The core knowledge areas in the PMBOK guide make up the triple, or quadruple, constraint in project management.
Scope is all of the work involved in creating the products of the project and the processes used to create them.
Time refers to the project schedule and specifically when the project will need to be completed by.
Cost is all about the project budget. How much will this project cost the company to complete?
Quality has been defined many different ways, one of which is the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfill requirements
When tracking a project the project manager and everyone on the team, should be continuously asking questions throughout the project. These questions should be focused around the four core knowledge areas: scope, time, cost and quality.
Core knowledge area related questions:
- Scope – Is this in scope?
- Time – Is this on schedule?
- Quality – Does this meet the specifications?
- Cost – Are we under budget?
If these questions are asked continuously then issues that will throw off any of these core project areas will be found and dealt with early. The key to good project management is to know that you are not done once you have created a project plan. There will always be change to deal with. This could be change from evolving customer requirements, changes in staffing, or changes in business due to changing priorities. Since change is a constant, asking these questions throughout a project can help a team to constantly monitor and adjust for these changes and this can mean the difference between project failure and success.