PMBOK – The Bible for Project Managers

The Project Management Guide, which is an internationally recognized Standard (IEEE, ANSI), is used as a reference for most of the professional development programs based on Project Management.  Various institutes and institutions offer Professional Courses on Project Management/ PMP Certification.  The curriculum designed is largely based on the Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge i.e, the PMBOK® and other Project Management books and Standards advocated by the Project Management Institute PMI®. The PMI® is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization for Project Management. It serves the Project Management community through its various initiatives, where advocating the Best Practices in Project, Program and portfolio management is in the forefront. The PMI® has regularly updated the PMBOK®. The first edition was actually published by the PMI® as a white paper in the year 1983. The Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge is now in its 5th edition released recently in 2013.

The Project Management Guide represents the SUM total of knowledge present within the profession of Project Management. The PMBOK® provides a framework for guidelines, rules and characteristics of Projects across industries. Its standards are widely accepted and when, consistently applied, help you and your organization achieve professional excellence. The knowledge, standards and practices framed within the Project Management Guide, are applicable to most of the Projects, most of the times in most of the industry verticals.

The Project Management Guide is all about processes, their interactions, integration and their interface points. The process interactions defined are a variation of the Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle. The PMBOK® also serves to promote and establish a common vocabulary for the Project Management Profession. The guide suggests tools and techniques for each process as well as provides a basis for defining inputs and outputs for the same. It defines the basic concepts of Project, Project Management, Role of Project Manager in different Organizational Structures, Project Management phases and the Project Life Cycle.  The guide provides a comprehensive approach to balance the project constraints, which include, but are not limited to the following:

  • Scope
  • Quality
  • Schedule
  • Budget
  • Resources and
  • Risk

The PMBOK® in its 5th edition is structured around 5 Process Groups viz. Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling and Closing. Furthermore, 10 Knowledge areas are mapped to the 5 Process Group by unique individual Processes. The 10 Knowledge Areas are as under:

  • Project Integration Management
  • Project Time Management
  • Project Scope Management
  • Project Cost Management
  • Project Quality Management
  • Project Human Resource Management
  • Project Communications Management
  • Project Risk Management
  • Project Procurement Management

The Project Stakeholder Management is an addition in the PMBOK® 5th edition. In the earlier edition Project Stakeholder Management was part of the Project Communication Management Knowledge Area. The 5th edition defines 47 processes around the Process Groups and Knowledge Areas, which are 5 more than those in the previous edition.

Aside from laying down guidelines and Practices to deliver Projects, the Project Management Guide also provides a pointer to the expected Interpersonal Skills for a Project Manager. According to the PMBOK® the three tenets, Knowledge, Performance and Personal Skills are the three legs of a tri-pod on which successful projects are shaped. The Guide provides an exhaustive list of the required Interpersonal Skills and suggests ways of honing those skills to maximize Team Performance.

The Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge is thus the most comprehensive resource for the budding Project Management Professional.  It holds the Final Word on how Projects are managed. That being the case, it does not advocate following the processes as a rigid diktat, but rather suggests adopting the processes with the vigor and fervor as required by the respective Project to be decided by the Project Manager.