PMBOK® Guide Introduction

1.1 Introduction

Project management is a complex and exciting field.  PMBOK guide introductionIt is a combination of a number of disciplines such as people management, influencing and negotiation, time management, task management, cost management, creative thinking, etc. It is thought at colleges and universities, is critical to any organization’s sustainability, and is considered a high profile profession.


Project Management Institute (PMI)® [1] is the world’s most recognized and respected authority on project management and through its certifications, publications, standards, and other means of operation acts to define, promote and improves the status and practice of project management globally.  PMI® has a number of Foundational Standards on which Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®[2] Guide)  (for the rest of the course simply referred to as PMBOK®[3] Guide) is the basis for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® [4] exam and this course.


It is essential you have a thorough understanding of PMBOK® Guide in order maximize your chances of passing the PMP® exam and more importantly in practice tailor it to a methodology that meets the specifics needs of your project and organization.  As such please pay close attention to the formal definition of PMBOK® Guide presented below.


Project Management Body of Knowledge: Is “an inclusive term that describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of project management. As with other professions, such as law, medicine, and accounting, the body of knowledge rests with the practitioners and academics that apply and advance it. The complete project management body of knowledge includes proven traditional practices that are widely applied and innovative practices that are emerging in the profession. The body of knowledge includes both published and unpublished materials. This body of knowledge is constantly evolving. PMI’s PMBOK® Guide identifies that subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice.[5]


“The acceptance of project management as a profession indicates that the application of knowledge, processes, skills, tools, and techniques can have a significant impact on project success. The PMBOK® Guide identifies that subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice. “Generally recognized” means the knowledge and practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time, and there is consensus about their value and usefulness. “Good practice” means there is general agreement that the application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques can enhance the chances of success over many projects. “Good practice” does not mean that the knowledge described should always be applied uniformly to all projects; the organization and/or project management team is responsible for determining what is appropriate for any given project.


The PMBOK® Guide also provides and promotes a common vocabulary within the project management profession for using and applying project management concepts. A common vocabulary is an essential element of a professional discipline.[6]


PMI[7]’s flagship certification is Project Management Professional (PMP)® known and respected globally. The following benefits are some of the reasons behind PMP®’s market value:


  • Common language/industry standard: Management is the art and science of turning ideas into results.  Master of Business Administration (MBA) programs differ from one school to the next, but they all cover the core managerial disciplines such as accounting, strategic management, statistics/quantitative decision making methods, marketing, etc.  Similarly project managers worldwide by no means are the same.  PMI®’s the Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge –PMBOK®[8] Guide is the PMI®’s guideline and framework for the discipline of project management and the PMP®[9] exam tests the applicant’s real world knowledge and experience in the context of the PMBOK® Guide.  As such, the PMP® designation means the credential holder has a firm grasp of the standard framework for Project Management.


  • Expansion of this knowledge base to higher levels of leadership: PMI® has created a robust and comprehensive set of standards for managing operations and organizations, and the PMBOK® Guide and PMP® tailor to project management, while other organizational management types such as program (collection of projects) management, portfolio (collection of programs and projects), and strategic (collection of operations/departmental activities, programs, and projects) management are all covered in PMI’s Foundational Standards namely the following publications:
    • The Standard for Program Management: For a scale large than a single project. This publication covers collection program management for a collection of related projects working towards the same overly complex outcome.
    • The Standard for Portfolio Management: For very large scale management involving management of programs and projects.
    • Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3[10]®) –Second Edition: For Strategic management of extremely complex and large organizational units.


Since these foundational standards are built on the PMBOK® Guide, to the PMP® certified project manager tasked to manage programs, portfolios or strategic initiatives the above mentioned interlinked and scalable foundational standards will prove extremely valuable.  This feature of PMP® exam alone makes it a unique scalable professional knowledge base equipping the certificate holder for leading at any organizational level[11].


  • It’s a professional designation: Which means that the PMP® certification holders have to act professionally—this topic is covered in the course in the Professional and Social Responsibility chapter—and failure to do so in severe cases can result in their certification being revoked, additionally in order to maintain the PMP® designation, the certification holder in periods of three years in duration has to accumulate 60 Personal Development Units (PDUs). PDUs can be claimed for continuing education in Project Management and/or giving back to the profession[12] .  In short PMP® designation holders are continually updating themselves and are obliged to abide by strict ethical standards.  These two factors are shared among all professional designations such as medical, accounting, law, etc.

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