Where to Go from Here
I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief overview of the PMBOK Guide, and especially the fact that it was about the real essence of the PMBOK Guide rather than a one-to-one summary of the content of the official manual. If you check the manual, you may be surprised to see topics that we’ve not explicitly explored in this book, but don’t worry – their important elements are covered implicitly throughout the book.
Many people try to create a project management system entirely based on the PMBOK Guide, and they fail simply because that’s not the purpose of the Guide – it’s not a methodology. That’s why my focus was on explaining what it really is, and how you can use it in your projects.
There are two ways you can get help from the PMBOK Guide in your projects:
- The first is to use the principles to understand, re-interpret, and evaluate everything in your projects.
- The second is to use its performance domains to tailor and enrich your methodology.
That brings us to the topic of methodology, and that’s why we had a separate chapter to introduce a few of them.
If you’re interested in learning more, here are a few ideas:
- Structured guides
- PMBOK Guide: You can buy a copy of the official manual from your favorite bookstore. Alternatively, if you become a member of PMI, you can download all the publications for free. If you’re interested in learning about the old PMBOK Guide, you can read the new publication called Process Groups: A Practice Guide.
- Open PM²: Open PM² is open and available for free from the European Commission’s website. It calls itself a methodology, but it’s an unusual use of the word “methodology”, and in my opinion, it’s a guide like the PMBOK Guide rather than a methodology (one that shows you the path).
- APMBoK: This is mainly known in the UK. If you like to have a wide perspective, it would be a good choice. I like it because it structures and covers a few concerns that are overlooked in many other resources.
- PRINCE2®: This is one of the best general purpose project management methods. Like other reference material, many people find the official manual complicated and dry. If it’s the same for you, you can read one of the many books written about it instead. However, when doing so, make sure you select a book that is focused on understanding PRINCE2 rather than one that is just focused on passing the PRINCE2 exams.
- P3.express: This is an open, minimalist project management methodology, relatively newer than the alternatives. Its manual and a simulated project for practice are available for free on https://p3.express.
- micro.P3.express: P3.express is designed for small, medium, and large projects and doesn’t target micro- and mega-projects. micro.P3.express is a variation of it designed for micro-projects with a few team members. Similar to P3.express, it’s open, free, and minimalist.
- DSDM®: This is a sophisticated, well-structured, first-generation Agile methodology. You can find a free online version of its manual on their website.
- Scrum: There’s an (official) Scrum Guide available online, but it’s a short document and you may prefer to read a book about it instead. There are so many books about it, but many of them are only collections of clichés about Scrum, so make sure you select a deep, meaningful book about it.
- Specialized guides
- Behavioral competences: There are many great books about critical thinking, leadership, motivation, negotiation, conflict resolution, etc. It’s a great investment of time for a project manager to learn more about these, and there are great books on each topic that you can enjoy.
- Technical competences: Depending on the environment of your projects, you may want to use specialized books to learn more about scheduling, risk management, quality management, etc.
Finally, as a project manager, it’s also a good idea to learn a little about portfolio management as well.
Live long and prosper!