October 30, 2018 by Sumit Bhattacharya

NOTE: This article reflects an older version of the PMP Exam – please see the current PMP Certification page for the most up-to-date information.

The Project Management Professional (PMP) is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.


The Project Management Professional®️ (or PMP®️) is a professional credential offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PMI’s process assesses the practitioner’s competence based on knowledge and task-driven guidelines and defines the levels of clarity, critical facilities and degree of individual knowledge and competence required to perform in accordance with the industry standards as a project manager.

As the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) states: “The Executing Process Group consists of those processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan to satisfy the project specifications.” This group integrates and coordinates people and other resources to carry out the project management plan.

In simple language, project execution is about setting a project plan into action. Execution is completely about well-structured deliverables that fulfill the customer needs. In addition, team leaders can make this happen by allocating to competent resources and ensure their focus on assigned tasks. It involves coordination between all members of the team including the team leader.

During the execution phase, the project manager’s role is to oversee all the phases, ensuring that tasks are completed on the timeline and the budget and that he or she acts as an intermediary between the client and the team. The project manager’s responsibility is to execute the project closely, report to the client on the progress and keep them updated about the project in the case of any issues.

Examination Structure

The following table depicts the percentage of total questions, divided per domain. The number of the questions are decided based on the weight given to each domain and comes in multiple-choice format.

Domain Percentage of Items on Test
Initiating 13%
Planning 24%
Executing 31%
Monitoring 25%
Closing 7%
Total 100%


In this section, we will look into the tasks used in the execution domain. PMP certification progress requires the measurement of these tasks.

Executing 31%
Task 1 Acquire and manage project resources by following the human resource and procurement management plans in order to meet project requirements.
Task 2 Manage task execution based on the project management plan by leading and developing the project team in order to achieve project deliverables.
Task 3 Implement the quality management plan using the appropriate tools and techniques in order to ensure that work is performed in accordance with required quality standards.
Task 4 Implement approved changes and corrective actions by following the change management plan in order to meet project requirements.
Task 5 Implement approved actions by following the risk management plan in order to minimize the impact of the risks and take advantage of opportunities on the project.
Task 6 Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed.
Task 7 Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan in order to receive continued support and manage expectations.

Knowledge and Skills

  • Continuous improvement processes
  • Contract management techniques
  • Elements of a statement of work
  • Interdependencies among project elements
  • Project budgeting tools and techniques
  • Quality standard tools
  • Vendor management techniques

Executing Process Group — Core Tasks

  1. Direct and Manage Project Work: This process is part of the Project Integration Management knowledge area. Many times, a defined budget is spent on addressing and collecting the details of the execution process. It is therefore recommended that project managers set clear goals and realistic timelines from the beginning of the project, such as checking schedules and phasing. It also helps to avoid a last-minute rush in case of any changes in the project plan. Certain activities of this process include handling IT risk, undertaking project objectives and dealing with sellers and suppliers. Key outputs of the process are deliverables, performance data and project change requests.
  2. Quality Assurance: This process belongs to the Project Quality Management knowledge area. The process covers two key parts, auditing of quality requirements and quality control measurements. The process also takes care of the quality standards and operational definitions that are used during project execution. Routine quality assurance checks help a project supervisor make necessary modifications when needed. Moreover, the quality management process arranges for data to share with stakeholders to gain their trust on project movement on time and budget.
  3. Project Resources: The Project Resources Process is divided into three sub-categories: Acquire Project Team, Develop Project Team and Manage Project Team. All of them belong to the Project Human Resources Management knowledge area.
    • Acquire Project Team: This process starts with the setup of your team. Team leaders must also communicate clear expectations and timelines to make the project count. Outputs included in this process are creating resource calendars, allocating staff and negotiations and acquisitions.
    • Develop Project Team: Having the support of tools and knowledge is essential to do the job effectively. Encouraging team cohesion and providing frequent additional training can also aid in boosting project success. Usual outputs in this process consist of conducting performance assessments, including all development-related activities such as training and team building.
    • Manage Project Team: The synergy between divisions within a project is essential for the completion of work. The leader, who listens to their employees’ concerns and responds appropriately to them, directly influences the success of the entire project. Adapting amidst adjustments whenever required and mitigating challenges can also result in a robust product. Some outputs of this process include bringing up-to-date project management plans and documents, conflict resolution and performance appraisals.
  4. Manage Communications: Less-seasoned project managers easily overlook routine communication. As a team leader, it is crucial to learn professional finesse, such as the right time to pick up the phone, discussing timelines and sending upcoming schedule changes by email to another team. Making efficient communication flow of both routine and red flag issues is significant for a positive workflow experience. Communications include internal communications sent within the project team and external communications, which are generally accountable to stakeholders of the project.
  5. Stakeholders Relationship: Experienced project managers understand that managing stakeholder communication is as imperative as communicating with teams. Steady communication, listing benchmark goals and replying swiftly to any emergent stakeholder concern can establish a better workflow situation. The key tasks in this process are management of stakeholder expectations, fulfilling stakeholder needs and addressing concerns in the project life cycle. Change requests and issue logs are among outputs of this process.
  6. Conduct Procurements: Decisions about resource allocation and distribution are of utmost necessity for each project. Generating reports and documents needed to respond to the approval processes helps to ensure the optimal budgetary decisions within the project timeline. The primary activities involved in this process are selection of a seller, bestowing a contract and signing an agreement. Certain inputs of this process are the seller proposals, procurement statement of work, source selection criteria and pricing decisions.

Areas of Study

  1. Direct and Manage Project Work
    • Benefit-to-cost ratio
      • BCR >1: Benefit is higher than cost
      • BCR<1: Cost is higher than benefit
    • Present value and net present value
      • Net Present Value (NPV) – take out costs
      • NPV=sum [cash/ (1+r) ^n] – initial investment
      • Present Value formula (PV): PV=FV [1/ (1+r) ^n]
  2. Quality Assurance
    • It is recommended to study the Ishikawa or fishbone diagram/cause-and-effect diagram, which identify the origins of causes. Tracing quality problems helps to prevent future issues
    • Pareto Chart: A Pareto chart is also known as the 80/20 rule. This states that 80% of problems have 20% of the causes. This chart helps to determine the root causes behind the problems and it positions the result from utmost regular to least regular
    • Timely quality audits: This is the main tool of Quality Assurance. This audit examines the activities to improve and the ones which meet quality standards. This supports to improve product acceptance and total cost of quality standards
    • Statistical sampling: In this process, random samples are picked up rather gauging the whole population. Proper sampling saves time and work
  3. Acquire, Develop and Manage Project Team
    • Study RACI Matrix: This matrix is very popular in the organizations. In general, only one person is assigned one role for a work, but sometimes more than one person may be answerable for performing the work
    • Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM): Specific roles assigned to each person on the work
    • Tuckman’s Ladder of Team Development: Team development is described in five levels of performance, namely, forming, storming, norming, performing and adjourning
    • Conflict Management: Conflict management is an integral part of Manage Project Team. The project manager is responsible for performing activities such as problem-solving, collaboration, compromise, forcing, smoothing and withdrawal
    • Constructive team roles/destructive team roles
    • Concept of Hygiene Theory: Also known as Herzberg’s Motivation Theory
  4. Manage Communications
    • Difference between informal or formal written and informal or formal verbal
      • Informal written: Generally used to convey information through email or memo
      • Formal written: Essential for prominent documents that go into project records. Examples include contracts, legal notices and documents.
      • Informal verbal: Information communicated quickly and efficiently, such as meetings and calls
      • Formal verbal: Mostly used for public relations or events, company announcements, sales and so forth
    • Interactive, push or pull categories
      • Interactive: A type of meeting where there is an open forum to ask questions, e.g., WebEx
      • Push: Sending a bulk email, e.g., announcements
      • Pull: Website from where a presentation or papers can be downloaded
  5. Conduct Procurements
    • Contract types: This area includes fixed price, time and material contract, and cost-reimbursable contracts
    • Risk for each of the contracts
  6. Manage Stakeholders Relationship
    • Interest and power as stakeholder’s perspective: Stakeholders’ engagement must be understood and analyzed. This helps to understand the present and desired states of a project stakeholder


It is recommended that you base your preparation on every knowledge area rather focusing on one, due to PMP’s high unpredictability rate on the examination. However, it is widely accepted that certain knowledge areas are tougher than others. Execution of a project could take days, weeks or even longer, depending on the project period. Nevertheless, the project manager’s duty is to ensure the project remains on track for the entire duration.



Project Management Professional (PMP) Examination Content Online, PMI

Project Execution Process Group: Put Your Plan to Work, Bright Hub Project Management

Executing Process Group: 20 Activities in the Heart of Project Management, Master of Project Academy Blog

Posted: October 30, 2018
Sumit Bhattacharya
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