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Posts tagged as “automation”

The 49 Project Management Processes within 5 Domains

According to a loose estimate generated in 2011, there are more than 16.5 million project managers in the whole world. I am not sure what estimates are reliable in 2020, but access to education and the demand for managers to organize activities to perform has increased especially thanks to remote working opportunities and the increased adoption of project management by numerous sectors, with the Project Management Institute (PMI) suggesting that by 2027, over 85 million individuals will be needed in roles related to project management. What technological unemployment?

The PMI’s PMBOK® Guide (Sixth Edition) and the PMP® Exam (until the new one launches on January 2, 2021) covers five domains (process groups) within project management covering the following details:

  • Initiating (~26 Questions, 13% of the Exam, 2 Processes, 8 Tasks)
    • Perform Project Assessment
    • Identify Key Deliverables
    • Perform Stakeholder Analysis
    • Identify High Level Risks, Assumptions, and Constraints
    • Participate in Development of Project Charter
    • Obtain Project Charter Approval
    • Inform Stakeholders of Project Charter Approval
  • Planning (~48 Questions, 24% of the Exam, 24 Processes, 13 Tasks)
    • Assess Detailed Project Requirements, Constraints, Assumptions with Stakeholders
    • Develop Scope Management Plan
    • Develop Cost Management Plan
    • Develop Project Schedule
    • Develop Resource Management Plan
    • Develop Communications Management Plan
    • Develop Procurement Management Plan
    • Develop Quality Management Plan
    • Develop Change Management Plan
    • Develop Risk Management Plan
    • Present Project Management Plan to Stakeholders
    • Conduct Project Kick-Off Meeting
    • Develop Stakeholder Management Plan
  • Execution (~62 Questions, 31% of the Exam, 10 Processes, 7 Tasks)
    • Acquire and Manage Project Resources
    • Manage Task Execution
    • Implement Quality Management Plan
    • Implement Approved Changes
    • Implement Approved Actions for Risk Management
    • Manage Communications
    • Maintain Stakeholder Relationships
  • Monitoring & Controlling (~50 Questions, 25% of the Exam, 12 Processes, 7 Tasks)
    • Measure Project Performance (EV, etc.)
    • Manage Changes
    • Verify Project Deliverables Quality
    • Monitor and Assess Risk
    • Review Issue Log
    • Capture and Analyze Lessons Learned
    • Monitor Procurement Activities
  • Closing (~14 Questions, 7% of the Exam, 1 Process, 7 Tasks)
    • Obtain Final Acceptance
    • Transfer Deliverable Ownership
    • Obtain Financial, Legal, and Administrative Closure
    • Prepare and Share Final Project Report
    • Collate Lessons Learned
    • Archive Project Documentation
    • Obtain Stakeholder Feedback
Simple model of the project management life cycle incorporating the five domains accounting for a possible agile delivery model. Image by Raihan Islam.

What does project management have to do with technological unemployment?

In the context of software or hardware that automates the execution of any pre-defined steps, a human is no longer needed to execute those steps, but the system and its maintenance very well might be should be managed. It is important to make sure that technology does precisely what it was intended to do when it was designed in the first place. A project manager in the case of already launched technology could be involved in observation of certain defects or risks that might arise while the system is in use, and fixes for those defects or improvements to address risks are then planned for execution by an engineering team. A project manager involved in building that technology for the first time would have to deliver results guaranteeing a more automated outcome. As I wrote earlier, there are plenty of structural adjustments that can and should be made to sustain the economy. Project managers will be critical in delivering those adjustments.

Managers of technology projects will appreciate the body of knowledge covered in the PMBOK® because it provides a framework for understanding how to start up, plan, and get things done. I do not suggest the PMI is the only brand in project management, nor do I suggest they have ownership over the legitimacy of any project management initiative. I will say though that the associated body of knowledge is not only a great framework but also one that has been used and replicated throughout project management, so the jargon may well be familiar with those in project management regardless of their certifications.

What are all of those tasks?

Besides for Initiating and Closing, there are fewer Tasks than Processes covered in each Domain.

The tasks represent “the general things you do” to achieve what is expected of a project manager for each domain.

What is the difference between a process and a task?

There are three types of processes according to the book, and they are ones that are:

  • Used once or at predefined points,
  • Performed periodically, or
  • Performed continuously

Tasks are things that need to be done that in the case of Initiating or Closing might all fit within one or two processes. In Planning, there are 24 Processes and 13 Tasks. When conducting those 13 tasks, doing so successfully requires accounting for those 24 processes.

A task is just one of the important things a project manager does in their role, and a process is the repeatable approach as to how part of a task, a whole task, or even multiple tasks might be performed within a single domain.

49 Processes? How does that work?

The 49 Processes are organized both by Domain and by Knowledge Area.

I am not going to pretend to be the expert with all of the answers, but I am the expert that knows where to look for the answers. Through diligent searching online, I have found some pretty useful guides. Firstly, the PMBOK® itself (the source), this great Udemy course (which applies breadth and depth in understanding what the exam covers), this helpful set of YouTube videos (which articulates the thought process behind answering questions quite well), and this amazing processes flow diagram (which shows the processes organized spatially by domain and color-coded by knowledge area).

The 49 Processes are organized by 10 Knowledge Areas as follows:

  1. Project Integration Management
    1. Develop Project Charter
    2. Develop Project Management Plan
    3. Direct and Manage Project Work
    4. Manage Project Knowledge
    5. Monitor and Control Project Work
    6. Perform Integrated Change Control
    7. Close Project or Phase
  2. Project Scope Management
    1. Plan Scope Management
    2. Collect Requirements
    3. Define Scope
    4. Create WBS
    5. Validate Scope
    6. Control Scope
  3. Project Schedule Management
    1. Plan Schedule Management
    2. Define Activities
    3. Sequence Activities
    4. Estimate Activity Durations
    5. Develop Schedule
    6. Control Schedule
  4. Project Cost Management
    1. Plan Cost Management
    2. Estimate Costs
    3. Determine Budget
    4. Control Costs
  5. Project Quality Management
    1. Plan Quality Management
    2. Manage Quality
    3. Control Quality
  6. Project Resource Management
    1. Plan Resource Management
    2. Estimate Activity Resources
    3. Acquire Resources
    4. Develop Team
    5. Manage Team
    6. Control Resources
  7. Project Communications Management
    1. Plan Communications Management
    2. Manage Communications
    3. Monitor Communications
  8. Project Risk Management
    1. Plan Risk Management
    2. Identify Risks
    3. Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis
    4. Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
    5. Plan Risk Responses
    6. Implement Risk Responses
    7. Monitor Risks
  9. Project Procurement Management
    1. Plan Procurement Management
    2. Conduct Procurements
    3. Control Procurements
  10. Project Stakeholder Management
    1. Identify Stakeholders
    2. Plan Stakeholder Engagement
    3. Manage Stakeholder Engagement
    4. Monitor Stakeholder Engagement

How does one absorb all of this?

It certainly requires dedication and hard work, but it also requires smart work.

By combining multiple resources discussing the consensus that is the body of knowledge and how it was intended to be used in practice, I can be more confident that whether I take the exam or apply the knowledge in practice that it is based on the industry standard.

In the series of blogs I will be writing on this topic, I will cover in more detail the domains (process groups), the tasks, the knowledge areas, and the processes, and I will do that in many different ways.

In some cases, I will reference other posts I have written because of their relationship to the material – “Project Cost Management” would cover situations when considering whether the project contract should be agreed on a fixed-price, time & materials (T&M), or other pricing basis.

When I mentor students on new concepts, I do so through “boxing”. I position six sides and close them in on the meaning I aim to convey (yes, I meant that literally).


There are five domains that form the project management life cycle, and in those domains there are tasks that should be performed by the project manager.

Those tasks are accomplished through the use of processes, and each process is specific to a domain, which means it happens during a certain part of the project management life cycle.

Each process is also tied to a certain knowledge area, which is related to a discipline of sorts – such as scope, schedule, budget, and more – and there are several processes within a knowledge area that exist across the five domains.

It will not all make sense right away, but by using the right resources and understanding more contexts that influence project management, it will get simpler.

Technological Unemployment

The technological innovations since the agricultural revolution have further and further reduced the need for humans to perform activities to accomplish business and other goals.

The three industrial revolutions preceding the current one have led to increased access to information and opportunity, but they have also led to simplifications in work, further reducing the need for humans to perform those activities. While most of the people in the world still do not have the essentials to live day-to-day, technological advances continue to accelerate with further adoption of Internet of Things (IoT) throughout the industry.

While this signals the need for increased structural adjustments to enable participants of the economy to provide and receive economic contributions, it becomes increasingly more difficult to enable participants when human contribution becomes less necessary for providing the benefits people need in order to live with daily essentials.

In other words, without dramatic structural adjustment, technological unemployment will continue to become the norm, leaving policymakers to consider whether to push structural adjustments to enable participants or to encourage economic activity in other ways such as the provision of universal basic income (UBI).

Perhaps, a mixture of both will be required, but ultimately there are numerous economic activities that are performed today which are redundant and inefficient, and more often than not will result in these activities not creating net positive returns for owners and investors.

There is also the question of what scenario is more alarmist, if at all:

  • Technological unemployment eliminating all human jobs
  • Unstable AI or major global security flaws causing a global state of emergency
  • Climate change dramatically and permanently displacing human civilization and making the planet uninhabitable

The clearest structural adjustment that could be made is for the economy to fully address the concerns and needs that will be put at risk due to climate change in addition to the security management required to keep advanced technologies in check, and this would inevitably require the global economy and its workforce to restructure itself, providing jobs that would support this restructuring in the process.

Featured image created by Christoph Roser and distributed under license.

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