The guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK Guide) : applicability and contribution to project success in Australia

Bolooki, Faisal & Bridge, Adrian (2007) The guide to the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK Guide) : applicability and contribution to project success in Australia. In McCaffrey, N. (Ed.) PM Global Conference : Creating Success, 28-31 August 2007, Gold Coast, Queensland.


The PMBOK Guide is one of the most influential publications concerning the knowledge of the project manangement. Moreover, the pervasion of this guide seems to be set to increase as the basis of accreditation - in conjunction with the increasing global trend toward obtaining project management professional status. However, despite the influence and strengthening profile of this guide, reports continue to be published that detail numerous project failures in a wide range of different industries. The PMBOK Guide comprises mainly declarative (know-what) and procedural (know-how) information. In this sense, the guide is largely normative and provides a very good example of the limitations of this approach as highlighted by proponents of a move to the genuine application of positibe theory in project management.-----

The aim of this paper is to determine the applicability of the guide in Australia and to determine the extent to which project success can be attributed to the guide. Project Managers from a variety of organisations were surveyed. This postal survey yielded 48 replies. Descriptive statistics was used to assess the incidence and effectivieness of all the processes in the guide. The results indicate that there were no processes that could be considered as peripheral or as a candidate for elimination from the guide. More specifically, all the processes were identified as either a key routine process or a key selective process and positively related to the level of project success. However, the results also indicated that other major factors pertaining to causal knowledge (know-why) are, at least, equally important determinants of project success. It is concluded that declarative, procedural and causal knowledge are all valuable, and given the preponderance of the first two types of knowledge, there seems to be an urgent need to now ensure an equal quest for causal knowledge. In terms of developing causal knowledge, a good starting point would appear to be both positive theory from production and economics.

Impact and interest:

Search Google Scholar™

Citation counts are sourced monthly from Scopus and Web of Science® citation databases.

These databases contain citations from different subsets of available publications and different time periods and thus the citation count from each is usually different. Some works are not in either database and no count is displayed. Scopus includes citations from articles published in 1996 onwards, and Web of Science® generally from 1980 onwards.

Citations counts from the Google Scholar™ indexing service can be viewed at the linked Google Scholar™ search.

Full-text downloads:

645 since deposited on 26 Jun 2009
28 in the past twelve months

Full-text downloads displays the total number of times this work’s files (e.g., a PDF) have been downloaded from QUT ePrints as well as the number of downloads in the previous 365 days. The count includes downloads for all files if a work has more than one.

ID Code: 25930
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Additional URLs:
Keywords: Project Management, Project Success
ISSN: 9780646478876
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > COMMERCE MANAGEMENT TOURISM AND SERVICES (150000) > BUSINESS AND MANAGEMENT (150300) > Business and Management not elsewhere classified (150399)
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Built Environment and Engineering
Past > Schools > School of Urban Development
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2007 [please consult the authors]
Deposited On: 26 Jun 2009 01:25
Last Modified: 29 Feb 2012 13:39

Export: EndNote | Dublin Core | BibTeX

Repository Staff Only: item control page