The PMBOK Guide is process-based, meaning it describes work as being accomplished by processes. This approach is consistent with other management standards such as ISO 9000 and the Software Engineering Institute's CMMI.


Processes overlap and interact throughout a project or its various phases. Processes are described in terms of:

  • Inputs (documents, plans, designs, etc.)
  • Tools and Techniques (mechanisms applied to inputs)
  • Outputs (documents, products, etc.)

The Guide recognizes 44 processes that fall into five basic process groups and nine knowledge areas that are typical of almost all projects.

  • The five process groups are : Initiating, Planning, Executing, Controlling and Monitoring, and Closing.
  • The nine knowledge areas are : Project Integration Management, Project Scope Management, Project Time Management, Project Cost Management, Project Quality Management, Project Human Resource Management, Project Communications Management, Project Risk Management, and Project Procurement Management.

Each of the nine knowledge areas contains the processes that need to be accomplished within its discipline in order to achieve an effective project management program. Each of these processes also falls into one of the five basic process groups, creating a matrix structure such that every process can be related to one knowledge area and one process group.

The PMBOK Guide is meant to offer a general guide to manage most projects most of the time. A specialized standard was developed as an extension to the PMBOK Guide to suit special industries, for example the Construction Extension to the PMBOK Guide and the Government Extension to the PMBOK Guide.


                                                                                                                                                 see  also        

  • ISO 10006 - Guidelines for quality management in projects.
  • PRINCE2 - Alternative project management methodology.
  • U.S. Department of Defense Extension to: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide) This document is the first edition (2003) and it identifies and describes defense applications of the core project management knowledge areas contained in the PMBOK Guide, as well as those defense-intensive knowledge areas not contained in the Guide. This Extension generally follows United States Department of Defense acquisition system policies and procedures (principally found in the DoD 5000 series directives – DoDD 5000.1, DoDI 5000.2, and Interim Defense Acquisition Guidebook (IDAG)). However, many of the concepts are generic to defense acquisition worldwide