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Is the PMBOK a standard or a methodology?

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I'm wondering on whether the PMBOK is project management standard or PM methodology. Are the opinions split when it comes to this subject? I hope that someone can answer my question objectively, and explain to me why he thinks that the PMBOK is a standard or why he thinks its a methodology.
asked 7 years ago by anonymous edited 7 years ago by MaplePM

3 Answers

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I classify PMBOK as a framework and standard but not up to a metholodology. The PMBOK is largely descriptive, as it describes project management processes and a broad list of tools and techniques that can be applied by a project manager to produce the deliverables. The PMBOK leaves it opens to the project manager to decide on their approach to how to manage the project.

Meanwhile, PRINCE2 is prescriptive, as it consists of a series of management processes that can provide guidance for running a project.
answered 6 years ago by hairul (1,320 points)
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Why does it matter?  Its just a superset of predefined activities that you can pragmatically choose from to reduce the risks associated with delivering projects.  I don't know if that makes it a methodology or a standard or something else and I don't care as long as it helps deliver projects - and properly applied it does an excellent job at that.  Improperly applied, it becomes a bureaucratic mess that delivers no value and actually increases the risk of project failure.  And yes I am a PMP but my designation stands for Pragmatic Manager of Projects
answered 7 years ago by anonymous
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The PMBOK Guide has never been a methodology, per se.  It is an American National Standard and soon to be an international standard for project management.  According to the introduction to the PMBOK Guide Fourth Edition, its purpose is:

- identify a subset of project management knowledge that represents good practice (though some might feel with hundreds of volunteer project managers participating, it is best practice)
- promote a common vocabulary
- be a foundational reference
- guide practitioners

In its most general definition, a methodology is about how you are going to do something.  So at least at a high level, the PMBOK Guide is also a methodology.  The PMBOK Guide outlines 5 processes and 12 knowledge areas and I have used it to build methodologies and augment existing methodologies. Drawing from the good/best practices, I have outlined steps to take in managing projects from a product, process, and people view, provided guidance and training for each step, and tools and templates to support each step.
answered 7 years ago by sdcapmp (45,840 points)

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