Publisher: Project Management Publications, Kentucky, US. Email:
Review published here June 2010

Introduction | Book Structure 
What We Liked | Downside | Summary


The PMBOK® Guide, ("the Guide") more properly known as A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge and now in its Fourth Edition (end of 2008), is published by the Project Management Institute ("PMI"). It is touted as the global standard for project management and describes concepts and practices of project management that are considered essential in the "profession" of project management. With more than three million copies sold, the PMBOK® Guide editions have almost instantly become the world's leading project management references. Nevertheless, for those who are not familiar with this work, it is affectionately known by its adherents as "pimbok".

Once again, author Muhamed Abdomerovic has done his "due diligence" on this latest version of the Guide. (Our review of his previous guide can be found here.) As you might expect, the Guide is in fact a conceptual collection of information, science, wisdom and practices that are deemed to be specific to the field of project management. In this current edition, the collection consists of nine "knowledge areas" involving forty-two "processes" with each process depicted in terms of inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. PMI has formally adopted this collection for purposes of establishing its training and certification programs.

However, all of these processes are interconnected to a greater or lesser degree, to form a "system of nested processes" and the first challenge for the Guide's readers is to get their minds around how they all fit together. In the Guide's Chapter 3, it does provide graphical illustrations at the process group level and the process level respectively with each displaying connecting arrows indicating the existence of certain relationships. However, these relationships do not indicate what information is being exchanged.

The second, and perhaps bigger challenge is to see how this system of nested processes can be applied in a practical project environment. Of course, if all you want to do is to pass the PMI certification tests, then perhaps a deeper understanding is not necessary. However, if you are an academic or project management trainer, or any practitioner wishing to apply the body of knowledge to real-life projects, then you certainly do need a deeper understanding. And this is the book to help you gain that understanding.

Muhamed Abdomerovic is a civil engineer with over thirty years of experience in a variety of large projects covering construction, the process industry, the energy sector and information technology. During this time he has specialized in project management and developed a fascination for analyzing the discipline from a systems perspective. Consequently, he has been following the evolution of PMI's PMBOK® Guide since its first edition, and has conducted technical analyses of the contents using tools of his own design. These tools include a set of rules to establish consistency throughout his analysis.

Abdomerovic has written two previous versions of this book. But this version is different. It explains not only what the PMBOK® Guide says, but what it means and how it can be used to manage projects. Therefore, his book delves into the relationships between the Guide's various processes to expose specific relationships between a particular input or output and that of other processes in the PMBOK® Guide. As a consequence, the book significantly augments the information in the Guide by revealing realistic underlying project management logic. Interestingly, this logic includes the inherent impact of the project management iterative process control loop involved in the related but controversial five management process groups.


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