Overview on the Structure and Content of PMBOK, PRINCE2 and ICB


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PMBOK, PRINCE2 and ICB are the most recognized standards for managing projects around the globe, however, in America, Asia and Africa most of the projects are managed based on the PMBOK approach, whereas in Europe and Australia most of the projects are managed based on the PRINCE2 and ICB approach.


As a project management team member you need to understand the structure and content of these standards in order for figure out which one is the best match for your project or organization and here we provide you a brief overview on each as a good starting point.


STRUCTURE of PMBOK GUIDE (5th EDITION): PMBOK stands for Project Management Body of Knowledge and PMBOK guide (5th edition) which is a knowledge based standard for managing projects published by Project Management Institute (PMI) in USA and vastly using in North America and Asia.



The PMBOK guide is valuable as it contains 10 knowledge areas to help with project management. This include: 1- Project Integration Management 2- Project Scope Management 3- Project Time Management 4- Project Cost Management 5- Project Quality Management 6- Project Human Resource Management 7- Project Communication Management 8- Project Risk Management 9- Project Procurement Management 10- Project Stakeholder Management.

The PMBOK guide has 5 process groups including: Initiating, Planning, Execution, Monitoring & Controlling and Closing. Keep in your mind these are not the project phases but rather process groups.

By considering the 10 knowledge areas and 5 process groups, the PMBOK guide introduces 47 processes for managing the projects and each process consists of a number of Inputs, Tools & Techniques and Outputs.

Some of the processes have a number of similar inputs and outputs while the outputs of some processes could be used as the inputs for another processes. Tailoring also is recommended action in using PMBOK guide for managing the projects. Project Managers use 47 processes to manage the mentioned 10 knowledge areas in their projects.


STRUCTURE of (PRINCE2:2009): PRINCE2 stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environment and PRINCE2:2009 is a methodology base standard for managing projects published by the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) in UK and vastly using by European countries.




PRINCE2 is designed based on 7 PRINCIPLES: 1- Continued business justification 2- Learn from experience 3- Defined roles and responsibilities 4- Manage by stages 5- Manage by exception 6- Focus on products 7- Tailor to suit the project environment.


Applying these 7 principles are mandatory if you want to use PRINCE2 methodology for managing your projects.


PRINCE2 design is also based on 7 THEMES including: 1- Business Case 2- Organization 3- Quality 4- Plans 5- Risk 6- Change 7- Progress and for each THEME, PRINCE2 explains: 1- Purpose 2- Definition 3- The PRINCE2 approach 4- Responsibilities based on the roles.


The last element of PRINCE2 is based on 7 PROCESSES including: 1- Starting up a project 2- Directing a Project 3- Initiating a project 4- Controlling a stage 5- Managing product delivery 6- Managing a stage boundary 7- Closing a project and for each PROCESS, PRINCE2 explains: 1-  Purpose 2- Objective 3- Context 4- Needed activities.



STRUCTURE of ICB (Version 3.0): ICB stands for IPMA Competence Baseline which acts as a baseline for project management competencies published by International Project Management Association (IPMA) in Netherland and after PRINCE2 it is the most recognized reference for managing the projects in Europe.




ICB (V 3.0) has three main elements such as: 1- Technical competence elements 2- Behavioral competence elements 3- Contextual competence elements and by putting all of these three elements together ICB (V 3.0) it introduces the EYE of Competence.


For Technical competence, ICB covered 20 elements, including: 1- Project Management Success 2- Interested Parties 3- Project Requirements and objectives 4- Risk & opportunity 5- Quality 6- Project Organization 7- Teamwork 8- Problem resolution 9- Project Structures 10- Scope & deliverables 11- Time & Project Phases 12- Resources 13- Cost & finance 14- Procurement & contract 15- Changes 16- Control & reports 17- Information & documentation 18- Communication 19- Start-up 20- Close-out.


For each technical element the most important sections which ICB provides, include: 1- An overview to understand the meaning and application of that element 2- Possible process steps to apply the element in managing the projects 3- Main relations to the other competence elements.


For Behavioral competence, ICB covers 15 elements, such as: 1- Leadership 2- Engagement & motivation 3- Self-Control 4- Assertiveness 5- Relaxation 6- Openness 7- Creativity 8- Results orientation 9- Efficiency 10- Consultation 11- Negotiation 12- Conflict and Crisis 13- Reliability 14- Value appreciation 15- Ethics.


For each behavioral element the most important sections which ICB provides, are: 1- an overview to understand the meaning and application of that element 2- Possible process steps to apply the element in managing the projects 3- Main relations to the other competence elements 4- Behavioral Patterns in terms of “Adequate behaviors” and “Behaviors requiring improvement”.


For Contextual competence, ICB covers 11 elements, such as: 1- Project orientation 2- Program orientation 3- Portfolio orientation 4- Project, program & portfolio implementation 5- Permanent Organization 6- Business 7- Systems, products & technology 8- Personnel management 9- Health, security & environment 10- Finance 11- Legal.


For each contextual element the most important sections which ICB provides, are: 1- An overview to understand the meaning and application of each element 2- Possible process steps to apply the element in managing the projects 3- Main relations to the other competence elements.



In conclusion, it is recommended is to establish a common language between the project management team members by registering them in PMBOK, PRINCE2 and ICB workshops to understand the concept and structure of each standard.


Once the language is defined, it is important to design a common process for managing the projects by combining the knowledge of PMBOK, methodology of PRINCE2 and competencies of ICB.

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