Tuesday, 7 November 2017

PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition – What’s NEW (Summary of Changes)

One of our Sr. PMP Instructors had to say this: The PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition was released on September 6th, 2017. Since I am an active PMI member, I was able to download the PDF version of the PMBOK guide for free the day it was released.

The PDF file consisted of 2 guides –
1. The PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition
2. The Agile Practice Guide.
The first 800 + pages were the PMBOK Guide, and the next 180 are the Agile Practice Guide. Appendix X1 of the PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition provides a complete list of changes to the Sixth Edition. This post is a summary of changes and my analysis of those changes. Since I’m yet to complete studying the guide, I may update this post after learning more.

The 6th Edition of the PMBOK Guide aligns the guide with PMI’s RDS (Role Delineation Study) of 2015. The PMP exam was updated in January 2016 to align with the RDS findings, but the PMBOK Guide was not. This 6th Edition of the PMBOK Guide is now catching up on that.

The 6th Edition aims to make the guide more consistent and provide better clarity on the project management processes on their inputs, tools, techniques and outputs. The guide also ensures compliance with other PMI fundamental standards.

There are several significant updates in the 6th Edition. PMI acknowledges that in recent years there has been more adoption of agile and adaptive methodologies in the management of projects. Therefore, there is greater focus on Agile/Adaptive methodologies in the 6th Edition.

Let’s look at the many changes to the structure of the guide.
Ø  The Guide is now divided into 3 parts:

  1. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)
  2. The Standard for Project Management
  3. Appendices, Glossary, and Index

Chapter-1: The Introduction, Chapter-3: Project Management Processes and Annex A1 of the 5th Edition have now been consolidated into Part 2 (The Standard for Project Management) of the 6th Edition.

The Role of the Project Manager, which was part of Chapter 1 in the 5th Edition is now a separate chapter (Chapter 3) in itself. It ties the project manager’s skills to the PMI’s Talent Triangle. Expect greater weightage on this area in the next update of the PMP exam.
Two Knowledge Areas names were changed to more closely reflect the work that is done in those Knowledge Areas.
Old Name
New Name
Project Time Management
Project Schedule Management
Project Human Resource Management
Project Resource Management

Let’s understand the rationale for these changes.
1.      Project Time Management has changed to Project Schedule Management. It took a few decades for PMI to realize that project managers do not manage “time”, but rather define and manage the project “schedule”.

2.      Project Human Resource Management has changed to Project Resource Management. Both team resources and physical resources are addressed in the 6th Edition, and hence the name change.

Ø  Every Knowledge Area chapter now includes 4 sections at the beginning:
ü  Key Concepts
ü  Trends and Emerging Practices
ü  Tailoring Considerations
ü  Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments
Process Changes
Ø  Five processes have been either added or moved to a different Knowledge Area or entirely removed from the 6th edition.
Manage Project Knowledge (Section 4.4)
Estimate Activity Resources (Section 6.4)
Moved to Project Resource Management
Control Resources (Section 9.6)
Implement Risk Responses (Section 11.6)
Close Procurements (Section 12.4)

Let’s understand these changes better.
1.      Manage Project Knowledge (Section 4.4) - Added.
ü  This was added to address the need for knowledge management in projects. Due to the distributed and mobile nature of the modern workforce, there’s more focus on knowledge management and information management, so that knowledge and information does not get lost.
ü  A key output of this process is the lessons learned register. This aligns with the “lessons learned management” task that was introduced in Jan 2016 update of the PMP exam.
ü  PMI emphasizes the need to learn continually throughout the project rather than waiting until the end to reflect.

2.      Estimate Activity Resources (Section 6.4) - Moved to Project Resource Management
ü  Since the Knowledge Area Project Human Resource Management has been repurposed as Project Resource Management (taking both human and physical resources into its folds), the Estimate Activity Resources process has been moved to the Project Resource Management.

3.      Control Resources (Section 9.6) — Added
ü  In the Fifth Edition, Project Human Resource Management had no “Monitoring and Controlling” process. That was indeed puzzling. With the 6th Edition, the Control Resources process has been added under the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group.

4.      Implement Risk Responses (Section 11.6) — Added
ü  Implementing Risk Responses was previously considered part of Monitor and Control Project Risk Process. But now it has been separated into a separate process under the Executing Process Group. This change makes sense to me.

5.      Close Procurements (Section 12.4) — Eliminated and merged into Control Procurements and Close Project or Phase processes
ü  According to market research done by PMI, contracts are usually closed by contracts, procurement or legal departments, and not by project managers. Therefore, information from Close Procurements about evaluating all completed deliverables and comparing them to the contract was moved into Control Procurements. Information about administrative, communications, and records was moved to Close Project or Phase.
Total processes have increased from 47 in the 5th Edition to 49 in the 6th Edition.
The use of the term “Control” has been replaced with “Monitor” especially in processes that involve people. Nine processes have been renamed.
Old Name
New Name
Perform Quality Assurance (Section 8.2)
Manage Quality
Plan Human Resource Management (Section 9.1)
Plan Resource Management
Acquire Project Team (Section 9.2)
Acquire Resources
Develop Project Team (Section 9.3)
Develop Team
Manage Project Team (Section 9.4)
Manage Team
Control Communications (Section 10.3)
Monitor Communications
Control Risks (Section 11.6)
Monitor Risks
Plan Stakeholder Management (Section 13.2)
Plan Stakeholder Engagement
Control Stakeholder Engagement (Section 13.4)
Monitor Stakeholder Engagement

Inputs, Tools and Techniques, Outputs (ITTO) Changes
Ø  There is good news and bad news here.
ü  The good news is that the Guide is more consistent than the previous editions and does a much better job of explaining “why” an input or a tool or technique is used in a process. This had been a problem area with the previous editions.
ü  The bad news is that PMI claims that the number of tools and techniques have been reduced. But contrary to that, my analysis tells me that the number has increased from 118 to 131 unique tools and techniques (11% increase).
Ø  The commonly used tools and techniques are now grouped by their purpose or intent. The groups are:
ü  Data gathering, e.g. Brainstorming, Interviews, Market Research
ü  Data analysis, e.g. Cost-benefit Analysis, Earned Value Analysis, Performance Reviews
ü  Data representation, e.g. Cause-and-effect Diagrams, Flowcharts, Histograms
ü  Decision-making, e.g. Multi criteria Decision Analysis, Voting
ü  Communication skills, e.g. Feedback, Presentation
ü  Interpersonal and team skills, e.g. Active Listening, Conflict Management, Emotional Intelligence
The overall number of ITTOs has increased from 618 to 722 (17% increase) and that is despite the grouping mentioned above. If you count the leaf nodes (without grouping), the total ITTOs may touch 4 figures.
Other Key Changes
(Note: This section is work in process)
  • Greater emphasis on Benefits management
  • A new risk response “escalate” has been introduced
  • Several Agile concepts have been introduced to the Develop Schedule process
  • The concept of Business Documents, which consists of the Business Case and the Benefits Management Plan has been introduced
  • Several new tools and techniques have been introduced
The changes to the 6th Edition of the PMBOK Guide are quite significant. There’s greater focus on Agile and adaptive methodologies, benefits management and knowledge management. All these changes are aligned with the recommendations of RDS 2015 and some have already been incorporated into the PMP exam since Jan 2016. Overall the guide is indeed more consistent, detailed and clear compared to the previous editions.
PMI has announced that PMP Exam will change on March 26, 2018 to align with the PMBOK Guide, 6th Edition. If you are preparing for the PMP Exam, you’ll be better off taking the current version of the exam to avoid any surprises from the update.

 For more info/guidance. Please contact us

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Phone: +1-214-227-6396

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Thursday, 14 September 2017

Completing the Online PMP® Application Form

The most important rule here is to be honest. This is expressly spelt out in the PMI conducts requirements. If PMI finds out that you have provided misleading or wrong information on purpose, it would ban you from applying for all of their certifications forever.

As you are allowed to print out a copy of your application for your record, do take advantage of this function and ask others to help you to check your information in the printed copy. Double check the information you have entered.

Read the PMBOK® Guide at least once or attend PMP® exam prep courses before completing the PMP® application form. This will help you understand, what the most important information from PMI’s perspectives are.

You will be required to agree to the Project Management Institute’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct before the form can be submitted. Don’t skip this step, do read the code and learn it by heart. (The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct will be tested on the PMP® exam in the form of situational questions, i.e. asking what you would do in a particular situation).

Filling the PMP® Project Management Experiences

The start date of the first project and the end date of the last project should at least cover a period of 3 years  (degree holders) or 5 years (secondary degree holders) as required by the PMI.

In order to prepare well for an audit, you are highly advised to contact your project supervisors and notify them on the hours you will claim for each project. Their help is vital in case you are selected for an audit. Some PMP® aspirants failed the audit because they could not find their supervisors or their supervisors refused to sign the experience verification forms.

It is not required nor advised to mention each and every project you have handled. Include only enough number of projects to reach required minimum number of hours (i.e. 4,500 hours for degree holders / 7,500 hours for secondary degree holders). Include large projects first as this would save you considerable time in case of an audit.

When adding details of project management experiences to the application form, you will need to:

Give a title to each project (usually the project title)

Give your project role (not your job title) – you can use PMI terms like project leader, project manager, project coordinator, etc.

Insert your supervisor‘s name and contact methods (note that you need not fill in the name of the CEO of your company, but someone who work closely with you and you have gained the consent from). Calculate and add the time (in number of hours) spent on each project management process groups (you might need to refer to the PMBOK® Guide if you don’t know what these exactly mean):

*    Initiating the Project
*    Planning the Project
*    Executing the Project
*    Controlling and Monitoring the Project
*    Closing the Project

PMI advocates work-life balance and will only allow 40 hours for each work week, don’t fill in more than 40 hours for each week of work or PMI will ask you to amend.

Try to estimate your project hour’s first offline (e.g. using Excel or a notebook) and insert the hours once finalized. Though PMI has not mentioned it, to amend and save the project hours repeatedly on the web server might trigger the need for an audit.

Write the project description of the project (in around 500 characters) including the following:

*    A brief description of the project
*    Objectives
*    Key deliverable
*    Project outcome
*    Your personal role

When composing the project descriptions for each project, make good use of PMI terms to demonstrate that you understand what project management is. Include terms found in the PMBOK® Guide like project charter, sponsor, scope, project deliverables, stakeholders, schedule, acceptance of deliverable, quality management, etc. at least 5 times in your description. PMI has the right to require you to rewrite the project description should they found it inadequate.

For more info/guidance. Please contact us

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Phone: +1-214-227-6396

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Wednesday, 13 September 2017

PMP-Certification Road-map

Post training several PMP Aspirants, it was found that the most pressing question they had is “don’t know where to begin the journey”. Do we begin with a complete study of the PMBOK® Guide or to get the 35 contact hours of Project Management or to fill in the online application form?

The below outlines recommended the sequence leading to certification:

  • Don’t read the PMBOK® Guide on your own, get the 35 Contact Hours of Project Management from a course that help you prepare for the exam (referred as exam prep course), there are lots of choice ranging from face-to-face classroom lecture and online courses.
  • Purchase/borrow all the required study materials including the PMBOK® Guide, at least one reference book and some practice/mock exams.
  • Apply online for the exam. You will need to describe your working experience in PMI’s terms and the prep course you have taken will help you finish the application form easily.
  • Fix a date for your exam after you have received confirmation from PMI or passed the audit, if applicable.
  • Study hard for the exam with your study materials. Working on as many as practice exams as possible.
  • Pass the exam.
  • Begin earning PDUs for your 3-year re-certification cycle.
  • Following the above sequence will allow you to go through the certification process in the most logical and easiest way.
For more info/guidance. Please contact us

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