PMBOK® Guide

Title/current version
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) 5th Edition

The basics
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is a guide providing a comprehensive set of knowledge, concepts, techniques and skills for the project management profession.

Summary of the method
The PMBOK® Guide is a publication from the Project Management Institute (PMI), an entity that is globally recognized as governing the project management discipline. PMI was founded in 1969 in the US and has become one of the principal professional non-profit organizations in the specialism. The first edition of the guide was published in 1996; the latest English-language PMBOK® Guide - Fifth Edition, was released in January 2013.

The PMBOK® Guide is process-based: it describes work as being accomplished by processes. This approach is consistent with other management standards such as ISO 21500 for Project Management, ISO/IEC 9001:2008 and the Software Engineering Institute’s CMMI. Processes overlap and interact throughout a project or its various phases. Processes are described in terms of inputs (documents, plans, designs, etc.), tools and techniques (mechanisms applied to inputs) and outputs (documents, products, etc.)

The guide identifies 47 processes that fall into five basic process groups and ten knowledge areas that are typical for almost every project.

The five process groups are Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing.

The ten knowledge areas are Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, Project Procurement Management and Stakeholder Management.

Each of the ten knowledge areas contains the processes that are advised to be accomplished within its discipline in order to achieve effective management of a project. Each of these processes also falls into one of the five basic process groups, creating a matrix structure such that every process can be related to one knowledge area and one process group.

Target audience
Although the publication typically targets (senior) project managers, the processes described involve all roles with an interest in project management, such as senior executives, programme and project managers, project team members, members of a project office, customers and other stakeholders, consultants and other specialists. As an introduction, an easy accessible pocket publication is also available, aimed at a broader audience involved in projects.

Scope and constraints
PMBOK® Guide is a generic approach that can be applied to any project.

• Extensive participation by different industry sectors and organizations that are using project management all over the world
• Recognized as a ‘world class’ standard in the profession and, because of that, used as the book of reference for many other project management standards and methods
• Generic; it can be applied to any project
• Focus on process, similar to other frameworks and standards in use such as ITIL®, COBIT® and ISO*. Fully aligned to the latest global project management standard, ISO 21500
• Evolution and continuous improvement in line with modern concepts of quality
• Certification programmes (PMP and CAPM) associated and guaranteed deployment of accreditation skills from all over the world.* Fully aligned with the broader concept of project, programme and portfolio management (PMI provides additional standards for this)

• The PMBOK® Guide is not exhaustive: although the PMBOK® Guide provides tools and techniques for the application of processes, it does not provide a method.
• The PMBOK® Guide does not provide real life examples of tools and templates for practical application
• The PMBOK® Guide is more of a framework a (conceptual over-arching and generic model) than a method (for direct practical application)

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Relevant reading

A pocket companion to PMI's PMBOK Guide

Also available in Dutch, German & Spanish, the latest French edition will appear on the 22nd of October.

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