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PMBOK 6th Edition PDF - Summary

PMBOK 6th edition pdf
  • Get a summary of all 10 knowledge areas from the PMBOK 6th edition guide
  • Learn how you can obtain a free copy of the PMBOK & save on exam fees
  • How the PMBOK guide can benefit you 
  • What is different in the PMBOK 6th edition PDF
  • How to use the PMBOK to help you get PMP certified on you first try 

What is the PMBOK pdf?

The PMBOK stands for Project Management Book of Knowledge. It contains an entire collection of tools, techniques, methodologies, terminologies and best practices for project managers. 

This guide is the foundation of the PMP (Project Management Professional) exam. It’s developed and maintained the PMI (Project Management Institute). The PMBOK pdf is the gold standard for project managers everywhere. The PMBOK is currently on the 6th edition, which was published in 2017. 

The PMBOK outlines a framework and best practices that project managers can utilize to manage projects successfully. It is mainly focussed on waterfall project management methodologies, however, this is going to change with the release of the PMBOK 7th edition in 2021 or 2022. 

Because the industry is increasingly shifting to agile methodologies, with the release of the PMBOK 6th edition, PMI also introduced the first edition of the Agile Practice Guide, which focusses exclusively on agile project management methodologies. 50% of the PMP exam is based on the PMBOK and 50% of the exam is based on the Agile Practice Guide. This change was made on January 2, 2021. 

The PMBOK contains 10 Knowledge Areas, 5 Process Groups, and 49 Processes that project managers need to be familiar with. Below is the 49 process chart from the PMBOK 6th edition. For those who are interested in becoming PMP certified, being very familiar with this chart is essential. 

49 process chart pmbok 6th edition

10 Knowledge Areas

A knowledge area is a "category" of project management. The knowledge areas work together to complete a project. The 10 knowledge areas in the PMBOK 6th edition are: integration, scope, schedule, cost, quality, resources, communications, risk, procurement, stakeholders. Let's dive into each of them now. 

Integration management

Integration management is where the project comes together. All the moving parts are combined and unified. This is where all the outputs of other processes are combined to form the project deliverables. 

There are 7 processes within integration management:

  1. Develop project charter 
  2. Develop project management plan 
  3. Direct and manage project work 
  4. Manage project knowledge 
  5. Monitor and control project work 
  6. Perform integrated change control 
  7. Close project or phase 


Read our full post covering PMP Integration Management.

Scope management 

Project scope includes all of the work required to complete the project. Scope management involves defining what will be included in the project scope and what will not be, and actively managing scope throughout the entire project to prevent scope creep. 

There are 6 processes within scope management and they are: 

  1. Plan scope management 
  2. Collect requirements 
  3. Define scope 
  4. Create WBS 
  5. Validate scope 
  6. Control scope

Read our full post covering PMP Scope Management.

Schedule management

The project schedule tells you when each of the project activities need to start and finish. Schedule management includes the creation of the project schedule, ensuring the project team follows the schedule, and managing changes to it. 

The 6 processes within schedule management are: 

  1. Plan schedule management 
  2. Define activities 
  3. Sequence activities 
  4. Estimate activity durations 
  5. Develop schedule 
  6. Control schedule  

Cost management

Every project manager has a budget to adhere to. Cost management involves estimating project activity costs, creating the project budget, tracking project expenditures, and keeping overruns to a minimum. 

The 4 processes within cost management are: 

  1. Plan cost management 
  2. Estimate costs 
  3. Determine budget 
  4. Control costs 

Read our full post covering PMP Cost Management

Quality management

Quality refers to how closely the project deliverables adheres to the stakeholders' requirements. Quality management includes the processes for creating, managing, and executing quality policies. The goal of this knowledge area is to ensure high quality on the project. 

The 3 processes within the quality management knowledge area are:

  1. Plan quality management 
  2. Manage quality 
  3. Control quality 

Read our full post covering PMP Quality Management.

Resources management

Resource refers to the people and materials that you will need to complete the project. Resource management includes the processes to identify the types of resources needed, going out and acquiring the required resources, and managing them throughout the project lifecycle. 

The 6 processes within resources management are:

  1. Plan resource management 
  2. Estimate activity resources 
  3. Acquire resources 
  4. Develop team 
  5. Manage team 
  6. Control resources 

Read our full post covering PMP Resources Management

Communications management

Project team members communicate with each other to ordinate on project tasks and discuss project strategies. Communications management includes the processes that ensures the planning, distribution, storage and management of project information is done properly. 

The 3 processes within communication management are:

  1. Plan communications management 
  2. Manage communications 
  3. Monitor communications 

Read our full post covering PMP Communications Management

Risk management 

Risk is an uncertain event that may or may not happen in the future. A risk can be positive or negative.  Risk management includes the processes of identifying and analyzing new risks as well as planning and implementing risk responses.  

There are 7 processes within risk management, and they are:

  1. Plan risk management 
  2. Identify risks 
  3. Perform qualitative risk analysis
  4. Perform quantitative risk analysis 
  5. Plan risk responses 
  6. Implement risk responses 
  7. Monitor risks 

Read our full post on PMP Risk Management

Procurement management

When a project team cannot produce something in-house, they have to obtain a third-party vendor to do it for them. The processes required to obtain and manage the vendors are called Procurement Management.

The 3 processes within procurement management are: 

  1. Plan procurement management 
  2. Conduct procurements 
  3. Control procurements 

Read our full post on PMP Procurement Management.

Stakeholders management

A stakeholder is anyone who has an interest (or stake) in your project. Stakeholder management includes the processes required to identify your project stakeholders, analyze their power and impact, and develop appropriate strategies to manage them effectively. 

The 4 processes belonging to stakeholder management are: 

  1. Identify stakeholders 
  2. Plan stakeholder engagement 
  3. Manage stakeholder engagement 
  4. Monitor stakeholder engagement 

Read our full post covering PMP Stakeholder Management

Read our full post covering PMP Time Management

5 Process Groups

The project management process groups are a logical grouping of project management processes to achieve specific project objectives. Process groups are independent of project phases. 

The 5 process groups are:

  • Initiating process group - processes performed to define the start of a new project with the required authorizations. 
  • Planning process group - processes required to establish the scope of the project, refine the objectives, and define the course of action to achieve the project's objectives. 
  • Executing process group - processes performed to complete the work defined in the project management plan.
  • Monitoring & controlling process group - processes required to track, review, and regulate the project's performance; identify areas of change required and initiate necessary changes. 
  • Closing process group - processes required to officially close down the project.  

49 Processes

In addition, the PMBOK guide also contains 49 processes. Each process has a corresponding knowledge area and process group. Each process has a specific goal/purpose. In order to describe how to accomplish the objective of the process, PMI included an ITTO (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs) chart for each process. 

  • Inputs (plans, designs, documents, etc.) 
  • Tools & Techniques (methods applied to the input to achieve the outputs)
  • Outputs (documents, results, plans, etc.)

Agile Practice Guide

Agile originated from the software industry in the early 2000s, and now it is being implemented in a variety of different industries such as education, manufacturing and healthcare. Agile offers organizations a competitive advantage by being flexible and able to respond to changes quickly. Agile is an umbrella term comprising of a number of different approaches (e.g. scrum, kanban, XP, etc.) that meets the 12 principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. 

The Agile Practice Guide provides an understanding of various agile approaches along with the tools needed to implement them. Increasingly, it's become vital for project managers who are used to working in the traditional environment to learn and understand agile, especially those who want to work in the IT industry. 

How is PMBOK available?

The PMBOK is available in paperback or digitally. If you are currently a registered PMI member, then you can get a free digital copy of the PMBOK guide. To obtain your copy, you simply need to login to your online PMI portal, go to your myPMI dashboard, and you can download it from there. 

You can also buy a digital or paperback copy of the PMBOK from PMI’s website, in bookstores, or on Amazon. 

Financially speaking, it makes the most sense to become a PMI member and obtain a free digital copy of the PMBOK. In addition to getting the guide in PDF for free, you will also be saving on exam fees. 

Cost of PMI membership + reduced cost of exam = $139 + $405 = $544

Cost of PMP exam for non-members = $555

As you can see from the math above, in addition to saving $11 on your exam fees, you will also be receiving a free digital copy of the PMBOK. 

Another way to obtain the PMBOK for free is to borrow it from the library. 

What is different in PMBOK 6th edition?

The current version of the PMBOK guide is the 6th edition, and it was published in 2017. If you’re currently studying for the PMP exam, do NOT study from an earlier outdated version of the PMBOK. 

The current version of the PMBOK guide has a corresponding Agile Practice Guide. 

Here are the main differences between the PMBOK 5th and 6th edition: 

  • Tailoring considerations added to each knowledge area. This section tells the project manager how they can customize each knowledge area to suit their specific project needs.  
  • Increase from 47 processes to 49 processes 
  • Various processes and knowledge areas got renamed 
  • Agile portion is included for each knowledge area 
  • Agile project management got its own separate book. It is currently optional reading material. 
  • The PMI Talent Triangle is introduced. 

Changes to PMP Exam January 2, 2021

Originally, the changes to the PMP exam were going to happen on July 1, 2020. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the changes got pushed back by 6 months. 

Before Jan. 2021, the PMP exam was aligned to the 5 process groups. After Jan. 2021, the PMP exam is aligned to the following 3 domains: People, Processes, and Business Environments. Please see below for the new exam breakdown:

People - 42% of the exam 

Processes - 50% of the exam 

Business environments - 8% of the exam

Agile and hybrid approaches will make up 50% of the exam, and reading the Agile Practice Guide will no longer be optional. 

However, the PMBOK guide is not changing on Jan. 2, 2021, and the application requirements are staying the same as well. To learn more about the PMP application, click here to read an in-depth article.

Why do you need a PMBOK PDF?

Since the PMP exam is based on the PMBOK guide, it’s a great reference guide when you need in depth explanations about particular project topics. Although it can be dry to read, it is the source from which the PMP exam is derived from. It can be beneficial to read through the PMBOK as part of your exam preparations. 

The PMBOK is also the industry standard. Going through the PMBOK PDF could allow you to understand the flow of processes and ITTOs. To make it less dull reading the PMBOK, whenever you learn a new concept, try to relate it to a project that you’ve managed in real life. Relating it back to real life experiences will allow you to grasp the concepts faster. 

What Are the Benefits of PMBOK PDF?

The benefit of the PMBOK is that it creates a standard across the project management profession. Project managers from different disciplines and industries can all follow the same standard. 

In addition to project management theory, PMI conducts Role Delineation Studies (RDS) to find the best practices across different companies and industries in order to organize all the lessons learned in one guide. 

Using these standard practices will allow project managers to produce the same results when they move from project to project.

Many recruiter and hiring managers are also screening candidates for the PMP credentials before granting them an interview. Familiarizing yourself with the PMBOK guide will speed up your process to obtaining your PMP certification and learning the project management lingos.