PMBOK: Top 10 Takeaways for a Project Manager

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What is PMBOK for a Project Manager? PMBOK is a guide to the project management body of knowledge. The main reason why project managers should diligently study PBMOK is that PBMOK accumulates a wealth of project management expertise in various industries, regardless of organization, and contains fundamental practices that will deliver positive business results: profit and efficiency.

PMI Certification for PM (Project Managers)

PBMOK is primarily focused on project managers who plan to take the PMI (Project management institute) certification exam.

PMI certificate is an official document that outlines the norms, methods, processes, and practices. Like other professional fields: jurisprudence, medicine, finance, etc., this knowledge base is based on the leading expertise of well-known international corporations and major US organizations, which in turn contributed to the development of the PMI standard.

PMI certification is the basic standard of project management in the US and many other countries. The Project Management Institute (PMI) is a non-profit organization whose mission is to support the professional growth of PMs. PMI uses PMBOK as the main reference material for its certification.

To fulfill its obligations to the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and to maintain the status of the standard, PMI updates its PMBOK at least every five years.

History of PMBOK

The first edition of PMBOK was published in 1986 by the Project Management Institute (PMI). At one time, it was a revolutionary methodology that sought to influence the approach to project management in the future.

The 1991 methodology described by the PMBOK Guide is recognized as the national ANSI standard. The ANSI standard was mentioned a little above. The first edition of the book was published in 1994. Two years later, the 2nd edition of PMBOK is published. This was due to the rapid growth of members of the PMI Institute. The third edition of the PMBOK Guide dates from the 2000s. In 2004, PMI released another creation, the PMBOK Guide Third Edition.

History of PMBOK

The third edition was most widely used. In 2008, a new version of the methodology was released – PMBOK Fourth Edition. In the fourth version of PMBOK, the most dramatic changes were made, and the PMI methods were changed. Methods were added to the standard: analytical work, prototyping, interactive, and use of artificial intelligence systems to build a forecast of implementation and completion of the project in terms of budget compliance. Currently, two more releases have been released – PMBOK Guide Fifth Edition and PMBoK Guide Six Edition. The PMBOK generations are shown in the picture below:

The Contents of PMBOK

PMBOK introduces the reader to key project management concepts and terms. The PMI Institute and the PMBOK contribute to the worldwide use of a vocabulary of the terms and concepts of the Project Manager profession needed to discuss, write, and create a methodology. A similar standard dictionary is present in any professional discipline. The main purpose of the PMBOK Guidelines is not to provide clear guidance but to emphasize “Best Practices.”

The Contents of PMBOK

“Best practice” in the sense of PMI means the correct application of skills, tools, and methods that are potentially able to increase the likelihood of success of a wide range of projects. The concept of Good Practice also does not mean that the knowledge described should always be applied in the same way to all projects; Developers recommend using PMBOK only to create a project management methodology for the organization’s own internal experts. The organization or project manager should determine for themselves what rule or share of knowledge PMBOK should apply and adapt to the situation of the project.

The Institute for Project Management makes each successive edition of the Guide more flexible and adaptable. For many professionals, PMBOK is associated with rigid classic project management, but as you can see, it is not.

Project Management Area Knowledge

PMBOK identifies ten areas of project management knowledge related to the project lifecycle, process group, and methodology, PMI identifies external and internal organizational factors that influence the project, and its success, and are applied within individual project management knowledge areas. Ten areas of project management knowledge:

Project Management Area Knowledge

Description of the PMBOK Methodology

Processes of knowledge areas are represented in PMBOK as discrete elements that have clearly defined boundaries. In practice, these processes are iterative – they can interact and overlap. PMBOK does not describe the interaction. So, the standard addresses the following areas of project management knowledge:

  1. Project Integration Management. Integration refers to unification, consolidation, and various integration actions aimed at successfully managing stakeholder expectations and meeting certain requirements. This section describes the allocation of project resources, the processes of finding compromises between conflicting goals and alternatives, and identifies links between other areas of expertise. Specifically, it outlines the process of drafting the Project Statute, the Project Management Plan, the Project Implementation Management Guide, and the Project Monitoring and Management, describing the overall management of project changes and completion of the project or project phase.
  2. Project Scope Management. Content management refers to the processes that allow you to sample, filter, and group only those jobs that the project manager will need to complete the project. Project content management is directly related to the definition and control of Scope, what will be included, and what will not be included in the project. Describes the schemas of the Requirements Collection process, Defining a Project Scope, Creating a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS), Content Confirmation (Scope), and Managing the Scope.
  3. Project Time Management. Project time management, or more precisely, time, because time, a broader concept, means the processes by which the project is completed on time. The scheme of these processes implies:
  • Definition of operations,
  • Definition of the sequence of operations,
  • Estimation of resources of operations,
  • Estimation of the duration of operations,
  • Development of the schedule
  • and Management of the schedule.
  1. Project Cost Management. Project management means the processes in terms of budget planning and development, as well as the cost management that ensures project completion within an approved budget. The general flowchart of processes includes Cost Estimation, Budgeting, and Cost Management.
  2. Project Quality Management. It is under the project’s quality management that the project must meet the needs for which it was initiated. Quality management of the project is carried out with the help of a quality management system (QMS), which provides a set of specific rules and procedures, including actions to improve processes. It is considered best practice when these actions are carried out throughout the project. The scheme of quality management processes includes Quality Planning, Quality Assurance, and Quality Control.
  3. Project Human Resource Management. The organization’s human resource management processes include approaches to managing the project team. The project team means a pool of skilled workers for whom specific roles and responsibilities for project implementation are identified. During the project implementation, the professional and quantitative composition of the project team can often change. Proper allocation of project roles and responsibilities among project team members enables all team members to be involved in their experience already at the project planning and decision-making stages to successfully target the project team to achieve certain results. The Human Resource Management Process Scheme includes: Developing a Human Resource Management Plan, Project Team Recruitment, Project Team Development, and Project Team Management.
  4. Project Communications Management. Communication management processes are used to ensure timely formation, preparation, dissemination, archiving, transmission, receipt, and use of information on the project. The project manager spends most of the project time communicating with team members and other project stakeholders (from internal project stakeholders to regular staff to senior management or external stakeholders). The effectiveness of communication is that improvements serve as a link between the various stakeholders involved in a particular project. Proper communication management is to combine a variety of cultural and organizational backgrounds, consolidating lessons learned, to match different views and interests to build a basic project management structure. The scheme of project communication management processes includes Project Stakeholder Identification, Communication Planning, Dissemination, and Project Stakeholder Expectation Management (starting with the fifth version of PMBOK Fifth Edition, these processes are separated into a separate area of ​​expertise – Project Stakeholder Stakeholder Management Management), Performance reports.
  5. Project Risk Management. Project risk management processes are defined as risk management planning, risk identification, and analysis, development of risk response methods, control, monitoring, and risk management during project implementation. Through project risk management processes, project managers seek to increase the likelihood of occurrence and impact of favorable risks (events) on the project and reduce the likelihood of occurrence and impact of adverse risks (events) on the project at the time of implementation of this project. The scheme of project risk management processes includes:
  • Risk Management Planning,
  • Risk Identification,
  • Qualitative Risk Analysis,
  • Quantitative Risk Analysis,
  • Known Risk Response Planning,
  • Risk Monitoring
  • and Risk Management.
  1. Project Procurement Management. Project delivery management processes include the purchase or acquisition of certain essential entities (products, services, results, documents) produced by external organizations connected to the one in which the project is implemented. The organization where the project is being implemented can act as the buyer or seller of this entity. Project delivery management processes also include sub-processes for managing contracts and changes required to develop and maintain contracts or purchase orders. Project delivery management processes make it possible to administer all contracts for the acquisition of something during the project implementation and to manage the contractual obligations assigned to the project team. The scheme of project delivery management processes includes:
  • Procurement planning,
  • Procurement,
  • Procurement management,
  • Procurement closure.
  1. Project Stakeholder Management. Project stakeholder management processes mean communication between the project team and stakeholders, as well as work to address their needs and address issues that may cause changes to the project due to the proper relationship building between all stakeholders in the project.

All processes in the PMBOK manual are divided into the following groups:

Groups of PMBOK
  1. Initiation Process Group. The Initiation Process Group consists of processes that facilitate the formal initiation of a new project.
  • Develop Project Charter
  • Identification of stakeholders (Identity Stakeholders)
  • Group of planning processes
  1. Clarification and planning of actions needed to achieve the goals and content for which the project was initiated. The planning process group includes the following processes:
  • Develop Project Management Plan
  • Plan Scope Management
  • Collect Requirements
  • Define Scope
  • Create a Work Breakdown Structure (WBS) hierarchy
  • Develop a Schedule Management Plan
  • Define Activities
  • Sequence Activities Definition
  • Estimate Activity Resources
  • Estimate Activity Durations
  • Develop Schedule
  • Develop a Cost Management Plan
  • Estimate Costs
  • Determine Budget
  • Plan Quality
  • Develop a Human Resource Plan
  • Plan Communications
  • Plan Risk Management
  • Identify Risks
  • Qualitative Risk Analysis
  • Perform Quantitative Risk Analysis
  • Plan Risk Responses
  • Plan Procurements
  • Develop a Stakeholder Management Plan
  1. Group of execution processes. It combines human and other resources to execute a project management plan for this project. The following processes are included in the execution process group:
  • Direct and Manage Project Execution
  • Perform Quality Assurance
  • Acquire Project Team
  • Develop Project Team
  • Manage Project Team
  • Manage Communications
  • Procurement (Conduct Procurements)
  • Manage Stakeholder Engagement
  1. Group of monitoring and control processes. This group covers the evaluation and monitoring of project progress to identify possible deviations from the project management plan and, if necessary, take corrective action to achieve project objectives. The monitoring and control process group includes the following processes:
  • Monitor and Control Project Work
  • General Change Management \ Perform Integrated Change Control
  • Validate Scope
  • Content Control \ Control Scope
  • Schedule Control \ Schedule Control
  • Control Costs \ Control Costs
  • Perform Quality Control
  • Monitor and Control Communications
  • Monitor and Control Risks
  • Control Procurement
  • Control Stakeholder Engagement
  1. Group of final processes. It formalizes the acceptance of the product, service, or result and brings the project or project phase to completion. The process group contains the following processes:
  • Close Project or Phase
  • Close Procurement
Group of final processes

N.B. Don’t confuse process groups and project life stages; they have similar names but different meanings.

A project lifecycle is a set that includes sequential and sometimes overlapping actions, the name and number of which are determined based on the management, monitoring, and control needs of a particular organization or several organizations involved in the project, as well as specifics the project itself. The infographics below (borrowed from this article) show how the life cycle is imposed on project management processes.

A project lifecycle

According to the PMBOK methodology, the unique properties of an organization, industry, or approach can have a significant impact on the project life cycle.

Based on the determination of the uniqueness of the project and its time constraints (beginning and end), the specific results and processes involved in the project can vary widely for each project. Through the life cycle, a basic project management structure is built, despite the content (specific works) of the project.

PMBOK Tools and Methods

The PMBOK methodology describes the various tools and techniques that are put into practice by the Project Manager. By selecting them correctly, you can increase the effectiveness of the project, anticipate the risks, calculate the optimal routes of the project, soberly assess the situation, and ultimately make the right decision.

These tools and techniques exist by themselves and have long been used in various areas of human activity. Below is a list of basic methods, tools, and techniques applicable to specific processes.

PMBOK Methods

  • Decision Tree Analysis.
  • Assumptions Analysis.
  • Expected Monetary Value (EMV) Analysis.
  • Variance Analysis.
  • Network Schedule or Network Analysis.
  • Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, and Threats Analysis, or SWOT Analysis.
  • Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA).
  • Sensitivity Analysis.
  • Fast Tracking.
  • Resource Leveling.
  • Precedence Diagramming Method (PDM).
  • Delphi Technique.
  • Critical Path Methodology (CPM).
  • Critical Chain Method.
  • Monte Carlo Analysis.
  • Earned Value Technique (EVT).
  • Program Evaluation and Review Technique (PERT).
  • Bottom-up Estimating.
  • Rolling Wave Planning
  • Earned Value Management (EVM).


  • Gantt Chart.
  • Pareto Chart.
  • Hierarchical Risk Breakdown Structure (RBS).
  • Project Management Information System (PMIS).
  • Probability and Impact Matrix.
  • Responsibility Assignment Matrix (RAM).
  • Milestone Schedule.
  • Schedule Model.
  • Work Authorization System.
  • Change Control System.
  • Configuration Management System.
  • Exams, certification, and training.

There are more than 470,000 project management and PMP-certified professionals in the world with PMP – Project Management Professional certification. PMP allows you to join the largest and most prestigious community of project management professionals. To receive a PMP degree, you must meet certain educational and work experience requirements. You also need to take the Registered Education Provider-wide computer-based exam at a computer-aided testing facility. This test is designed to objectively evaluate the competencies of the applicant in terms of project management.

PMBOK: Top 10 Takeaways for a Project Manager
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