What is PMBOK for Project Managers?

Planning and Control using Microsoft Project and PMBOK GuideIn general, a “body of knowledge” would usually refer to gathered knowledge from different sources that is about one idea or topic.

For project managers, there is PMBOK, which refers to all the standards they need to adapt and practice. Just by the scope of knowledge required to manage projects, this particular guide covers a much broader spectrum of content than you might expect to find in other bodies of knowledge publications.

The acronym stands for “Product Management Body of Knowledge”.

This is not a system, per se, but rather a guide published by the Project Management Institute and for project managers to practice and master.  It is also a qualification that can be acquired via the testing and exams provided by PMI, and available from Prometric testing centres around the world.


This guide got its debut in 1987 and was published as a collection of the “body of knowledge” that project managers could follow; thus, a guide. Its formal book launching was on 1996, and now, it is in its 4th edition.

The guide is a compilation for standards that every project manager worldwide considers the ultimate source of essential information and practices. It is not a “how-to” guide that gives step-by-step instructions as to what should be done. Rather, it is a handbook that explains the five basic process and knowledge areas involved in managing a project.

Five Processes & Nine Knowledge Areas

The five processes discussed in PMBOK are the following:

  1. Initiating – It involves the discussion of how to successfully initiate a project; usually, this is the brainstorming phase in project management
  2. Planning – This process is a crucial part of a project. This includes everything that has to be taken care of to make a project successful. In PMBOK, this phase is discussed thoroughly.
  3. Executing – As the term may imply, it is the execution of the plan.
  4. Controlling and Monitoring – This is the phase where project managers are starting to feel if the project is winning or losing. If it should be stopped, revised, continued, etc.
  5. Closing – This serves as the finale – whether the project was a success or a failure.

The nine knowledge areas discussed in the same guide are the following:

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Time Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Human Resource Management
  7. Project Communications Management
  8. Project Risk Management
  9. Project Procurement Management

These nine knowledge areas are very insightful in making a successful project.

For PMI, being able to know these areas can have a great impact in the projects that project managers are handling.  As project managers, they need to have knowledge about these areas so that they will be able to execute projects with ease, confidence, and pride.

The PMBOK® Guide is now considered to be the sole resource for project managers when it comes to handling projects. Organizations such as the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), and the International Organization for Standardization Technical Report refer to PMBOK for all of their projects.

For project managers who have been in the profession for quite some time, the PMBOK serves as their Bible – an ultimate guide. Perhaps, smaller organisations and simple projects, handled by less experienced project managers, should also study this guide to help improve their knowledge and skills about project management.

Eastwood Harris has published a number of books related to using project management software, like Primavera P6 or Microsoft Project, to design and manage the project within the PMBOK framework.

Planning and Control Using Microsoft® Project 2010 and PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition

SHORT DESCRIPTION ON FRONT COVER This book is principally a Microsoft® Project book aimed at Project Management Professionals who understand the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition processes and wish to learn how to use Microsoft® Project 2010 to plan and control their projects in a PMBOK® Guide environment, and discover how to gain the most from the software.

The book is designed for users of earlier versions to upgrade their skills and for new planners to learn the software. It starts with the basics required to create a schedule, through resource planning and on to the more advanced features. A chapter is dedicated to the new functions and it outlines the differences from the earlier versions throughout the book.

SHORT DESCRIPTION OF SUBJECT MATTER A Microsoft® Project user guide and training manual written for Project Management Professionals following the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition who wish to learn how to schedule projects in a single project environment with or without Resources with Microsoft Project. The book is packed with screen shots, constructive tips and is suitable as a training course handout, for learning the software or as a reference book. The book contains workshops with solutions at the end of each chapter for the reader to practice the skills taught in the chapter.
BACKGROUND ON BOOK Microsoft® Project 2010 is an extensive software update with many new functions and as a result this is a complete rewrite of the author’s previous book.

It is primarily a Microsoft Project book and has been written for people learning to use Microsoft Project in a project environment applying the PMBOK® Guide Fourth Edition processes.  It aims to teach readers how to plan and control projects created within the software package and stays focused on explaining how to use Microsoft Project to schedule projects by:

Ø Explaining which PMBOK® Guide processes the software will support and which it will not support.

– Concentrating on the core functions required to plan a project.

– Presents workable solutions to real day to day planning and scheduling problems and contains practical advice on how to set up the software.

– Explains some of the important difference between Microsoft Project and other scheduling software.

– Explains some of the more difficult calculations often omitted in other books.

– Includes exercises to reinforce the learning outcomes, a large number of screen dumps, numerous tips, a detailed index and command list at the start of each chapter as a quick reference.

– It has a chapter dedicated to the new functions available in Microsoft Project 2010.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR Paul Harris holds an Honours Degree in Civil Engineering obtained in the UK and is a Certified Cost Engineer through AACEI International, a PRINCE2 Registered Practitioner, an Approved PRINCE2 Trainer and a “Managing Successful Programmes” Registered Practitioner.

He has worked in the project controls industry for a number of years and has assisted many companies in a range of industries to set up and run project controls systems. His Melbourne, Australia based company, Eastwood Harris Pty Ltd, offers project controls consulting and training services world wide with a strong focus on Microsoft Project and Primavera software.

CUSTOMIZATION FOR TRAINING COURSES Training organizations or companies who wish to conduct their own training may have the book tailored to suit their requirements. This may be achieved by removing, reordering or adding content to the book, ordering the book as a spiral bound book and by writing their own exercises. Please contact the author to discuss this service.
AUTHOR’S COMMENT As a project controls consultant I have used a number of planning and scheduling software packages for the management of a range of project types and sizes. The first books I published were user guides/training manuals for Primavera SureTrak®, P3® and Microsoft Project users.

These were well received by professional project managers and schedulers, so I decided to turn my attention to developing books that demonstrated how the software is used with project management methodologies such as PRINCE2 and the PMBOK® Guide.  This book follows the same layout as my earlier books. I trust this book will assist you in understanding how to use Microsoft Project on your projects that are following the PMBOK® Guide processes.

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