A complete guide to project management based on the PMBOK

A complete guide to project management based on the PMBOK, Project management was always done informally, until after the middle of the 20th century when the concept was officially recognized. The American Project Management Association published a guide titled: “Comprehensive Guide to Project Management Knowledge” or PMBOK, to fully identify the project management process. The Complete PMBOK Guide includes accepted methods that have general applications, but also new and innovative methods.

History of PMBOK

  • The first certification issued by the PMI Association was the PMP or Professional Project Management certification, and these certifications were first awarded to applicants in 1984.
  • 1969 – Birth of PMI – The first meeting was held in Atlanta, USA.
  • 1984- The first PMP exam was held.
  • 1987 – The first edition of the PMBOK Guide was published – the printed version – had 8 chapters, and each chapter was 5-6 pages.
  • 1994 – Another draft of the PMBOK Guide was published – 64 pages long. It included 8 general topics. (Integration management had not yet been added to the book.) The exam consisted of 320 questions and lasted for six hours! (Each subject included 40 questions and the questions were five options.)
  • 1996 – PMBOK Guide first edition published – 176 pages. 9 topics were considered for it and included 37 processes.
  • 2000 – The 2000 edition of the PMBOK Guide was published. (Second version) – 211 pages, 9 topics were considered for it and included 39 processes.
  • October 2004 – The PMBOK Guide, third edition, is published. It was 390 pages: it had 44 processes.
  • August 2005 – The exam has been changed to suit the third edition and is even harder than before! (PMI lowered the passing score to 61% to somewhat compensate for the difficulty.)
  • 2007 – The PMBOK Guide acquired three ANSI/ISO/IEC standards.
  • December 2008 – PMBOK Guide, 4th edition released. It had 467 pages: it included 42 processes.
  • August 2009 – The test was again changed according to the fourth edition.
  • August 31, 2011 – 30% of questions were changed to conform to the RDS standard.
  • December 2012 – PMBOK Guide, 5th edition released. It included 589 pages and 47 processes! August 2013 – The test was changed based on the latest version, the fifth version.
  • January 2016 – The test again had to be changed to match the latest version of RDS 2015.

What is the project?

The project is called temporary because a start time and an end time are considered for it, and it also has a limited and defined period and resources. A project is always special because it does not include a routine and repetitive operation, but a set of operations defined to achieve a specific goal. Therefore, a project team usually includes people who do not work directly together – sometimes these people are even from different organizations and even from several different parts of the world.

What is project management?

Project management is the order of initiation, planning, action, control, and finally summarizing the work of a team to achieve a certain goal and meet the set criteria. This concept is actually the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to achieve the demands of a project.

What is project management
What is project management

A project is a temporary and specific endeavor that pursues a specific goal, this goal can be in the form of income, production, or benefits. Whenever a project achieves its specified and predetermined criteria within a certain time and budget, it is considered a successful project.

Management vs. Project Management

The most important factor that separates project management from “management” is that, unlike management, project management is a temporary concept and has a relatively shorter duration. For this reason, a project specialist needs diverse skills as well as human management ability and optimal knowledge of business conditions.


  • PMBOK is the source of the PMP exam. In fact, this resource is the result of research on many successful companies. The advantage of using a PMP-certified project manager and his team is that you no longer need to train new staff. PMBOK is valuable for both companies and employees. Here are three reasons:
  • The first reason the PMBOK is valuable is that it allows companies to integrate all their departments and actually define a standard for them. In this way, the employees of the development department manage the project more easily.
  • The second reason is that PMBOK can help project managers to deal with a standard system throughout the company. In this way, if the manager’s place of work changes, his conditions and duties will not change.
  • The third reason is that PMBOK challenges different designs. Different methods of project management can help you have better risk management and also PMBOK predicts what is doomed to fail and this problem prevents the possible failure of the project.

Finally, project managers who are familiar with the PMBOK standards can modify the project process at will to meet the company’s needs. An old saying goes: “To break a rule, you need to know it well.”

When project managers spend time learning these rules, they learn exactly when they need to ignore them.

PMBOK structure

Project management as a concept is developing and expanding rapidly in the world, and today it is considered a job and has its own training and exercises. The PMBOK framework consists of five process groups, ten general topics, and 47 project management processes. Each topic includes a series of project management processes.

Standardization of processes is one of the most important parts of any plan and map. In project management, the PMBOK Guide provides a method that transforms separate processes into a complete, standardized, and collaborative process. These 47 processes are divided into five groups, which have a close relationship with 10 knowledge areas in management.

The five PMBOK process groups

You can see an overview of the process groups in PMBOK:


The initiation process group itself includes the processes, activities, and skills required to initiate a project. Obtaining permits, and the initial steps to achieve a successful start will eventually lead to a good foundation for all phases of the project. Defining the steps clearly, preparing the teams, and getting the budget before starting the work is important and necessary for a strong start in any industry.

The steps that are usually taken at the beginning stage are as follows:

  • According to PMI, the initiation process helps us to have an initial vision of what we want to achieve.
  • This stage is where the project license is officially issued by the sponsor, and the beneficiaries are identified.
  • It is very important to identify the investor because the identification of the investor (and in the later stages, their management and control) can make a project successful or lead it to failure.

We should also pay attention to these points:

  • The initiation process is not only due to attracting sponsors (supporting project budget approval) but at this stage, it is determined whether the projects are in line with the overall strategy of the organization or not.
  • Without this step, projects can get off to a haphazard start, and serve no real purpose.
  • Remember that it is at this stage that the project manager is chosen.
  • It is very important that the project manager is chosen very early and given freedom of action because project managers usually have a lot of responsibility but little authority.

The planning process states that the scope of the project should be defined, the strategy of projects to increase efficiency should be planned, and a list of team goals and plans should be prepared. The planning process also draws and categorizes the goals in a more specific way and provides the necessary infrastructure to achieve these goals based on the budget and time limits.

Activities that are usually done in planning:

  • One of the important parts of planning is determining the extent and limits of the project. While you might think this part belongs in the project initiation phase, the scope (along with risks, milestones, and budget) is fully defined in the planning phase.
  • In the planning group, a more detailed planning process is called progress description, where project documents are developed at more advanced levels.
  • In the PMBOK Guide, PMI addresses 24 separate processes that are related to planning.

The implementation process includes effective team management. While time is managed well and reaching the goals is possible. The use of these skills by project managers shows their high ability in organization and communication. On that side of the story, however, solving concerns or other complex problems has a direct relationship with doing the work within a certain period and budget.

The activities that are carried out in this group are usually as follows:

  • The project manager must get to know the development team and manage them, as well as improve its performance with solutions.
  • Project management is not only limited to communication management, but also manages interaction with stakeholders, and ensures the quality of the final product.
  • If there is a need to procure something – support efforts are made to communicate with the supplier.


In the implementation phase, most of the budget will be spent and the desired product will be produced. Here, it is very likely that stakeholders will demand change, and while the project team has the ability to make changes, only senior managers can approve or reject this decision.

Monitoring and control

Processing change arrangements, evaluating budget considerations, and mitigating the impact of unforeseen events that affect the team’s ability to achieve its primary goals are all part of the abilities and competencies necessary in the monitoring and control process.

A skilled project manager always keeps the project moving forward and protects the project from problems that might delay it. All this is possible by monitoring progress and predicting and responding to problems quickly. While other groups proceed according to plan, monitoring, and control are floating throughout the project and happen throughout the project.

What does it include? The PMBOK Guide includes all processes that need to be tracked, reviewed, and adjusted. And usually, the activities that are carried out in the monitoring and control department are as follows:

  • Identify steps in the process that need to be changed.
  • Initiating relevant changes (the reality is that you can never go exactly according to plan. In fact, most of the time it doesn’t happen)
  • In this part, you need to get back on track by comparing the map with reality and measuring the changes, and doing the necessary work.


The biggest challenge of this part is to bring the project to a successful end, which means completing the project within the given time and budget. None of these steps are easy to implement, but not doing them means that the team will never realize the benefits of having a strategy for the project.

Activities that are often performed in the monitoring and closing phase:

  • You can officially end the project and take on another project.
  • The project manager can officially end the project after writing the report, holding the closing meeting, receiving the last salary installment, and ending the contract.
  • Lessons learned from this project and during it should be recorded somewhere to be used in future projects and avoid unnecessary work.

Fields of knowledge in project management

Fields of knowledge in project management
Fields of knowledge in project management

Integration – This concept was first unveiled in the PMBOK guidebook. In general, this concept states that all possible information must be available to make a decision, and it is not possible to make a correct decision with the information of each part separately.

Scope – This is one of the methods you can use to define the goals of your project. The purpose of scope management is to clarify and articulate all objectives. This concept covers all the requirements and specifies the entire work structure.

Time – This refers to the amount of time employees spend on their projects, and how long, in general, it takes to complete the project. This concept helps you to better understand the activities within the project and their sequence and the time allotted for each activity.

Cost – This part completely deals with the economic aspect of the project. The major activity of this part is preparing the budget, which includes estimating the required budget and then determining the possible budget of the project.

Quality – This is where you will learn about setting up a quality control and project quality management unit to ensure customer satisfaction with your products.

Procurement/Procurement: This section will guide you from planning your requirements, through the purchasing process, to managing the supplier’s work and closing the contract when the project is complete.

Human resources: First of all, you need to understand the resources you need to fund the project, then complete your team. After that, it all depends on your management and teaching the required skills to the team members.

Communication: Considering that the project manager’s job is usually 80% dependent on communication, here, the project manager writes a communication plan for the project and monitors all the inputs and outputs of these communications.

Risk management: This part includes knowing the dangers and risks and how to assess the risk in your project, which includes how to evaluate your qualitative and quantitative risks. Risk management is not something that is done overnight, the process is actually used throughout the project.

Stakeholders: This part is one of the most important parts and includes knowing the stakeholders, knowing their role and their needs in the project, you should also be able to solve these needs. If you can understand all these sections well, then you have covered everything you need to know as a project manager.

In this article, detailed explanations were given about the project management guide based on PMBOK. If you are interested in more information in this regard, we suggest putting the PMBOK project management course on your educational agenda.

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