly saying using the first letter of each knowledge area might help.

See if this sentence helps you to remember the ten knowledge areas of project management:

I Saw Two Crows Quickly Having Coffee and Reading Poetic Stories

Knowledge Areas

Project Integration Management

Project integration management is about getting your arms around a new project. As a project manager prepares to start a new project, the project charter, project scope, and high-level milestones and tasks are developed. For example, a company launching a new inventory system starts to map out the big chunks of work that have to happen in order to launch a new system. Project integration management is also where you take a look at what else is happening within the company, and how does this new project fit with he company's goals?

If the new inventory system project will compete with other company projects, will you be able to obtain and keep the resources you need to do the work? Are there any serious risk factors to be aware of before the project even starts? For example, knowing the old inventory system has to be retired by September 1st, means there are risks to the company if the new system isn't functional before this date. Using the chef example, this is where the chef identifies the menu, the ingredients list, the vendors he will use, and the cook staff needed to create these meals, and then, he starts to create the plan for how each meal will be prepared.

Project Scope Management

Project scope management is concerned with what is and is not included in the project. The scope must include all work necessary to make the project successful, yet it must limit extras that are not required to meet the project's objectives.

While launching the new inventory system, customer service asks to have a new screen added so they can also see inventory in the retail locations. While this may be a valid need, should it be part of the inventory launch project or should it be addressed with a later system update? A good project manager understands that managing the scope of the project ensures the project is delivered on time and on budget. This is where the chef finalizes what will be one the menu and what ingredients are absolutely required to create these meals.

Project Time Management

Project time management is where the project team conducts activities to make sure the project is completed when it's supposed to be. Tasks are defined, time estimates are completed, and a schedule is done. In the kitchen, this is where the chef times the preparation of each dish so that they all arrive at the table hot and fresh.

Project Cost Management

Project cost management estimates and controls the cost of the project through inception to completion. Costs for human resources, materials, equipment, facilities, and project related services are included. As the project team creates the list of tasks, they will also assign the time and the costs associated with each task. Once a budget is created, the project manager will be responsible for managing and controlling the project's budget.

If our chef decided to serve a cake for the meal's dessert but planned to purchase the cake from the local bakery, the cost of the cake would have to be included in the meal planning costs as well.

Project Quality Management

Project quality management ensures the customer is satisfied with the quality of the product or service delivered at the project's completion. You first have to define quality and what does the customer expect, then you have to test and control quality during the project. Project quality management is exactly like the chef taste testing the dishes during cooking and adjusting ingredients to ensure a delicious meal.

Project Human Resource Management

Project human resource management deals with identifying, acquiring, and managing the people necessary to accomplish the project. You'll identify who is needed, train the team, manage their performance, and resolve resource issues. In a busy kitchen, our chef manages staff as well. He hires a sous chef, trains that person in his particular style of cooking, and oversees the sous chef's dishes.

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