Project management is not new. It has been in use for hundreds of years. Examples of project outcomes include:
- Pyramids of Giza,
- Olympic games,
- Great Wall of China,
- Taj Mahal,
- Publication of a children’s book,
- Panama Canal,
- Development of commercial jet airplanes,
- Polio vaccine,
- Human beings landing on the moon,
- Commercial software applications,
- Portable devices to use the global positioning system (GPS), and
- Placement of the International Space Station into Earth’s orbit.
The outcomes of these projects were the result of leaders and managers applying project management practices, principles, processes, tools, and techniques to their work. The managers of these projects used a set of key skills and applied knowledge to satisfy their customers and other people involved in and affected by the project. By the mid-20th century, project managers began the work of seeking recognition for project management as a profession. One aspect of this work involved obtaining agreement on the content of the body of knowledge (BOK) called project management. This BOK became known as the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK). The Project Management Institute (PMI) produced a baseline of charts and glossaries for the PMBOK. Project managers soon realized that no single book could contain the entire PMBOK. Therefore, PMI developed and published A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide).
PMI defines the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK) as a term that describes the knowledge within the profession of project management. The project management body of knowledge includes proven traditional practices that are widely applied as well as innovative practices that are emerging in the profession.
The body of knowledge (BOK) includes both published and unpublished materials. This body of knowledge is constantly evolving. This PMBOK® Guide identifies a subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice.
- Generally recognized means the knowledge and practices described are applicable to most projects most of the time, and there is consensus about their value and usefulness.
- Good practice means there is general agreement that the application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to project management processes can enhance the chance of success over many projects in delivering the expected business values and results.
The project manager works with the project team and other stakeholders to determine and use the appropriate generally recognized good practices for each project. Determining the appropriate combination of processes, inputs, tools, techniques, outputs and life cycle phases to manage a project is referred to as “tailoring” the application of the knowledge described in this guide.
This PMBOK® Guide is different from a methodology. A methodology is a system of practices, techniques, procedures, and rules used by those who work in a discipline. This PMBOK® Guide is a foundation upon which organizations can build methodologies, policies, procedures, rules, tools and techniques, and life cycle phases needed to practice project management.
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