PMBOK® – In the words of the Project Management Institute (PMI) - “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge” is PMI's flagship publication. The PMBOK book is a fundamental resource for effective project management practices in any industry.
In simple terms, PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) is the project management guide that consists of process steps, terminologies, best practices, and guidelines that are widely accepted and implemented by the project management industry from all over the world.
We work with project environments where projects have deadlines or completing the tasks within a specified time is a priority without compromising on the quality. For a really long time, we have known the importance of best project management practices, and implementing them to meet those deadlines is crucial. The best practices from the guide include the implementation of various tools and the effective usage of resources.
All of the concepts discussed in PMBOK 6th edition help project professionals achieve or complete the projects at a specified time.
Irrespective of the scale or complexity of the project — may it be constructing a bridge, designing a product or any other project for that matter — all projects share similarities, and common steps mentioned in the project management body of knowledge can be applied to achieve end results.
All these steps, best practices, tools, and techniques come combined in the Project Management Body of Knowledge book.
It solely depends on the project manager how he/she uses the best practices or standards suggested in the PMBOK Guide to create different methodologies and strategies in order to make a project successful.
PMBOK – Project Management Body of Knowledge never specifically suggests or exactly mentions how to run a project. The PMBOK book only offers an effective framework and tools. It is the project manager who has to make decisions and run the project in accordance with the best practices and framework.
Now, let’s talk about when the Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide originated and how every edition has evolved over the years.
- The first Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide was released in 1996 with 9 knowledge areas and 37 processes.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide 2nd edition was released in 2000 with 39 processes.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide 3rd edition was released in 2004 with 44 processes.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide 4th edition was released in 2008 with 42 processes.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide 5th edition was released in 2012 with 47 processes.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide 6th edition was released in 2017 with 49 processes.
- Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide 7th edition will be effective from 20th June 2020.
Disclaimer – The terms PMP, PMBOK, PMI, CAPM, and PgMP, are registered marks of the PMI - Project Management Institute, Inc.
Historically we can see there was a new edition released every 4 years
Each edition of Project Management Body of Knowledge was released to overcome challenges the previous edition couldn’t focus on. The latest PMBOK 6th edition provides better standards and best practices for the project management industry.
Every update of the Project Management Body of Knowledge guide was made to combat new challenges faced by project managers and project professionals in the ever-changing project environment.
There was no major update until the 5th edition. With the launch of the Project Management Body of Knowledge 6th edition, there was the inclusion of agile concepts. In the new announcement for PMP Exam Change – PMI mentioned that the exam will be changing and one of the major changes is the inclusion of agile-related questions in the syllabus.
The latest update for 2020 is that the PMP exam is changing from 2nd January 2021. Participants aiming to get the PMP certification with the current version of the PMP exam can take the exam until 31st December 2020. From 2nd January 2021, a new version of the PMP exam will be followed.
The most recent version is PMBOK® 6th edition, so let’s have a look at the major changes that happened in it.
Focus on Effective Leadership
Although there was a mention of effective leadership in the 5th edition, in the 6th edition it is being combined as one section and this shows how PMI is stressing the importance of leadership.
The newly added section about leadership talks more about project management leadership and PMI’s expectations from the project leader. The 6th edition of Project Management Body of Knowledge also talks about skills and competencies project professionals should possess. It was a good move by PMI to add a section on effective leadership as the PMP exam focuses more on leadership, this can be seen throughout the years.
Terminology Changes in 6th Edition
Change in terminology to maintain consistency was a big step in PMBOK® 5th. This change was done to match the PMI Lexicon of terms and exam content outline and match it with the same terminology. This step will be benefiting students and project managers as the terms they consider in one area will replicate everywhere.
The Project Management Body of Knowledge 6th edition aims to continue the terminology consistency and here were the changes made,
- Change of human resource management to resource management. This clearly indicates that we do not manage people or teams but nuts, bolts, and everything.
- Time Management will now be schedule management. This could really make sense as we don’t manage time but we plan, manage and control the schedule.
One of the major changes in the 6th edition compared to the 5th edition was the inclusion of agile concepts. PMI has made efforts to align all the traditional concepts with agile and ensured that in all the knowledge areas, agile concepts have been implemented.
The key changes are:
- Trends & Emerging practices
- Tailoring Considerations
- Key Concepts
- Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments
It would be the first time ever Project Management Body of Knowledge book includes and explains agile practices. This important change in the project management body of knowledge guide was made taking into consideration the implementation of agile concepts that will broaden the scope of project delivery approaches.
All these updates from the project management body of knowledge guide provide clarity on how these practices can be applied to any project in the best way possible.
These changes also affect PMP Certification applicants. Those preparing for the PMP exam must consider the new changes in the syllabus and follow PMBOK 6th edition guide. With tools and techniques discussed in the 6th edition guide, not only is a candidate's knowledge enhanced but also they learn how to implement best practices even in complex situations.
Learn in-depth about the content and topics covered in the PMBOK® Guide before taking up the PMP certification. It is suggested to take up PMP certification training if you need help with an explanation of the book.
You can consider taking up our expert-led PMP training as our courseware is closely aligned with the new PMBOK 6th edition. Our trainers are highly experienced and offer in-person and live online sessions as well. You can see the demo of our PMP training in the below video.
Expert-led PMP Certification Training on Our YouTube Channel. For FREE training, hit SUBSCRIBE.
Every Project has 5 process groups in the PMBOK (Project Management Body of Knowledge) guide:
The role of these processes under the Project Management Body of Knowledge is to bundle all the processes that operated at a time or with the same input. These processes give us a background to successfully execute, run and manage projects. The 6th edition of Project Management Body of Knowledge focuses on each of these in detail.
The PMBOK Guide covers 10 project management knowledge areas in the 6th Edition. Each Knowledge Area is made up of a different set of process with tools, techniques, and more. Below is the updated list of knowledge areas from the PMBOK 6th edition.
- Integration Management
- Scope Management
- Time Management
- Cost Management
- Quality Management
- Human Resource Management
- Communications Management
- Risk Management
- Stakeholder Management
PMBOK® Guide cannot be replaced with any other study material. Most aspirants make mistakes by not referring to the guide and fail to clear the exam on 1st attempt. From intensive research and years of expertise, it is safe to advise that a candidate preparing for the PMP certification exam must have a thorough understanding of the guide.
In short, ensuring you are well-versed in the 6th guide is essential. It’s mandatory that you have to go through and understand the concepts explained in the Project Management Body of Knowledge book as there would be many direct questions in the exam from it.
Project Management Body of Knowledge was and will always be the go-to option for project professionals who aspire to get certified and enhance their careers in the field of project management.
A quick tip: Make sure you thoroughly study the PMBOK 6th edition guide at least 2 times before you take the PMP exam.
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The PMI - Project Management Institute religiously updates the PMBOK guide to help project management professionals with industry best practices and techniques. It provides a project framework to carry out projects successfully and get desired outcomes. The Project Management Body of Knowledge guide can give you knowledge that can be applied to projects from any industry.
If you are a project professional and you are aware of the importance of the PMBOK guide, it is advised to continuously stay updated about the upcoming changes in project management. For more resources on project management keep following Sprintzeal Blog and sign up for the newsletter for regular updates about project management.
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