Using The PBMOK Knowledge Areas of Project Management

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 30 April 2022

Effective project management ensures that project managers can lead their teams to deliver high-standard results that align well with stakeholder expectations. Project managers who prefer working with a formulaic process can use the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) to successfully lead a project and gain feedback from their client or employer. Understanding the PMBOK standards can help you facilitate successful planning, effective cost strategies, efficient task delegation across your team and strong communication with stakeholders. In this article, we explore the 10 PMBOK knowledge areas and explain how to use them as a project manager.

What are PMBOK knowledge areas?

Essentially, PMBOK knowledge areas are a formula for project management professionals to follow to ensure they meet the key deliverables of a project for their clients and stakeholders. The Project Management Institute (PMI) constructed the PMBOK process to offer key insights into how to construct and manage a project. The PMBOK guidelines simplify project management so managers and their teams can effectively chart and communicate their progress to stakeholders.

The PMBOK knowledge areas match up to the key milestones within a project management process. Project managers can use these knowledge areas to measure their progress and ensure the team has met the criteria for each milestone. These milestones include planning, execution, monitoring, controlling and closing.

Related: What Is a Project Manager?

10 project management knowledge areas

There are 10 knowledge areas you can use in project management:

1. Project integration management

Project integration management runs throughout the project management process and provides structure to the overall project. This takes the form of a document that outlines the project, its contents and who the manager is. A project integration management document states the goals of the project and establishes the suggested criteria for the project's success.

The project can move forward once the key stakeholders have approved the outlined plan. After approving the document, they can monitor the team's progress by comparing the project's status to the projected timeline. Any changes to the timeline or order of procedure during the project requires authorisation from the stakeholders. With their approval, the project manager can update the integration management document.

Related: What Does a Project Manager Do? (With Job Descriptions)

2. Project scope management

The scope refers to the actual work that takes place over the course of the project. Team members report on their work throughout the project to ensure that the stakeholders receive accurate updates. Project managers also define the scope in a statement so the stakeholders can see exactly the type of work that has gone into the project.

Project managers may also provide a detailed breakdown of the scope, known as a work breakdown structure, to provide the stakeholders with comprehensive information about any delays or changes to the timeline of the project. Project managers require the stakeholders to validate the scope routinely during the project process to ensure that the tasks they complete align with the goals. Typically, stakeholders do this during the monitoring process, with a particular focus on the deliverables of the project. Project managers can adjust the scope during the project if the team falls behind or moves ahead of schedule.

Related: How to Write a Project Scope Document

3. Project time management

Project time management is the process of allocating time for certain tasks, including start dates and deadlines, to keep the project running according to schedule. This is an important feature as project managers frequently divide projects into smaller tasks to delegate to team members. Stakeholders also use this schedule to monitor and understand the project's progress.

The project time management stage involves delegating tasks to the relevant professional and defining each activity and how it is relevant to the project. This also helps the stakeholders gain a more comprehensive insight into the functions of the project management team.

4. Project cost management

Project cost management outlines the projected cost of the overall project. In this section, project managers make an estimation of the total cost of labour and supplies related to each task. Project managers can then pass this information back to stakeholders, who ensure there are enough funds to cover the expense. To estimate this cost, project managers break down each task by the number of team members working on it, what supplies they use, how much time they spend and any other tools they use.

Stakeholders and project management teams may conduct regular reviews during the project to ensure that costs continue to align with the anticipated expenditures. This is to ensure that the project stays within budget.

5. Project quality management

Project quality management is the process of ensuring that the quality of work matches the quality that the stakeholders agreed on. Project managers can outline quality management criteria in a separate document to define the team's standards for deliverables. Part of the project process then includes conducting a thorough inspection of all deliverables to ensure that there has been no compromise on quality. This is especially important if the project is ahead of schedule, as stakeholders may not accept a project that is ahead of schedule if it's below industry standards.

This is especially important if the project is ahead of schedule, as stakeholders may not accept a project that is ahead of schedule but is below industry standards. Good quality management can also help a project stay on schedule by implementing appropriate strategies to address outcomes that fall below the project's set standards.

Related: Key Project Management Skills and How to Develop Them

6. Project human resource management

Project human resource management means ensuring that team members are happy and satisfied in their roles. This can include tracking their performance to ensure that all team members meet their projected targets. A human resource management plan also outlines each person's role and tasks, explaining how they individually contribute to the success of the project. This is an important plan if project managers intend to conduct a hiring campaign for a specific project.

This plan also highlights how managers can train and brief staff on the project to ensure they meet the criteria for completion. A human resource plan can also guide a project manager when fulfilling other leadership responsibilities like solving conflicts between colleagues and mentoring team members who need more guidance to complete their tasks.

7. Project communication management

The communication aspect of the project is important for maintaining a positive working relationship between stakeholders and team members. Project managers can create a dedicated document that outlines the project's communication strategies, including how often the team may contact stakeholders to provide an update on the project's progress or how often the project manager intends to review their team's deliverables.

Having a clear communication strategy also helps team members understand what managers expect in terms of work quality and turnover speed. This can help a project stay aligned with its predicted timeline and budget.

8. Project risk management

A risk management document outlines what kinds of risks a project is likely to confront and how the project manager may mitigate the impact of less desirable outcomes. This helps them create in-depth strategies to resolve or minimise these risks to ensure the project doesn't fall behind schedule. They do this by conducting a comprehensive analysis of the likelihood and potential impact of the risk on their budget, schedule and stakeholder relationship.

Doing this helps project managers prepare a written plan that they can then share with stakeholders. Managers may conduct regular reviews into their risk assessment strategies to determine what risks no longer pose a threat to the project based on the project's progress.

Related: How to Use a Risk Assessment Matrix

9. Project procurement management

This is an important part of maintaining a clear budget and schedule in a project process. Project procurement management refers to managing third-party involvement in the project through sub-contractors or suppliers. This can take place in the early stages of planning, as project managers can assess the necessity of third-party involvement in the project. This helps them adjust the budget and keep stakeholders informed.

This also helps to maintain good relationships with stakeholders, as it ensures that project managers maintain transparency throughout the project.

10. Project stakeholder management

Stakeholder management involves the actions managers take to keep their stakeholders informed and satisfied with the project and its outcomes. Managers evaluate stakeholders' key concerns about the project and create a detailed plan of how to tackle these issues in the task completion process. This helps managers clearly define the stakeholders' expectations and ensure they align with the agreed standards for quality assurance on the project. This ensures that managers can assess the performance of all tasks with their stakeholders' desires in mind, increasing the project's chances of success.

It's important for a project manager to think of stakeholder engagement throughout a project. Enabling stakeholders to practice active engagement with the project helps ensure transparent communication and accurate oversight of the standard of work and overall project progress.

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