What Changes are Ahead with the new PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition?
It’s that time again for PMI® to update the PMBOK® Guide and release the next edition. You may or may not be aware, but since the PMBOK® Guide is recognized as a standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) as an American National Standard, with the current 5th edition being BSR/PMI 99-001-2013. As a result, the PMBOK® Guide must be updated about every four years to reflect the latest in industry best practices.
In March, PMI® released the exposure draft of the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition for review and comment. The 6th edition is scheduled for release something during the January – March 2017 timeframe. This blog will address some of the proposed changes to the next edition. Remember, this is the exposure draft and may not fully reflect the final version we will see next year.
PMI® has finally done what many in the field have been requesting for years – structure the PMBOK® Guide by process group and not by knowledge area. Not only have they done that in the 6th edition, it looks like they have also done a good job of ensuring that the PMBOK® Guide better aligns with the most recent Role Delineation Study released in 2015, on which the current exam is based as was represented by Table 3-1 – Project Management Process Group and Knowledge Area Mapping on page 61 of the 5th edition. You’ll find basically the same processes, they are just organized differently.
This is both good news and bad news. Good news for project management practitioners and those studying to become PMPs® in that the knowledge areas will now be presented in the PMBOK® Guide the way they are tested on the exam and used in practice. However, this is bad news for all the project management training companies that have their course materials structured and packaged by knowledge area in that they may have to repackage their courses to align with the process groups.
Another big change is that the 6th edition is basically six chapters and not 13. If the exposure draft is any indication, the 6th edition should also be much smaller. Looking only at the content chapters and not including the table of contents, appendices, glossary, and index, the 5th edition had 13 chapters and 415 pages. The 6th edition has 10 chapters and may only contain 84 pages. Much of the page reduction is because the 6th edition does not go into detail on all of the inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. The focus throughout the new edition is on project plan components, project document examples, and project document updates. Inputs and outputs are presented in a table for each process, but not discussed individually as they were in the 5th edition; and, tools and techniques are no longer specifically identified in the process tables or discussed in detail.
Chapters one, two, and three have been combined. Instead of providing detailed information on project manager interpersonal skills and organizational structures, these chapters have been integrated and many of the concepts have been summarized into a single paragraph instead of several pages. Also, the discussion on the Project Life Cycle has been simplified and the Life Cycle graphic has been changed to better illustrate the integration of the process groups and knowledge areas within the Life Cycle phases. Section one also includes more direct emphasis on tailoring the project management plan and project documents.
Now let’s look at the numbers and some specific changes:
- There are still five process groups and 10 knowledge areas
- There are now 49 processes, instead of 47. Three new processes have been added and one has been deleted.
- Under The Executing Process Group (Section 4), 4.2 Manage Project Knowledge and 4.8 Implement Risk Responses have been added.
- Under the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group (Section 5), 5.8 Control Resources has been added.
- Close Procurements, section 12.4 in the 5th edition has been deleted from the 6th Much of this content is addressed in the new section 6.1, Close Project or Phase, which was moved to here from section 4, Integration Management, and takes a much broader but more simplistic view of project closure.
- Human Resource Management is now called Resource Management. This broader view recognizes that resources also include material and equipment resources, not just human resource planning.
- “Monitor” is used for many processes instead of “control”, especially those that rely on leadership or people skills such as communication and stakeholder engagement.
- Control Communications is now called Monitor Communications
- Control Risks in now Monitor Risks
- Control Stakeholder Engagement is now called Monitor Stakeholder Engagement. (From a practical standpoint, project managers have been able to monitor these areas, but had very little control. Control comes through the use of other processes.)
- Time Management has been renamed to Schedule Management
I have been a PMP since 1992 and have been through all of the PMBOK® Guide and exam changes. Initially, this edition appears to be one of the best things that PMI® has done to make the PMBOK® Guide a better tool for PM practitioners and those studying to become a PMP®. I have talked with several PMPs® who have been in the industry for a long time and those who have reviewed the exposure draft like what they see.
Although the review period ended on April 6th, if you are a PMP®, I encourage you to take a look at PMI’s overview of the process. We’ll see what happens when all the comments are received and the final version is released. As I get more information on the changes, I’ll continue to update on the blog.