Overview of Changes In the PMBOK Guide – 5th Edition

By Bill Morgan, PMP

On January 15th, I had the opportunity to make a presentation on the changes to the 5th Edition of the PMBOK Guide to the members of the Washington DC chapter of PMI. This is summary of that presentation.

The Project Management Institute (PMI®) ended 2012 with the release of its newest version of A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Fifth Edition.

Why is PMI changing the PMBOK? In the 5th Edition, PMI says that the changes are to:
• Ensure harmonization with other relevant PMI standards (Program Management, Portfolio Management, Scheduling)
• Ensure terminology contained within the 5th Edition is consistent and identical with the PMI Lexicon of Project Management Terms
• Ensure consistency with ISO 21500 and the Role Delineation Study (RDS); and
• In response to membership feedback

Much of the PMBOK remains essentially the same; the general layout and structure have not changed. Neither have the names of the five process groups and nine knowledge areas of the PMBOK® Guide – Fifth Edition. As before, the PMBOK relies on presenting the information through the discussion of knowledge area processes and the relation of these processes to process groups and to each other. The paragraphs that follow will provide a summary of the changes to the individual processes, the knowledge areas and the creation of an independent standard for project management.

In the PMBOK, the main content of the standard are the processes; the many things that a project manager should do to be successful. In the 5th Edition, we are provided descriptions of 47 processes – a growth from 42 individual processes provided in the 4th edition. While the math would indicate that there are five additional processes, in fact there are six; four new planning processes, two new monitoring and controlling processes and two processes that have been merged into one.

Four planning processes have been added: Plan Scope Management (returning from the 3rd Edition), Plan Schedule Management, Plan Cost Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management. These four additional processes reinforce the concept that the project team needs to actively think through how the related processes will be planned and managed for each major Knowledge Area, and that each of the subsidiary plans are integrated through the overall project management plan.

New processes were added for Control Communications and Control Stakeholder Engagement. These two processes are both Monitoring and Controlling processes, and evolved from the changes to the Communications Knowledge Area.
Two processes that were in the Communications Knowledge Area in the 4th Edition have been merged together in the 5th Edition. Specifically, Distribute Information and Report Performance have been merged into Manage Communications. Frankly, I found the distinction between these two processes was so thin that they should have been one process all along.
Knowledge Areas:

When we talk of Knowledge Areas, there has been an additional knowledge area – Stakeholder Management – that has been added to the nine knowledge areas in the PMBOK®, for a new total of ten knowledge areas. Much of the process for Stakeholder Manager previously resides in the Project Communications Management Knowledge Area. Clearly, PMI is emphasizing the importance of stakeholders and their influence on the project’s success.

To focus on the changes to the Project Quality Management knowledge area, we should point out the addition of Seven Quality Management and Control Tools in the Perform Quality Assurance process in this KA. These seven tools are the tools and techniques for the process and are in addition to the Seven Basic Quality tools that were in the 4th Edition and remain in the 5th Edition. It is not clear why PMI felt it was imperative to add the additional Seven Quality Management and Control Tools to the standard. Nonetheless, we should recognize this as a major change to the Quality Management knowledge area.
Annex A1:

The Standard for Project Management of a Project has been added as Annex A1 and is designed to serve as a standalone document. This positions the Standard for Project Management away from the main body of the PMBOK® Guide, allowing the evolution of the Body of Knowledge material to be separated from the actual Standard for Project Management. One might speculate that we will see the Standard for Project Management join the other standards and be published separately from the PMBOK.

The changes to the 5th Edition present project management practitioners and project management trainers with changes that should be understood and evaluated for their impact on our profession. These changes affect all project management practitioners – and particularly those preparing for the PMP certification.

Bill Morgan, PMP has kindly agreed to allow this abstract of his presentation to the Washington, DC Chapter in January of 2013 to be posted on the Best Practices Training website. – Thank you Bill!

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