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.

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