Updates to the PMBOK® Guide and PMP Exam

The PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition is scheduled for publication on 31st December 2008.  The 4th Edition continues to reflect the evolving knowledge within the profession of project management and, like previous editions, represents generally recognised good practice in the profession.

When an update to a standard, such as the PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition, is released PMI’s credential exams are also updated, however, because the PMI standards are only one reference in the full project management body of knowledge and new PMP questions are continually being produced, tested, and then used to replace older questions on a periodic schedule, a sudden change in the examination will not occur.

Whilst we estimate only a small percentage of examination questions will require updates to directly address actual changes in the standards, the PMP® examination will be based on the existing standards through to 30th June 2009 and then on the new standards from 1st July 2009. 

As we move into 2009, this will require PMP candidates to decide between a ‘quick hit’ studying an existing course and planning to take the exam prior to 30th June, or a more long term view based on studying an updated course and planning an exam date after 1st July.

Mosaic and other PMI accredited R.E.P.s already have access to the 4th Edition and will be updating their PMP course materials over then next few months.  Given our particular mix of courses ranging from 5 day intensive through to our self-paced Mentored Email™ course which takes most students around 3 to 4 months to complete we are planning to have both courses ‘live’ through the first part of 2009. If you are planning on taking your PMP exam make sure you ask your trainer about the version of the course they are offering (PMBOK® Guide 3rd or 4th Edition?) -v- the date you are planning to sit your exam.

Changes in the PMBOK® Guide—Fourth Edition

The Fourth Edition reflects a focus on improved consistency and clarity. Great consideration was given by the project teams developing the standard to remove redundant information and add clarifying statements where needed. Terminology was updated only to present process names consistently in a verb-noun format. The major differences between the Third Edition and the Fourth Edition are summarised below:

  • All process names are in a verb-noun format
  • Enterprise Environmental Factors were more clearly defined to avoid confusion with Organizational Process Assets.
  • A standard approach for discussing requested changes, preventive actions, corrective actions and defect repairs was employed.
  • The processes decreased from 44 to 42. Two processes were deleted, two processes were added and 6 processes were reconfigured into 4 processes in the procurement Knowledge Area. Despite these changes, the underlying actions were generally moved or consolidated rather than added or deleted.
  • To provide clarity a distinction was made between the project management plan and project documents used to manage the project.
  • The distinction between the information in the Project Charter and the Project Scope Statement was clarified.
  • The process flow diagrams at the beginning of chapters 4-12 have been deleted and replaced with data flow diagrams.
  • A data flow diagram for each process has been created.
  • A new appendix was added that addresses key interpersonal skills that a project manager utilizes when managing a project.
  • The triple constraint which is mentioned in the introduction of the PMBOK® Guide —Third Edition has been expanded to include other potential constraints including: quality, resources and risk. Since each project is unique it is possible some projects may not be affected by all potential constraints.
  • The role and importance of ‘stakeholders’ has been recognised along with a shift from the impossible idea of ‘controlling’ stakeholders to a more realistic objective of  ‘managing’ stakeholders. Given our long standing interest in Stakeholder Management, we find this last change particularly pleasing. 

Watch this space, as more information comes to hand concerning the PMI Standards updates (PMBOK® Guide plus the Program, Portfolio and OPM3 standards) and the associated PMI Credential updates we will keep you informed.


3 responses to “Updates to the PMBOK® Guide and PMP Exam

  1. Pingback: PMI Standard Updates, OPM3 and Project Governance « Mosaicproject’s Blog


    I have done classes for the PMP (3rd addition). Now I am willing to go for the exam. Can I m elligible for the exam according to 3rd addition.

    • Only if you sit the exam before the 1st July. From July 1st onwards the exam is based on the PMBOK Guide 4th Edition and this new edition has significant differences to the 3rd Edition.

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