TOP extends the scope of PMBOK to include benefits, value and strategy delivery.

The Project Manager's Body of Knowledge

PMBOK is a “body of knowledge that identifies the scope of project management activities” so as to foster comprehensiveness and consistency.

Its aim is to be applicable to all types of projects and, therefore, it can tend to contain the lowest common denominator resulting in specialized needs (eg organizational change management) to be not included.

PMBOK is primarily a guide to project management approaches rather than a full-scale project delivery methodology and is organized into nine primary areas.

TOP addresses five of the nine PMBOK areas and represents an overlay to PMBOK, which adds a new emphasis on strategy execution and value management.

Alignment and adaptations

TOP adds to and expands the following five PMBOK areas:

  1. Communications

    TOP adds enhanced communications and stakeholder management approaches to more specifically target, manage and leverage stakeholders to ensure the success of the project and the realization of its value.

  2. Risk

    TOP adds simplified and enhanced risk management processes to better tailor effort to the nature of the risk and the agreed risk appetites, while also incorporating how the risks are managed into the project management mainstream. Also we add new emphasis on the risks to benefits realization.

  3. Cost

    TOP repositions cost management as within a ‘profit and loss’ approach to value management so as to enable the generation of the maximum nett profit/value from the project.

  4. Scope

    TOP expands scope management to include both opportunity and solution scopes. TOP also refocuses requirement definitions onto process and information needs to enable a simple, straight-line alignment between organizational strategy, processes and systems.

  5. Integration

    TOP expands the Project Charter to be a living master control document for the whole project, incorporating project approach, resources, costs, sign-offs, etc. and being the base for the business case's generation and realization — TOP thereby builds the value proposition into the of the core project..


In addition TOP adds a range of overlay processes including

  • Investment governance - the roles, responsibilities and activities required of investment committees
  • Portfolio management - the processes and SPMO roles in relation to project selection, prioritization and portfolio analysis and tracking
  • Project governance - the roles, responsibilities and activities required of sponsors and governance teams
  • Benefits management - the end-to-end processes for benefits identification, quantification and delivery management — the principal purpose of projects
and much, much more.

PMBOK Practitioners

PMBOK practitioners will find TOP's approaches build on their base project management knowledge and skill set, but add a new Value lens and new dimensions in key areas that increase the business value delivered from and the perceived success of their projects.


Topics: TOP compared to orthodox approaches

Further Reading



[1] ...

Revision History

First published: Simms, J. (June 2009) as "TOP And PMBOK"

Updated: Chapman, A. (March 2020), Revisions and Corrections