A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

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A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide)
Genre Business
Published 2013 (Project Management Institute)
ISBN 978-1-935589-67-9

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) is a book which presents a set of standard terminology and guidelines for project management. The Fifth Edition (2013) is the document resulting from work overseen by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Earlier versions were recognized as standards by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) which assigns standards in the United States (ANSI/PMI 99-001-2008) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE 1490-2011).[1]


A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) was first published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) in 1996. That document was to some extent based on earlier work that began with a white paper published in 1983 called the "Ethics, Standards, and Accreditation Committee Final Report." The second edition was published in 2000.[2]

In 2004, the PMBOK Guide — Third Edition was published with major changes from the previous editions (pdf). The Fourth edition was published in 2009. The latest English-language PMBOK Guide — Fifth Edition was released in 2013.


"The PMBOK Guide identifies that subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as a good practice. "Generally recognized" means the knowledge and practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time and there is a consensus about their value and usefulness. "Good practice" means there is a general agreement that the application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques can enhance the chance of success over many projects."[3]

This however means, that the latest project management trends are normally not available in PMBOK (e.g. critical path drag is not included yet in PMBOK guide).


The PMBOK Guide is process-based, meaning it describes work as being accomplished by processes. This approach is consistent with other management standards such as ISO 9000 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)
  • Outputs (documents, plans, designs, etc.)

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge — Fifth Edition provides guidelines for managing individual projects and defines project management related concepts. It also describes the project management life cycle and its related processes, as well as the project life cycle.[3]

The Guide recognizes 47 processes that fall into five basic process groups and ten knowledge areas that are typical of most projects, most of the time.

  • The five process groups are:
  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing
  • The nine knowledge areas are:
  1. Project Scope Management
  2. Project Time Management
  3. Project Cost Management
  4. Project Quality Management
  5. Project Human Resource Management
  6. Project Communications Management
  7. Project Risk Management
  8. Project Procurement Management
  9. Project Stakeholders Management

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

The PMBOK Guide is meant to offer a general guide to manage most projects most of the time. There are currently two extensions to the PMBOK Guide: the Construction Extension to the PMBOK Guide applies to construction projects, while the Government Extension to the PMBOK Guide applies to government projects. The PMBOK Guide is also used as a support to prepare the Project Management Institute (PMI) certifications, such as the CAPM and PMP.

See also[edit]

  • ABOK — Automation Body of Knowledge
  • BABOK — Business Analysis Body of Knowledge
  • CMBOK — Configuration Management Body of Knowledge
  • EABOK — Enterprise Architecture Body of Knowledge
  • EMBOK – Event Management Body of Knowledge
  • SEBOK — Systems Engineering Body of Knowledge
  • SWEBOK — Software Engineering Body of Knowledge
  • TMBOK — Test Management Body of Knowledge


  1. ^ IEEE (2011), IEEE Guide--Adoption of the Project Management Institute (PMI(R)) Standard A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK(R) Guide)--Fourth Edition 
  2. ^ A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, copyright page, edition 2 ISBN 1-880410-12-5, and edition 3 2004 ISBN 978-1-930699-45-8, and edition 4 2008 ISBN 1-933890-51-7
  3. ^ a b PMI (2012), A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th Ed.

External links[edit]