The purpose of this article is to discuss the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and its five life cycle phases.
Project Management Institute (PMI)
The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an internationally recognized organization of project managers. The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is a set of project management guidelines that was created by PMI. The purpose of these guidelines is to help increase the success rate of projects, but it is important to realize that each project team must ultimately decide what is appropriate based upon the specific project (Project Management Institute, p. 3).
PMBOK is formed of five phases. According to the PMI publication A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, the five phases are initiate, plan, execute, monitor and control, and close (p. 38). The five phases of PMBOK are meant to be integrated and used together in order to successfully close a project. A description of each phase follows.
Initiate – the process in which it is decided that there is a need for a particular project and then the decision that the project will begin.
Plan – the process in which the scope of the project is developed, including “documenting the actions necessary to define, prepare, integrate, and coordinate all subsidiary plans into a project management plan” (Project Management Institute, p. 337).
Execute – the process in which the necessary actions are performed in order to accomplish the goals that were set in the planning stage.
Monitor and Control – the process in which the actions performed in the execute stage are supervised, in order to ensure the project is successful in meeting the predetermined goals.
Close – the process in which the finished product or service is presented, indicating successful completion of the project.
In reflecting upon previously completed projects, this author is able to identify each of these phases. Every project must go through the initiate stage. Without this stage, a project would never begin. During prior projects in which this author participated, the plan, execute, and monitor and control stages overlapped at times. Sometimes the plan stage was revisited when the execute stage revealed needed changes in the plan. The monitor and control stage and the execute stage often occurred simultaneously. The close stage occurred at the end of each project.
PMBOK is a guideline that was created with the purpose of helping project managers complete projects successfully. The phases of PMBOK, combined with the driving force and hard work of the team members, will help ensure successful project completion.
Gido, J. & Clements, J. P. “Successful Project Management.” (3rd ed.). Mason, OH: Thomson South-Western.
Project Management Institute. “A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK).” PMI website. URL: http://www.pmi.org/prod/groups/public/documents/info/pp_pmbokguidethirdexcerpts.pdf