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A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (Pmbok Guide) [Paperback]

Project Management Institute (Corporate Author)
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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

The PMBOK9(r) Guide – Fourth Edition continues the tradition of excellence in project management with a standard that is even easier to understand and implement, with improved consistency and greater clarification.
  • Standard language has been incorporated throughout the document to aid reader understanding.
  • New data flow diagrams clarify inputs and outputs for each process.
  • Greater attention has been placed on how Knowledge Areas integrate in the context of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing process groups.
  • Two new processes are featured: Identify Stakeholders and Collect Requirements.
--This text refers to the Kindle Edition edition.

Product Details

  • Paperback: 459 pages
  • Publisher: Project Management Institute; 4 edition (December 31, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1933890517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1933890517
  • Product Dimensions: 10.9 x 8.4 x 1.1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (81 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #120 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Customer Reviews

81 Reviews
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 (37)
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 (21)
3 star:
 (14)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 171 people found the following review helpful:
1.0 out of 5 stars An almost necessary evil, August 13, 2009
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (Pmbok Guide) (Paperback)
Starting off, I'm a certified PMP. I went through the process, memorized everything PMI wanted me to memorize, and passed the test. That said, this book isn't worth the paper it's written on.

The good:
- You have to memorize the PMI project management process step by step, as a lot of the test questions involve what comes next, what comes first in this phase, etc. This book does go through all the steps one at a time, with some description.
- It makes a good paperweight or looks impressive on a bookshelf.

The bad:
- It must have been written by aliens, come to earth to mess with aspiring project managers through developing the most unreadable reference book ever.
- Many of the charts and graphs just aren't that high quality - as if they were done by a child in crayon then translated to digital
- It is very expensive, and doesn't help you actually pass the exam.
- Minor changes from the third edition - but you'll be tested on the most recent edition. This is like a college textbook money grab.

Summary:
Buy another book. I used the Rita Mulcay book and found it very helpful, as it had hints on the types of questions that will be used, as well as helpful exercises to study, and questions at the end of each chapter. It was also written by someone with faculties in any human spoken language.
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50 of 53 people found the following review helpful:
3.0 out of 5 stars Good Info, Difficult Read, February 10, 2010
By 
Peter Brooks (Osterville, MA, US) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Amazon Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (Pmbok Guide) (Paperback)
I used this book plus free online test questions and exams to pass the PMP exam so it can be done.

The good: By studying just this book and the free online tests, you can pass the PMP test (I did). For an experienced PM, the definitions and calculations are not difficult to learn (learn = memorize).

The bad: Much of PMBOK deals with process input, tools, techniques, and outputs. The organization of these makes them extremely difficult to learn. There is no overall construct that integrates them and brings them all together to make them easy to learn. My understanding is that some paid courses organize these better than the PMBOK and provide either mnemonic devices and/or better diagrams / charts.

My strategy:

- Read the PMBOK.
- Underline definitions, key words, and input, tools, techniques, and outputs.
- Memorize the underlined info.
- Practice the calculations.
- Take the online tests. Refer to references in the answers as needed.
- Iterate the above steps until I got 80% or more on the online tests.

For an experienced PM, few concepts in the book will be unknown. It is a matter of making sure you know the PMBOK specifics for the test.
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109 of 138 people found the following review helpful:
5.0 out of 5 stars Globally Recognized Guide to the Body of Knowledge in the PM Profession, November 28, 2009
By 
J Bucknoff, PMP (Fort Lee, NJ USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge: (Pmbok Guide) (Paperback)
The PMBOK Guide is a standard for the project management profession. Its intention is to serve as a guide to the body of knowledge within the project management community and as practiced by members of the profession. There is no single document that contains the project management body of knowledge. Indeed, some of it is not published at all but, rather, is simply recognized as good practices and norms within the profession. This body of knowledge is growing every day.

The PMBOK Guide is not intended to be used to learn project management or project management concepts. It's especially not intended to teach or suggest PM techniques or methodologies.

It's not a "how to" book nor is it a description of a methodology. It's a standard, not a methodology. PM professionals and the organizations they work for can use the PMBOK Guide as a guide for developing their own methodologies or for creating organization standards.

It's particularly important to understand that it is not a standard or specification for the examination portion of the PMP certification. For one thing, at least 30% of the material on the examination is not covered by the PMBOK Guide. (There IS an exam on the PMBOK Guide. It's the CAPM exam, which only covers knowledge of the PMBOK Guide.)

While the PMBOK Guide only changes once every 4 years, the exam component of the PMP credential is constantly changing. Much of the material that showed up in the 4th (2008) edition of the PMBOK Guide has ALREADY been showing up on the PMP exam for several years - e.g., PTA, TCPI, etc. PMBOK Guide 4th edition came out in December, 2008, but these topics have been showing up on the PMP exam as early as 2006. The group at PMI that develops the standards (such the PMBOK Guide, the Standard for Risk Management, etc.) and the group at PMI that develops the the certifications and their corresponding exams (such as PMP, CAPM, PMI-SP, etc.) are two separate groups that DO NOT interface with each other. They are two separate groups. If anything, the standards group looks at the work that the credential group (PMP, CAPM) does and uses it as one of the many inputs for what they put into the standards such as the PMBOK Guide.

A reviewer here, on Amazon, observed that there is a widely held notion that PMBOK = Project Management. I disagree with that observation. The false notion he observed is only held by those people who do not know what the PMBOK is. Also "PMBOK" is not the same as "PMBOK Guide." PMBOK is an acronym for the Project Management Body of Knowledge. As I said, above, there is no single document that contains the project management body of knowledge. It's simply the body of knowledge that is collectively known among practitioners. academics and organizations who practice or research project management. The document known as the PMBOK Guide is simply a guide to that massive body of knowledge; an entry-point to further information and a standard for developing protocols, methodologies, techniques and practices within your own organizations and project management practices.

The PMBOK Guide is a reference work, not a text book or a study guide. It's not meant as an introduction to project management any more than a volume of statutes is meant to be used as an introduction to the practice of law or the Physician's Desk Reference (PDR) is mean to be used as an introduction to pharmacology for doctors and pharmacists. As with technical references for other professions (such as statute books for lawyers, clinical references for doctors, etc.), non professionals may find the PMBOK Guide difficult to follow and even dry. An experienced and trained project manager should find the PMBOK Guide perfectly understandable and not very difficult to follow. An experienced and professional project manager looking at the PMBOK Guide for the first time may find its format unfamiliar (at first), but he/she should find the material and the concepts in the document familiar (though organized in a way they may not be used to).

On the other hand, an entry-level project manager, or a non-project manager who is thrown into project management tasks may, indeed, find the PMBOK Guide difficult to follow and difficult to understand. This is not unlike a sophomore accounting student opening up a set of GAAP or IFRS guidelines and finding it hard to follow or finding the writing style very didactic and anything but light reading, while this would NOT be the experience of a certified CPA or an experienced accountant or financial professional.

Very important: The PMBOK Guide is not an I.T. text nor should it be considered part of the literature covering the topic of information technology. For some reason, the document is shelved in book stores along with I.T. books. It really should be shelved with books on management. In the same way, PMP examination study guides are also shelved next to I.T. books. The PMP credential is not an I.T. "cert." In fact, it's not even in the same class or category of "certifications" as technical and I.T. "certs." The PMP is a professional credential, in the same category of certifications for other professions, such as accounting, law or medicine. Unlike I.T. "certs", where the only requirement to earn the certification is the ability to make an appointment at the Prometric center and where the only criteria for earning the certification is the ability to pass a test, the PMP credential has experience, education, continuing education & professional contribution requirements. There is also a requirement to adhere to a professional code of conduct.

Because of the "cert" fever within the I.T. community and among I.T. workers, many non-PMs in the I.T. sector are pressured to add the "PMP" letters to their names. Recruiters are among those who create this pressure. Because they are not experienced project managers, these I.T. people are pressured into lying about their background and skills during the PMP qualification process -- and getting friends to lie during the audit and vetting process. This may account for the number of (dishonestly earned) PMPs out there who may have the letters after their name (though they got those letters under false pretenses) but who are not really project managers at all. This is why people see a lot of "PMPs" who have no idea about what they are doing.

Project management is a profession. While there are many professional project managers out there practicing their profession, there are quite a lot of non-project managers who have been thrown into PM responsibilities and roles. While they do, indeed, hold a "job" as a "project manager" and are being asked to perform the tasks of a project manager (and may even have a title called "project manager:), they are not project managers. They're just people who have been asked to do the work of project managers.

The PMP credential is not for people want to move into project management. It's for people who ALREADY ARE project managers and have been for several years. The PMP credential verifies that the individual has the education, years of experience, professional training, adherence to a professional code of ethics, commitment to ongoing continuing education and commitment to ongoing contributions to the project management profession. The exam portion of the credential verifies that, in addition to all of the above, the individual has an understanding of the profession he/she has been practices; that the individual knows that project management is NOT common sense and that he/she is not managing project by seat of his/her pants or via intuition; that the individual understands that sound project management is based on the past experiences of other members of the profession, based on research and sound empirical (scientific) study; that the "art" and practice of project management is based on science, not intuition.

Finally, as to the question "what would be the best alternative book": there is no alternative. The PMBOK Guide is the accepted global standard and the recognized guide to the project management body of knowledge. That's all it's intended to be and it serves that purpose well. It's not the end to all ends. The members of the project management profession who contributed to the document did not aspire to cover all there is to know about project management. It's not perfect and it's constantly changing (every 4 years) as the profession continues to grow and mature.

You can (and should) supplement the PMBOK Guide with other PMI standards and frameworks -- e.g., The Standard for Program Management, The Project Manager Comptency Development Framework, The Practice Standard for Work Breakdown Structures, etc. There are supplemental standards and frameworks developed by other professional and academic organizations as well. However, as the GUIDE to the "body of knowledge" within the profession, the PMBOK Guide is the standard. There are other books and sources on other topics of project management, including sources on methodologies, leadership, PM tools, general management, the management of people, budgeting, scheduling, quality management practices, organizational behavior, etc. as well as industry specific literature on project management, such as marketing project management, I.T. project management, construction project management, research & development project management, etc. However, such topics are outside the scope and purpose of the PMBOK Guide. Of course, since anywhere from 60% - 70% of the material in the examination portion of the PMP certification either comes directly from the PMBOK Guide or requires understanding of the concepts in the PMP Guide, a knowledge of the material in the document is important to anyone who is planning to sit for the exam. So, while the PMBOK Guide is NOT a study guide for the exam and is not intended to serve as such, familiarity with it is important part of both practicing the PM profession as well as earning the profession's certification.

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