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The PMBOK: A Project Management Study Guide or a Reference? (#8 in the series PMI Project Life Cycle)
By Brian Denis Egan, B.Sc, M.Sc., M.B.A., PMP – Global Knowledge Course Director

The PMBOK is structured according to knowledge areas. Each chapter of the PMBOK (after the three introductory chapters) covers a separate knowledge area.

Chapter 4 of the PMBOK discusses all the process within the Integration Management row (knowledge area).Each of the processes is discussed in order from top to bottom (within cells of the below table) and left to right.

Chapter 5 of the PMBOK discusses all the Scope Management processes. And so on.

The point is that the discussion of processes within the PMBOK is not ordered so as to follow a logical progression through a project. Processes are discussed in an order other than execution order.

While this structure makes perfect sense for a reference manual (which is what the PMBOK is) it is very confusing for anyone trying to understand how projects are managed. As a consequence, the PMBOK is not an effective study guide. It is a dictionary not a training tool.

PMI Project Management Processes

Table 1: PMI Project Management Processes (click to enlarge)

About the Author

Brian Denis Egan is CEO of a manufacturing company (Book Box Company) and a management consultant. He has written three professional development manuals and numerous white papers on aspects of management science. Since 2000, Brian has been a part-time instructor for Global Knowledge within the Management product line.

This article was originally published in Global Knowledge’s Business Brief e-newsletter. Global Knowledge delivers comprehensive hands-on project management, business process, and professional skills training. Visit our online Knowledge Center at for free white papers, webinars, and more.

© Copyright 2008, Global Knowledge. All rights reserved.

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