Blockheads Wanted: PMBOK as Guideline or Rulebook?

Zen Garden Trees - Copyright 2010 Joelle Godfrey

The world is formed from the void,
like utensils from a block of wood.
The Master knows the utensils,
yet keeps to the block:
thus she can use all things.

– Tao Te Ching

When I began tweeting the PMBOK 3 years ago, I received lots of questions and some challenges about why I was tweeting the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

  • Did I think it was infallible?
  • Did I think there could be other ways of doing things?
  • Did I think that it was impossible to do a project without its rules and standards?


  • NO
  • YES
  • NO.  And the PMBOK doesn’t contain rules – it just contains guidelines. In parentheses, its formal title is: PMBOK Guide.

I think the pushback and questions may be a human reaction to what looks like an organization trying to say – this is the only “Right” way to do things.
We all know that

  • There are many types of projects – some simple, some complex
  • Many types of groups and organizations and…
  • Many ways to run a project.

What the PMBOK Guide does for you is give you access to the Processes, the Tools & Techniques, and the Best Practices – in short: the Utensils you need to get the Work done.

How you use them is up to you.

My name is Joelle Godfrey and I tweet on Project Management, Business and Japanese. Leave a comment or send me a tweet, my id is jgodfrey.


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