Trend Analysis: PMP Topics to Know

A trend analysis, in its simplest terms, is a tool and technique you can use within the project management process. Okay, do you feel like you’ve got it now? Just joking – of course you don’t, let’s spend some time discussing trend analysis and why it is a good PMP topic to know.

PMP Trend Analysis: Defined

Beyond the simple definition provided above, a trend analysis is a mathematical tool you can use to assess your project data to determine how it is doing and forecast how it will continue to do.

It is common to see a trend analysis represented in graphical form. This way you can easily see the way your project is trending. See that trending – this means is your project on track, improving, or falling behind, as we discussed above.

Please, disregard the subject of the analysis, but here is a sample of a trend analysis as well as thorough discussion on what the data indicates. Again, this is just a helpful example, the content is not relevant to the PMP exam.

Trend Analysis: A Topic to Know

Remember in addition to understanding what a trend analysis is, it is equally important to understand how each topic relates back to the overall project management processes.

A trend analysis is a tool and technique used during the monitor and control phase of the project life-cycle (or process group). You will use it in the integration, time, cost, and risk knowledge areas.

If you are asking yourself, what is a tool and technique? These are the actions or items that are applied to an input to get the intend output.

Think about it, the integration knowledge area wants to understand how the 47 processes of project management work together – thus it would make sense that you want to analyze how that work is progressing.

Same with time, cost, and risk. You will want to know if your project is tracking in the direction you planned. You would not want your schedule or budget to be falling behind and know nothing about it.

Back to the definition of tool and technique, if we use the time knowledge area, we can use a trend analysis to assess our project schedule and create an output of a project change request if our project is currently falling behind schedule.

Using the trend analysis is critical to help your project complete on time, within budget, with the intended scope.