The views expressed in this article are strictly those of Max Wideman.
The contents of the book under review are the copyright property of the Project Management Institute.
Published here November 2021

Introduction | Book [B] Structure | What We Liked
Downside | Conclusion


This "book" A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is in fact the second part of the dual publication — the all in one, which was first introduced with Book [A] last month. This second part, which I refer to as Book [B], is much larger than Book [A] and, according to the cover of the whole dual publication, is the Seventh Edition. Also, as I noted last month, this Book [B] has its own Table of Contents, its own separate set of page numbers and its own bright red cover page.

So, here are my Book Review comments on Book [B]: A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, otherwise referred to as the PMBOK Guide or just The Guide.

Since the publication's cover pronounces this Guide as the Seventh Edition, it is clear that it is intended as a replacement of all previous editions. The total number of pages of this Guide, including various appendices and index, etc., is 274 pages. This is a welcome change from previous guides that carried some 900 pages. To achieve this, Book [B] has been completely rewritten, but on substantially different subject matter. I will discuss more on this travesty later.

As the Introduction tells us:[1]

"This section describes important information about A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Seventh Edition. It describes the relationships of the PMBOK® Guide to The Standard for Project Management,[2] changes to the PMBOK® Guide, the relationship to PMIstandards+™ (PMI's digital platform for standards), and provides a brief overview of the content.


In addition to this introduction, this edition of the PMBOK®GUIDE contains three sections:

  • Section 2 Project Performance Domains. This section identified and describes eight project performance domains that form an integrated system to enable successful delivery of the project and intended outcomes.
  • Section 3 Tailoring. This section describes what tailoring is, and presents an overview of what to tailor and how to go about tailoring individual projects.
  • Section 4 Models, Methods, and Artifacts. This section presents a brief description of commonly used models, methods, and artifacts. These models illustrate the range of options that project teams can use to produce deliverables, organize work, and enable communication and collaboration."

The text in this Introduction goes on to comment:[3]

"The work in the Project Performance Domains is guided by the principles of project management."


"[These principles] provide guidance for the behavior of people involved in projects as they influence and shape the performance domains to produce the intended outcomes. While there is conceptual overlap between the principles and performance domains, the principles guide behavior, while the performance domains present broad areas of focus in which to demonstrate that behavior."

The reader is then presented with "Figure 1-1: Relationship between Project Management Principles and Project Performance Domains."[4] In this illustration, 12 PM Principles ranging from "Be a diligent, respectful and caring steward" to "Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state" are shown as being collected by a large red arrow marked "Guide Behavior". This arrow feeds into an array of 8 "Project Performance Domains" ranging from "Stakeholders" to "Project Work",[5] see Figure 1 below.

Figure 1: Relationship between Project Management Principles
Figure 1: Relationship between Project Management Principles and Project Performance Domains

Next, under the heading: "1.3 CHANGES TO THE PMBOK® GUIDE"[6] we learn that:

"This edition of the PMBOK® Guide focuses on delivering outcomes regardless of the approach used by the project team. However, project practitioners using the PMBOK® Guide also benefit from some level of understanding of how to deliver projects."

Is it not "the approach" that the Guide is supposed to be all about? But wait, I am getting ahead of myself.

About the authors

The contributors to this edition were no doubt many and various. However, the actual writers of this Book [B] are not separately identified from the list of around 770 contributing volunteers and the 7 staff who were responsible for putting the two books together. Indeed, one is left wondering who is responsible for this massive shift away from the content of previous PMBOK® Guides.


1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (The PMBOK® Guide), published by the Project Management Institute, Inc., PA, 2021, Book [B] pB3.
2. Namely Book [A] as described last month.
3. Ibid, The Guide pB4.
4. Ibid, pB5.
5. Ibid, Duly elaborated in Chapter 2.
6. Ibid, pB6.
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