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PMI 6th Edition Project Management Body of Knowledge

PMI 6th Edition Project Management Body of Knowledge



I’m Dave Litten and a warm welcome to a very brief video on the new project management body of knowledge sixth edition (PMBOK Guide 6th Edition).

Now at the time of recording in September this has just been released and the latest prediction from the project management institute is that exams will start next year on 26 March 2018.

The purpose of this brief video is to give you an overview of the changes that are expected.

It’s highly likely more details will emerge as the syllabus for the new exams evolve and refine.

Now there is much information on the internet about the various processes that are changed or replaced or removed and the fact that new ones have been added.

PMBOK Knowledge Areas

So, I thought the best and quickest way to show you the full picture was by a few simple diagrams so here’s the first.

Up here you’ve got the five process groups and I’m going to deal with each knowledge area in turn starting of course with integration management.

Integration Management

These are the processes within the integration management process group and I’ve highlighted those that have changed.

A new process has been added within the executing process group called manage project management knowledge, and the reason for that will be evident later in this video

The second and other change is in the closing process group.

The process called close project or phase remains the same, however it now includes the close procurements process from the procurement management knowledge area, and I’ll remind you of that shortly.

Scope Management

Coming to the scope management knowledge area you’ll be pleased to know there’s absolutely no changes at all at least not in terms of the names of the processes.

You’ll see here all the processes are exactly as in the fifth edition of the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition.

Project Schedule Management (time management)

Next up here’s a new name for what used to be called time management, now more correctly called project schedule management, so that has been renamed in terms of the processes within the process groups.

There’s only one that is different, the process called estimate activity resources has been moved to another renamed knowledge area called project resource management, again, I’ll remind you of that shortly.

Everything else remains the same.

Cost Management

Next up is cost management absolutely no changes at all the process names remain just as they were before.

Bringing us nicely to quality management.

Quality Management

Of the three processes of what used to be called Perform Quality Assurance has now been renamed as manage quality.

Project Resource Management

Next up is project resource management. This has been named from human resource and I think you will agree it’s a better name since it includes all resources not just the human kind.

Now there are a few changes in this as you can see the develop project team and manage project team remains as before, however under the planning process group, what used to be called plan human resource management, is now more simply named plan resource management to tie in nicely with the knowledge area.

I showed you two slides back the estimate resources process which used to reside within what PMBOK used to call time management, has been rightly moved here, again to tie in with this now being named project resource management.

And as I said it’s been moved from the project schedule management knowledge area and again in keeping with the name of this knowledge area, what used to be called acquire project team is now more correctly called acquire resources of all flavors.

And the final change in the project resource management knowledge area comes under the monitoring and controlling process group.

This is a brand-new process that’s been added called control resources.

If you ask any project manager of any level of experience they will tell you that resources human and non-human do in fact need to be controlled.

Which brings us nicely to communication management.

Communication Management

Two of the three processes remain unchanged but what used to be called control communications has now been renamed more sensibly to monitor communications and I’m sure you agree this definition is much closer to what would occur.

Risk Management

Next up, the risk management knowledge area, still retaining that name.

All the processes within the planning process group remain as before, however coming to the executing process group a new process has been added called implement risk responses.

I’m sure seeing all these changes in this context makes a lot more sense to you just looking at the material supplied under the project management body of knowledge guide, it’s obvious that the outcome of this is to plan the risk responses.

Without anything that says you’re going to implement them, then it wouldn’t have been much point planning them in the first place, so that’s great news.

The second change to the risk management knowledge area is under the monitoring and controlling process group.

Simply replacing the process from control risks to monitor risks again a very much more natural name which better represents the activities that a project manager would undertake.

Procurement Management

Bringing us nicely to procurement management.

Three out of the four processes remain unchanged, but the final one which used to be called close procurements no longer exists.

It’s been moved to the close project or phase process which I shared with you a few slides back when we looked at integration management.

Stakeholder Management

Finally, stakeholder management broadly remains the same and in this case two of the four processes have been given a more appropriate name under the planning process group.

What used to be called plan stakeholder management, is now called plan stakeholder engagement. This of course, is the key term that you would use when doing what you do to stakeholders.

That is to engage them to communicate to them direct so that’s been renamed and under the monitoring and controlling process group.

What used to be called control stakeholder engagements, is now more correctly called monitor stakeholder engagement.

You’ll notice that the project management body of knowledge used to have 47 processes in total, now apart from taking some away and adding more in, the new total has now increased by two processes to 49.

The remaining slides are general overviews of changes that you’ll find throughout the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

I make no attempt here to go into the detail, but just to give you a broad brush high-level view if you will, and I couldn’t resist the temptation just to show you a little extra information.

Earned Schedule Management

Here we go, starting off with something called earned schedule management.

This is now being added to the Earned value toolkit as it’s called within the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition itself.

You will remember that earned value management has always been included within the syllabus and the exam itself, and this isn’t as hard as maybe the name suggests.

Most practitioners of earned value have been doing this for years so really, it’s just harmonizing the project management body of knowledge with what’s happening in the outside world.

So, let me show you a little diagram I drew up to show you that it’s not really that hard at all.

Here’s a traditional graph if you will, of earned value and this orange line is the plan line – planned value.

And let’s imagine we’re part way through and this is today’s date, then we’ve been plotting earned value up to this point and it reaches here.

All you need to do is to throw a line back, to where earned value would touch the cumulative planned value and cast your eye downward, and it will tell you in terms of schedule.

Let’s imagine these are weeks, so that this is your earned schedule amount, so although it’s an additional element it’s not that hard is it?

So why would we do this?

Well, it does add value pardon the pun, you see earned schedule management can more accurately determine the completion date for projects that are already behind schedule or will deliver later than was originally planned.

And as I’ve explained the earned schedule management is an additional calculation to use with earned value, it’s not new, it’s certainly not hard, and nor is it time-consuming.

So, welcome it with open arms. It will be added to your course material, it is included in the official syllabus, and it’s highly likely you’ll have at least one question of it cropping up during the exam.

PMI Talent Triangle

Something else that’s new, is the project management Institute’s so-called talent triangle. The mix if you will, of blending technical project management with leadership skills along with strategic and business management.

Well, in the official PMBOK Guide 6th Edition if you’ve already got your sticky hands on it, you’ll find the first three chapters have been modified slightly and a new chapter three will be devoted entirely to the role of the project manager.

Where many aspects of the project managers role we’ll be mapped back to the PMI talent triangle, certainly a move for the better in my opinion.

Keeping on that topic the role of the project manager has been added to focus on leading projects effectively by laying out exactly the competencies required plus the experience and skills that are necessary.

PMBOK Tailoring

That brings me nicely to knowledge areas and tailoring.

There has been a restructuring of each of the knowledge areas. You’ve certainly seen the renaming of some, and some of the processes that have been changed or renamed.

In addition to that, each knowledge area will contain four new sections:

  • the key concepts of the knowledge area
  • trends and emerging practices
  • tailoring considerations
    and most importantly,
  • considerations for agile and adaptive environments

Agile Project Management

Over the past two or three years I’ve seen a huge ground-swell of all bodies of knowledge and project management certification skills moving towards agile.

Under agile you’ll have techniques such as scrum – something that I’m heavily involved with, so in concert with considerations for these will also touch on agile as well of course, trends and emerging practices.

And so, these four sections will be included in every single knowledge area and keeping on the topic of agile, you’ll find a good spread of information which is now included.

You see, detailed information about agile and iterative project management practices are given more weight in the new PMBOK guide and as I’ve alluded to here.

I’m talking of tailoring above there will be processed tailoring but simply that really means how much emphasis needs to be put on each process based on the scope and size of the project.

Small simple low-risk low-cost projects should expect a lightness of touch when applying the processes and the converse is true for large complex high-risk expensive projects.

Once you become a PMP then your success at applying that knowledge will feature heavily on your ability to take the PMBOK guide and tailor it to suit each project or endeavor that you are managing.

Next, the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition has more of a voluntary tone, instead of a mandatory tone. It’s interesting here, that the management approach of a project manager and in a traditional project would be what’s known as command and control.

Whereas in agile and scrum projects for example, you would expect the project manager to adopt more the style of a servant leader. It’s a different role with just as much value and importance as traditional command and control, and so I’m delighted that the new PMBOK guide adopts the tone of a knowledgeable friend rather than a school teacher.

Here is a list of possible choices of tools. Choose any of these that might best fit your current project, and that falls nicely hand in glove with tailoring approaches.

A quick look at processes scope and communication, mopping up a few other key areas.

There will be differentiation between processes which are ongoing – in other words, continuously executing versus non-ongoing processes.

I’ll await with bated breath to see exactly what they’ll cover there, but an obvious example here might be control costs or possibly control communications.

Could you imagine a project manager coming in to work on a Monday morning and saying, “you know what, I think I’ll give controlling costs and communication a rest this week, I’ll get on with the real stuff instead”

Wouldn’t make sense would it?

Whereas there are some processes that will be pulled down off the shelf so to speak and used when appropriate.

Now onto our old chum communication.

In the new PMBOK Guide 6th Edition, there will be a distinction between the definition of communication – meaning between people, and communication tools such as reports, information radiators, if you’re not sure that word check it out it’s an agile and scrum term usually represented by a flip chart or wall chart yellow post-it notes and so on.

Or perhaps published emails, so there is a difference in definition here and that distinction will be made.

Also, the project management processes are now described according to the five process groups you know, those are initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing.

Project and Product Scope

Then finally, the differentiation between project scope and product scope.

Something that most of us have been very familiar with for years, and at last it’s now being discussed within the new PMBOK guide.

I’ve included a simple little definition here for you if you do need reminding.

Product scope is about the product details obviously defining what the product will look like, how it will work, its features, and so on.

The scope of the product, in other words, whereas project scope sort of more focuses on the work of the project, because it defines the requirements of the product, the work to create the product, and what is in the scope and what is not.


Finally, I want to speak about general details something called ITTO bundling.

You’ll know this refers to inputs, outputs, and the two T’s are tools and techniques.

One of the most common questions I get of those preparing to sit the exam itself is a last-minute panic realizing just how many there are, and whether they’ve got to try somehow to cram them all into their memory for the few hours of the exam where they will then tumble out and never be remembered again.

You’ll be pleased to know there will be simplification of the inputs and outputs and presented apparently in an ITTO table. And in addition, the tools and techniques will be grouped under common headings.

A great step in the right direction, bringing me to a piece of general practice here and that’s that the lessons learned register is now part of the same set of these inputs tools and techniques and outputs.

Quite right, and again a nod towards agile and scrum project managers will now be encouraged to update on a frequent basis not just at the end of the project. In my book, that was always giving the wrong message, so that now updates can be done at any time – as if you needed permission!

Throughout the project, especially at the end of project phases.

Probably one of the many strengths of applying scrum, for example in product development, is the fact that at the end of each sprint of which you could have several, and in a phase for example, you have what’s called the Sprint retrospective.

This looks back on how the whole sprint was carried out, how successful it was, what went well, what didn’t, and captured in a set of lessons that can be immediately implemented to help improve the productivity and effectiveness of the remaining sprints within that phase and project.

PMBOK Appendix

You also have four useful additional sections added to the appendix:

  • a summary of key concepts which I’m sure will be a helpful aid to revision
  • adaptive and iterative processes – again a nod towards agile
  • scrum tailoring considerations which I’ve already touched on
  • a summary of the tools and techniques – again great for exam revision

Now there’s also a new risk management strategy for the project manager to escalate responses which is escalating a risk to an appropriate party, so the risk is no longer the project managers responsibility.

That’s great and it falls nicely into methodologies such as PRINCE2 which are familiar with what is called management by exception, where tolerances are put around the project and phases, and work packages.

For example, it allows the manager to know when to put their hand up and escalate it to the next level so this change to the PMBOK guide is very warmly welcomed by me.

PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Risk Responses

I think it’s absolutely a step in the right direction and to add just a little more detail to this very point – once such a risk has been escalated, the project manager has two options:

  • removing the risk from the project’s risk register if desired if that makes sense. If someone else like a third party is now fully responsible for its continued management, then the project manager need not be concerned
  • it could be kept in the risk register but classified as escalated and assigned – just as a reminder, in other words no action needed here but should anyone wish to know this is who is now looking after the risk.

The team involved in bringing about this update have done an absolutely great job, and both the qualification and the project management community will be the better for the new changes.


Well I hope you found this brief overview video on the new project management body of knowledge 6th edition useful and helpful.

My name is Dave Litten and I look forward to the opportunity of working with you at some point in the future – so bye for now!

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