Geeks With Blogs
Project Science The blog on Project Management by Abrachan Pudussery PMP

How PMBOK© help in Product Development Projects?

Project Management Professional certification addresses the general project management concepts, which can be applied for any kind project, irrespective of the domain. It is just a collection of project management good practices, which the practitioners can choose and apply in their projects, based on their project needs.

To understand this, let us try to classify projects based on their exploratory factor. In a standard construction project or for a standard SAP implementation project, the exploratory factor (the R&D nature) of the project can be very low, where as for a new technology product development project; the exploratory factor will be very high. Based on these the project approach / strategy will vary and at the same time, the basic building blocks of project management will remain the same.

For a software project which follows the water fall model, the stages of requirements freezing, design, coding and testing happens sequentially. This is perfect, if the requirements are clear and the project’s exploratory factor is low. For a new product development project, the exploratory factor and the requirements volatility are high; hence a compartmentalized waterfall approach will not work. Then we go for agile project management, where requirements, design, coding and testing phases are repeated in every iteration. That means a project following a waterfall model has just one heavy weight iteration, where as a project which is following agile project management has multiple iterations and the building blocks of both waterfall and agile remains the same (requirements, design, coding, testing, planning, risk management, quality management, human resource management, time management, procurement management, stakeholder management, communications management etc…). This is exactly what the project management body of knowledge covers. It covers the basic building blocks of project management and gives all the freedom under the sun to the project manager to tailor it to the project’s needs.

The following table maps some key aspect of product development projects and the linkage to the project management body of knowledge based on which the Project Management Professional examination is based.

The product development aspect

The PMBOK correlation

Choosing the right projects to execute

Project selection methods like NPV, IRR, ROI, Cost benefit analysis, Portfolio management

The product sponsor

Sponsor roles and responsibilities

Product vision

Project charter

Project strategy

Project charter

Business case

Project charter

Project manager roles and responsibilities

Project charter

Product manager roles and responsibilities

Not covered explicitly

Organizational structure

Functional organization, projectized organization, matrix organization

Requirements management

High level scope definition, detailed scope definition, Brainstorming, Delphi technique, Function analysis , affinity diagrams, product breakdown structures, work breakdown structures, change management

Stakeholder management

Stakeholder identification, classification, strategies for management

Risk management

Risk identification, quantitative risk analysis, qualitative risk analysis, decision tree

Communication management

Communications requirement analysis, channel design, technology priorities, amplification factor

Human resource management

Team design, selection, Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, Vrooms theory of motivation


Professional ethics of a project manager

Project planning

Initial scope, detailed scope, work breakdown structure, AOA diagrams, AON node diagrams, Critical path, Critical chain, Rolling wave planning, resource leveling, scope, schedule, cost baselines

Project tracking

Earned value management

Project execution

Fast tracking, Crashing

Stage gates

Stage gates, Kill points

Product quality

Implied requirements, Explicit requirements, stakeholder management, and definition of quality, Ishikawa diagram, project metrics, pareto analysis, corrective actions, and preventive actions.

If we consider the total product development lifecycle comprising of;

  1. Concept phase

  2. Prototype

  3. Development

  4. Production

  5. Marketing

The PMBOK addresses mainly the development phase.

As we can see, PMBOK is more descriptive in nature. It is just a collection of project management good practices and it is the discretion of the project manager to decide which ones to use, within his project.

Will Project Management Professional credential help in a product development scenario?

Knowledge of best practices in project management will help any manager in a product development scenario, and Project Management Professional training from a coach with product development background will help in stressing the relevancy of professional project management in product scenario. That will make the difference. Again, there should be management commitment in implementing the concepts learned in the class room.


PMBOK - Project management body of knowledge

Project Management Professional - Project management professional certification

About the author

Abrachan is a Corporate  Consultant, Coach and  Practitioner of  Software engineering, Project management and Quality management. He has around two decades of experience in software development, quality management and project management. He started his career as a computer programmer and subsequently played the roles of Systems Analyst, Senior consultant, Project manager, Senior project manager, Head – QA, Manager – Process Engineering and Profit center head. He worked for organizations such as  HCL, FEC, OTE, Think Business Networks and Novell. At Novell, he did the project management of  ‘Pragati’ , a comprehensive tool for software project management, which got accolades at Linux Bangalore, Brain share USA and Brain share Europe. At present he works for Prologic systems (private) limited, as it's Managing Director.


He is the architect of the PMPdistilled premium Project Management Professional preparatory program, which is being delivered in multiple countries successfully. He has successfully conducted several customized project management programs for several leading organizations. He is a member of the OPM3® 2007 Update Project Team, PMI,  SPIN and   SPI - SIG (software process improvement special interest group). He co-authored and conducted a  workshop on iterative software development at the SPM-ICON, 2004 international conference on project management.

He holds a bachelors degree in Electrical engineering from Bangalore University, Diploma in systems management from NIIT, Certification in quality analysis from QAI USA,  Project Management Professional (project management professional) certification from Project management institute (Project management institute), USA and is PRINCE2 certified. He is pursuing  M.S in quality management with BITS, Pilani.


His current interests include organizational development, agile project management and  PMO consulting


 Contact details


mobile phone : +91 98451 78851 web page :  email

skype : pmpdistilled

Posted on Friday, May 26, 2006 4:06 AM Advanced project Management | Back to top

Comments on this post: How PMBOK help in product development projects?

# re: How PMBOK help in product development projects?
Requesting Gravatar...
Nice..Quite informativeā€¦Thanks for sharing nice post..
GIS data processing
GIS spatial analysis
Left by GIS services on Aug 04, 2009 4:36 AM

Your comment:
 (will show your gravatar)

Copyright © Abrachan Pudussery PMP | Powered by: