PMP Certification Study Notes 2/3 – Project Management Processes and Knowledge Areas

PMP Process Groups and 47 processes of project management

UPDATED for the new PMP Exam in 2023. Happy learning!

Introduction: This updated PMP exam study notes 2018 provides an overview of the project management standard/framework as described in the new PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition. It gives an overview of the 49 processes of project management in the PMBOK® Guide and the process groups (the total number of project management processes increases from 47 in PMBOK® Guide 5th edition to 49 in PMBOK® Guide 6th edition). More information on my PMP certification exam preparation can be found at my PMP exam and certification journey here.

The Project Management Process Groups

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring and Controlling
  • Closing


  • Planning and Executing are iterative. Monitoring and Controlling is exercised over Planning and Executing.
  • A phase is not a process group. The 5 process groups will usually be included in any single phase.
  • The process groups are not to be carried out in sequence as some are iterative and some are overlapping.
  • The PM should identify and choose the most appropriate processes in each process group to fit in each individual project (tailoring)
  • The deliverables from each phase/project are often incremental in nature meaning the deliverables will be continually refined/enhanced by each phase/project.


  • align project purposes with stakeholders’ expectations
  • assign a project manager
  • identify stakeholders and develop the project charter
  • document business case (created by an initiator, maybe well before the initiating process group) and cost-benefit analysis, identify high-level risks, identify project selection criteria
  • early in the process, the staffing, costs and chance of success are low, risk and stakeholder influence is high
  • may be performed at portfolio/program level (i.e. outside the project’s level of control)


  • create Project Management Plan [why the project? what to deliver? who does what? when be accepted? how to execute?], subsidiary documents (schedule baseline, cost baseline, performance management baseline, scope baseline (scope statement, WBS, WBS dictionary) and subsidiary management plans (scope, schedule, budget, quality, human resources [roles & responsibility, organization chart and staffing management plan include the staff need, rewards, safety and training need] , stakeholder, requirements, process improvement, communication, change, risk and procurement) – all are not finalized until a thorough risk management has been performed, need to be approved before work begins
  • all plan and documents can be formal or informal, generalized or detailed, depending on needs (tailoring)
  • Project Management Plan may be continually updated during the project with rolling wave planning / progressive elaboration
  • obtain approval of the plan from designated stakeholders, changes to the project management plan and subsidiary documents/plans need formal procedures described in the change control system
  • hold the kick-off meeting
  • planning process group is MOST important for project management, with around 1/2 of all the 49 process in this group
  • may need re-planning when significant changes to the baseline is observed in the executing/monitoring processes


  • coordinating human/infrastructure resources in accordance with the project management plan
  • updates and re-baselining the project management plan and subsidiary management plans when needed
  • normal execution, manage contracts, acquire, develop & manager project team, perform quality assurance and manage stakeholder expectation/communication
  • direct and manage project work
  • continuous improvement process (quality assurance)
  • use up the largest share of resources here in the Executing process group

Monitoring and Controlling

  • measure performance, address change requests, recommend corrective/preventive measures and rectify defects
  • usually performed at regular intervals
  • control the quality, inspection and reporting, problem-solving, identify new risks
  • reassess control process
  • should there be any internal deviance from the stated plan, the PM should make corrections (use contingency reserve if necessary)
  • monitor and control project work and integrate change control
  • make sure only approved changes (through integrated change control) are incorporated


  • either project finished or cancelled
  • final product verification, contract closure, produce the final report (closeout documentation), obtain formal acceptance, archive, release resources, close project
  • feedback, review and lessons learned (about the process), transition of deliverables to operation

[Not required] Product-Oriented Process Groups (not Project Management Process Groups)

  • initiating
  • planning and organizing
  • executing
  • closing

PMBOK® Guide Knowledge Areas

  1. Project Integration Management – assemble and combine all the various parts of the project into a coherent whole
  2. Project Scope Management – plan, execute and control the project scope
  3. Project Schedule Management (formerly Project Schedule Management) – plan, execute and control the project schedule
  4. Project Cost Management – plan, execute and control the project cost
  5. Project Quality Management – plan, execute and control the project quality
  6. Project Resource Management (formerly Project Human Resource Management) – plan, execute and control the project resources including human, equipment and other physical resources
  7. Project Communications Management – plan, execute and control the project communication (channels, methods, etc.)
  8. Project Risk Management – plan, execute and control the project risk control measures
  9. Project Procurement Management – plan, execute and control the project procurement
  10. Project Stakeholder Management – plan, execute and control how to best dealing with project stakeholders

49 processes of Project Management

The 49 processes of project management are grouped under one of the 5 process groups/10 knowedge areas listed above and will be discussed in more details in the upcoming study notes.

3 new processes are added while 1 deleted in PMBOK® Guide 6th edition, resulting in a total of 49 processes from 47 processes in PMBOK® Guide 5th edition:

  • Added processes
    • Manage Project Knowledge – in Executing Process Group / Project Integration Management knowledge area
    • Implement Risk Responses – in Executing Process Group / Project Risk Management knowledge area
    • Control Resources  in Monitoring and Controlling Process Group / Project Resource Management knowledge area
  • Deleted process
    • Close Procurement – activities now are included in Control Procurements and Close Project or Phase process
  • Naming Changed processes
    • Perform quality assurance → Manage Quality
    • Plan Human Resource Management → Plan Resource Management
    • Acquire project Team → Acquire Resources
    • Develop Project Team → Develop Team
    • Manage Project Team → Manage Team
    • Control Communications → Monitor Communications
    • Control Risks → Monitor Risks
    • Plan Stakeholder Management → Plan Stakeholder Engagement
    • Control Stakeholder Engagement → Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
    • Project time Management → Project Schedule Management

Each project management process is now categorized into:

  • used once or at predefined points in the project
  • done periodically as needed
  • done continuously throughout the project

It is important to understand the differences between PMBOK® Guide 6th edition and PMBOK® Guide 5th edition (in particular what new things have been added) as PMI usually emphasizes on these “new” things in the new PMP Exam 2018.

Project Management Tools and Techniques (T&T)

In the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition, many tools and techniques have been grouped according to their purpose with a view to better supporting tailoring:

  • Data gathering
  • Data analysis
  • Decision making
  • Communication
  • Interpersonal and team skills
  • Communication skills



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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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10 Responses

  1. Dave Hammill says:

    Are these relevant to 2021 testing ?

  2. Doug Bast says:

    Manage Quality has been renamed to → Manage Quality ?

  3. SE says:


    I noticed that in the new notes for Executing (The Project Management Process Groups) you still have quality assurance. Does the term still exist or it should be changed with manage quality?
    Thanks a lot for the notes 🙂

  4. joe H says:

    Hi Edward

    I don’t have any questions (not at this moment) but I just wanted to thank you for putting the PMP notes available,
    I find the notes are very useful for me in studying for my upcoming PMP exam.

    Thanks again for doing that.

    [email protected]

  5. Olivene says:

    Definitely appreciate the helpful notes and tips. Thank you Edward!

  6. Rahul says:

    These notes are very good, thanks !