PMP Process Chart: What You Should Know

If you have started any PMP prep you have likely come across a reference to the PMP Process Chart. In my opinion this chart is the center of everything you need to know for the PMP exam.

Okay, so let’s get to it, what is this all important process chart? Well, it includes the 47 processes that make-up the PMBOK Guide to successful project management.

The 47 processes are broken down into two groupings – by process group (also known as project phase) and knowledge areas. Understanding how to quickly create this chart on test day can be very important to your success on the exam.

We will review the processes and their grouping, while making note of simple tricks to help you memorize the make-up of the chart. Our ultimate goal of this blog is to help you produce a sample process chart, that you can continue to practice until it becomes second nature for test day.

The PMP Process Chart: About the Chart

The process chart is assembled in a table like format. It contains 6 columns for the 5 process groups (or project phases) and 11 rows for the 10 knowledge areas (plus one row and column for headers).

As I make the chart (table) in this blog, practice along with me on an extra sheet of paper.

Header Row (going down) and Header Column (going right)     

Now that you have your blank chart, let’s go step by step and fill it in.

The PMP Process Chart: The 5 Process Groups

Process Groups, group the 47 processes based on phase of the project life cycle. There are five phases in the project lifecycle that include, initiating, planning, executing, monitoring/controlling, and closing. These process groups will make up the headings of each column.

Now let’s practice. Add the process groups to the title row for each respective column.

Header Row (going down) and Header Column (going right)InitiatingPlanningExecutingMonitoring/ControllingClosing

The PMP Process Chart: 10 Knowledge Areas

Knowledge areas group the 47 processes by subject/content area. Another way to think about knowledge areas, is they comprise all the components of your overall project management plan. Remember a project management plan, is not just the project schedule, it is a compilation of all documentation about the project.

The 10 knowledge areas include; Integration Management, Scope Management, Time Management, Cost Management, Quality Management, Human Resources Management, Communication Management, Risk Management, Procurement Management, and Stakeholders Management.

Although there is so much to talk about when it comes to each knowledge area, for purposes of this blog we are going to stick to how to assemble the process chart. These knowledge areas will make-up the headers for each row on the chart.

A quick hint: To memorize the order of the knowledge areas, make a fun mnemonic –I Saw Two Crows Quietly Having Coffee Reading Poetry Sonnets

Okay, let’s fill it in.

Header Row (going down) and Header Column (going right)InitiatingPlanningExecutingMonitoring/ControllingClosing
Integration Management
Scope Management
Time Management
Cost Management
Quality Management
Human Resource Management
Communications Management
Risk Management
Procurement Management
Stakeholder Management

The Process Chart: The 47 Processes

Processes are the “what” of project management. These are all the items that need to take place “in most projects most of the time,” in order to complete a successful project. Within each process there are tasks to complete. These “tasks” or steps are also known as ITTOs for the exam. ITTOs mean inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs.

Although it is important for you to understand ITTOs, for purposes of this blog we will work on understanding all of the 47 overarching processes and where they fall on the chart.

Here is the chart completely filled in with the 47 processes. After reviewing what the sample chart looks like, let’s discuss some ways people use to memorize the information. This way you can hopefully replicate it, time and time again!

Header Row (going down) and Header Column (going right)InitiatingPlanningExecutingMonitoring/ControllingClosing
Integration Management
(6)
4.1 Develop Project Charter4.2 Develop Project Management Plan4.3 Direct and Manage Project Work4.4 Monitor and Control Project Work
4.5 Perform Integrated Change Control
4.6 Close Project or Phase
Scope Management
(6)
5.1 Plan Scope Management
5.2 Collect Requirement
5.3 Define Scope
5.4 Create WBS
5.5 Validate Scope
5.6 Control Scope
Time Management
(7)
6.1 Plan Schedule Management
6.2 Define Activities
6.3 Sequence Activities
6.4 Estimate Activity Resources
6.5 Estimate Activity Duration
6.6 Develop Schedule
6.7 Control Schedule
Cost Management
(4)

7.1 Plan Cost
Management
7.2 Estimate Costs
7.3 Determine Budget
7.4 Control Costs
Quality Management
(3)
8.1 Plan Quality Management8.2 Perform Quality Assurance8.3 Control Quality
Human Resource Management
(4)
9.1 Plan Human Resources Management9.2 Acquire Project Team
9.3 Develop Project Team
9.4 Manage Project Team
Communications Management
(3)
10.1 Plan Communications Management10.2 Manage Communications10.3 Control Communications
Risk Management
(6)
11.1 Plan Risk Management
11.2 Identify Risks
11.3 Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
11.4 Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
11.5 Plan Risk Responses
11.6 Control Risks
Procurement Management
(4)
12.1 Plan Procurement Management12.2 Conduct Procurements12.3 Control Procurements12.4 Close Procurements
Stakeholder Management
(4)
13.1 Identify Stakeholders13.2 Plan Stakeholder Management13.3 Manage Stakeholder Engagement13.4 Control Stakeholder Engagement

Tips to Memorize the Processes

Numbers

Similar to how I mentioned the mnemonic you could use to memorize the order of the knowledge areas in the title row, you can use a series of numbers to remember how many processes are in each knowledge area.

People seem to focus on the knowledge areas as the way to do this, as all numbers are under ten. You can try and memorize it like a 10 digit phone number. Think about calling your relative long distance!

The number to memorize is 667-434-3644. As you create your chart first put the titles of the knowledge area in each row using your mnemonic. Then circle back and add the new phone number you memorized.

Numbers are also important about the individual processes, as you will see there are numbers associated with each process in my example chart. The first number in (before the dot) is the process area chapter in the PMBOK, while the second number (after the dot) is the process number within that process area.

For example, 13.1 Identify Stakeholders – 13 is the Stakeholder management chapter in the PMBOK, and 1 is the first process in the stakeholder management area.

Planning, Planning, Planning

As you may noticed there are 24 processes within the Planning process group. 24 – that is over half of the processes on the entire chart. What you should note here is planning is ultimately the most important part of the project management process. Remember that statement, “If you fail to plan, you plan to fail.”

In addition to remembering there are 24 processes in planning, note that every planning phase starts with Plan ________ Management. For example, 13.2 Plan Stakeholder Management. This means you have to plan how you are going to complete everything in that knowledge area. There is a lot more to discuss here, but we will focus on helping you remember the chart for this blog.

The Plan ________ Management processes will give you 10 processes out of the 47. Phew, now that leaves you with 37 to memorize.

Practice

Okay, I have given you some great ways to help memorize the chart. Now it really comes down to practice.

What I recommend, try and create this chart at least once a day during your prep for the exam. Start with what you know! A hint would be, feeling comfortable with the title rows and columns and memorizing that phone number. From there fill in the chart with the processes you know.

After you finish what you know, review your chart and the sample – complete – chart. What did you miss? Try and think of clever ways to help yourself remember what comes next in that series.

PMP Process Chart: Now What?

Okay, so why is this all worth it?

As I stated at the beginning of this post, the PMP Process Chart is at the center of all things you need to know for the exam. If you have this memorized, it will make it easier to respond to process sequence questions on the exam – and be assured there will be these types of questions.

Additionally, I would recommend that you add this chart to the items you include on your PMP Brain Dump. I personally had all the items my peer outlines on the front of my paper, and included the process chart on the back.

Getting this all on paper, will free up your mind to focus on the questions themselves, and you will be able to refer back to the chart at any time without stressing about remembering it.

I know you have heard me say it before, but this chart will be CRITICAL to your success. So let the practice begin!

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2 Responses to PMP Process Chart: What You Should Know

  1. Traci September 2, 2018 at 5:44 pm #

    Thanks for these tips! I’m just getting started in my study and looking forward to learning more. I have a question that is likely really stupid … but why do the 10 Knowledge Areas start with 4 and not with 1? They are listed from 4 to 13 instead of 1 – 10 and I cannot figure that out.

    • Magoosh Test Prep Expert
      Magoosh Test Prep Expert September 7, 2018 at 11:21 am #

      Not a stupid question at all, Tracy. The smaller processes within each of the 10 Knowledge Areas are numbered 4 to 13 because they are taken from a larger group of processes found in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), a book created by the PMI, the company that makes the PMP exam. Each number is specifically related to the chapter numbering, because the PMBOK is the guide to test. The more you can connect the process chart and book together the better you will do in the test.

      In the PMBOK, a number of “pre-project” processes precede “Develop Project Charter.” “Develop Project Charter” is the first of the processes once a project is running, per the PMI book. But “Develop Project Charter” is process number 4.1 in the overall set of processes that involve preparing for a project, starting a project, and completing a project.


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