Friday, November 12, 2010

My Notes on PMBOK V4

These are my notes based on PMI's PMBOK V4. These are not extensive notes as I prepared notes keeping Program Management Professional (PgMP) Exam in mind and not Project Management Professional (PMP) exam.
For those interested in PMP exam, I had earlier shared following posts
1. My Notes on PMP
2. My Notes on PMP Formulas
3. For PMP Some Useful Links for Sample Questions

PMP Lessons Learned (Journey to PMP Certification)
which were essentially based on PMBOK V3 but in my opinion, some points are still relevant for current PMP exam.

1. Characteristics of a general project life cycle include
  • Cost and staffing levels are low at the start, peak as the work is carried out, and drop rapidly as the project draws to a close
  • Stakeholder influences, risks and uncertainty are the greatest at the start of the project. These factors decrease over the life of the project
  • Ability to influence the final characteristics of the project’s product, without significantly impacting the cost, is highest at the start of the project and decreases as the project progresses towards completion
2. The project life cycle goes through a series of phases to create the product

3. Phase end reviews are also called phase exits, phase gates, or kill points

4. A Project Phase is “Marked by the completion of one or more deliverables”. In other words, a project phase is generally concluded and formally closed with a review of the deliverables to determine completeness and acceptance

5. Formal phase completion does not necessarily include authorizing the subsequent phase. For instance, if the risk is deemed too great for the project to continue or if the objectives are no longer required, a phase can be closed with the decision to not initiate any other phases

6. There are three types of phase – phase relationships

  • A sequential relationship: where a phase can only start once the previous phase is complete
  • An overlapping relationship: where the phase starts prior to completion of the previous phase. This can sometimes be applied in schedule compression techniques like fast tracking
  • An iterative relationship: where only one phase is planned at any given time and the planning for the next is carried out as the work progresses on the current phase and deliverables. This approach is useful in highly uncertain, undefined or rapidly changing environments such as research.
7. The Process Groups are NOT project phases. As projects are separated into distinct phases or subprojects such as feasibility study, concept development, design, prototype, build, test, etc, all of the Process Groups would normally be repeated for each phase or subproject

8. In a Weak Matrix structure, functional management will have more authority than the project manager and the project manager role is more of a project coordinator or expediter than that of a true project manager.

  • Project Expediter: The project expediter acts primarily as a staff assistant and communications coordinator. The expediter cannot personally make or enforce decisions
  • Project Coordinator: Similar to the project expediter except the coordinator has some power to make decisions, some authority, and reports to a higher-level manager
9. Complex and large projects would be more effectively managed in “Strong” and ‘Projectized” Structure/Matrix

10. In a balanced matrix, Power is shared. This is a combination of both Functional and Projectized. Resources would have two managers – Project Manager and Functional Managers. After Project Completion, resources go back to Functional department.
11. The outputs of process groups are:

  • Initiating: Project charter
  • Planning: project management plan;
  • Executing: work results;
  • Monitoring & Controlling: corrective actions;
  • Closing: project product
12. Scope includes
  • The project and product requirements,
  • Criteria,
  • Assumptions,
  • Constraints, and
  • Other influences related to a project
and how each will be managed or addressed within the project

13. A project manager is identified and assigned as early in the project as is feasible, preferably while the project charter is being developed and always prior to the start of planning

14. It is recommended that the project manager participate in the development of project charter, as the charter provides the project manager with the authority to apply resources to project activities

15. Projects are authorized by someone external to the project such as sponsor, PMO or portfolio steering committee

16. Stakeholder identification is a continuous process and can be difficult

17. The project initiator or sponsor should be at a level that is appropriate to funding the project. They will either create the charter or authorize project manager to do.

18. The initiator’s signature on the charter authorizes the project

19. The Statement Of Work (SOW) is a narrative description of products or services to be delivered by the project

20. SOW references

  • Business Need: An organization’s business need may be based on a market demand, technological advance, legal requirement or government regulation
  • Product Scope Description: This documents the characteristics of the product that the project will be undertaken to create. The description should also document the relationship between the products or services being created and the business need that the project will address
  • Strategic Plan: Documents the organization’s strategic goals. Therefore, all projects should be aligned with the strategic plan
21. Business case or similar document provides the necessary information from a business standpoint to determine whether or not the project is worth the required investment.

22. Business case includes business need and cost-benefit analysis

23. A contract is an input to the charter if the project is being done for the external customer

24. Project baselines include but not limited to

  • Schedule baseline
  • Cost performance baseline and
  • Scope baseline
25. Common formats for performance reports include bar charts, Scurves, histograms, and tables

26. Performance Reporting is a Controlling process. It creates Performance Reports, which are comparisons of performance to the performance baselines. These are typically done in tabular or graphical format.

27. The “Earned Value Technique” is a method to measure project performance against the project baseline

28. Change Requests include

  • Corrective action: Documented direction for executing the project work to bring expected future performance of the project work in line with the project management plan
  • Preventive action: A documented direction to perform an activity that can reduce the probability of negative consequences associated with the project risks
  • Defect repair: The formally documented identification of a defect in a project component with a recommendation to either repair the defect or completely replace the component
  • Updates: Changes to formally controlled documentation, plan, etc. to reflect modified or additional ideas or content
29. Benchmarking compares previous similar activities to the current project activities to provide a standard to measure performance against.

30. Project scope management includes the processes required to ensure that the project includes all the work required, and only the work required, to complete the project successfully.

31. Managing the project scope is primarily concerned with defining and controlling what is and is not included in the project

32. Scope baseline of the project include

  • Approved detailed project scope statement,
  • Its associated WBS and
  • WBS dictionary

33. The scope baseline is then monitored, verified and controlled throughout the lifecycle of the project

34. The stakeholder register is used to identify stakeholders that can provide information on detailed project and product requirements

35. Several group activities can be organized to identify project and product
requirements. Some of the group creativity techniques that can be used are:

  • Brainstorming: A technique used to generate and collect multiple ideas related to project and product requirements
  • Nominal group technique: This technique enhances brainstorming with a voting process used to rank the most useful ideas for further brainstorming or prioritization
  • The Delphi technique: A selected group of experts answers questionnaires and provides feedback regarding the responses from each round of requirements gathering. The responses are only available with the facilitator to maintain anonymity
  • Idea/mind mapping: Ideas created through individual brainstorming are consolidated into a single map to reflect commonality and differences in understanding, and generate new ideas
  • Affinity diagram: The technique allows large numbers of ideas to be sorted into groups for review and analysis
36. There are multiple methods of reaching a group decision including
  • Unanimity: Everyone agrees on a single course of action
  • Majority: Support from more than 50% of the group
  • Plurality: The largest block in a group decides even if a majority is not achieved
  • Dictatorship: One individual makes the decision for the group
37. Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) is a deliverable oriented hierarchical decomposition of the work to be executed by the project team, to accomplish the project objectives and create the required deliverables, with each descending level of the WBS representing an increasingly detailed definition of the project work.

38. The WBS is a decomposition of all the deliverables the project will create

39. The work package level is the lowest level in the WBS. Time and cost estimation is easily determined at this level as are resource assignments. Quality control measurements can be determined at this level as well

40. Each element in the WBS is assigned a unique identifier. These are collectively known as the code of accounts. Typically, these codes are associated with a corporate chart of accounts and are used to track the costs of the individual work elements in the WBS

41. Level one of the WBS is the project itself

42. A ‘Planning Package” is a WBS component below the control account but above the work package. It is used for planning unknown work content that does not have detailed schedule activities

43. Control account Plan (CAP) is a management control point where the integration of scope, budget and schedule take place and where the measurement of performance takes place. These CAPS are placed at the selected management points in the WBS.

44. A Control Account is a management control point where scope, cost and schedule are integrated and compared to the earned value for performance measurement. They are placed at selected management points of the WBS above the Work Package Level

45. Each Control Account may include one or more work packages, but each of the work packages must be associated with only one control account

46. WBS Dictionary” is a document which describes the details for each component in the WBS. It includes a brief description of the of the “Scope” or “Statement of the work”, defined deliverables, a list of associated activities, and a list of milestones

47. Scope Verification differs from Quality Control in that scope verification is primarily concerned with acceptance of the deliverables, while quality control is primarily concerned with correctness of the deliverable and meeting the quality requirements specified for the deliverables

48. Scope Baseline includes Project Scope Statement, WBS, WBS Dictionary

49. Scope Verification

  • Verified work results
50. Perform Quality Control
  • Assured quality requirements were met
51. You can remember the difference between Scope Verification and Perform
Quality Control this way:

  • Scope Verification = accepting work results
  • Perform Quality Control = checking for correct work results (assuring that the quality requirements are met)
52. Control Quality is generally performed before Verify Scope but these two processes can be performed in parallel

53. Scope verification must take place at the end of each phase

54. Scope Verification is done during Project monitoring and controlling BUT Product verification is done during the Project Closing

55. Control scope is the process of monitoring the status of the project and product scope and managing changes to the scope baseline

56. Rolling Wave Planning is a form of progressive elaboration planning where the
work to be accomplished in the near term is planned in detail and future work
is planned at a higher level of the WBS

57. In an environment where there is a great degree of flexibility or instability, it's good to
use a rolling wave planning approach. This approach allows team members to plan as
much as possible. While executing that part of the plan, they continue to plan future
work as they learn more about it

58. A milestone is a significant point or event in the project

59. Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) includes four dependencies or logical

  • Finish to Start (FS):
  • Finish to Finish (FF):
  • Start to Start (SS):
  • Start to Finish (SF):
60. Finish to start is the most commonly used logical relationship in PDM and most project management software packages.

61. PDM uses one time estimate to determine duration, while ADM can use more than one time estimate.

62. In Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM) or Activity on Node (AON) network diagrams, nodes are activities and arrows are dependencies

63. Mandatory dependency, also known as hard logic. Mandatory dependencies are inherent in the nature of the work

64. Discretionary dependencies, also called preferred logic, preferential logic, and soft logic, are defined by the project team

65. A lead allows an acceleration of the successor activity

66. A lag directs a delay in the successor activity

67. Analogous estimating is not a qualitatively based technique. It is a top-down estimating technique that considers previous similar activities when calculating estimates

68. Analogous estimating is generally less expensive and time consuming but also less accurate

69. Parametric estimating multiplies a known element—such as the quantity of materials needed—by the time it takes to install or complete one unit of materials. The result is a total estimate for the activity

70. Three point Estimate originated from Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT), which uses a weighted average formula to predict the length of activities and the project. Specifically, PERT uses a 'pessimistic,' 'optimistic,' and 'most likely' estimate to predict when the project will be completed

71. Critical Path Method (CPM) manages the total float of schedule networks paths, whereas Critical Chain manages buffer activity durations and resources

72. The critical path is the longest path to completion in the network diagram.

73. Activities on the critical path have no float or slack.

74. Free float is the amount of time an activity can be delayed without affecting the next activity's scheduled start date.

75. Total float is the amount of time an activity can be delayed without affecting the project end date.

76. Resource leveling can cause the original critical path to change. It is used when shared or critical required resources are only available at certain times, are only available in limited quantities, or to keep resource usage at a constant level

77. Heuristic is simply a rule of thumb

78. Crashing involves adding resources to activities in order to decrease their duration, which typically increases cost

79. Fast tracking adds risk as tasks are allowed to overlap

80. Rough order of magnitude is “rough” and is used during the Initiating processes and in range of +50/-50

81. There are three generally accepted categories of estimating accuracy:

  • Rough order of magnitude This estimate is “rough” and is used during the Initiating processes and in top-down estimates. The range of variance for the estimate can be –25 percent to +75 percent.
  • Budget estimate This estimate is also somewhat broad and is used early in the planning processes and also in top-down estimates. The range of variance for the estimate can be –10 percent to +25 percent.
  • Definitive estimates This estimate type is one of the most accurate. It is used late in the planning processes and is associated with bottom-up estimating. The range of variance for the estimate can be –5 percent to +10 percent
82. Rough Order of Magnitude (ROM) estimates are also knows as conceptual, ballpark or preliminary estimates

83. The opportunity cost is the amount of the project that was not chosen

84. Money already spent on a project is called sunk costs and should not be taken into consideration when determining if a project should continue. Instead, the cost of the work to complete is one of the elements that should be taken into consideration when considering to kill a project

85. Variance analysis involves comparing actual project results to planned or expected results.

86. Trend analysis involves examining project results over time to determine if performance is improving

87. Earned Value Management compares the baseline plan to actual schedule and cost performance.

88. BCR (Benefit Cost Ratio) compares the benefits to the costs of the project where the Benefits are the same as Revenues or often referred to as the “Payback period”

89. Management Horizon is also known as the Payback Period, which is the amount of time it takes for the program to break even on the investment. In business and economics, payback period refers to the period of time required for the return on an investment to repay the sum of the original investment. As it does not properly account for the time value of money, risk, financing, or any other important considerations such as the opportunity cost, the payback period is considered as method of analysis with serious limitations and qualifications for its use.

90. One concern is that as the payback period measure does not take into account benefits delivered after the payback period it does not measure profitability

91. Parametric (Top – Down) uses historical data and statistical relationships to determine costs

92. Each resource in the project must be accounted for and assigned to a cost category. Categories include the following:

  • Labor costs
  • Material costs
  • Travel costs
  • Supplies
  • Hardware costs
  • Software costs
  • Special categories (inflation, cost reserve, and so on)
93. Quality is defined as the degree to which the project fulfills requirement


95. The Project Manager ultimately has the responsibility for the Product of the Project and

96. Senior Management is responsible for the Quality of entire Organization

97. Cost of quality involves three types of costs:

  • Prevention,
  • Appraisal, and
  • Failure costs
  • • Internal costs and
  • • External costs
98. Failure cost is also known as the cost of poor quality.
Internal failure costs – Failures found by the project
External failure costs – Failures found by the customer

99. Internal failure costs are costs associated with not meeting the customer’s expectations while you still had control over the product. This results in rework, scrapping, and downtime

100. External failure costs include Liabilities

  • Warranty work
  • Lost business
101. Quality Assurance (Executing) is focused on process: process analysis, quality audits, etc.

102. Quality Control (Monitoring and Controlling) is focused on sampling results to see if they meet quality standards.

103. Philip B. Crosby = Zero defects and prevention or rework results.
104. Juran = Fitness for use, conformance. Quality by design.
105. Fitness for use involves establishing what the customer needs and attempting to deliver it to them
106. Joseph M. Juran is noted for his fitness for use premise. Simply put, this means the stakeholders’ and customers’ expectations are met or exceeded.
107. W. Edwards Deming suggested that as much as 85 percent of the cost of quality is a management problem
108. Shewhart = Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.
109. TQM = Quality must be managed in and must be a continuous process.
110. Total Quality Management (TQM) involves being proactive, utilizing accountability and leadership, and continuously improving as a company
111. Six Sigma = Six Sigma is a measurement-based strategy; no more than 3.4 defects per million.
112. Kaizen = Continuous improvement; improve quality of people first.
113. Kaizen involves proactively improving the organization and continuously trying to improve as an organization.
114. Continuous improvement = Watch continuously for ways to improve quality.
115. Benchmarking compares previous similar activities to the current project activities to provide a standard to measure performance against
116. Design of experiments (DOE) is a statistical method for identifying which factors may influence specific variables of a product or process under development or in production
117. The Design of experiments approach relies on statistical what-if scenarios to determine what variables within a project will result in the best outcome. Design of experiments approach is most often used on the product of the project, rather than the project itself. For example, a project team creating a new bicycle may experiment with the width of the tires, the weight of the frame, and the position of the handlebars in relation to the bike seat to determine the most comfortable ride at an acceptable cost to the consumer.
118. Five stages of a team development
  • Forming
  • Storming
  • Norming
  • Performing
  • Adjourning
119. Techniques for resolving conflicts
  • Withdrawing/Avoiding - Retreating
  • Smoothing/Accommodating - Emphasizing on agreements than disagreements
  • Compromising – Satisfying all parties
  • Forcing – Pushing one’s viewpoint
  • Collaborating – Incorporating multiple view points and driving consensus
  • Confronting/Problem Solving – Head on with give-and-take policy and open dialogue
120. Forcing uses a direct order.
Smoothing focuses on the positive and distracts attention from the negative.
122. Compromise is consent based on mutual concession.
123. Problem solving attempts to work out the solution to the actual problem
124. There are five types of powers the project manager yields: ( E R F C R)
  • Expert: The authority of the project manager comes from experience with the technology the project focuses on.
  • Reward The project manager has the authority to reward the project team.
  • Formal The project manager has been assigned by senior management and is in charge of the project. Also known as positional power.
  • Coercive (Penalty) The project manager has the authority to discipline the project team members. This is also known as “penalty power.” When the team is afraid of the project manager, it’s coercive.
  • Referent The project team personally knows the project manager. Referent can also mean the project manager refers to the person who assigned him the position—for example, “The CEO assigned me to this position so we’ll do it this way.” This power can also mean the project team wants to work on the project or with the project manager due to the high priority and impact of the project
125. The best forms of powers include Expert and Reward. Penalty is the worst
126. Formal, Reward and Powers are derived from the PM’s position in the company
127. Expert is earned on your own
The key components of the communication model include:
  • Encode. To translate thoughts or ideas into a language that is understood by others.
  • Message. The output of encoding.
  • Medium. The method used to convey the message.
  • Noise. Anything that interferes with the transmission and understanding of the message (e.g., distance).
  • Decode. To translate the message back into meaningful thoughts or ideas
129. A risk is an uncertain event that could have a positive or negative effect on your project

130. Strategies for “Negative Risks or threats” (Avoid Transfer Mitigate)

131. Strategies for “Postive Risks or Opportunities” (Exploit Share Ehance)

132. Common Strategy for both threats and opportunities is “Acceptance”
133. There are 3 stages of “reaction to stress” (Alarm, Resistance & Exhaustion)
134. Risk Response Strategies
o Avoid – remove the cause of the risk so that it never materializes
o Mitigate – reduce the probability and or impact of the risk
o Transfer – transfer the risk to another party; usually done with insurance, performance bonds, warranties, guarantees or outsourcing the work.

o Exploit – make sure the opportunity occurs, you can add work or make a change to the project
o Enhance – increase the probability and or positive impact of the risk
o Share – share the opportunity with a third party to be able to take advantage of the opportunity
135. For both Threats & Opportunities
o Accept
Active acceptance – preparing a contingency reserve of cost or time
Passive acceptance – preparing for the dealing with the effects of the risk after the risk has occurred
136. Workarounds are unplanned responses. Workarounds deal with negative risk events as they occur. As the name implies, workarounds were not previously known to the project team. The risk event was unplanned, so no contingency plan existed to deal with the risk event, and thus it required a workaround Contingency Plans can be best described as “Planned responses to Risk Events”
137. Contingency Plan document outlines the actions to be taken if an identified risk event should occur
138. “Utility Theory” considers the pains or tolerance level a stakeholder has to risk
139. Residual Risk are those that “Remain” after Risk Responses have been taken
140. There are three key components to a Risk
  • Risk Event (The Event)
  • Probability of the Event
  • Impact or Effects of the Event (Amount at Stake)
141. Delhi technique is a “Consensus Technique”
142. Risk is the notion of dealing with “Uncertainty”
  • Knows at the extreme end of the Uncertainty Spectrum will definitely affect you, although you have no control over them
  • Knows-Unknowns are items that will affect you although you are not able to predict how or how much they will effect you
  • Unknown–Unknowns are items or situations whose existence we cannot imagine(Who knows?)
143. Fast tracking adds risk as tasks are allowed to overlap
144. Historical information is always an excellent source of information for risk identification
145. Brainstorming is likely the most common approach to risk identification
146. Force majeure is a powerful and unexpected event, such as a hurricane or other disaster
147. Fait accompli is a tactic used during contract negotiations where one party convinces the other that the particular issue is no longer relevant or cannot be changed
148. Some of the traits/qualities exhibited by effective leaders are Flexibility, Ambition, Intelligence, Decisiveness, Creativity, Persistence and Energy
149. Project manager must possess following interpersonal skills
  • Leadership
  • Team building
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Influencing
  • Decision making
  • Political and cultural awareness and
  • Negotiation
150. Ten most important skills and competencies for Project Managers
  1. People skills
  2. Leadership
  3. Listening
  4. Integrity, ethical behavior, consistent
  5. Strong at building trust
  6. Verbal communication
  7. Strong at building teams
  8. Conflict resolution, conflict management
  9. Critical thinking, problem solving
  10. Understands, balances priorities


  1. Excellent piece of work for the benefit of PPM aspirants and also for others.


  2. Good Job.

    I think it will be better if you can include it in one PDF file.

  3. Dear Sridhar,

    Thank you for your great work. I passed PMP exam today.

    I appreciate your effort to put all great works on this site.

  4. I am glad my notes helped. All the best for your future endeavors

  5. Wonderful! Your notes on PMP exam is very comprehensive! Thanks a lot!

  6. Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide outlines standards and best practices that project management professionals must know and adapt towards achieving successful outcomes on each of the individual projects they manage. I also took my Online PMP Classes from PMstudy. You can have a look at their offerings.

  7. Sridhar Garu.Thank you for your notes.It certainly would be of great help for preparation.Apart from the notes,training from credible organizations will certainly increase the success rate in the exam. A recognized training institute like
    GreyCampus may come handy.