What is the PMBOK Guide?

July 26, 2020
Fahad Usmani
what is the pmbok guide

The PMBOK Guide is published by the PMI and stands for “Project Management Body of Knowledge.” This Guide defines the standards of project management and sets the terminology.

The PMI printed the first edition of this book in 1996, and a new edition comes out every four years. As of now, the current version is the 6th edition, published in September 2017.

The PMBOK Guide is famous because of the PMP exam, the most renowned certification for project professionals and the PMBOK Guide is the basis for it.

Therefore, every project professional who wishes to become a PMP has to study this guide.

What is the PMBOK Guide?

The PMBOK Guide is a process-based book that provides a framework to manage projects. The knowledge in it has evolved from the best practices of project management professionals throughout the world.

Guidelines available in the PMBOK Guide are industry independent and you can apply them to any domain.

PMI develops this guide through a transparent consensus, with the help of many cross-field project management experts and volunteers. Any PMI members can contribute to its development.

This guide divides the project management process groups into various knowledge areas. Each knowledge area describes a process and its input, tools and techniques, and the output.

Please note that the PMBOK Guide does not provide a methodology, or give advice on how to run a project. It provides the framework. It is the job of the project manager to develop the methodologies by tailoring the best industry practices available in the guide to suit their requirements.

A Brief History of the PMBOK Guide

Let us have a look at the PMBOK Guide’s history:

  • 1969 – The Beginning of the PMI.
  • 1984 – First PMP Certification was awarded.
  • 1987 – The first “Project Management Body of Knowledge” is released. No hard-copy.
  • 1996 – The PMBOK Guide, First Edition is released.
  • 2000 – The PMBOK Guide, Second Edition is released.
  • 2004 – The PMBOK Guide, Third Edition is released.
  • 2008 – The PMBOK Guide, Fourth Edition is released.
  • 2012 – The PMBOK Guide, Fifth Edition is released.
  • 2017 – The PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition is released.

Note to All PMP Aspirants

You have to understand this book to pass the PMP certification exam; you will see many direct questions from this guide. Many PMP aspirants make the mistake of not referring to this book while preparing for the exam.

The PMBOK Guide cannot be replaced by any other reference book. You must study it.

Make sure that you read this guide at least two times before you take the exam.

Major Update in the PMBOK Guide

Until the fifth edition, there was no mention of Agile concepts in the PMBOK Guide.

With the launch of the 6th edition, the PMBOK Guide has a separate section for the “Agile Practice Guide,” If you buy the paperback version you will get it as a separate booklet.

The PMI has joined with Agile Alliance to develop this Agile Practice Guide.

PMI has announced that from July 2020, the PMP exam will have Agile questions.

Summary

The PMI publishes the PMBOK Guide to help project professionals learn the best practices. It provides the framework and the industry-leading tools and techniques to carry out a project. This book has industry independent knowledge and you can apply it in any field.

This was a short description of the PMBOK Guide. If you have any comments, you can post them in the comments section.

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