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Using a Network to Visualize the Interrelation, Sequence, and Hierarchy of the 42 PMI Processes

edited March 2012 in PM Certifications

Hi everybody,

As a continuation of a an entry posted previously elsewhere, in which I presented a similar chart but reduced to the first 22 PMI processes only, I have finally had the chance to extend the chart to the 42 PMI processes.

All this has been part of my preparation for the PMP exam. This chart was very helpful for me and I share it gladly hoping that some of you might find it useful as well.

The network allows one to visualize in an integrated manner and at a single glance the interrelation amongst these 42 processes. It also clarifies the natural process sequence and the relative importance of each process with respect to the others.

I use the chart as a problem-solving space that facilitates asking many questions about this topic and understanding the answers. Clik on the thumb below to render the full-size pdf in a new window. Thanks.



  • edited March 2012

    Hello Raul,

    I don't have the right words to describe it, and probably 'awesome' does not describe the real awesomeness of this piece.

    While I truly appreciate your work and effort that has gone into this, I do want to share some feedback. When I saw it for the first time, my reaction was - wow, this is great, but how am I going to use it? I find some practical difficulty in using this, unless it is printed on a plotter paper using a commercial plotter. There are just too many lines going from one box to another, and I'm feeling somewhat lost in the maze. Now what can we do about it? I have a few suggestions:

    1. Use different colors for the lines. You could use same color for the lines coming out of a process, or going into a process, or some other scheme to differentiate the lines from one another.

    2. Remove the numbers from the box and try to put the actual process name in the box somehow. I know you must have had difficulty squeezing those names into the small boxes, but it would certainly improve the usability. You could remove the legend and try to use that space to make the boxes bigger.

    3. You might want to organize the boxes (processes) such that they are laid out Process Group-wise. I'm not sure whether that's possible, but it would really help visualize things better.

    I also have some idea about digitizing this whole thing and making it interactive. I don't want to put those ideas here. Let me spend some more time in developing that idea, and we can take it up offline.

    I have seen your other pieces as well, and I really admire your creativity. You have a unique talent. Keep up the good work.

    Best regards.

  • I read through your notes on the chart. One thing that stood out for me was the effort that you put into creating those databases. I think if you had used ITTO Explorer in BrainBOK, it would have made your job a lot easier.

  • I did feel as well very much lost in the labyrinth of lines going one way or another in the chart. This, however, happened only in the beginning. Most of us have the tendency of zooming in sometimes prematurely on things when learning. So I printed a poster-size copy of the chart and pinned it on the wall of my studio. I then forced myself to zoom out and inspect the chart as a whole. Noticing patterns, identifying clusters of processes, and focussing only on the big picture for a while was quite useful. I then realized that I had built the chart in the first place to fulfill the need to contemplate the entire forest quietly from afar at least once. Most of the learning resources available for the PMP exam focus too soon into the trees and many of us lose the view of the forest. The challenge then for the next version of the chart might be to devise a user interface that allows one to freely alternate between zoom-in and zoom-out vantage points. An interactive map is a great idea. I appreciate your comments. Let us continue the discussion offline. Thanks a lot.

  • Raul,

    Have you thought about using Prezi to represent this information? It would allow you unlimited space to work with, and zoom in and out almost effortlessly.

    My experience with Prezi is limited but it may have features to turn on/off certain sections.

    You may want to explore it further.

    In the meanwhile, I'm also thinking about other ideas.


  • I took a brief look at Prezi. The examples look quite impressive. I was left, however, under the impression that the software only allows for animated presentations that follow a fixed script, and not for interactive pieces in which the user actually determines where to go. I wonder if that is the case.

    Yesterday I devoted time to modify the first version following your remarks. I took out my personal notes and the list of processes; I also made the boxes bigger. This second version of the chart looks much better (see attachment). Your suggestions were right on. Thanks

    I also added hotspots to three of the major processes in this new version. A click on any of the three boxes opens up a pdf layer showing only a cluster of related processes for inspection. It is just an experiment for now, but I think it could facilitate the use of the chart. I shall appreciate any comment on your part. Thanks.

  • Important note on the attachment above. Opening the pdf directly in your browser won't work, I don't know how. Apparently, the browser would be unable to distinguish amongst different layers in the pdf. The result is a messy graph. Instead, right-click on the attachment icon to save the pdf directly to your local computer, and then open it up using Acrobat Reader or Acrobat. I hope that works. I apologize for the inconvenience. Thanks.

  • edited March 2012


    This is magical! First I didn't understand why you were asking to download the file because I could simply click and open it in Chrome. But then I read the note at the top right of the document that suggested that I could click on certain processes. But in Chrome I wasn't able to click on any of them. Then I downloaded the file, opened it in Adobe Acrobat Reader and then those boxes were clickable.

    To anyone following this thread, please download the file, and then open it in Adobe Acrobat Reader. You should be able to click on processes 3, 11, and 18 and see the magic.

    I'm very impressed to see that you managed to address most of the comments so well with such quick turnaround. I think now it's very usable and useful.

    I have one question here. Is there any logic behind the position of the processes on the chart? I could not really figure out the logic. For example, look at Plan Quality. Why is it so much toward the middle of the page when it could have been moved toward the right?

    Anyway, this is a great resource now. I'll soon add this to the PMP / CAPM resources page.

    Thank you for the effort you've put into this, and sharing it with the community.

    Best regards.

  • These are the five rules that I applied in building the process network:

    • Follow a vertical flow of processes starting on the top and moving down
    • Respect, above all, the order or processes determined by their connecting lines
    • Keep processes in numerical order only to the extent permitted by their interconnections
    • Identify natural clusters of processes and keep them in the same neighborhood
    • Avoid upward connecting lines except in the case of feedback cycles defined as such

    In this way, some processes such as processes numbers 15 "Develop HR Plan" and 3 "Develop Project Management Plan" appear in places dictated primarily by their connections and not solely by their number. Process 15 must be carried out before process 12 "Estimating Costs" since the HR Plan is a necessary input for the latter. By the same token, process 3 had to be moved towards the center since this process acts as a major hub in the input-output flow of the network.

    According to these rules, process number 16 "Plan Quality" should be moved, in effect, downwards. You are correct in your appreciation. In fact, processes numbers 12 "Estimate Costs" and 13 "Determine Budget" could be moved upwards at the same time to delimit a natural cluster of processes. I attach a one-layer pdf (no interactivity) of the network showing these changes. The network is even more readable this way. I appreciate your exact comment.

    Regarding natural clusters of processes, I have identified up to now a few of them that appear very clearly in the network, while I am still working on identifying others, more difficult to spot and justify.

    • Cluster One including processes 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6, with process 6 "Create WBS" as critical.
    • Cluster Two including processes 7 to 15, with process 11 "Develop Schedule" as critical.
    • Cluster Three including processes 16 to 22, with process 18 "Identify Risks" as critical.
    • Cluster Four including processes 3, 23 to 29 and others (still working on this), with process 3 "Develop Project Management Plan" as critical.
    • Another cluster down by the tail of the network still to be identified and explained.

    To finalize the chart, I would like to add enough layers to the set in order to cover, at least, closer views of all natural clusters and major processes. I also would like to add to the layers relevant information from the database. Please give me a couple of days for me to get this done. Thanks a lot.

  • edited March 2012

    I finalized the next version of the chart. Without the help and valuable suggestions of the Administrator of this forum, I would have never gone as far as I did in improving the chart. Asking good questions is a forgotten art nowadays. The credit for this piece is therefore fully shared. I enjoyed the challenge very much. Thanks a lot.

    Clcking on the following thumb image would directly download the layered pdf file. I tried it successfully in the versions that I have of Safari, Firefox, Chrome, and Explorer. With the exception of Safari that downloaded the file without asking, the rest of the browsers did ask first. I hope this procedure would work on your browser too if you chose to click on the thumb.


    In case you rather prefer to access the pdf as usual, I have included the file as a regular post attachment down below. Right-click on the icon to save the document to your local computer. Thanks.

  • File attached here. I apologize for the mistake.

  • @Raul,

    This is amazing effort. With each iteration, the usefulness has improved tremendously. This has become a must-have tool for every PMP and CAPM aspirant. I've added a link to the file on the PMP and CAPM Certification Resources page. I've already shared it on my Facebook page, and Linked In forums. I'll also share it on my blog and other websites.

    I'm seriously thinking about developing an interactive web based tool for this. I don't want static drawings, but something that can generate the drawings on the fly (programmatically) and help to view the data flow among processes similar to what you have done with the layers. I'm still trying to research into appropriate tools.

    I don't have any particular suggestions at this time, but I think you'll continue to get accolades and ideas for improvement from other people, for a long time to come. I hope you have subscribed to this thread and getting notifications when responses are posted here.

    On behalf of this forum, I thank you for your wonderful effort.

  • The functionality of the chart would certainly continue to evolve if people find it useful and are willing to comment on possible improvements. Any comments or precisions from this forum and from any other sources would be more than welcome. Thanks.

    On my part, I have some changes in mind that I would like to implement on the chart as I have time available:

    • I would like, for example, to include more processes as hotspots besides the five major processes that I have already included in this version.
    • In the closer views of the processes, I would also like to include pertinent information from the database as I have already done.
    • But as a next step, I would like to link the database to the views themselves so the information is rendered on the fly. In this way, any change in the basic information could be updated directly from the database without the need of producing new pictures each time.

    I appreciate your interest on this post. I will post here other notes as I progress in my preparation for the PMP exam. Thanks a lot.

  • Just a thought...you do not need this detailed information to pass the PMP exam. What exactly are you trying to do?

  • I appreciate your comment pstreet704. Thanks very much.

    Understanding how the different processes depend on each other, as well as knowing the input/output flow between them is relevant material for the PMP exam. But not necessarily at this level of detail, you are right.

    In my view, it all depends on one's learning style. Some people prefer to memorize the facts; others feel more comfortable getting into certain level of detail to grasp the rationale behind.

    I personally fall into the second group, and seeing the total process picture was useful for me to better understand the input-output flow between processes. That is why I posted this chart. I don't have any other intention but to share my experience with others.

    Your comment is valuable since it gives me the opportunity to clarify that even though the material is relevant for the PMP exam, the level of detail might not suit everyone's learning style. Thanks a lot.

  • edited April 2012

    @pstreet0704 - Yes, it's good question, and it's a good habit to challenge and question things.

    @raulcid - Good response as well.

    Every mind works differently. There's no single best way to learn things. This chart may be extremely useful for some, and utterly confusing to others. And both group of people are perfectly normal.

    One thing I learned through my experience with blogging is to put disclaimers, specially when I recommend something. For example, a simple disclaimer may go like this:

    What worked for me, may not work for you :)

    Thanks, both of you.

  • @Raulcid - great work !! but I guess it is useful and more understandable when you design it by yourself. I am sure amount of time and efforts you put in ..have made you understand the chart and interrelation absolutely well. So Key is in BUILDING the chart than reading because for Readers ( like me )/ others, sometimes difficult to get the complete flow. I think it would be better understandable when input outputs are mentioned ..everything in one piece ..
    Great efforts btw!!!

  • @hi2shrads, thanks for your comment.

    Building the network certainly was a learning experience for me. And I completely agree with you; a lot of the value resides in the process of construction rather than in the product itself.

    My command on this material has improved a lot thanks to the process. Yesterday, for example, I went through the practice test in Crowe's book and I was amazed at how many questions of the type "what is the next step that needs to be taken" and questions of other types I was able to answer without hesitation.

    This question, for example, that otherwise I would have struggled with, I responded it right away with confidence:

    Which two processes are tightly linked when performing a project and are often performed at the same time?

    • A. Plan Scope and Plan Costs
    • B. Direct and Manage Project Execution and Acquire Project Team
    • C. Perform Quality Assurance and Manage Project Team
    • D. Perform Quality Control and Verify Scope

    I counted 25 questions, that is 12.5% of the test, that were related to the input/output flow amongst processes. I responded to all of them correctly. And I attribute this to the knowledge that I acquired in building and playing with the network and with the database that goes with it.

  • Great work! It takes time and effort ...

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