Memorize PMP Processes – The Easy Way

In this Article I will try to give some insight on how to memorize PMP processes, and how to relate them to the correspondent Process Group, and Knowledge Area.

We will be using the famous Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas Mapping table from PMBOK guide, which is shown below, to demonstrate how we can easily relate the process to its Process Group and Knowledge Area.

As we all know, according to PMBOK® 5th Edition we have 47 PM processes, and these processes are scattered among 5 process groups, and 10 knowledge areas:

  • Initiating : 2 processes
  • Planning: 24 processes
  • Execution: 8 processes
  • Monitoring & Controlling: 11 processes
  • Closing: 2 processes.

So what is the easiest way we can use to relate each process to its process group?  It’s very obvious that Initiating & Closing process groups are not the ones that causing confusion here, since both of them has 4 processes in total, which leaves us with three Process Groups to focus on. You don’t have to memorize the 47 processes names; you just want to focus on some flash words, such as “Plan“, “Estimate“, “Perform“, “Develop“, “Control“, and “Validate“. Will discuss each one of them below.

  • Plan:
    • 11 processes have this word in its description:
      • Develop Project Management Plan: Integration Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Scope Management: Scope Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Schedule Management: Time Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Cost Management: Cost Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Quality Management: Quality Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Human Resource Management: Human Resource Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Communication Management: Communication Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Risk Management: Risk Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Risk Responses: Risk Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Procurement: Procurement Management Knowledge Area.
      • Plan Stakeholder Management: Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area.

All of the mentioned above processes belongs to the Planning Process Group, so if there is any question stating that you are in a process that has “plan” word, and then asks what you should do next, you should know that you are in the Planning phase of the project.

  • Estimate:
    • 3 processes have this word in its description:
      • Estimate Activity Resources: Time Management Knowledge Area.
      • Estimate Activity Duration: Time Management Knowledge Area.
      • Estimate Costs: Cost Management Knowledge Area.

All of the mentioned above processes belongs to the Planning Process Group.

  • Perform:
    • 4 processes have this word in its description:
      • Perform Integrated Change Control: Integration Management Knowledge Area.
      • Perform Quality Assurance: Quality Management Knowledge Area.
      • Perform Qualitative Risk Analysis: Risk Management Knowledge Area.
      • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis: Risk Management Knowledge Area.

The first one belongs to Monitoring & Controlling Process Group and that because it has the “Control” word, “Perform Quality Assurance” goes under Executing Process Group, and the last two belongs to the Planning Process Group.

  • Develop:
    • 4 processes have this word in its description:
      • Develop Project Charter: Integration Management Knowledge Area.
      • Develop Project Management Plan: Integration Management Knowledge Area.
      • Develop Schedule: Time Management Knowledge Area.
      • Develop Project Team: Human Resource Management Knowledge Area.

All of the mentioned above processes belong to the Planning Process Group, except for the “Develop Project Team” belongs to Executing Process Group, and “Develop Project Charter” it belongs to Initiating Process Group.

  • Control:
    • 10 processes have this word in its description:
      • Monitor & Control Project Work: Integration Management Knowledge Area.
      • Perform Integrated Change Control: Integration Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Scope: Scope Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Schedule: Time Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Costs: Cost Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Quality: Quality Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Communications: Communications Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Risks: Risk Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Procurements: Procurement Management Knowledge Area.
      • Control Stakeholder Engagement: Stakeholder Management Knowledge Area.

All of the mentioned above processes belong to the Monitoring & Controlling Process Group, the good news that 10 of 11 processes in the Monitoring & Controlling has the word “Control :).

  • Validate:
    • only 1 process has this word in its description:
      • Validate Scope: Scope Management Knowledge Area, this process belongs to Monitoring & Controlling Process Group.

Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Areas Mapping

So the advice here is you don’t have to memorize all and every process and in which Process Group and Knowledge Area it belongs, you need to focus on the flash words, as mentioned above. I hope you will find this post useful and it can help you in passing your PMP exam.

Your feedback is highly appreciated.

References: PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition by PMI

About Wafi Mohtaseb

Software Development & Management Specialist, Technology enthusiast, Project Management Professional PMP, Agile Certified Practitioner PMI-ACP, & Certified ScrumMaster

45 Responses to “Memorize PMP Processes – The Easy Way”

  1. Nice post – Wafi. Simple and easy to get.

  2. Excellent post, Wafi! Thank you

  3. Yes, it does sound a lot easier to memorize than the entire chart. Thank you.

  4. Memorize is good; rhymn and sing is even better! Anyone want to suggest lyrics and a tune? – Lee

  5. Perfect use of common sense

  6. Thanks for sharing this. Taking the exam on 8/30 😁 Any recommendations on the Critical Path Method?

  7. Has the test changed since the end of 2013? I noticed that there are now 47 PM process, instead of the 42.

  8. For memorizing the Planning Process Group: You’ll know the first process of each Knowledge area, then you need to memorize this: CDC-DSEED-ED-IQQP…now look above to see where this goes…

  9. Thanks so much. This is so helpful!

  10. some people suggest that we should use first 10 to 15 mins of the exam to draw such a grid before we start answering questions. Do you think that is useful or would it be a waste of time?

    • I personally did not do that when I applied for the exam, but it’s not a bad idea.

    • I know people who took a prep course and that is exactly what the course taught. It is called a memorization dump. I was searching for techniques to memorize as much as possible. I made flash cards off Wafi points above.

  11. Awesome bro,
    thank you so much for the tips!

  12. I have one query ? In Chart shown, why the Serial Numbering starting from “4” to “13” in vertical knowldge area ? Any particular reason ? Also since Business Case, SOW documents are input to Project Charter, when(in which phase) they will be prepared in which process group they fit?

    • @yogi, the chart has been snapped from the PMBOK, which has the Serial Numbers indicating Chapter numbers. They have no significance.

      The two activities that you mentioned are not part of the project management process groups, as they are pre-requisites to initiating the project. ‘Develop Project Charter’ process does the due diligence on these inputs to initiate a project/phase.
      Also, in my opinion, since the project mgmt process groups are repeated for each phase in multi-phase projects, it wouldn’t make sense to include them in a process.

  13. Thank you very much Wafi , very helpful .. appreciated

  14. Thanks Wafi

  15. Thank you Wafi very heplful,also thank you Gerald “CDC-DSEED-ED-IQQP”…good idea.

  16. This is good. In fact, very good as Wafi pointed out to pay attention to the flash words such as plan, control, Estimate, Analysis etc . For example. plan appears 10 times in Planning and only in planning and then Estimate and analysis appear only in Planning together with the
    word planning, they covered 15 of the 24 processes in Planning Process Group. These word quickly indicate where we are in the project (what phase). Thank Brother Wafi.

  17. Logical and concise. Appreciate the support.

  18. Arun Subramaniam Reply July 12, 2015 at 3:21 am

    Thanks Wafi. Your post made things look easy now.

  19. Very interesting and easy

  20. Very informative. What about formulae, any short cut to remember or practice questions..

  21. Very cool and thank you for sharing, you the man.

  22. Quaidjoher Motiwala Reply June 3, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    thanks its really easy to remember

  23. very helpfull thanks

  24. Thankyou so much, this is extremely helpful!

  25. You made it simple to understand easily,
    May Almighty show the path of success.

  26. Thank You Wafi for the tips. It really helped. Do you have anything similar for ITTOs?

  27. Excellent idea thanks a lot

  28. it is really worthy technique helps and may solve the memorizing issues of Process Groups .Vs Knowledge Areas table in PMBOK.

    thank you Wafi

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