Project Management Knowledge Areas

January 1, 2014 Marcus Varner

The lifecycle of work includes every type of work—daily lights on work, ad hoc requests, special executive tasks, projects, and fire drills—and the identifying and prioritizing what to work on first, planning and coordinating that work, and seeing it through execution to delivery to measurement. As a project manager, your specific field of expertise requires you yo know the inner workings of the *project * type of work in finite detail.

The project manager's bible, i.e., the PMBOK, describes nine knowledge areas or categories of the project management discipline. Gaining expertise in any one of these knowledge areas can help you become a rock star in your organization. Understanding and applying all nine will make you irreplaceable. Throughout my next series of articles, I will be discussing each area in detail and identifying specific examples and techniques to help you become that irreplaceable rock star.

To begin this new series, we reference Kathy Schwalbe, Ph.D, PMP, and professor at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota. As an active member of the PMI and an expert in the industry, she has written several textbooks and how-to guides on the subject. In her book "Information Technology Project Management," she describes each of the nine knowledge areas and identifies some of the tools and techniques used in each area. These knowledge areas include:

1. Integration Management. Project selection methods, project management methodologies, stakeholder analyses, project charters, project management plans, project management software, change requests, change control boards, project review meetings, and lessons-learned reports. 2. project management knowledge areasScope Management. Scope statements, work breakdown structures, mind maps, statements of work, requirements analyses, scope management plans, scope verification techniques, and scope change controls. 3. Time Management. Gantt charts, project network diagrams, critical-path analyses, crashing, fast-tracking, schedule performance measurements. 4. Cost Management. Net present value, return on investment, payback analyses, earned value management, project portfolio management, cost estimates, cost management plans, and cost baselines. 5. Quality Management. Quality metrics, checklists, quality control charts, Pareto diagrams, fishbone diagrams, maturity models, and statistical models. 6. Human Resource Management. Motivation techniques, empathic listening, responsibility assignment matrices, project organizational charts, resource histograms, and team building exercises. 7. Communications Management. Communications management plans, kickoff meetings, conflict management, communications media selection, status and progress reports, virtual communications, templates, and project web sites. 8. Risk Management. Risk management plans, risk registers, probability/impact matrices, and risk rankings. 9. Procurement Management. Make-or-buy analyses, contracts, request for proposals or quotes, source selections, supplier evaluation matrices. (Schwalbe, Information Technology Project Management, Sixth Edition, 2010.)

Stay tuned for the Integration Management post with four keys to help you better integrate projects, resources, and people into your work management process.

About the Author

Marcus Varner

Marcus is a content strategist and producer who loves helping brands craft content that improves customers' lives, builds brand credibility, and demands to be shared. For the last 10 years, Marcus has worked in every type of content—from writing to video production to design—and is currently a senior content marketing manager at Workfront, where he oversees all corporate- and awareness-level level content. When he's not producing content, he's consuming it, in the form of books, movies, and podcasts.

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