Introduction to PMBOK

Introduction to Project Management Body of Knowledge

There is a project “Go to Chennai and meet a family friend in city and come back to Delhi by evening flight”. This idea you are discussing with your spouse one month before you need to execute this project.

Keeping this project in mind contemplate on following ideas.

  • What are the success criteria of this project?
  • What is the budget of this project?
  • What will be duration of this project in hours?
  • Do you count planning period (1 month before execution) as a part of this project?
  • What are deliverables of this project?
  • How will you classify the goal of this project as product or service or result?
  • Do you think that the difference between your budget and the cost you are about to spent on project while finalizing all your plan will be zero?
  • Do you think that the difference between cost which you estimated and cost which you actually spent on project (counting again when you come back to Delhi) will be zero?

Even if you have gone 5 times from Delhi to Chennai or you take help of some friend (expert judgment) who has gone there 5 times you cannot ensure that the project will have zero variances and same quality as last time!

If variances are possible on this kind of small project then what to say about mega infrastructure project! If zero variance and same quality is not possible then why don’t we accept variances as reality of any project? Our job as a project manager is to deliver project with some predictive variance limit and predictive quality variance. But how to predict this? For this purpose PMI has one Body of Knowledge called PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge). It helps you getting answers of following questions in a very systematic way. PMBOK forces you to seek the answer of these questions throughout project life-cycle and ensure delivery as per plan

  • What are the different possible out scope work items of this project?
  • What are possible risks of this project?
  • What are services, material etc required from vendor on different dates and their payment plan?
  • Who are human resourceful involved in this project who can help you in estimating, planning, executing, monitoring, controlling, closing activities of the project?
  • Who are the stakeholders of the project and how to keep them engaged?
  • What are the quality expectations of these stakeholders?
  • What, how and when you will communicate with the stakeholders of this project?
  • Can you draw all the activities of this project on a time-line while estimating the duration of each activity?
  • Can you estimate the cost of every identified activity on time-line
  • How much money you would like to keep as a reserve for those kind of risks which you can predict (like small health issues, change of taxi, change of flight, change of meeting venue etc)
  • How much money you would like to keep as a reserve for those kind of risks which you can not predict (like tsunami and stay extended, terrorist attack in Mumbai and all airport flights are stopped till further order, friend to whom you are going to meet meets a major accident on the way and you have to stay with him etc)

PMBOK has 10 Knowledge areas, 5 Process Groups, 47 Process and address many questions like above in a very systematic way.



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