Summary for Changes to the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition

Summary for Changes to the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition

Summary for Changes to the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition
Summary for Changes to the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition

Summary for Changes to the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition Free PDF downloadable

More than ever the way we deliver projects is changing. And it's changing fast. Whether you deliver technology projects, infrastructure projects, large or small projects, the emphasis is more on delivering value and benefits than ever before. 


The Project Management Institute's Project Management Body of Knowledge, also known as the PMBOK Guide, is changing. And not just the way it changes every three to four years. We're talking big changes. In fact, this edition has the biggest change since the PMBOK Guide was first published in 1996. I'm thrilled to share with you the changes to the PMBOK Guide seventh edition. 


We'll cover why the Guide is changing, map the sixth edition to the seventh edition, and explore those new sections. It's pretty exciting stuff, at least for those of us who are PM fanatics. So come along with me and I'll introduce you to the new PMBOK Guide.

The PMBOK Guide gets updated every four to five years, but this isn't your run of the mill update, this update is changing the entire structure of the standard for project management, and the guide to the project management body of knowledge. To give you an idea of how big, the sixth edition was 756 pages. At this point in time, I'm estimating that the seventh edition will be around 250 pages. 


Now that's a big change. I'm going to give you some insight into the current thinking of how the PMBOK Guide will look. Currently, the standard is still out for exposure draft, so we don't know the final layout of the PMBOK Guide, but I'll share with you the most accurate information I know, so let's get into it. 

  1. The first change is that we plan on moving the standards section to the front of the document. In the sixth edition, it was at the back of the document and arranged by the process groups of initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. In the seventh edition, the information is completely different. 
  2. The standard will have a brief introduction, a substantial section on value delivery, and then project delivery principles. This shift to value delivery is significant. It emphasizes that projects, programs, portfolios, products, and operations all exist to provide value and benefits to organizations and their stakeholders. This sets a context that's carried throughout the standard and the body of knowledge. Several PMI standards have moved from a process-based approach to a principles-based approach. With the seventh edition, the standard for project management is making that move to a principle-based approach as well. At this point in time, we've identified 12 principles associated with project delivery. 
  3. After the standard, we move into the body of knowledge. In previous editions, the body of knowledge was comprised of knowledge areas. The sixth edition described 10 knowledge areas as you see here. They started with integration and went through stakeholders. The structure of the seventh edition has three sections. One on project management performance domains, one on tailoring, and one on models, methods and artifacts. Wow, that's totally different. Performance domains are broad areas of focus. We have identified eight performance domains that intersect, overlap and influence each other. Think of it like a system with eight COGS that make it up. They all influence each other and they all interrelate, but they're each separate COGS. Because tailoring is so important, we have an entire section on tailoring based on selecting the initial approach, tailoring to the needs of the organization, tailoring to the needs of the project, and then continuously improving throughout the project. 
  4. As a way of linking both to previous editions and PMI's upcoming digital platform, Standards Plus, we have a section called models, methods and artifacts. 
  5. There will also be some cool annexes, which are still in development. There is something I want to point out that is very interesting. At the bottom of this graphic, there's something called Standards Plus Digital Content Platform. Since we're reducing the size of the guide to about a third of the previous size, we're not going to have a lot of detail, but the standards plus platform will house a lot of detail like the content from the sixth edition that's still arranged by knowledge area and processes. 
  6. The platform will also have more about the models, methods and artifacts in the seventh edition. It will provide some of the how-to content that is not present in the PMBOK Guide. So that's an overview of the changes you can expect to see in the upcoming PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition. The print version is expected to hit the shelves in early 2021, but now you have a bit of a sneak peek, but remember, things could change between now and then, so keep your eyes and ears open.
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