PMBOK® - A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge


Anshuman Tripathi

Last updated February 24, 2017


The Project Management Guide is used as a reference for most of the Project Management based professional development programs. The guide is internationally recognized (IEEE, ANSI), various institutes and institutions offer Professional courses based on PMBOK® and Project Management books and Standards advocated by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®.

Through PMBOK® guide – PMI® strives to instil standards that reflect the most up-to-date practices in the professions of project, program and portfolio management. Keeping this objective in mind PMI® ensures regular updates to all the standard products.

PMI® is the world’s largest not-for-profit organization for Project Management. Promoting the Best Practices in Project, Program, and Portfolio Management and through various initiatives, PMI® serves the community to a great extent. PMI® regularly updates PMBOK® - and since the first white paper edition in 1983, the latest 5th edition released recently in 2013.

PMBOK® is a framework of important guidelines, rules and characteristics of Projects spanning across industries. Through the acceptance and constant application of PMBOK® standards, your organization is bound to achieve professional excellence. The principles framed in the PMBOK® guide can be imbibed in projects across various industry verticals.

The process interactions included in the Project Management Guide explain the integration as well as the interface points. The process interactions defined are a variation of the Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act cycle.

PMBOK® serves to promote and establish a common vocabulary for the Project Management Profession, suggests tools and techniques for each process and guides in defining inputs and outputs as well. It describes the basic concepts of Project, Project Management, Role of Project Manager in different Organizational Structures, Project Management Phases, and the Project Life Cycle.  The guide provides a comprehensive approach to balance the project constraints, which include, but are not limited to the following:

•    Scope

•    Quality

•    Schedule

•    Budget

•    Resources and

•    Risk

The 5th edition of PMBOK® is designed around the five process groups - Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and controlling and Closing. The ten knowledge areas are mapped to the five process groups.    

The ten knowledge areas are:

•    Project Integration Management

•    Project Scope Management

•    Project Time Management

•    Project Cost Management

•    Project Quality Management

•    Project Human Resource Management

•    Project Communications Management

•    Project Risk Management

•    Project Procurement Management

•    Project Stakeholder Management

The 5th edition of PMBOK® includes the principles of Project Stakeholder Management, and as compared to the previous version includes five more processes, a total of 47 processes around the Process Groups and Knowledge Areas. The guide provides guidelines that creates awareness on interpersonal skills that are useful for a Project Manager. An exhaustive list of the required Interpersonal Skills suggests the ways of obtaining the maximize Team Performance.

PMI® committee met in early 2016 to create the draft for the latest edition of PMBOK®. The 6th edition of PMBOK® will make the final revision to the draft after all the comments and suggestions are considered.

Highlights of PMBOK® 6th edition – release in q3 2017

Agile makes its way into the 6th edition of PMBOK® Guide.

The most striking feature of PMBOK® guide will be the inclusion of Agile.

Each knowledge area will include an exclusive section about agile.

  • Approaches for Agile,
  • Iterative and
  • Adaptive Environments,

These topics on Agile demonstrate and describe in detail, as to how these practices integrate in project settings.

6th edition enhancements

  • Strategic and business knowledge, including discussion of project management business documents are explained with a lot of emphasis on the impact each factor would have in a real word scenario.
  • Vital Information on PMI® Talent Triangle™ and the crucial skills required for success in today’s market.

Future plans for enhancing PMBOK® Guide

  • The fourth edition of ‘Standard for Portfolio Management’ would be available for public review in early 2017, closely followed by the final release in Q4 2017.
  • PMI® plans on creating two new titles
  • Sixth Edition of PMBOK® Guide will be published in Q3 2017. Online version as well as the hard copy paperback will be available to public in American English and 10 additional languages.
    •  The Agile Practice Guide and
    • The Standard in Business Analysis.

For an aspiring Project Manager, PMBOK® serves as a comprehensive reserve to efficiently execute a project.


PMI and PMBOK are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

About the Author

Anshuman is the Senior Category Manager for Agile at Simplilearn. He is a graduate of IIT Roorkee and has years of experience working for both Fortune 500 companies and startups. He was the co-founder of a pre-series A level startup backed by Matrix and Lightspeed ventures where he headed the operations and category functions.


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