Tag Archives: PMI Standards

The PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition and its consequences.

One of the key tenets underpinning standards development is the need to continually refresh and update a published standard to maintain its relevance to the market it serves.  The PMBOK® Guide is no different.  The first formal edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 1996 and then every four or five years an updated version has been published the sixth edition will be published in 2017.

1996 Presentation Edition

The original concept of the PMBOK® Guide was to provide the knowledge framework need to underpin the PMP examination. This started as a special report published in 1983, with the first PMP candidates sitting for their exam in 1984[1]. The formal guide was first published in 1987. A major revision between 1991 and 1996 led by Bill Duncan resulted in the publication of the book we now know and understand as the PMBOK® Guide.

Each new edition the PMBOK was followed a few months later with an update on the PMP exam so questions being set were based on the current version of the PMBOK® Guide. In addition to these changes caused by updates to the underpinning body of knowledge, the PMP exam itself has evolved over the years. The current exam format of 200 multiple choice questions delivered via a computer-based system originated in the late 1990s.

In 2009 PMI commissioned a global role delineation study (RDS) the PMP credential. This study reached a consensus on the performance domains and the broad category of duties and responsibilities that define the role project manager, as well as the tasks required for competent performance and the knowledge and skills needed to perform those tasks.  This role delineation study became the basis for the structure of the PMP exam in 2011 and whilst it is very similar to the PMBOK® Guide there are some significant differences.  The RDS was most recently updated in late 2015.  Each update to the RDS also triggers a subsequent change in the PMP exam. The change we are now starting to work towards is driven by the impending publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition – public release date 6th September 2017.

From one perspective updates and changes to the PMP exam have occurred on a routine basis every three years or so for most of the last decade.  Some of the changes were relatively minor, some quite significant.  Based on our preview copy of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition the changes in the PMP exam scheduled for Q1, 2018 will be quite significant.

PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition Enhancements

Content Enhancements[2]:

  • Agile practices incorporated into the PMBOK® Guide:
    • Expanded coverage of agile and other adaptive and iterative practices. This will align proven, foundational project management concepts with the evolving state of the profession today. Significant additional detail on agile will be included in an appendix.
    • PMI also plans to publish a companion practice guide focused on agile in the third quarter of 2017.
    • Addition of three introductory sections for each Knowledge Area,
  • Key Concepts, consolidating information fundamental to a specific knowledge area.
    • Trends and Emerging Practices not yet widely used.
    • Tailoring Considerations, describing aspects of the project or environment to consider when planning the project.
    • More emphasis on strategic and business knowledge including discussion of project management business documents.
  • More information on the PMI Talent Triangle™ and the essential skills for success in today’s market

Process Changes

The Process Groups remain the same in the Sixth Edition, although two Knowledge Areas have new names:

  • Project Time Management is now Project Schedule Management, emphasizing the importance of scheduling in project management. This aligns with PMI’s Practice Standard for Scheduling.
  • Project Human Resource Management is now Project Resource Management. We discuss both team resources and physical resources in this Knowledge Area.

There are three new processes in the Sixth Edition:

  • Manage Project Knowledge is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Integration Management knowledge area.
  • Implement Risk Responses is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Risk Management knowledge area.
  • Control Resources is part of the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group and Project Resource Management knowledge area.

Estimate Activity Resources is still part of the Planning Process Group, but it is associated with the Project Resource Management processes instead of the Project Schedule Management processes.

Some processes have been renamed to align the process with its intent. This table identifies the name changes.

Exam Changes

PMP and CAPM

PMP and CAPM exams will change in the first quarter of 2018. We will start updating our CAPM and PMP courses in early September so that candidates planning to take these exams early part of 2018 will have the correct materials to work through as part of their mentored email courses. For more on PMP and CAPM training see: http://www.mosaicproject.com.au/

PMI-SP

The PMI-SP exam is not scheduled for specific change, however, the reference materials used in our PMI-SP courses are based on the PMBOK® Guide and an industry textbook both of which are scheduled to have new editions published in September. We have therefore embarked on the upgrading of this course is our first priority not because the exam is changing, but because all of the references will be out of date when the new versions of the guide and text are published in a few weeks’ time. For more on PMI-SP training see: http://www.planning-controls.com.au/

PMI-ACP

The PMI ACP exam will also undergo a major revision early in 2018. We are currently assessing the viability of developing a mentored email course for this year exam.

Summary

From the information currently available to PMI R.E.P.S the new version of the PMBOK® Guide has a lot to offer the industry. From a trainer’s perspective there is a lot of work to do over the next six months but at the end of that time, we will have significantly improved training material based on a much stronger foundation. Interesting times ahead!

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[1] for a more detailed discussion on the early days of the PMBOK® Guide see: https://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/2014/10/31/the-pmp-examination-is-30-years-old/

[2] For more on the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition enhancements see: https://mosaicprojects.wordpress.com/2016/06/28/pmbok-guide-6-edition-takes-a-major-step-forward/

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PMBOK® Guide 6 Edition takes a major step forward!

PMBOK6The Exposure Draft of the main ‘Guide Section’ of the 6th Edition is now available for comment – comments close at 5:00 p.m. EDT, 26 July 2016.  To offer comments, go to: www.pmi.org/pmbok-guide-exposure-draft.

Publication and Exam Schedule

PMI have announced the following schedule for publishing the PMBOK® Guide 6 Edition and updating their exams:

  • Draft English Version in PDF: Available in first quarter of 2017 (we use this to start updating our courses).
  • Published Launch Date: Third quarter of 2017 in English and 10 other languages.
  • PMP® Exam certification updates are expected to occur in Q1 2018 as a result of the PMBOK changes (the update also affects the PMI-SP and CAPM exams).

What’s new in the 6th Edition?

This is a major update, content enhancements in the 6th Edition include:

  • Agile practices incorporated into the PMBOK® Guide. Expanded coverage of agile and other adaptive and iterative practices. This will align proven, foundational project management concepts with the evolving state of the profession today. This reflects evidence from Pulse of the Profession® research that agile is used by increasing numbers of organizations in the management of some or all of their projects.
  • Introductory sections rewritten! The first three sections of the PMBOK® Guide have been completely revised. Relevant information from previous editions has been retained. New information reflecting the evolution of our profession as a driver of organizational change and a means of providing business value has been added.
  • Addition of three introductory sections for each Knowledge Area, Key Concepts, Trends and Emerging Practices and Tailoring Consideration:
    • Key Concepts, consolidating information fundamental to a specific knowledge area.
    • Trends and Emerging Practices not yet widely used.
    • Tailoring Considerations, describing aspects of the project or environment to consider when planning the project.
  • Two Knowledge Areas have new names:
    • Project Time Management is now Project Schedule Management, emphasizing the importance of scheduling in project management. This aligns with PMI’s Practice Standard for Scheduling.
    • Project Human Resource Management is now Project Resource Management. Both team resources and physical resources are included in this Knowledge Area.
  • There are three new processes:
    • Manage Project Knowledge is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Integration Management knowledge area.
    • Implement Risk Responses is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Risk Management knowledge area.
    • Control Resources is part of the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group and Project Resource Management knowledge area.
  • Agile appendix added. PMI are also planning to publish a companion practice guide focused on agile – tentatively in the third quarter of 2017.
  • More emphasis on strategic and business knowledge and the PMI Talent Triangle™. There is more emphasis on strategic and business knowledge, including discussion of project management business documents. Information is also included on the PMI Talent Triangle™ and the essential skills for success in today’s market. The PMI Talent Triangle™ was successfully rolled out, late last year, and an integral part of that roll out program was the creation of a new CCR Handbook. This handbook contains important information, concerning PDU category limits and how these may be aligned to the Talent Triangle to maintain PMI credentials see more on the Continuing Certification Requirement (CCR) program and the PMI Talent Triangle™.

As we work through the exposure draft, we will bring you more information. Watch this space!

PMI’s Practice Guide for the Governance of Portfolios, Programs, and Projects

governance-of-portfolios-programs-and-projectsPMI’s newly released Practice Guide for the Governance of  Portfolios, Programs, and Projects, provides some useful guidance to organisations and practitioners on the implementation of the management of portfolios, programs, and projects, but very little on the governance of this important aspect of most organisations.

The understanding of project management, program management and portfolio management is well developed and easily accessible to all organisations, many of which have well developed capabilities in these areas, but most still see their projects and programs fail on a regular basis.  Our 2012 post Project or Management Failures? highlighted the issues.

The source of many of these failures lies in the organisation’s ability to manage the overall function of ‘doing projects’ – defined by Professor Peter Morris as ‘the management of projects’ to differentiate this area of middle and executive management from traditional ‘project and program management’. The overall domain covered by the ‘the management of projects’ concept is outlined in our White Paper WP1079 The Strategic Management of Projects.

Despite confusing the governance function and the management function, this PMI Practice Guide is a valuable contribution to this area of management and to a lesser extent the governance of projects, programs and portfolios.  As previously mentioned, the major weakness in the PMI Practice Guide is its failure to differentiate and understand the different functions of governance and management.  Whilst this confusion is common in documents prepared by practitioners and academics focused on IT management and project management, it is rarely seen in any other area of management.

Governance is the exclusive responsibility of an organisation’s governing body; in corporations this is the ‘board of directors’, in other types of organisation, their equivalent.  The governing body is responsible for setting the objectives, culture, and ethical framework for the organisation, employing the organisation’s senior management, oversighting the organisation’s management functions and providing assurance to external stakeholders the organisation is operating effectively and conforming to its obligations (for more on this see: WP 1096 The Functions of Governance). Elements of some of these functions can be delegated to management, particularly in the areas of surveillance and assurance, but accountability remains with the governing body. Importantly in a well governed organisation, the governing body does not interfere in or directly undertake the management of the organisation – it is impossible to govern your own work!

The functions of management were defined 100 years ago by Henri Fayol in his book Administration Industrielle et Generale.  Management involves planning, forecasting, employing other managers and workers, and organising as in creating the organisation; then coordinating, controlling and directing the work of suppliers and subordinates to achieve the organisation’s objectives; whilst working within the ethical and cultural framework set by the governing body (for more on this see: WP 1094 The Functions of Management). A key function of every management role is ensuring subordinates and suppliers conform to the ‘rules’ set by the governing body.

In short, the role of governance is to set the objectives and rules; the role of management is to manage the resources of the organisation to achieve its objectives, working within the ‘rules’. This approach to governance is clearly defined in ISO 38500 the international standard for the corporate governance of information technology, and ISO 21505 the draft international standard for the governance of projects, programs and portfolios.  PMI has completely failed to understand this distinction and as a consequence invented a range of meaningless definitions in the Practice Guide along with a framework that defines basic management functions such as providing resources to undertake work as ‘governance’.

The simple fact of life is the governing body employs managers to undertake management functions and this involves allocating resources, deciding on priorities and making decisions within the strategic framework approved by the governing body. The basic functions of management were clearly defined by Henri Fayol in 1916 had have stood the test of time and the rigours of academic scrutiny.

The tragedy of the decision by PMI to ignore legislation, international standards and a range of governance authorities ranging from the OECD to Cadbury and try to invent its own definition of governance, is that in the PMI model, virtually every management role above that of the project manager is turned into a ‘governance role’.

The proposition made by PMI that every manager responsible for organising and coordinating the work of subordinate managers is engaged in governance is simply untenable – good effective prudent management is simply good effective prudent management!

The role of governance is to create the environment that allows good effective prudent management to occur; ensure the organisation employs people capable of implementing good effective prudent management and to oversee the working of management so the governors can provide assurance to the organisation’s stakeholders that their management team is in fact providing good effective prudent management. The actual work of providing good effective prudent management to achieve the objectives of the organisation is the role, responsibility and duty of managers

Strangely enough most people in real governance positions know what governance is and know what management is.  Alienating this group is a real pity because once you get past the problem of describing almost every management role as a ‘governance role’ the Guide contains a lot of very useful information focused on improving the abysmal performance of many organisations in the complex area of the ‘management of projects’.

  • Section 2 describes organisational project management and the tailoring management practices to meet organisational needs; the essential relationships and considerations; roles and responsibilities; and domains, functions, and processes. It describes how ‘the management of projects’ can be implemented as a program or project for integrated portfolio, program, and project management.
  • Section 3 describes portfolio management, its links to governance and its central role in the ‘management of projects’.
  • Section 4 describes program management and Section 5: management at the Project Level.

In summary PMI’s Practice Guide for the Governance of Portfolios, Programs, and Projects is a good attempt to focus attention on the vital executive and middle management roles that routinely fail to properly support the delivery of projects and programs; the Practice Guide is spoiled by the delusion that middle level managers and executives undertaking their normal management responsibilities are somehow ‘governing’ the organisation.  As a consequence, the governing bodies of organisations and corporations will tend to dismiss the Practice Guide as an irrelevance.

The key element missed by PMI is the understanding that good management practice is an outcome of good governance, and bad management practice is a symptom of governance failure. The role of governance is to ensure its organisation’s management structures and systems are ‘good’. The fact PMI have completely missed this important distinction in their Practice Guide and as a consequence significantly reduced its value to organisations is an opportunity lost! In most organisations both the governance of projects programs and portfolios needs improving and the overall management of projects programs and portfolios needs improving – these are both important, but require very different improvement processes!

The PMP® Examination is 30 years old

PMPThe PMP® credential is probably the oldest and most widely recognised project management credential in the world.

PMI® was not the first project management association, that honour goes to the European INTERNET (now IPMA), but it did lead the way in developing a project management examination and a supporting body of knowledge.

PMI was founded in October 1969 at the Georgia Institute of Technology as a non-profit organisation focused on the field of project management. By the time of the 1976 PMI Montreal Seminars/Symposium, the idea that ‘project management’ practices could be documented was being widely discussed along with the concept of project management as a profession.

These discussions continued through to 1981 when the PMI Board of Directors formally approved a project under the leadership of  Matthew Parry to:

  1. Define the distinguishing characteristics of a practicing profession (ethics)
  2. The content and structure of the profession’s body of knowledge (standards)
  3. Recognition of professional attainment (accreditation)

The project team became known as the Ethics Standards and Accreditation (ESA) Management Group.

The results of the ESA project were published as a Special Report in the Project Management Journal, August 1983. The Special Report included:

  1. A code of Ethics and a procedure for enforcement
  2. A standard knowledge baseline consisting of six major ‘functions’, Scope, Cost, Time, Quality, HR and Communication.  The term ‘functions’ was used, because most were named after the typical ‘functions’ (departments) of a large engineering company (now called knowledge areas).
  3. Recommendations for both the accreditation of courses provided by institutions (Universities) and individual certification.

This report subsequently served as the basis for PMI’s initial Accreditation and Certification programs. The  first PMPs credentials awarded in 1984 and Western Carolinas University, Masters in Project Management degree was the first course accredited by PMI.

The initial version of the PMP exam was 40 questions in each of the 6 knowledge areas with at least 70% correct in each to pass.  This version of the multi-choice exam presented 5 options and included a fair number of combination choices (e.g., “a and b”).

On the 25 March 1986, I joined PMI as member # 13,428 to tap into the knowledge PMI were developing through their Journals and standards to help with my work as a project management consultant. 28 years later I’m still an active PMI member.

In 1986/87 the PMI Board approved a second standards related project, to review and enhance the 1984 documents. In addition to expanding and enhancing the six original ‘functions’, the Risk and Contract/Procurement ‘functions’ were added along with a section on the ‘Project Management Framework’ which placed project management within the context of the wider environment and general management. This work was published as the ‘Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)’ in 1987.

The updated PMP exam was now 40 questions each for the 8 ‘functions’ with at least 70% correct in each to pass. It was 320 multiple choice questions that took 3 hours and 20 minutes in the morning for the first 160 questions and another 3 hours and 20 minutes in the afternoon for the second group of 160. Also around this time, PMI eliminated the “a and b” options and changed the exam from 5 options to 4.

Between 1991 and 1996, a major review of the PMBOK was initiated under the leadership of Bill Duncan resulting in the publication of ‘A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge’, the first edition of the PMBOK® Guide.  The important ‘Integration Knowledge area was added and the document extensively reorganised. The now familiar ‘processes were added to standardise the flow of information within a project (with inputs, tools and techniques and outputs described – most outputs becoming inputs to subsequent processes).

The PMP exam was changed again in the latter half of the 1990s.  It went from a written test to computer based test, from 320 questions to 200 questions and the passing score went from 70% in each knowledge area to 61% overall.  With the new format and ease of access to examination centres via the Thompson Prometric world-wide delivery system the PMP exam took off.

We passed our PMP examinations in 2001 and started developing our PMI courses, initially focussing on the new CAPM Credential, then the PMP credential – we are still developing and adapting our courses to stay aligned with changes in focus of the examination!

The 2000 and 2004 updates to the PMBOK® Guide set the pattern of regular 4 yearly updates. The 2004 (Third Edition) was the first time I contributed to the development process which has continued trough the 2008 and 2012 updates. The 2012 update included the new knowledge area of Stakeholder Management.

The regular updates required of an ANSI standard continue, with work on the 6th Edition currently in progress for publication in 2016, with Lynda Bourne leading work on the Stakeholder and Communication chapters.

Each update of the PMBOK® Guide flows through to updated PMP and CAPM examinations as do the less regular reviews of the PMP and the CAPM role delineation studies and examination specifications. So whilst the PMP examination is 30 years old, and the CAPM examination is 11 years old, both certifications remain a rigorous test of current project management knowledge.

The last set of significant changes to the exam delivery has been to change the passing assessment to remove the set pass/fail score and assess each test based on the use of psychometric analysis (see more)

Over the last 30 years, the PMBOK® Guide has largely shaped the world-wide view of what project management is; I know from my time working on the development of ISO 21500:2012 – Guidance on project management was heavily influenced by the PMI PMBOK. There are certainly other excellent BoKs produced in the UK, Japan and Germany to my certain knowledge; and the PRINCE2 certification is challenging the PMP credential for dominance; but everyone’s view of ‘project management’ is largely consistent and framed by the PMBOK® Guide.

So if you are a PMP holder or are planning on taking the PMP examination, I’m hoping this brief rundown on the history of the credential and its associated ‘body of knowledge’ provide some background on why the PMBOK® Guide and the examination are  the way they are. It’s been a long journey which continues.

For more on the history of Project Management see: http://www.mosaicprojects.com.au/PM-History.html

For more on the PMP and CAPM examinations see: http://www.mosaicproject.com.au/

How useful are BOKs?

We have the PMBOK® Guide, the APM BoK and many other BoKs and standards ranging from ISO 21500 to the PMI Practice standards.

We personally think they are useful and commit a significant amount of volunteer time to developing standards through PMI and ISO; as are certifications to demonstrate a person has a good understanding of the relevant BoK (and we make money out of running our training courses).

However, we are fully aware that passing a knowledge based credential does not demonstrate competency (and that passing a competency based assessment does not demonstrate transferable knowledge – both are needed see: Developing Competency).

We are also aware that too many organisations place too much emphasis on ‘ticking boxes’ rather then taking time to assess people or optimise solutions. The easy tick in the box may avoid ownership of a problem but also tends to avoid the solution itself……

For these reasons we commend the Association for Project Management (APM – UK, publisher of the APM BoK) for publishing a short video, based on a talk given by our friend and colleague, Dr. Jon Whitty to the APM in Reading UK in Nov last year. I hope it starts you thinking.

See the video: http://www.apm.org.uk/news/courageous-conversation#.UXE_pLXfCSp

PMI Standards Round-Up

PMI StandardsThe three standards released by PMI at the beginning of this year were the:

PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition
Standard for Portfolio Management Third Edition
Standard for Program Management Third Edition

As a consequence, the global PM community now has a set of basic standards that will remain stable for the next four years through to the next cyclical update scheduled for late 2016. The tight integration between all three standards means minimal duplication of ideas and best practices.

Whilst each of the PMI Credentials tends to focus on one of these three standards, the key thing from an organisational perspective is they are integrated, and after this round of upgrades better integrated than ever!

The Portfolio Management standard focuses on the investment decisions needed to select the best projects and programs to start and maintain to achieve the organisations strategy within its resource constraints. Selecting the ‘right projects and programs to do’.

For guidance on ‘doing them right’, the Program Management standard focuses on the business outcome and integration aspects of program management and the PMBOK® Guide covers off the basic skills and capabilities needed to deliver the project outputs efficiently.

Each standard can be used in isolation; however, the real power lays in using all three as a framework for organisational improvement – Creating an effective Project Delivery Capability (download our PDC White Paper). The final missing link, PMI’s updated OPM3 standard will be released later this year.

This means that organisations interested in developing a best practice capability across the ‘enterprise’ aimed at achieving the maximum sustainable value from its investment in projects and programs now have an ideal opportunity to buy into current thinking via these standards and time to develop improved processes.

We have enjoyed working through the standards and writing this series of posts on the improvements (for previous posts click here) – but 4 months down the track we now consider these ‘new’ standards business as usual, have consigned the ‘old’ standards to history, and will make this our last post on the updates. Our very last PMP and CAPM course based on the ‘old’ standards will be run at the end of May (course details) and then we will be 100% aligned to the new and improved versions. We encourage everyone else to do the same.

PMBOK 5 – Some final thoughts

PMI_PMBOK5We are now well into the process of updating materials and writing new questions based on the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition – From being something new, the book is now becoming increasingly familiar:

  • Our daily PMP question has had a 5th Edition reference for the last 3 months, you can follow the questions on Twitter: see today’s question (the questions are good for PMP, CAPM and PMI-SP)
  • Updates to our CAPM, PMP and PMI-SP courses are planned and under development – our new Mentored Email™ courses will start in late April.
  • Our last classroom course based on the 4th Edition will be at the end of May 
  • The PMI examination date changes are:
    – CAPM 1st July
    – PMP 1st August
    – PMI-SP 1st September
  • The initial rush of people interested in buying the 5th Edition has subsided and we are effectively out of stock of the 4th Edition. 

Overall as we become more familiar with the 5th Edition we are finding it to be a significant improvement. There are certainly a few issues and problems highlighted in earlier posts in this series (view the full series) but the enhancements significantly outweigh the odd regression.

One of the minor but important improvements is he ranges for cost estimates are back to the industry standards of -25% to +75% for ROM and -5% to +10% for detailed estimates. This pessimistic shift in the ranges more accurately reflects reality.

The rearrangement of the first three chapters is also significant and is aligned with the standards for Program and Portfolio management:

  • Chapter 1 sets the scene with:
    – definitions of a project and project management,
    – discussion of the relationships between project, program and portfolio management, in the context of organizational project management,– Discussions of the relationship between project management, operations management, strategy and business value
    – the role of the project manager.
  • Chapter 2 focuses on organisational influences including the influence of project stakeholders and governance on the project team and the overall project lifecycle.
  • Chapter 3 looks at project management processes and the structure of the rest of the PMBOK.

The reorganisation of this front section, facilitated in part by the move of the ANSI standard to Annex A1 is probably the quiet achievement in the standard. The section flows far more sensibly and logically than in previous editions.

In conclusion – the quality of the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition has been enhanced by hundreds of small changes that make the work of transitioning our course materials hard work and will certainly require some hard work from anyone who has to update their exam preparation.

So a word of warning: If you are trained for the current exam make sure you sit before the change over dates – PMI do not have any flexibility in the timing of the system changes!! This includes re-sits. After the change over date, all new exams are based on the new standards.

But once through these changes we certainly have a better book for the next 4 years and the development team deserve congratulations for a job well done.