The PMBOK® Guide in Project Management

For over twenty-five years, the Project Management Institute (PMI) has produced what is considered by many professionals to be a “fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry.” Commonly referred to as the “PMBOK,” the book contains both a relevant body of knowledge for project management and the standards for it. Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential holders can demonstrate their understanding of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) through a passing score on the PMP® certification exam.


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Origins of the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide

It began with a report (1981), evolved into the “Ethics, Standards, and Accreditation Committee Final Report” (1983), and changed into the resource document “The PMBOK® Guide” (1987). Each iteration was grounded in the need to advance the development of the profession of project management.

What is the history of PMBOK®

The PMBOK® Guide was published as a standalone guide in 1996 by PMI® to provide its members with a global standard for all things project management: tools, processes, and terms. The same drive to continuously improve that lead to the creation of the PMBOK® Guide itself remains in place as evidenced by the process to update and make changes to the guide. The history of the PMBOK® Guide will progress from the 3rd, 4th, 5th, 6th, and 7th to undoubtedly the 8th edition and beyond. The continuous improvement efforts do not stop with the release of a new version of the PMBOK® Guide. Every version reflects the current and most recent application of project management standards at the time of publication.

What is the Latest Edition of the PMBOK® Guide? The Project Management Body of Knowledge® Guide: 7th Edition
PMBOK Guide 7th Edition, English Language

What is the PMBOK® Guide?

Those seeking a career in project management inevitably ask, “What is the PMBOK® Guide?” It is an important resource for PMP® certification prep, but the purpose goes beyond tests. It outlines key project documentation, e.g., Project Charter, Risk Log, or Project Scope Statement. It contains key terms and definitions to ensure industry standards. The PMBOK® Guide captures project management knowledge, explains how project tools are used, and explains why standards uphold the profession.

The globally referenced publication, the PMBOK® Guide, contains the core knowledge of the practice of project management reflective of the time of the version published and The Standard for Project Management. With the latest edition, PMI sources the Project Management Body of Knowledge® Guide – Sixth and – Seventh editions for their Project Management Professionals (PMP)® certification exam.

Read more about how the 7th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide has affected the PMP® Certification Exam:

PMBOK® Guide Latest Edition

The Project Management Body of Knowledge® Guide – 7th Edition is intended to document high-level principles, across 8 performance domains, to inform all project practitioners about the key concepts which are influential to running a successful project, regardless of the methodology used to administer that project (i.e. predictive, incremental, iterative, etc). Read more about the scheduled release dates for the PMBOK® Guide:

Key changes for the PMBOK® Guide include:

  • The Standard for Project Management moves from process-based to principles-based
  • Knowledge areas have been replaced with performance domains
  • There is a focus shift from a single project manager to incorporating team members and roles
  • The traditional waterfall approach is now modified to include a tailored approach for project-related work

How the PMBOK® Guide Connects to PMP Exam Prep

Although the new Project Management Body of Knowledge® Guide – 7th edition takes a radically different approach to detailing the knowledge all project managers should be familiar with, it does not invalidate nor replace the technical knowledge previously released in the Project Management Body of Knowledge® Guide – 6th edition. Additionally, all the content in the PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition is still relevant and testable material for the PMP® certification exam. Learn more about how the PMBOK® Guide connects to the PMP® Exam:

PMBOK® Guide and the Exam

Students intending to sit for the PMP® exam should understand (not just memorize!) the concepts laid out in the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) and be able to apply them to a given scenario to determine the best course of action. The scenarios used in the PMP® certification exam may lend themselves to having more than one plausible answer to the question, but when sitting for the PMP® exam students will be asked to choose the best answer among the choices given.

What is PMBOK® Guide Methodology?

Each new edition reflects careful consideration of changes in the project management profession. Changes to PMBOK® Guide – 6th edition were made based on PMI research, both with market surveys and working with practitioners around the globe. The resulting 7th edition documents the most common and successfully used project management practices across the globe at this time. Therefore, what is the PMBOK® Guide methodology? It is one of continuous research and incorporation of stakeholder input and industry data.


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Standards introduced in the PMBOK® Guide are influenced by change in an organization

Adapting Standards is Essential for Project Managers

Project Management, with standards and processes vetted around the world in diverse industries, is a way to actually foster that elusive and valued creative thinking. If you get a great result – from a product, process, or service – and you know the elements that went into achieving it, you are better positioned to maintain or repeat it. Additionally, if your employees know that change is baked in the process and can lead to better outcomes, they are more likely to adjust quickly and keep their attention on the desired outcomes. Project Management standards position an organization to put real energy towards great work, instead of wasting budget to pay your people to figure out how to do the basics.

Learn more on how standards introduced in PMBOK® Guide can influence change in an organization: