Project Management and the Knowledge Areas – Divide and Conquer

ic design Aug 22, 2016 12:28:18 PM

Aug 22, 2016 12:28:18 PM


So far in this blog series, I started with my top 5 takeaways from my PMI Project Management training and project experience within ic design services, and then went into more detail in the second blog describing how we can 'Divide & Conquer' a project by splitting it up into 'Process Groups'. These groups represent the different stages of a project. 

Continuing with 'Divide & Conquer', this blog is about sub-dividing the project in a different way - by ten knowledge areas

When you consider this list it should become apparent why the project manager who thinks a Gantt chart is enough is doomed to failure.  Time management is important, but it’s just one of ten knowledge areas - what are the other nine that we should be thinking about?



 Here we go... The 10 knowledge areas are:

  • Scope

What are the requirements of the project?  There are numerous cases reported in the media where an essential customer requirement was missed and the supplier delivered the wrong product.  It often doesn’t help that the customer doesn’t know what they want either!  Therefore extensive requirement elicitation is necessary to avoid embarrassing mistakes.

  • Time

This one everybody understands but is often the major source of project disputes.

  • Cost

We may be able to deliver that project on time but if we break the bank by doing it there are not going to be many happy people around.

  • Quality

We want to deliver the best product that we can within the constraints of Scope, Time and Cost.

  • Human Resources

Projects are run by teams and teams are people.  We need to keep those people motivated and focused on what needs to be done otherwise the project will quickly dissemble, go astray, implode, Insert whichever word you like best.

  • Communication

Ever been at an airport and your plane is delayed but there is no further information beyond that fact?  Most people can accept problems provided they understand why and what you are going to do about it. 

  • Risk

Projects are uncertain affairs and therefore we want to understand what could go wrong and think about reducing the impact of potential problems before they occur.

  • Procurement

Likelihood is that we won’t be the end suppliers and there will be suppliers providing us with the tools and material to complete our project.  A missing delivery from one of our suppliers could stop the project and so they need managing too.

  • Stakeholder

Understand the goals and needs of the people who have influence on the project.  We will either need their help or need to keep them happy so they don’t interfere with the running of our project.

  • Integration

All the knowledge areas interact with each other e.g. delaying schedule, adds cost and so we need to pull them all together.  We also need to manage the process of change because it is inevitable and we need to keep control.



During the different stages or process groups of the project, we’ll be doing different things in each of the ten knowledge areas

  • For example, when planning the project we will Estimate Activity Durations (Time) and Identify Risks (Risk) or..
  • whilst executing the project we will Direct and Manage Project Work (Integration) and Conduct Procurements (Procurement). 

These are some of the 47 processes which are defined by the PMI project management standard and help the project manager break the project down into easier to handle pieces.  Presenting each of the 47 processes is a little too dry (and long) for this blog but instead I’d like to give a summary of knowledge from each of them.  In the next blog, I will start with the Scope knowledge area.

Andrew Miles PMP


Andrew Miles is a physical implementation engineer turned project manager.  He is PMP certified and has led many projects for a number of tier one companies.  He helps to run the Sondrel Project Management Office (PMO).  If you'd like to know how Sondrel's project managers can help your project then please contact


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