6th Edition PMBOK® Guide–Components of a Project

I am starting a project of going through the 6th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide and blogging about its contents.    The 6th Edition was released on September 22nd by the Project Management Institute, and the first chapter is a general introduction to the framework in which project management exists, starting with section 1.2 Foundation Elements (section 1.1 describes the purpose of the Guide).

The section I am going over in this blog post is section 1.2.4 Components of the Guide, although it should be titled Components of a Project (in my humble opinion).    The reason is that the preceding section, 1.2.3 Relationship of Project, Program, Portfolio, and Operations Management shows the external relationship between a project and all of these other elements within an organization.   The current section 1.2.4 now shifts from an external view of a project to an internal one, and shows what its components are.  Here they are in decreasing order of magnitude:

  • Project life cycle–a large project can be broken down into various phases; the entire series of phases a project passes through from its start to its completion is referred to as the project life cycle.
  • Project phase–each individual project phase is like a mini-project that goes from the first process group (Initating Processes) to the last process group (Closing Processes).  The phases are completed in sequence, and the connection between the individual phases in the project life cycle is called a phase gate, where the decision is made whether or not to go on to the next phase.
  • Project management process group–the forty-nine project management processes are grouped logically into five process groups:   Initating (2 processes), Planning (24 processes), Executing (10 processes), Monitoring & Controlling (12 processes), and Closing (1 process).   Although a project will pass sequentially through its various phases, the passage through process groups is more complicated.
  • Project management knowledge area–the processes within each process group are identified with one of the ten knowledge areas:   Integration, Scope, Schedule, Cost, Quality, Resources, Communications, Risk, Procurement, and Stakeholder.
  • Project management process–each of the 49 project management processes, which belong to one of five process groups and ten knowledge areas, consist of the following components:
    • Inputs–items which can be outputs from other processes
    • Tools and techniques–tools are items that are used with techniques to take inputs and process them into outputs
    • Outputs–deliverables to the project or items which can be inputs to subsequent processes

In order to get a visual picture of how these various components fit together, take a look at Figure 1.5 Interrelationship of the PMBOK® Guide Key Components on page 18 of the Guide.

The next few posts will discuss each of these levels of components of a project, starting with the largest level, that of the project life cycle.   There are various types of project life cycle, and these will determine if the project is being handled in a traditional or agile framework.   This is where a lot of  change between the 5th Edition and the 6th Edition, so it will be a crucial post to pay attention to!


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