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.
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. 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
- 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
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.
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/
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/
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.
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!
 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/
 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/