PMBOK® Study Outline

Framework for presentation of Project Management

PMBOK® understands project management as a process which has inputs, activity and outputs. In order to explain the process of project management, PMBOK® groups the processes into five families, or primary processes that it calls process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Closing. These five primary process groups are what PMBOK® refers to as the Project Management Life Cycle. PMBOK® sees these five primary processes as consistent in every project, irrespective of the content of the project or what the product of the project is.

In each of these five primary processgroups are defined by matrixing them against what PMBOK® calls knowledge areas. Each knowledge area contains the detail of a particular area of knowledge or skill that the primary processes need to function. The knowledge area often contains skills, tools and techniques that cover more than one process. There are nine knowledge areas:

Project Integration Management

Project Scope Management

Project Time Management

Project Cost Management

Project Quality Management

Project Human Resource Management

Project Communications Management

Project Risk Management

Project Procurement Management

When all of the knowledge areas are examined and described, the full meaning of each of the primary processes appears. In fact, each knowledge area is defined as a set of processes (with inputs, tools/techniques and outputs) and, by being defined this way, gives the complete scope of each of the processes in the process group. This is best seen by the overview of the matrix on p38 of the PMBOK®.

When the 9 knowledge areas (chapters 4 through 12) are matrixed with all of the 5 primary process groups, there are 39 sub-processes that are defined. The 39 sub-processes are always numbered by the order they appear in the PMBOK® chapter that discusses them. For instance the knowledge area of Initiation is numbered 5.1 as it is discussed as the first process in Chapter 5 – Project Scope Management.

In each of the 5 primary process groups, each knowledge area that contributes to that primary process does so by contributing a sub-process that is either a core sub-process to the primary process or a facilitating sub-process to the primary process.

The Knowledge Area Chapters in PMBOK® – Chapters 4 – 12

Each of these chapters is presented in an identical format. The chapter begins with a brief overview of each sub-process in the knowledge area. It then presents a more detailed treatment of each specific sub-process. Each sub-process is presented in terms of inputs, tools and techniques and outputs. For example, Chapter 4 – Project Integration Management. There are three sub-processes:

4.1 Project Plan Development

4.2 Project Plan Execution

4.3 Integrated Change Control

Under each of these sub-processes you will find a discussion of the inputs, tools and techniques and outputs for that sub-process. It will often be the case that the output from the previous sub-process provides the input into the next sub-process. One effective technique for a group is to pick a chapter to study and then, in order to prepare for the presentation, one person prepares the inputs for each of the sub-processes, one person prepares the tools and techniques for each sub-process and another person prepares a presentation on the outputs.


Now that we have explored the knowledge areas and the primary process groups, you can create a study plan that best fits for you or your group. You might follow the process groups as a guide for study, reviewing each of the sub-processes in the primary group and going primary group by primary group. You may choose to study by following the knowledge areas, chapter by chapter in the PMBOK®. You may study by following the knowledge areas but proceed in an order that seems more logical to you than the one laid out in the PMBOK®

For instance, one group studied the PMBOK® in the following order:

Chapter 10 – Project Communications Management

Chapter 7 – Project Cost Management

Chapter 9 – Project Human Resource Management

Chapter 4 – Project Integration Management

Chapter 12 – Project Procurement Management

Chapter 8 – Project Quality Management

Chapter 11 – Project Risk Management

Chapter 5 – Project Scope Management

Chapter 6 – Project Time Management

Remember, the goal of the study is not to become an expert in risk, or quality management or time or any other knowledge area. The goal is to pass the PMP® exam. People find that their knowledge of project management is helpful but the major piece of preparation is to know the PMBOK® very thoroughly.

Knowledge Area Chapter Outline Summaries

In order to decide how to come up with a game plan for study, we have outlined the Knowledge area chapters. The thought is that if you see them defined all in one place, it may be easier to decide how to proceed with your study.

Chapter 4 – Project Integration Management

4.1 – Project Plan Development – Integrating and coordinating all project plans to create a consistent, coherent document.

4.2 – Project Plan Execution – Carrying out the project plan by performing the activities included therein.

4.3 – Integrated Change Control – Coordinating changes across the entire project.

Chapter 5 – Project Scope Management

5.1 – Initiation – Authorizing the project or phase.

5.2 – Scope Planning – Developing a written scope statement as the basis for future decisions.

5.3 – Scope Definition – Subdividing the major project deliverables into smaller, more manageable components.

5.4 – Scope Verification – Formalizing acceptance of the project scope

5.5 – Scope Change Control – Controlling changes to project scope.

Chapter 6 – Project Time Management

6.1 – Activity Definition – Identifying the specific activities that must be performed to produce the various project deliverables

6.2 – Activity Sequencing – identifying and documenting interactivity dependencies

6.3 – Activity Duration Estimating – Estimating the number of work periods that will be needed to complete individual activities.

6.4 – Schedule Development – Analyzing activity sequences, activity durations and resource requirements to create the project schedule.

6.5 – Schedule Control – Controlling changes to the project schedule

Chapter 7 – Project Cost Management

7.1 – Resource Planning – Determining what resources (people, equipment, materials) and what quantities of each should be used to perform project activities.

7.2 – Cost Estimating – Developing an approximation (estimate) of the costs of the resources needed to complete project activities.

7.3 – Cost Budgeting – Allocating the overall cost estimates to individual work activities.

7.4 – Cost Control – Controlling changes to the project budget.

Chapter 8 – Project Quality Management

8.1 – Quality Planning – Identifying which quality standards are relevant to the project and determining how to satisfy them.

8.2 – Quality Assurance – Evaluating overall project performance on a regular basis to provide confidence that the project will satisfy the relevant quality standards.

8.3 – Quality Control – Monitoring specific project results to determine if they comply with relevant quality standards and identifying ways to eliminate causes of unsatisfactory performance.

Chapter 9 – Project Human Resource Management

9.1 – Organizational Planning – Identifying, documenting and assigning project roles, responsibilities and reporting relationships.

9.2 – Staff Acquisition – Getting the human resources needed assigned to and working on the project.

9.3 – Team Development – Developing individual and group competencies to enhance project performance.

Chapter 10 – Project Communications Management

10.1 – Communications Planning – Determining the information and communications needs of the stakeholders: who needs what information, when they will need it and how it will be given to them.

10.2 – Information Distribution – Making needed information available to project stakeholders in a timely manner.

10.3 – Performance Reporting – Collecting and disseminating performance information. This includes status reporting, progress measurement and forecasting.

10.4 – Administrative Closure – Generating, gathering and disseminating information to formalize a phase or project completion.

Chapter 11 – Project Risk Management

11.1 – Risk Management Planning – Deciding how to approach and plan the risk management activities for a project.

11.2 – Risk Identification – Determining which risks might affect the project and documenting their characteristics.

11.3 – Qualitative Risk Analysis – Performing a qualitative analysis of risks and conditions to prioritize their effects on project objectives.

11.4 – Quantitative Risk Analysis – Measuring the probability and consequences of risks and estimating their implications for project objectives.

11.5 – Risk Response Planning – Developing procedures and techniques to enhance opportunities and reduce threats to the project’s objectives.

11.6 – Risk Monitoring and Control – Monitoring residual risks, identifying new risks, executing risk reduction plans and evaluating their effectiveness throughout the project life cycle.

Chapter 12 – Project Procurement Management

12.1 – Procurement Planning – Determining what to procure and when

12.2 – Solicitation Planning – Documenting product requirement and identifying potential sources.

12.3 – Solicitation – Obtaining quotations, bids offers and proposals, as appropriate.

12.4 – Source Selection – Choosing from among potential sellers

12.5 – Contract Administration – Managing the relationship with the seller.

12.6 – Contract Closeout – Completion and settlement of the contract, including resolution of any open items.

Mathematical Formulas you Might Want to Study:

Every exam is different, but understanding of the following formulas and definitions is recommended:

Earned Value Analysis:

Variance = Budget at Completion (BAC) minus Actual Cost (AC)

Earned Value (EV) = % complete times BAC

Cost Variance (CV) = EV – AC

Schedule Variance (SV) = EV – PV

Cost Performance Index (CPI) = EV/AC

Schedule Performance Index (SPI) = EV/PV

Estimate at Completion (EAC) = BAC/CPI

Estimate to Complete (ETC) = EAC – AC

Variance at Completion (VAC) = BAC – EAC

PV = Budgeted Cost of the Work Scheduled [Planned Value]

EV = Budgeted Cost of the Work Performed

AC = Actual Cost of the Work Performed

PERT (P+4M+O)/6 Normal Distribution

Std. Dev. (P-O)/6+/- 1 Sigma = 68.26%

Task Variance [(P-O)/6]2 +/- 2 Sigma = 95.46%

Present Value FV/(1+r)n +/- 3 Sigma = 99.73%

Comm Channels N(N-1)/2 +/- 6 Sigma = 99.99%

Be Able to recognize:

Network Logic Diagram: Activity-on-Arrow, Activity on Node

Bar (Gantt) chart

Cause and Effect (Ishikawa | fishbone) Diagram

Upper Control Limit – Lower Control Limit

RACI Diagram


Probability / Impact Risk Rating Matrix

Ordinal Scale | Cardinal Scale

Decision Tree Analysis


Be able to define all types of contracts and determine who they favor.


Write things down, it helps you to remember !

Use a variety of study materials, including CDs – you can listen to them in your car.


  • Arrive early. Bring food and drinks for breaks.
  • Use your tutorial time to write down essential formulas. DO NOT SKIP since you’ll need the formulas several times, and if you have them ready you won’t make unnecessary mistakes.
  • Write small on the paper you’re given. You can only get new paper if you turn in the used which you don’t want to do because you just took the time to write down all your formulas!
  • Read questionstwice, read it slowly and read all of the suggested answers.
  • Make sure you understand the question before you answer.
  • Doublecheck ALL math !!
  • Pace yourself so you don’t run out of time
  • Take at least one break to clear your head and get some food.
  • Save hard questions till last, only mark questions for review that you’re not 100% sure about.