4              Project Management Phases, Knowledge Areas and Processes

4.1          Project Management Knowledge Areas

There are nine major knowledge areas in the field of project management. These consist of the processes that are applicable to a project as a whole in the most complex instance. It must be noted that, although all projects have to undergo all the above mentioned project phases, there are many cases where one or more of the knowledge areas are not applicable. For example, a project may not have any procurement taking place, so in this case the relative knowledge area is not applicable.

The knowledge areas of project management are:


4.2          Project Management Processes

There are 44 distinct project management processes, each one having specific inputs, processing and outputs and producing specific results. Each process belongs to a specific phase (or process group) and a specific knowledge area. Here below the project management processes are listed per knowledge area:

Integration Management Processes

Scope Management Processes

Time Management Processes

Cost Management Processes

Quality Management Processes

Human Resource Management Processes

Communications Management Processes

Risk Management Processes

Procurement Management Processes


4.3          Project Management Phases

While no two projects are exactly alike, all projects should progress through the same five project management phases (or process groups):


The Initiation Phase consists of the processes that facilitate the formal authorisation to start a new project or a project phase. Initiation processes are often Initiation processes are often performed by the performing organisation outside of the strict project boundaries. For example, before project initiation, the organisation’s business needs are identified and documented. As a next step the feasibility of a new project may be established through a process of evaluating alternatives documented in a formal feasibility study. The documentation for this decision might also contain a brief presentation of the project scope, its deliverables, duration, resource requirements and investment estimation.


During the Initiation Phase, the initial scope of the project and the resource requirements are further refined. Initial assumptions and constraints are also documented and the other project related elements (such as deliverables, schedule, etc.) are refined and undergo minor modifications to best fit the business and project needs.

Additionally, during the Initiation Phase, a large and complex project may be decided to be split into phases, so as to be more manageable and produce intermediate outputs or results.


During the Planning Phase, information is gathered from many sources with each having varying levels of completeness and confidence. The planning processes identify, define and mature the project scope, project cost, and schedule the project activities. As new project information is discovered, additional dependencies, requirements, risks, opportunities, assumptions and constraints will be identified or resolved. As more project information or characteristics are gathered and understood, follow-on actions may be required. Significant changes occurring throughout the project life cycle trigger a need to revisit one or more of the planning processes and, possibly, some of the initiation processes.


The planning phase is iterative. Initially it gives emphasis on exploring all aspects of the scope, technology, risks, schedule and costs. Updates arising from approved changes during project execution may significantly impact parts of planning. As a result, greater precision will be put into planning for all aspects of a project (i.e. schedule, costs, resources, etc.) to meet the defined project scope as a whole. This progressive detailing is often called “rolling wave planning” showing that planning is an iterative and ongoing process.

During planning all appropriate stakeholders should be involved, depending on their influence on the project and its outcomes.


The Execution Phase aims at completing the work defined during the Planning Phase to accomplish the project’s requirements. This phase involves coordinating people and resources, as well as integrating and performing the activities of the project in accordance with the plan. This phase also addresses the project scope that has already been defined and implements approved changes.


Normal execution variances cause some replanning of the work. These variances may include activity durations, resource productivity and availability, and unanticipated risks. Such variances may or may not affect the planning of the project but require some analysis. The result of this analysis can trigger a change request that, if approved, might modify project planning.

Monitoring and Control

This phase is related to observing project execution so that potential problems can be identified in a timely manner and corrective action can be taken, when necessary, to control the execution of a project.

The key benefit of this phase is that project performance is observed and measured regularly to identify variances from planning. This phase also includes controlling changes and recommending preventing actions in anticipation of possible problems. This phase includes, for example:

This continuous monitoring provides the project team insight into the health of the project and highlights any areas that require additional attention. When variances jeopardize the project’s objectives, appropriate processes within the Planning Phase are revisited. This review can result in recommended updates to the planning of the project.


This phase is related to the formal termination of all activities of a project or a project phase, hand-off the completed product to others or close a cancelled project. This phase, when completed, verifies that the defined processes are completed in all phases to close the project ass appropriate, and formally establishes that the project is finished.


The above process groups interact with each other as shown in the figure below:



Furthermore, there is a distinct “preparatory” phase – Project Origination – which precedes all the above. In Project Origination an individual proposes a project to create a product or develop a service that can solve a problem or address a need in the Performing Organization. The Performing Organization then submits the proposal to an evaluation and selection process. If selected, a budget or further management commitment for the project may also be required before a Project Manager is actually assigned and the project is authorized to progress to Project Initiation. Depending upon the standards and practices of the Performing Organization, a time delay between the project’s proposal and selection and its actual initiation may occur.


4.4          Mapping of Processes to Phases and Knowledge Areas

The mapping of processes to process groups and knowledge areas is presented in the table below. Each process is presented in the phase (process group) where most of its activity takes place.


Knowledge Areas

Phases (Process Groups)




Monitoring & Control


Integration Management

  • Develop Project Charter

  • Develop Preliminary Project Scope Statement

  • Develop Project Management Plan

  • Direct and Manage Project Execution

  • Monitor and Control Project Work

  • Integrated Change Control

  • Close Project

Scope Management


  • Scope Planning

  • Scope Definition

  • Create WBS


  • Scope Verification

  • Scope Control


Time Management


  • Activity Definition

  • Activity Sequencing

  • Activity Resource Estimating

  • Activity Duration Estimating

  • Schedule Development


  • Schedule Control


Cost Management


  • Cost Estimating

  • Cost Budgeting


  • Cost Control


Quality Management


  • Quality Planning

  • Perform Quality Assurance

  • Perform Quality Control


Human Resource Management


  • Human Resource Planning

  • Acquire Project Team

  • Develop Project Team

  • Manage Project Team


Communications Management


  • Communications Planning

  • Information Distribution

  • Performance Reporting

  • Manage Stakeholders


Risk Management


  • Risk Management Planning

  • Risk Identification

  • Qualitative Risk Analysis

  • Quantitative Risk Analysis

  • Risk Response Planning


  • Risk Monitoring and Control


Procurement Management


  • Plan Purchases and Acquisitions

  • Plan Contracting

  • Request Seller Responses

  • Select Sellers

  • Contract Administration

  • Contract Closure