What Is PMBOK?

The Project Management Body Of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide

The following is an excerpt from the PMBOK:

"The primary purpose of the PMBOK Guide is to identify that subset of the Project Management Body of Knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice. "Identify" means to provide a general overview as opposed to an exhaustive description. "Generally recognized" means that the knowledge and practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time, and that there is widespread consensus about their value and usefulness. "Good practice" means that there is general agreement that the correct application of these skills, tools, and techniques can enhance the chances of success over a wide range of different projects. Good practice does not mean that the knowledge described should always be applied uniformly on all projects; the project management team is responsible for determining what is appropriate for any given project."

The PMBOK Guide also provides and promotes a common lexicon for discussing, writing, and applying project management. Such a standard lexicon is an essential element of a profession.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) uses this document as a foundational, but not the sole, project management reference for its professional development programs.

As a foundational reference, this standard is neither comprehensive nor all inclusive. This standard addresses only single projects and the project management processes that are generally recognized as good practice. There are other standards on organizational project management maturity, project manager competency, and other topics that address what is generally recognized as good practices in those other areas. Some of the material in those other standards impact single projects. The other standards should be consulted for additional information and understanding of the broader context in which projects are accomplished.

Project management standards do not address all details of every topic. Topics that are not mentioned should not be considered unimportant. There are several reasons why a topic may not be included in a standard: it may be included within some other related standard; it may be so general that there is nothing uniquely applicable to project management; or there is insufficient consensus on a topic. The lack of consensus means there are variations in the profession regarding how, when, or where within the organization, as well as who within the organization, should perform that specific project management activity. The organization or the project management team must decide how those activities are going to be addressed in the context and the circumstances of the project for which the PMBOK Guide is being used.