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Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)

The PMP framework is based on the Project Management Body of Knowledge. In other words, “The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)” is the standard on which the PMP qualification is based. It comprises proven traditional practices that are commonly applied as well as innovative practices that are emerging in project management. The PMBOK is constantly growing, and with its growth is the realisation that no single book can contain the entire PMBOK. With this in mind, PMI developed “A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)”.

The PMBOK® Guide represents a portion of the PMBOK that is:

  • Generally recognized: There is general agreement about their value and usefulness. Also, you can apply the knowledge and practices portrayed to most projects most of the time.
  • Good practice: There is consensus that the application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project management processes can improve the likelihood of project success in delivering the expected business values and results.

Is the PMBOK Guide a Methodology?

My response to this question is an emphatic “No!”. The PMBOK guide is not a methodology. A methodology is a particular procedure or set of procedures for use within a discipline. Whereas, the PMBOK guide is based on “The Standard for Project Management. A standard is a document which an authority, custom, or general consent establishes as a model or example. While the PMBOK guide identifies good practices that apply to most projects, most of the time, it does not demand that you follow any particular process or practice. Therefore, it is obvious that the PMBOK guide is not a methodology. Rather, it is a framework upon which organizations can build their methodologies, policies, procedures, rules, tools, and techniques needed to practice project management.

Project Management Processes

The project life cycle is managed by executing a series of project management activities. These activities are also known as project management processes. For better understanding, these processes are grouped into process groups and knowledge areas. From the start of a project to its completion, the PMBOK Guide identifies five basic process groups and ten knowledge areas that are typical of most projects. For further explanation on the process groups and knowledge areas, see below:

This is a logical grouping of project management processes to achieve specific project objectives. The following consists of the Project Management Process Group:

  • Initiating Process Group: includes the processes involved in defining a new project or a new phase of an existing project by obtaining authorization to start the project or phase.
  • Planning Process Group: consists of processes you need to create the scope and objectives of the project, then define what you require to attain the project objectives.
  • Executing Process Group: involves the processes performed to complete the work according to the project management plan.
  • Monitoring and Controlling Process Group: comprises of the processes needed to keep track, evaluate, and manage the project performance and progress of the project. Also to identify any need for change, and initiate the corresponding changes.
  • Closing Process Group: processes carried out to formally complete or close the project.

Knowledge areas are also a way of categorizing Process Groups. The PMBOK guide describes the Knowledge Areas in terms of component processes, practices, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques. The Knowledge Areas interrelate with each other. However, the PMBOK defines them separately from the project management perspective. The following consists of the ten Project Management Knowledge Areas:

  • Project Integration Management: consists of the processes and activities to identify, combine, and coordinate the various activities within the Project Management Process Groups.
  • Project Scope Management: involves the processes needed to ensure the project comprises all the work required to successfully complete the project.
  • Project Schedule Management: comprises the processes required to ensure the timely completion of the project.
  • Project Cost Management: the processes involved in planning and managing costs so the project can be completed within the approved budget.
  • Project Quality Management: the processes for incorporating the organization’s quality policy regarding planning, managing, and controlling project and product quality requirements, in order to meet stakeholders’ expectations.
  • Project Resource Management: the processes to identify, acquire, and manage the resources needed to complete the project successfully.
  • Project Communications Management: the processes required to ensure timely and appropriate distribution of project information.
  • Project Risk Management: the processes of monitoring risk on a project.
  • Project Procurement Management: the processes needed to purchase or acquire products, services, or results needed from outside the project team.
  • Project Stakeholder Management: Includes the processes required to identify the people, groups, or organizations that can impact or be impacted by the project, and develop appropriate management strategies for stakeholders.

These process groups and knowledge areas combined sum up to 49 project management processes. The table below is an overview of the basic processes in the process groups and knowledge areas.

Table2

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