Relationship between the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) and the PRINCE2 Project Management Methodology.

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As noted in the Introduction to the PMBOK Guide (Project Management Institute 1996) the term PMBOK is an inclusive term that describes the sum of knowledge within the profession of project management.

It is therefore a knowledge-based approach that covers the entire vast subject of project management. The PMI Guide to the PMBOK identifies and describes that subset of the entire PMBOK which is generally accepted as applicable to most projects most of the time.

The PMI Guide to the PMBOK is therefore an extremely useful reference document and is often the basis of generic project management training.

PRINCE 2 is a process-based approach to project management. It provides a process model (of eight processes) that is intended to be applied as a set of steps in a logical sequence by a project manager in planning and managing a project.

The application of the process model is adaptable to most types of projects and a wide range of complexity. In addition the PRINCE2 manual (Managing Successful Projects with PRINCE2) includes a number of 'Components' that are guidance for a project manager in applying the process model. These Components have similarity to the PMBOK Knowledge Areas.

The PMBOK details a set of processes that fall under nine Knowledge Areas and can be linked in five groups if the project manager chooses.

The underlying difference between the PMBOK and PRINCE 2 is that the PMBOK offers the project manager a considerable array of information about proven practises in this field and invites the project manager to apply these where they deem appropriate whereas PRINCE2 provides a more prescriptive (although flexible) set of steps for the project manager and teams to follow.

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