Is the PMBOK Guide really the “Perfect World”?

In my comment I wrote “it’s funny,” but it’s actually sad that Carl Pritchard has to defend the PMBOK Guide when he conducts PMP prep classes (post here). 

What good is a certification that says that every process needs to be followed every time in a consistent fashion?  It sounds very good to me. And it also provides a jumping-off point to take steps toward that perfect world.

Of course I agree.  But IMO, Carl is softening the blow when he accepts his students’ assertion that PMBOK practices represent the “perfect” world.  Of course, not every process is executed perfectly in the “real” world, but as Carl says, don’t we want to insist on these basics?

Senior management writes and signs chartering documents; Procurement departments deliver what we ask for …; Human Resources departments provide skilled resources…; Management understands that range estimates are more honest and realistic than single-data-point estimates.

Aren’t our projects are more successful and our lives easier when we insist on such fundamentals of project management?  We need to ask ourselves if we have a problem with the practices, or a reluctance to deal with the conflict and effort required to insist upon them.

The latter is the real issue.  I doubt that folks still really believe that an industry standard that comes out every five years represents best practices or the “perfect world”.  If they so, they’ll be in for a rude surprise w/r/t customer and employer expectations.  For our organization, PMBOK-based practices are simply the foundation for our minimum standards.  The minimum

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