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

Introduction | Book Structure 
What We Liked | Downside | Summary


It is said that project management is as much an art as it is a science and some believe more, others less so. But whichever is the case, it is clear that project management, like any management, is not an exact science, the more so because management is about dealing with people. The Project Management Institute's PMBOK® Guide now in its Fourth Edition is the work and input of hundreds if not thousands of PMI members. As such, it represents the collective view based on individual experiences. At the same time, it is not unreasonable to think that the resulting wisdom has advanced over the years. So, a brief summary of the Guide's history seems appropriate. To quote Abdomerovic:[5]

"A review of past project management history shows that a breakthrough in project management started more then quarter century ago with the publication of the Ethics, Standards and Accreditation (ESA) Report in 1983. The chair of ESA Management Group was Matthew H. Parry and the description of this document provided a guideline for future actions and objectives for the project management community.

This was followed by the publication of the Project Management Body of Knowledge ('PMBOK') of the Project Management Institute in 1987 developed by a number of dedicated professionals. The chair during its development in 1986 Edition was R. Max Wideman, who established the term 'PMBOK' and defined its knowledge areas. A few dedicated professionals continued to build on this work resulting in the publication of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (The PMBOK® Guide) in 1996. The primary author and Director of Standards of the 1996 Edition and its output/input characteristic was William R. Duncan.

Since this more advanced work was completed, its basic concept continues to develop with the support of thousands of project managers. Four years later, the 2000 Edition replaced the 1996 Edition. The 2000 Edition Standard Manager was Steven L. Fahrenkrog and project leader was Cynthia A. Berg. This successful upgrade represented a smooth transition by focusing on a better explanation of the 1996 Edition and changes related to Project Risk Management. 'Most of the changes that were made are clearly improvements'.

Although the magnitude of changes from 2000 Edition to the Third Edition was massive, it did not bring substantial improvements. The Third Edition Standard Manager was Steven L. Fahrenkrog and Project Manager was Dennis Bolles. However, the analysis of the Fourth Edition shows that a step up from the Third Edition and an improvement on the Third Edition have been made. The Fourth Edition Standard Manager was Ruth Ann Guerrero and Project Manager was Cynthia Stackpole."

Naturally, we think that a document such as The PMBOK® Guide should at least be logical, transparent and internally consistent. Hence the value of author Muhamed Abdomerovic's book Brainstorming the PMBOK® Guide . It meets a unique need.

R. Max Wideman
Fellow, PMI

Downside  Downside

5. Ibid, p11
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