Project Documents

19 January, 2015

In previous articles, we have demonstrated to PMP® exam students that there is some logic and common sense to the inputs and outputs that relate the various project management processes. We have highlighted where enterprise environmental factors, organizational process assets, work performance data, information and reports, as well as change requests are used. However, the fifth edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) decided to tidy things up by hiding specific inputs and outputs under the generic heading “project documents”.

The really frightening thing for someone undergoing PMP® exam preparation is that project documents are a moveable feast – they are literally context dependent. This is a problem for the PMP® exam student because, even if you can recall all 37 instances of project documents across all 47 project management processes, you still might be caught out by questions relating to particular project documents.

The project documents are listed in Table 4-1 of the PMBOK® Guide and reproduced here for your convenience.

While this is a long list, you will notice that each document is associated with a particular knowledge area, so there is potential relate these documents to the right processes intuitively.

Exploring the PMBOK® Guide for details of what project documents mean in each context reveals the infuriating phrase “may include but is not limited to” in most sections. Let us look at what we can learn from the PMBOK® Guide with regard to project documents as inputs:

This is not a very satisfactory exercise. Firstly, we have now encountered project documents that are not contained in Table 4-1 – Training Plans and Process Documentation for instance. We also have reference to specific parts of documents and, most worrying, is a broad sweep of anything that “may influence” the process. So being dedicated and drilling down into what project documents are in any given context does not lead to specific documents.

It is a similar story with project documents updates. These are outputs from processes and they appear 32 times in the PMBOK® Guide. Essentially these are the documents not explicitly listed among the process’s outputs that may be updated due to work done in the process. These are:

The project documents updates have a certain amount of logic to them. The PMP® exam could have a question that might list one of these documents as a correct answer.  You will need to understand the process well and ask yourself if such an update would be plausible.

The only thing we can say for definite about project documents is that project documents are always inputs and project documents updates are always outputs.

Velopi’s PMP® Exam Preparation courses cover just about everything you need to know to obtain PMP® certification. Please visit our training page or contact us directly if you are interested in this, or any of the other project and program management courses we offer. Velopi is a Registered Education Provider for the Project Management Institute so you are in good hands.

By Velopi Seamus Collins

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