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What are the 9 Project Management Knowledge Areas?

The processes and knowledge associated with project management are not just for project managers. Small business owners and employees can also utilize these techniques and methods to help improve their internal services.

As much of project planning revolves around budgeting, scheduling, delegating tasks, and completing deliverables, business owners can benefit from understanding these knowledge areas to better manage their business.

What is PMBOK?

PMBOK stands for the Project Management Body of Knowledge. The Project Management Institute, or PMI, is an independent organization that trains and certifies individuals as Project Management Professionals, or PMPs.

Part of this training includes understanding these project management knowledge areas and the associated processes for each as a means to successfully plan, manage, and complete projects for businesses and stakeholders.

What are Knowledge Areas?

The project management knowledge areas refer to the various aspects of a project and cover all processes and documentation necessary to plan, manage, and complete a project. A project management professional will use these knowledge areas to govern all projects.

These processes are grouped by commonalities found within a project, which are the knowledge areas. It’s important to note that certain knowledge areas will overlap processes as their functions can serve multiple areas of a project life cycle.

The processes are the tasks associated with these project phases that gather the required information corresponding to the knowledge category. The project management processes themselves can be grouped into five categories that define the project’s lifecycle: initiating, planning, executing, monitoring, and controlling, and closing.

For example, the first knowledge area known as project integration management includes processes used throughout the project’s lifecycle, covering everything from its initiation to its closing.

1.Project integration management

This first of the PMI knowledge areas cover tasks necessary for the entirety of the project. These processes help project managers or businesses to coordinate all aspects of a project from conception and initiation phase to completion.

When it comes to project integration management, seven processes fall under this knowledge area:

  • Develop Project Charter: The official document that outlines the project’s mission, objectives, and assigned resources
  • Develop a Preliminary Project Scope Statement: Document listing all of the project’s objectives, deliverables, and requirements for reference throughout the project’s lifecycle
  • Develop a Project Management Plan: Defines how the project will reach completion, including the processes and control methods used to progress and measure the project’s success
  • Direct and Manage Project Execution: Starting and managing the project’s workload
  • Monitor and Control Project Work: Monitoring and controlling the project as it progresses
  • Integrated Change Control: Making any changes necessary to keep the project running smoothly
  • Close Project: Completing the project by gathering all documents used throughout and reporting on the end product

These processes help to ensure the proper resources and team efforts are allocated to the right tasks and employees to keep the project on track throughout its lifecycle. Project managers must consider all aspects of a project, using these processes to plan accordingly. No project should ever begin without first developing the project’s objectives and deliverables.

2. Project scope management

A project’s scope planning, and processes are all about defining a project’s objectives and quantifying the work necessary to reach them. Included in the scope management project planning are all processes that ensure the entirety of a project’s required work is mapped out and accounted for. These process groups include:

  • Scope Planning: Complete project scope statement and plan to be used as a reference and to guide the project along its intended course
  • Scope Definition: A detailed explanation of the project’s scope and objectives
  • Work Breakdown Structure: The hierarchical structure of the project’s objectives, team members, and phases.
  • Scope Verification: The formalization of the scope plan and acceptance by the project lead
  • Scope Control: Measuring, documenting, and controlling how the scope changes throughout the project

Projects will always evolve as they progress through their lifecycle, meaning the project’s scope can change. A project’s scope must be defined during the integration phase; however, it should also be updated as the project progresses, accounting for any changes throughout, including effects on the project’s budget and schedule.

Therefore, the project scope management knowledge area helps project teams define the scope at the beginning of conception and throughout the project to compare and control changes.

3. Project time management

The third knowledge area, project time management, covers the processes that help define and track a project’s schedule and timeline of tasks. Project managers can use these processes to help ensure the project’s task completion is occurring at the scheduled time. Such processes include:

  • Activity Definition: Listing all required activities necessary to move the project along, including when they must be completed by
  • Activity Sequencing: Placing all tasks and objectives in chronological order according to the project’s progression and taking note of any dependencies
  • Activity Resource Estimating: Determining all resources required to complete a project, including financial, human, and material
  • Schedule Development: Constructing the timeline of the project
  • Schedule Control: Ensuring the project is progressing as necessary

Project tracking is an important part of this PMI knowledge area, as such tools help to ensure the project is developing according to the determined timeline. Any schedule hiccups or task issues can quickly be found and corrected to keep the project running smoothly.

4. Project cost management

Project cost management covers all processes that have to do with the budgeting of a project. Cost planning and forecasting is a necessary part of any project. It helps project managers determine the expenses associated with each facet of the project and its total cost upon completion.

The processes covered under the fourth project management knowledge area include:

  • Cost Estimating: Approximating total cost of the project in all phases
  • Cost Budgeting: Calculating the costs associated with each project phase or objective, to be used throughout the project lifecycle as a baseline and measuring tool
  • Cost Control: Uses cost change control to monitor and adapt budget requirements depending on the project’s progression

5. Project quality management

All projects, and businesses for that matter, must meet a specific standard as defined by the businesses’ internal processes and quality metrics. Project managers are responsible for the overall quality of the project for the organization and stakeholders who have sanctioned it in the first place.

The processes associated with project quality management and that measure and control the quality of a project are as follows:

  • Quality Planning: Defining the quality standard the project must reach as dictated by the organization or stakeholders
  • Perform Quality Assurance: The processes necessary to reach the defined quality standard
  • Perform Quality Control: Monitoring the quality of the project as it progresses and controlling the project’s end result to ensure it reaches these standards

6. Project human resource management

This PMI knowledge area covers all processes that deal with people management, including communication between project team members and project managers. Such processes deal with all aspects of human resources within the project’s lifecycle.

These project management process groups of project human resource management include:

  • Human Resource Planning: Documentation outlining and defining the roles of project members and the tasks and deliverables they are responsible for
  • Acquire Project Team: The process of recruiting members to the project’s team, including human resources acquired from both inside and outside the organization
  • Develop Project Team: An ongoing project process that encourages team members to progress and learn throughout the project’s lifecycle, including creating a cohesive team unit
  • Manage Project Team: Covers the managing of human resources and the tracking and reporting of team members performance.

7. Project communications management

When it comes to the seventh project management knowledge area, the included processes focus on creating open communication between all project members and the project manager. Within the project’s lifecycle, the project manager is responsible for cultivating these communication skills to accurately and concisely illustrate project information to others.

Within the project communication management processes, there are:

  • Communications Planning: Defining the pathways of communication and how team members talk to one another and those outside the project
  • Information Distribution: The process of communicating information from the project manager to stakeholders, done through project meetings, status reports, and review meetings
  • Performance Reporting: The process of collecting information and reporting on project performance to stakeholders, project members, and other relevant parties, using tools like a business performance report
  • Manage Stakeholders: Satisfying the stakeholders’ needs and requirements and keeping an open line of communication throughout the project, and implementing any changes the stakeholders require

8. Project risk management

Project risk management is all about weighing up the threats and opportunities of a project. When calculating risks, project managers and businesses should always look at both the positive and negative forces at play.

These processes are typically combined into one step within businesses, but each brings something different to the eighth PMI knowledge area:

  • Risk Management Planning: Creating the risk management plan by defining risk variables and determining how risks will be dealt with throughout the project; this plan is an offshoot of the project management plan
  • Risk Identification: Determines and defines all possible risks associated with the project
  • Qualitative Risk Analysis: The process of determining how identified risks can impact the project, the likelihood in which they can occur, and prioritization of risks by how damaging they are to the project
  • Quantitative Risk Analysis: Calculating the numeric probability of possible risks
  • Risk Response Planning: How the project members plan to mitigate threats and take advantage of opportunities that arise within a project, assigning team members to create risk response plans according to each threat and opportunity
  • Risk Monitoring and Control: Using the risk management plan and risk response plan to appropriately react to risks as they occur throughout the project

9. Project procurement management

The procurement areas of knowledge include the processes that cover the purchase of goods or services from suppliers and other outside sources. Project procurement management compromises all acquisitions a project needs to complete objectives and reach the project closing.

These processes ensure that project managers have all the information and documentation associated with the project’s purchases, including purchase orders, seller invoices, and supplier contracts. The ninth knowledge area processes are as follows:

  • Plan Purchases and Acquisitions: Determining all necessary purchases and supplies for a project, including costs, quantities, and dates when needed
  • Plan Contracting: The process of preparing documents to be used in supplier and supplier negotiations and contracts
  • Request Seller Responses: Process of researching and inquiring of suppliers and suppliers, including the preparation and completion of procurement documentation such as a request for proposal (RFP), request for information (RFI), request for quotation (RFQ)
  • Select Sellers: Settling on specific suppliers and suppliers to use based on the information gathered in the request seller responses process
  • Contract Administration: Monitoring the chosen suppliers and suppliers to ensure they are delivering all agreed-upon terms of service
  • Contract Closure: Settling all supplier and supplier contracts and determining how effective and successful the contract was to the project

Improve your Project Management with the Right Tools

The project management knowledge areas and their corresponding processes may seem like a lot to handle, but with the right tools, your business can successfully implement and use them to your advantage. Many professional project managers will use project management software that tracks tasks and project costs.

Software like QuickBooks Time can help small businesses track tasks and employees and boost their productivity and efficiency. Consider using QuickBooks Time project tracking alongside these processes to improve your business overall.

Sign up for a free QuickBooks trial today and get your next project off to a smooth start.

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