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.)
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge ¯ provides guidelines for managing individual projects and defines project management related concepts. It also describes the project management life cycle and its related processes, as well as the project life cycle.
The Guide recognizes 47 processes that fall into five basic process groups and ten knowledge areas that are typical of almost all projects.
The five process groups are:
- Monitoring and Controlling
The ten 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
- Project Procurement Management
- Project Stakeholders Management (added in 5th edition)
Each of the ten 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. There are currently two extensions to the PMBOK Guide: the Construction Extension to the PMBOK Guide applies to construction projects, while the Government Extension to the PMBOK Guide applies to government projects.