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PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge): Complete Guide

19th Feb, 2024
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    PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge): Complete Guide

    The project management PMBOK is a guide extensively referenced for professional project development programs. This is also one of the key reference structures diligently followed by PMI while framing the exam. The PMP PMBOK is a mandatory resource when preparing for PMP certification or when faced with issues during execution of your projects in the real world regardless of the industry.

    PMBOK in project management not only helps you advance your career as a project manager, but also helps resolve several challenges that you may face when handling a project. Enroll for the best Project Management certificate programs that gives you access to PMBOK and help you progress your career in the best way.

    What is Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)?

    The Project Management Body of Knowledge is an elaborate, extensive, and extremely essential and critical reference. PMBOK is used as a crucial source of information and compliance.

    It comes in handy when preparing for project management-based PMI certifications and professional development programs. PMBOK has been internationally acknowledged by IEEE, ANSI, and several research institutes that offer professional project management courses. Of course, PMBOK guide is not the only source that you can depend on, but it is an essential resource to use along with other project management material, books, and standards that are officially endorsed by the Project Management Institute.

    PMI ensures regular updates for all standard products, especially for certification training which can benefit your project management career in the industry. PMI is the world's largest non-profit project management organization. Through a variety of initiatives that promote best practices in projects, programs, and portfolio management, PMI makes a significant contribution to the community.

    Through the PMBOK, PMI seeks to establish standards that reflect current practices in the project, program, and portfolio management professions.

    Purpose of PMBOK Guide

    PMI regularly updates PMBOK, which is a framework of key guidelines, rules, and characteristics for projects across all industries. By embracing and consistently applying the PMBOK Standards, PMI is committed to achieving professional excellence. The principles outlined in the PMBOK can help you manage projects across various verticals. It has several versions that propose various tools and techniques for each process and guide the definition of inputs and outputs.

    The latest version of PMBOK was introduced on August 1, 2021. Here are a few reasons why PMBOK is attached with so much relevance:

    • PMBOK establishes a common project management vocabulary that helps you in your profession. It covers basic project concepts, describes various roles of project managers in different organizational structures, explains the project management phases, and focuses on the project life cycle.
    • It is an elaborate approach to balancing project constraints and is committed to achieving professional excellence.
    • PMBOK and its various versions help project managers delve into standardized guidelines, best practices, and processes that make them savvier and more versatile in their profession.
    • Regardless of your experience level or your industry, you can use PMP PMBOK content to acquire new knowledge and skills to increase your effectiveness as a project manager. Additionally, you can rely on the PMBOK guide for expert recommendations.

    How can PMBOK Help with Project Management?

    The underlying concepts and principles laid in PMBOK are tried and tested, and the content has been developed by industry experts after thorough research and deep consultation with project management experts. It helps professionals with project management through its conceptualized best practices that work for most projects in various environments.

    PMP PMBOK provides a detailed overview of the process and guidelines designed to help project managers make smarter decisions. It enhances your core project management skills and sharpens your know-how in cost management, talent management, and quality control if you are a project manager. Get your PMI PMP certification training, along with the diligent use of PMBOK, which can help you elevate your career prospects.

    Experienced project managers can refer to PMBOK to prepare for PMP certification and effectively manage projects that fall within the constraints of time, scope, and cost. By following the project management book of knowledge guidebook, project managers are better equipped to:

    • Define the project, keep everyone on the same page, and prevent expensive delays.
    • Plan activities and determine the right kind of pre-requisites and resources that their teams may require
    • Make estimates on costs and help with budgeting. PMBOK also helps project managers to project future cost estimates when certain activities are over budget.
    • Supervise and control their teams by identifying issues before they become unresolvable problems.
    • Follow a closure process and record all activities related to the project.
    • It is highly recommended that all project managers apply the PMP PMBOK guidelines, so you don't have to start over every time they start a new project.

    Five-Project Management BOK Process Groups

    PMBOK emphasizes these five critical process groups, which are of paramount importance when it comes to project management. Let us learn more about these processes: 

    1. Project Initiation Process

    This process is about initiating a new project or starting a new phase of an existing project. This process is all about drawing actionable results that delight your audience. You can use the project management book of knowledge guide to learn how you can hire and manage teams, plan, execute plans, and get your message across effectively across all channels to effectively reach your target audience.

    2. Project Planning

    The planning process revolves around curating, designing, and projecting the full scope of the project. Planning is vast that consists of 24 different processes, such as creating a detailed project plan to achieve the goals of any marketing project, assigning creativity and task assignment, and clarifying the scope of the project to all teams so that they understand the schedule, resource, and budget constraints of the project, and lots more.

    Project management plans should focus on consumer demand to convert as many leads to customers as possible. You will only be able to move ahead with project management once your project plan is ready.

    3. Project Execution

    This is the process of completing the work according to work and schedule expectations already assigned. This process includes tracking work in progress, delegating new tasks, refining existing tasks, modifying schedules and budgets, implementing marketing incentives and programs, and encouraging team members to meet expectations.

    This is also the project management stage, where you need to apply the right techniques, tips, tricks, and technologies as stipulated within the PMBOK to get the job done and ensure the execution of your plan. You can rely on PRINCE2 Accredited training organisations that help you delve into project management phases and understand the essence of PMBOK processes.

    4. Monitoring, Coordination, and Control

    Project managers use monitoring, coordination, and control processes to assess the progress of projects and take necessary action. This step is about bridging the gap between what is being delivered and what is expected. Simply put, you need to better coordinate with internal stakeholders, monitor their performance, and manage defaults and inefficiencies. Then you need to make sure that everything is going according to plan and that there are no delays or missing results. When time lag or budget discrepancies arise, project managers are required to take immediate action. This phase is all about teamwork and fostering integrated communication.

    5. Project Closure

    The project closure process is about the completion of a project or phase. There are certain aspects that, as a project manager, you should consider during the closure process, like maintaining important records, holding meetings, assessing performances, and celebrating the success of the project.

    This is the final stage when your project campaign is finally delivered, and the results of your hard work are analyzed. During this phase, PMBOK helps you achieve your intended goals as there is a comprehensive process laid out for the evaluation of the project, gaining customer feedback, and conducting an internal analysis of the project. This phase also includes individual evaluations, data analysis, and following routines to train and empower teammates.

    PMBOK 10 Knowledge Areas

    Let us look at the ten knowledge areas that are defined in the PMBOK, which are imperative for project management:

    1. Project Integration Management

    This PMP Knowledge Area is characterized by having a process in each of the five process groups. All project participants gather here to create project issues. Project integration management is the process of establishing and maintaining project team direction, objectives, and project scope management. It is the prime responsibility of the project manager to ensure that project changes are implemented by the ultimate goals and objectives of the organization.

    The integration management process is performed by the Project Integration Manager (PIM). He needs to delve into solid communication to ensure that project goals are clearly understood across organizational groups. He should also make sure that project goals, priorities, and timeframes are set and met. Of all the 49 related PMP processes, Project Integration Management has six attributed processes.

    2. Project Scope Management

    The project scope must be clearly defined and adhered to throughout the project lifecycle. It is the project manager's responsibility to plan a project while staying within the budget. For a project to be completed successfully, the scope of the project should be as concise and easily manageable.

    A project scope statement defines the purpose, deliverables, and limits that apply to those deliverables for a particular project. A project scope statement is created to outline a project's goals, requirements, and constraints. Six of the 49 relevant PMP processes are in Project Scope Management.

    3. Project Time Management 

    Project managers need to focus on project planning and plan relevant deadline management, which is a key component of project management. This helps managers to optimize available resources, mitigate costs and strive for project success. In this PMP Knowledge Area, you will learn how to create, update, monitor, and analyze schedules. Learn to calculate work hours and apply constraints, which are essential for accurate scheduling. Of the 49 PMP processes involved, there are seven processes in Project Time Management.

    4. Project Cost Management

    Each project is assigned a budget. Project cost management is about ensuring that stakeholders and members of the team know how much budget is available for a particular project and how the costs should fit into the equation. This stage is all about budgeting, estimating costs, and tracking actual spending.

    Detailed research and study are required to analyze how much each aspect of your project will cost so that you can properly budget for other future projects. Each project has different costs depending on its size, duration, and complexity. Out of 49 PMP processes, this PMP knowledge area has four processes.

    5. Project Quality Management

    This process is all about ensuring the quality of the project by developing quality plans, managing project documentation, and establishing inter-project principles. Project quality management is about enhancing the quality of projects, products, or services, which focuses on meeting customer needs and expectations, eliminating waste, and working on overall performance. Project quality management is meeting certain quality criteria or objectives. Of the 49 PMP processes, there are 3 in this knowledge area.

    6. Project Resources Management

    This phase ensures that these resources are properly allocated to each project activity. This includes ensuring that all required resources for each project activity are available, incorporating them into the project plan, and ensuring they are properly managed and monitored. Develop a formal resource allocation plan within each project using scoping exercises and related tools.

    The purpose of this exercise is to clearly define boundaries, especially in the initial planning stages, when resources are assigned within a project. Of the 49 PMP processes, six fall into this process group.

    7. Project Communications Management

    The purpose of this process is to keep control over all internal and external communications related to your project. The project manager is responsible for managing stakeholder expectations and managing communications from internal and external stakeholders. You need to know which communication channel to use, whether it should be verbal communication, email, or written communication.

    Ensure that all communications meet the purpose and focus on preparing activities such as discussing and resolving issues that may arise during the project. There are 3 of the 49 PMP processes aligned with Project Communications Management.

    8. Project Risk Management

    This stage addresses everything you need to do to control risk related to project completion dates, costs, quality, supplier financial health, and other external factors. This knowledge area deals with risk management, following the legalities of the project, and ensuring compliance with internal and external policies. Out of the 49 PMPs, 7 of them are spread across Project Risk Management.

    9. Project Procurement Management

    This step is about the procurement of goods and services and the determination of suppliers. The project manager is responsible for ensuring that the project is integrated into a single entity. This is accomplished by aligning all stakeholders with project goals. This phase is also associated with managing contractual matters related to delivery and supplier agreements. Knowledge in this area is essential for project managers and is one of the most difficult areas to cover, as procurement involves multiple variables. Of the 49 PMPs, 3 of them are spread across this domain.

    10. Project Stakeholder Management

    The final success or failure of a project depends on how the completed project is handed over to the stakeholders who have a legitimate interest in the project. These stakeholders can be your consumers, partners, external or internal clients, sponsors, investors, etc., who are directly impacted by the results of the project.

    Stakeholder management is particularly important in project management as it revolves around the success of the completed project. There are 4 of the PMP 49 processes that fall into the Project Stakeholder Management domain.

    PMBOK 7th Edition

    Considering the updated guidelines on the PMP examination, 50% of the exam structure is based on hybrid project management, while the remaining 50% is based on predictive project management. PMI PMBOK 7th edition is officially one of the guides that have been incorporated by PMI for the PMP exam.

    This PMBOK latest edition has some of the most critical concepts, philosophies, principles, and processes related to project management. The key features and updates in the 7th edition are as follows:

    • The methodologies are primarily based on agile and hybrid concepts that are not covered in PMBOK 6th edition. Some of these are based on value addition, project customization, resilience and adaptability, and service leadership. However, it should be noted that PMBOK 7 should not be the only source of knowledge to be considered for the PMP exam. It is imperative to consider both the 6th and 7th editions to prepare for the PMP exam.
    • Focus on the most important PMP exam topics in the book and learn about the 49 principles given in this edition.
    • The 7th edition is also a much thinner and slimmer version of the project management book of knowledge, the 6th edition. While the former consists of only 370 pages, the latter is 756 pages.
    • PMBOK guide 7th edition is easy to read, understand and memorize. The edition is divided into two major halves. The first 65 pages are based on the standards for project management (ANSI standards), while the latter half of the PMBOK is based on appendices.
    • The 7th edition has more illustrations, graphics, and tables, as compared to any of the previous project management book of knowledge editions.

    In comparison to PMBOK 6th Edition, the 7th edition varies in the following ways:

    • Project Management Principles & Value Creation have high coverage in the 7th Edition.
    • The Agile concepts are modestly covered, while the Hybrid methodology has been touched upon, which is completely absent in the 6th Edition
    • In the predictive project management concept, the 6th Edition has better coverage than the 7th Edition, as it is vastly expanded, and each technique is elaborately explained.


    PMBOK guide can help you manage a project in the best possible way and support you in resolving project-related challenges. With a large scope of management processes, principles, scope, and functions, this guide can be your go-to source whenever you face any kind of crisis in a project. Enroll in KnowledgeHut's Project Management training program and keep your PMBOK handy to embrace a much more productive, lucrative, and flourishing project management career.

    When referring to project management PMBOK, don’t worry about the number of processes or principles you need to study; instead, focus on the learning you will gain, the skills you can enhance, and the knowledge amplification that can transform your project management career.

    Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

    1How many processes are in PMBOK 7?

    PMBOK 7 has 49 processes. It is a 370-page comprehensive guide with pictures and illustrations and takes about various project management processes, including project briefing, project quality control, scope control, project closure, etc. It is not difficult to learn these processes. You can convert them into a tabular form and relevantly assign each process in the appropriate matrix to understand and comprehend full process details.

    2Is PMBOK the same as PMP Certification Exam?

    No, both terms have different meanings.

    PMP means Project Management Professional, and PMBOK means Project Management Body of Knowledge. PMP is a professional certification for project managers that are attributed to PMI, which helps you elevate your project management learning curve, skills, and hands-on training. PMI certification helps in providing better job opportunities and wider career scope for you. Project management PMBOK, on the other hand, is a set of guidelines, terms, processes, definitions, and principles related to Project Management.

    3Can you pass PMP Exam with just PMBOK?

    PMBOK is an extensive guide that will help you learn a lot about PMP and help you clear the exam. However, it is not the only thing you require to pass the PMP exam. You need to take mock tests and use other study materials to clear the PMP exam. Also, PMP training from a reliable institution will go a long way to help you crack the PMP exam with ease.

    4Is PMP Exam based on PMBOK 6 or 7?

    Although there is no official statement on the official Project Management Institute website about referring to PMBOK 6 or 7 for PMP exam preparation, since November 19, 2021, PMI has started using the 7th edition of the PMBOK as one of the ten reference books for framing the PMP exam.


    Kevin D.Davis

    Blog Author

    Kevin D. Davis is a seasoned and results-driven Program/Project Management Professional with a Master's Certificate in Advanced Project Management. With expertise in leading multi-million dollar projects, strategic planning, and sales operations, Kevin excels in maximizing solutions and building business cases. He possesses a deep understanding of methodologies such as PMBOK, Lean Six Sigma, and TQM to achieve business/technology alignment. With over 100 instructional training sessions and extensive experience as a PMP Exam Prep Instructor at KnowledgeHut, Kevin has a proven track record in project management training and consulting. His expertise has helped in driving successful project outcomes and fostering organizational growth.

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