There is a lot of talk about PMBOK, but for those who are new to the project management world, this abbreviation may be a little obscure. In this article, we will talk about this set of best practices for project management published by the Project Management Institute (PMI) and make things clearer.

Let’s start by clearing up what PMBOK is.

A guide, yes- a methodology, no

Even though it is well known and accepted worldwide, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is not a methodology since it does not provide the means to address different types of projects in different areas. For example, managing a project to open a new store for a retail chain is very different from a project to develop a brake system for a car. Nevertheless, they have elements in common, such as task lists, resource usage, communication plans etc. This is why PMBOK provides the best practices that are common to all projects, but does not go into the specifics about how to manage each one of them. In other words, it provides an overview that is applicable to any type of project, without getting into the particularities of each organization or line of business.

How PMBOK came about

In the 1980s, PMI saw the need for structured documentation that could support project management. Thus, it began an extensive analysis and review of documents that contained the best practices used by professionals who manage projects of all types. The compilation of these best practices gave rise to the first edition of PMBOK in 1996.

Like any normative document, PMBOK also evolves and a new edition is published every 4 or 5 years. It is currently in its 6th edition, which PMI published on September 6, 2017.

How PMBOK is organized

As you can imagine, PMBOK is a large document. To facilitate comprehension and the search for needed processes, it is organized according to 10 areas of knowledge:

Integration management

This is the ability to bring together all data sources to manage the project as a whole, and not in parts.

Scope management

Scope management is one of the most important tasks for a project manager. The scope defines what should be delivered at the end of the project, and what will be removed.

Schedule management

This involves understanding the time commitment of each resource in relation to project tasks and defining the project schedule.

Cost management

Budget management is critical to any project. It may be necessary to have a budget for each task. Predicting the overall budget accurately is a skill that project managers must have.

Quality management

In order to meet expectations, quality control should be performed in each project activity.

Resource management

Resource management is one of the main functions of project management. Among them, people management stands out. Good project managers have to be able to put together teams with the necessary skills. If the team lacks a skill, the project manager should help them develop it. Project managers should also try to keep the team united and engaged and celebrate achievements.

Communications management

It is estimated that at least 80% of a project manager’s work is related to communications. They are responsible for keeping all interested parties informed on the progress of the project. Obstacles that could hinder the progress of the project also need to be communicated.

Risk management

Project managers must have the necessary skills to assess and monitor risks over the lifespan of the project.

Procurement management

Whenever possible, project managers should promote the acquisition of resources that add value and minimize waste.

Stakeholder management

The project manager should keep in mind the people impacted by the project. Stakeholder needs should be the focus while carrying out the project.

Why use PMBOK?

Using a set of proven and accepted practices, it is possible, for example, to better manage projects involving more than one company. It can also provide project continuity with another manager, if necessary, among the other advantages that standardization offers. Similarly, the application of PMBOK in projects in different company areas promotes fluency in communication and results in greater productivity.

Now that you know how PMBOK came about and some of the advantages of following its practices, get to know SoftExpert PPM, the most comprehensive and innovative solution on the market for project management and improvement that is compliant with PMBOK concepts.

Know more about SoftExpert PPM

Laurides Dozol

Author

Laurides Dozol

MBA in Enterprise Management from FGV. Business and market analyst at SoftExpert, a software provider for enterprise-wide business processes automation, improvement, compliance management and corporate governance.

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