What is the PMBOK Guide? – PMBOK Guide Overview

April 28th, 2011

There’s a lot of good information online that will help you get your PMP certification. There is also a lot of confusing information as well. One of the titles every single project manager is bound to hear of sooner or later in their career is the PMBOK Guide. A lot of project managers don’t really understand what this guide is. Some of them think it is a PMP prep guide, others believe that to get the PMP certification you will need to pass an exam on PMBOK, which can be studied for in the PMBOK Guide. Others may even think that it is a book on project management or PM case studies. Well, the PMBOK Guide isn’t anything like that at all.

The PMBOK Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) is a book published by the Project Management Institute which includes the standards and guidelines of project management. The PMBOK Guide is intended to be a reference guide for every topic related to project management. This guide is intended to provide project managers worldwide with a standard set of guidelines and rules with the purpose of standardizing all project management practices around the world.

You have to understand that you will not find any PMP training or project management tips or exercises in this book. The other thing you need to know if you’re going to be taking your PMP exam soon is that the PMBOK Guide does not cover everything you need to know for the test! Also, you need to know that the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is different from the PMBOK Guide. The Project Management Body of Knowledge is simply the body of all knowledge that has to do with project management standards. The PMBOK Guide simply covers as much of that knowledge as possible in an easy-to-read format.

You can’t learn anything about from project management from the PMBOK Guide, nor will you be able to use it to study for the PMP test. Project Management Professionals only use the PMBOK Guide as a reference which helps them look up certain facts they need. Experienced project managers will not find the information in the guide very difficult to understand, while beginners in the field of project management may find it difficult to understand anything from the book.

So if you were previously thinking of buying the PMBOK Guide to study for the PMP exam or learn a few things about project management, don’t. Unless you have at least a few years of experience in managing high level projects and a solid educational background in project management, you won’t understand much of the text.

PMI publishes a new version of the PMBOK Guide every four years, along with other project management standards and frameworks books.

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