Published here February 2019

Introduction | Comments about the Product

The Project Management Body of Knowledge (1987)
is now available as a PDF file.
It's free, but ...


In 1987, after a lot of study and research, the Project Management Institute (PMI®) published the Project Management Body of Knowledge, known as PMBOK. That was over 30 years ago before the general availability of modern electronics. That original text has now been reproduced as a PDF document. In the process of reproduction, only the typos and grammar have been corrected and the work breakdown content charts have been redrawn to fit a standard print page.

Getting your copy: go to PMBOK1987 and make a donation. If you really cannot afford a modest donation to our Glossary work, then just send me an Email.

Why get it?

  1. All of the subject areas describing their respective project management practices were written by PMI experts of the day.
  2. Each of these areas reflects the practical experience, knowledge and understanding of the individual authors of the time.
  3. Similarly, the terminology used was all derived from their years of practical experience.
  4. Many of those definitions were more fully descriptive than those we see today.
  5. The way the information is presented typically follows the natural sequence of work in a real project.
  6. The content is statement-based, rather than system-based, and consequently much more concise.
  7. The work breakdown charts at the end of each subject area provide a comprehensive listing of subject content.
  8. This makes them valuable for populating teaching and training courses, developing content for project business cases, and auditing project management activities.

This document is free upon request. However, you are invited to make a small donation towards the costs of copying, printing and proof reading of our work on the project management glossaries.

How to get it?

If you are donating, simply go to the PMBOK1987 Request Form. Otherwise, just send an Email to

What you will get

  • The PMBOK-1987 document covers the following components: Foreword; Preface; PMBOK Standards — History and criteria; The Framework — The Rationale; An Overview; and An Integrative Model Management Subject Areas: Scope; Quality; Time; Cost; Risk; Human Resources; Contract/ Procurement; and Communications. Glossary of Terms
  • Most of the figures contained in the text have been scanned and cleaned up, but some have lost their sharpness. Nevertheless, all the contained texts are readable.
  • The work breakdown charts at the end of each subject area sections have been redrawn to fit on an 8.5x11 page. (The originals each filled two pages).
  • This PDF file contains 100 pages of content plus 34 pages of Glossary definitions that summarize in alphabetical order the definitions presented in the authors' texts.
  • The pages are arranged for double sided printing, for those that have that capability. The whole document is in black and white, except for the front cover page. This cover page is enclosed separately should you wish to print it in color and on heavier stock. It is not included in the main print run and hence the page numbering system.
  • The file is password protected (sent in a separate Email), with copying and printing only allowed.

This document:

  • Provided a basis for discussing and teaching the subject of project management,
  • Provided the foundation for the first Project Management Professional (PMP) examination,
  • Put the Project Management Institute firmly on the public map for the years to come,
  • Contains the basic principles for planning and running a project in all walks of life,
  • Is well worth reading for those insights that are still largely applicable today.

R. Max Wideman, FPMI
Editor of the original PMBOK


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