Cracking the PMBOK Guide® Code

The Project Management Institute’s A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is a collection of principles that both novice and the experienced within the project management profession can utilize to develop good practices into best practices.

The key to unlocking the power of these principles is increasing one’s understanding of the embedded gems that allow one to successfully navigate through a project’s life cycle using PMBOK® Guide process groups, knowledge areas and processes—a skill much like the use of GPS to go from a location to a destination.

The most frequently asked question I have encountered as a trainer and educator of project management is, “How do I use this PMBOK Guide?” It begins with orienting oneself with the Project Management Process Groups and Knowledge Area Mapping diagram found on page 61.

I’ll begin with the process groups. There are five:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Executing
  4. Monitoring and Controlling
  5. Closing

Developing proficiency in the processes aids in identifying the key deliverables that enable a project team to transition through process groups—as well as develop a general understanding of the feedback loops that update them.

The project team is in its infancy when it begins to maneuver through the initiating process group. There are two …

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