CAMMP, a three-dimensional model

What is the difference between CAMMP and PMBOK Guide?

Since 2007, when we developed the first generation of CAMMP™, The Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects™ (or CAM2P at that time), and some asks about the differences between CAMMP and PMBOK Guide.

To know the differences, read on:

A bit of history

I have been working with the PMBOK Guide since the first consolidated edition of 1996.

I did my PMP based on that first edition. Since then, I have used the guide and even contributed to some of the editions.

One important fact to stress here is that I had many years of project management experience before I joined PMI, including working on numerous small and large, even mega capital projects. In other words, I already had very good experience in project management but the guide filled a few gaps.

In 2003, I started delivering workshops inside Saudi Aramco, where I was working. The workshops included general project management, engineering management, construction management, and I launched a PMP Exam Prep program in the company.

One of the main comments we hear when we deliver PMBOK Guide training (in Aramco or since we started SUKAD in 2004) is this “I think I understand but not sure how to apply”. For me, having applied most of the guide processes and more before I even knew about the guide, it was easy to apply since the starting point is the project life cycle and not the processes.

In other words, we noticed a couple of major gaps between understanding concepts and how to apply them. The gaps were:

  1. The first gap: People did not realize that the PMBOK Guide is not stand alone and to apply it correctly, one needs a proper organizational project management system, similar to the OPA in the guide.
  2. The second gap: The guide is not a methodology or a manual, or a set of procedures. So to really know how to apply the guide on real-world projects, one needs a method, a project life cycle approach that is tailored to the type of projects.

That led us to develop CAMMP™, The Customizable and Adaptable Methodology for Managing Projects™.

So what is CAMMP™?

As of today, we have updated the CAMMP Model twice, and in November 2017 we will publish our 5th book on the methodological approach. The third generation of CAMMP is a three-dimensional model; systematic, methodological approach to deliver successful output and facilitate the realization of benefits.

You can refer to past blog posts to learn more about CAMMP but today we focus on the topic relating to the PMBOK Guide.

CAMMP, a three-dimensional modelOne of the three dimensions in CAMMP is related, and somewhat based on ISO 21500 and the PMBOK Guide. Notice, one of the three dimensions; only. So, for this dimension (the second dimension in the image), we used similar concepts to the process groups and knowledge areas and modified them. What are the modifications?

  1. Emphasizing that the processes are technically and practically best suited for managing a phase or a stage, not the whole project. In other words, the Develop Project Charter process is technically about Develop the Phase or Stage Charter. Then, in one of the project life cycle stages (after Feasibility) the sponsor would develop the Project Charter. The same is true for all other processes.
  2. We noticed that the planning process group technically (and practically) consists of two set of processes. A few processes are for managing the knowledge area, such as Plan Scope Management, and processes to do detailed work, such as Create WBS or Define Scope. So, we split the planning processes into two set Plan Management and Plan Details and they would be performed in a logical sequence.
  3. Due to the above, we noticed that some knowledge areas could benefit from more processes to clarify the work, such as communication planning. In the guide, there is one process but in CAMMP two: Develop Communication Management Plan and Define Communications. The same for quality, procurement, stakeholders, and team management.
  4. One more change was to add two knowledge areas, one for resources (other than team – these are now in one KA in the 6th edition of the guide) and another for HSE.
  5. Another, change, this is the most significant is to include what PMI and ISO call “Pre-Project” as a vital and essential phase in the project life cycle.

To summarize, we refer and use ISO 21500 and PMBOK Guide in CAMMP but only in one of the three dimensions. Further, as stated CAMMP significantly modified that part.

So is CAMMP to replace these guides?


Once again, No.

These guides (ISO and PMI) clearly calls for organizations to establish their internal project management methodologies. Well, CAMMP is an example of how to apply the intent of these guides. In other words, CAMMP, conceptually is a way to transform the guides into practical methods.

So is CAMMP just a method that aligns to these guides?

Once again NO.

When we started CAMMP in 2007 that was the intent. However, we had a choice to make, stick to the PMBOK Guide as is or build on it, improve, enhance, cover the guide gaps, inconsistencies and even error. We decided to improve. So the original CAMMP did some improvement; more modifications in version 2, and now the third generation incorporated significant changes.

In summary, CAMMP have moved beyond the PMBOK Guide and ISO 21500.

Project Management beyond Waterfall and AgileFurther, CAMMP have moved beyond the debate on Waterfall versus Agile, Incremental or Scrum, Kanban or Lean.

CAMMP by default is an adaptive approach that must be customized and adapted to the industry, organization, function, and even project classification.

CAMMP is based on the principle of tailoring; first at the organization level, second at the functional level, third at the project classification level, and finally by the PM and PMT if there any tweaking left to do.

So CAMMP is not replacing. CAMMP is building. improving, and offering enhancements on these guides. Then, step beyond the boundaries.

To learn more, our new book on the subject is coming out soon, should be late November. You can pre-order Project Management beyond Waterfall and Agile from Amazon today or directly from the publisher via this link.


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This entry was posted in Applying Project Management, Methodology-CAMMP, Organizational Project Management, PMBOK Guide and tagged , on by .

About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.