The 10 Knowledge Areas of the PMP Exam

Megan Suitts on Nov 26, 2014 8:06:00 AM

pmp exam

Studying for the PMP Certification exam is a daunting task.  But like any project you face it's made of component parts that can be processed individually.  

One of the big areas of study to focus on when prepping for the exam is the 10 PMP knowledge areas.

Knowing these 10 areas and how they apply to the five PMP process groups and 47 processes will be a huge benefit come exam time.  

The knowledge areas, process groups, and processes work together to form the foundation for project management methodologies.

They are all organized in the PMP Knowledge Areas Mapping Matrix, found in table 3-1 of the PMBOK Fifth Edition. This article will focus on the 10 knowledge areas.

The 10 PMP Knowledge Areas

Integration - the processes involved in this knowledge area all about coordination and cooperation.  

This knowledge area combines all of the needs, expectations, and project plans for all involved and creates one cohesive document.  Managing changes to the project also falls into integration.

Scope - defines what is included and not included in any given project, giving clear boundaries and statement of work.  The scope gives clear parameters to all members of the project team.  

Time - this area involves developing a realistic timeline for the project and the activities needed to complete it.  

Each deliverable, department, and activity has a unique timetable so that the project can proceed on a reasonable schedule.knowledge areas

Cost - for many clients, this is a very important step for any project.  

Making sure that a project is delivered within budget is a hallmark of a successful project manager.  

The processes in this knowledge area involve establishing a budget and estimating costs for labor, equipment, etc.  

Controlling costs is an ongoing process in every project.

Quality - it's not enough to deliver a project - you have to make sure that it functions according to expectations and has been properly tested.  

Quality assurance is an important process of this knowledge area and involves weighing the finished product against the features, performance, and values promised at project start.

Human Resource - every project requires a team.  This knowledge area involves identifying, developing, and managing the human element of the project - making sure that your human resources are being utilized effectively and have the right skills to contribute to the project.

Communications - through every step in the project, you have to be able to manage communications internally and externally with the project stakeholders, other departments, and manage reporting.  

Clear and concise communication ensures that everyone is on the same page.

Risk - Identifying risks means identifying uncertainties that can occur during a project, both threats and opportunities.  

Collaborating with as many people as possible means that you will have a broader and more thorough understanding of uncertainties that can occur and plan responses to combat them.

Procurement - this knowledge area identifies resources that will be needed outside of the project team in order to complete deliverables - contractors, freelancers, vendors, suppliers, etc.

Stakeholders - the project stakeholders are the people within the project who have the power to create change, and whose involvement (or lack) can have negative or positive influence on the completion of the project.  

These are the decision makers.  The stakeholders also tend to have authority by allocating resources (time, money) or expertise to the project.


The 10 pmp knowledge areas are important ideas that every project manager must have fullPMP exam prep command of when undertaking every project.

The Knowledge mapping matrix can help you visualize just how necessary these interactions are throughout the process.  

The knowledge areas work interdependently with the process groups and processes to complete the project lifecycle, and understanding how they work together will increase your chances of passing the PMP Certification exam.


Interested in learning more about the PMP exam? Download our FREE eBook today!

Download the eBook!


Leave a comment