PMBOK7 – Impact Analysis

Till yesterday, when people anxiously asked me about the changes in PMBOK7, my reply was in the form of another question –  ‘Can you execute a project without any one of the knowledge areas (listed below)?’. The answer is a unanimous ‘No’. So they are inevitable. They have to be there in the new version hidden somewhere. If you can master the 10 knowledge areas and their application in both predictive and agile project management, you are pretty much done with project management. That is my view.

I am glad that my views hold good after going through all the 370 pages of the new PMBOK7.

The Ten Knowledge Areas evolved from Version 1 to Version 6 of the Project Management Body of Knowledge;

  1. Project Integration Management
  2. Project Scope Management
  3. Project Schedule Management
  4. Project Cost Management
  5. Project Quality Management
  6. Project Risk Management
  7. Project Resource management
  8. Project Procurement management
  9. Project communications management
  10. Project stakeholder management

These are immortal. Projects cannot succeed without them. The sequences may vary.

The PMBOK7 looks like an apex manual explaining the;

  • 12 principles of professional project management (new)
  • 8 project performance domains (new)
  • Tailoring guidelines
  • Models, methods and artifacts (Not part of the PMBOK7 document, but accessible from the digital library, Old, taken from PMBOK6)

High level mind map of PMBOK7

PMBOK7 comprises of 12 principles, 8 performance domains, tailoring guidelines and the models, methods and artifacts contained in a digital library ‘PM Standards Plus’ maintained by PMI. The immediate thought can be, about the 10 knowledge areas, 5 process groups, 49 processes and the inputs, tools & techniques and the outputs of the PMBOK6. Where is the place for them in the PMBOK7. All of that is under the digital library ‘PM Standards Plus’. In essence, nothing is lost during the transition from PMBOK6 to PMBOK7, and at the same time 12 principles, Eight project performance domains and the tailoring guidelines sits on top of the digital library PMStandards Plus which is nothing but the PMBOK6 contents, that makes up the 10 knowledge areas evolved from version 1.0 till 6.

How will this impact the different stakeholders who comprise the project management community?

  • Impact on Practitioners – the organizations who have shaped their project management policies and procedures around the structure of PMBOK versions 1 to 6 will have the added opportunity to embrace value driven delivery which can accommodate the whole gamut of project management ranging from large infrastructure projects to research and development projects. Even if they do not change anything, nothing will be in contradiction to PMBOK7.
  • Impact on 12,0000 PMPs World Wide – Change will always push us outside our comfort zones. Initially there can be expectation mismatch and the frustration stemming out of it. Once one dig deeper, like me, they also will realize that the changes are more to the value system and structure, than to the content.
  • Impact on PMP trainers – PMP trainers who are good at both predictive and agile project management will not find it difficult. The ones, who have not yet understood the true spirit of agile may need to gain hands on experience on agile to really understand and explain value driven project management.
  • Impact on the new PMP aspirants – PMI, keeps on repeating the fact that the PMP aspirants can still use the PMBOK6 as the reference material. Going by the earlier revisions, even if one use PMBOK Version 5, it should not make much of a difference because the fundamentals of project management cannot be changed as it revolves around the famous Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle and around the 10 knowledge areas. If you have already completed your PMP preparatory training, then do not disrupt your preparation. Proceed with PMBOK6 as the basis. It will be good if you can go through the new PMBOK7 quickly to understand those new jargon (not many any way).
  • Impact on other Agile frameworks and certifications – If the PMBOK7 gets wider acceptance, and if the new PMPs are equally adept in both predictive and agile project management frameworks then other agile frameworks and certifications will face a strong contender in PMBOK7 and PMP2021. PMI themselves will be forced to stop the PMI-ACP, as it will become redundant within PMI’s portfolio.

Abrachan Pudussery (Aby)

Project Management Domain Expert, Wrench Academy

New 10 Week PMdistilled PMP Preparatory Program based on PMBOK7

Interpreting Sprint or Iteration burn-down charts

If you learn to interpret the iteration burn down charts or sprint burn down charts, then you have understood agile or scrum conceptually correct. This article will walk you through the iteration burn down chart of a sprint.


The Iteration or Sprint starts with the Iteration planning meeting. The output of the iteration planning meeting are;

  • The list of features to be developed during the iteration
  • Estimated story points (feature points) for the features (Fibonacci series)
  • The activities that need to be performed and their effort estimates
  • The tracking board (kanban board) which has the columns for;
    • To be done
    • Being done
    • Done
  • Two types of the Iteration / Sprint burn down chart
    • One with cumulative effort required to complete the sprint on the ‘Y’ axis and the duration of the sprint on the ‘X’ axis. The balance effort required to complete the sprint gets updated on a daily basis. This is a re-estimate by the team on a daily basis (this is not planned effort – consumed effort). This type of iteration burn down charts with the effort required to complete the iteration on the ‘Y’ axis and the iteration duration on the ‘X’ axis will help teams to speed up when required.
    • Teams use Iteration burn down to monitor the story points completed against the story points planned within the iteration. In this case the ‘Y’ axis will have the total story points planned for the sprint. This will get decreased based on the actual story points completed. This type of iteration burn down charts help the project stakeholders, especially the product owner to monitor and control the story points planned Vs achieved within the iteration.

Sprint burn down – Immediately after the planning meeting

Sprint burn down after day#2 of the sprint

Sprint burn down after day#3 of the sprint

Sprint burn down after day#4 of the sprint

PMP Instructor meeting tips

How to get the best out of the meetings with the PMP training instructor

One of the key features of our training is the individual attention to the course participants. Course participants are encouraged to communicate with the instructor as and when required. Apart from the video lessons, interaction with the instructor is also equally important for knowledge transfer. In order to get the best out of instructor meetings, we suggest the following points;

  1. Be on time
  2. Come prepared with the list of questions to be clarified
  3. In case, you are unable to attend, inform the instructor (Contact us)
  4. In case you are unable to understand some of the key concepts, schedule separate meeting with instructor
  5. It is a good idea to discuss the questions you went wrong in the practice tests. The best way to discuss this is to share your screen with the instructor and discuss the wrong answers.

When in doubt, contact the instructor via any of the options given in the contact page like;

  • Whatsapp
  • Email
  • contact form
  • Schedule a meeting with Instructor
  • Weekly review meetings

Scoping the Project Management Information System (PMIS)

I am googling on the key word ‘Project Management Information System’ and the results were disappointing. That motivates me to write this article which will have answers for the following questions when completed;

  1. What is the scope of project management information system (PMIS)?
  2. Will one system cater to the needs of different types of project organizations?

Scope of the PMIS

A good project management information system should support the planning, monitoring & controlling aspects of;

  • Contracts
    • With customer
    • With Sub-contractors and suppliers
    • Claims
  • Scope
    • Change management
    • Configuration management
  • Time (both schedule and effort)
    • Planned Vs Actual
    • Forecasts
  • Cost
    • Planned Vs Actual
    • Forecasts
  • Procurement
    • Request for Information (RFI)
    • Request for Bid (RFB)
    • Request for Quotation (RFQ)
    • Purchase orders
  • Resource management
    • Human resources
    • Machine, material and equipment
  • Risk management
  • Quality management
    • Snag (defect) management
    • Price of Conformance (POC)
    • Price of Non Conformance (PONC)
  • Communications management

Well captured, accurate project data not only helps in managing projects but also provide the basis for planning and controlling of future projects. This aspect become all the more important for the application of artificial intelligence in project management.

Will one system cater to the needs of different types of organizations?

The answer is a definite ‘No’. Projects involve various stakeholders and their needs are different. Another key aspect to be considered is the type of contracts the organization is participating or intending to participate like;

  • Cost Reimbursable Contracts
    • Cost Plus contracts
    • Cost Plus Percentage Contracts
    • Cost Plus Fixed Fee Contracts
    • Cost Plus fluctuating Fee Contracts
  • Lump Sum Contracts (Also known as Fixed Price Contracts)
  • Piecework Contracts
  • Unit Pricing Contracts
  • GMP Contracts (Guaranteed Minimum Price Contract)
  • Rate Contracts
    • Item rate contracts
    • Percentage rate contracts
  • Target Contracts
  • Materials and Labor supply Contracts
  • Time and Materials Contracts
  • Operate, Maintain and Transfer (OMT) Contracts (popular in roadworks)
  • Build Operate Transfer (BOT) Contracts
  • Build Own Operate Transfer (BOOT) Contracts

Another parameter to be considered is the discipline. The project’s stakeholders come from various disciplines like Architecture, Electrical, Mechanical, Piping, Air conditioning, Structural, I.T, Product development, R&D etc. These parameters play a major role in while deciding on the PMIS.

Budget availability is another option.

Another parameter is the project segment.

Hence there is no single system which will meet the requirements optimally, as every system is aligned to a particular industry.

Statistical Sampling

During the election time, agencies associated with the publishing media conducts exit polls to forecast the results. They do not base their analysis on the entire population of the country, instead they take a sample of the total population, which is a true representation of the total population. This is one of the best examples of statistical sampling I can think of. Sampling of defects while formulating corrective actions / preventive actions can be a more relevant example of statistical sampling within the project management domain.

In statistics, quality assurance, and survey methodology, sampling is the selection of a subset (a statistical sample) of individuals from within a statistical population to estimate characteristics of the whole population. Statisticians attempt for the samples to represent the population in question. Two advantages of sampling are lower cost and faster data collection than measuring the entire population.



Direct and manage project work

Reference PMBOK V6 page 90

Key concepts / documents

  • Change log
  • Lessons learned register
  • Milestone list
  • Project communications
  • Project schedule
  • Requirements traceability matrix
  • Risk register
  • Risk report
  • Approved change requests
  • Enterprise environmental factors
  • Organizational process assets
  • Project management information system (PMIS)
  • Deliverables
  • Work performance data
  • Issue log
  • Change requests
  • Project management plan updates
  • Activity list
  • Assumptions log
  • Lessons learned register
  • Requirements documentation
  • Stakeholder register
  • Organizational process assets updates

Application and Benefits of Agile in EPC Projects

During the last two decades Agile Project Management (APM) has matured in the Information technology projects. Now the time has come for other project disciplines to embrace the agile best practices to work efficiently remotely, which has become the norm of the day. Below are the benefits reported by the early adopters of agile in EPC projects;

  • Increased communication between members of the project team, as well as between the project team and relevant stakeholders.
  • The visibility and ability to follow what the team is doing is at a whole other level
  • The transparency to others outside the team is close to perfect
  • People only work on tasks that are on the task list, and these are in a prioritized order
  • When stakeholders see what tasks are on the task list and what priority their task has in relation to other tasks, they become more patient with waiting for their task to be finished
  • Builds better relations between the team and their internal customers
  • With the opportunity to bring forth problems in daily meetings, the transparency has increased a lot
  • Problems surface quite quickly, allowing them to be solved faster
  • The problems are often identified by the team
  • When a problem is brought to the team’s knowledge during the daily meetings, others can immediately help with the problem
  • If a change is in conflict with another change it can be spotted as soon as possible
  • If a problem then surfaces it is easy to find , since only one day’s work has to be gone through to find the problem and people still remember well what they have done during the day
  • A project can last for 1.5 years and previously feedback wasn’t gathered into a final report until the end of the project. This feedback could then be utilized to improve future projects. Today thanks to Scrum this cycle is much faster and they ask for and discuss feedback continuously
  • Process improvement activities have become part of the project
  • Unified the ways of working
  • Business development efforts are also accounted

Quick introduction to Agile Project Management (APM)

Agile is a family of frameworks like;

  • Scrum
  • XP
  • RUP
  • Test Driven Development (TDD)
  • Scaled Agile
  • Kan-ban etc

Of these ‘Scrum’ and ‘Kan-ban’ are the most popular ones and are domain independent, hence adoption to EPC projects is easier.

At the center of all agile frameworks is the iteration, which is a time box, with a maximum duration of 30 days. The team can decide on the duration of the iteration with the only stipulation that iteration duration cannot be more than 30 days. At the beginning of every iteration the multi-disciplinary team decides the work they will perform during the iteration, and then they go ahead and perform the work. Every day, the team conducts a ‘daily stand up’ meeting with a maximum duration of 20 minutes, where each team member get approximately 2 minutes to communicate three things (What did I do yesterday?, What am I doing today?, and what are the issues I am facing and need help to resolve). At the end of the iteration there is a formal review of the output of the iteration followed by a retrospective meeting to capture the lessons learned during the iteration.

Let us take a detailed view of the scrum framework.

Overview of Scrum framework

The Scrum framework was established by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in the year 1993. This is a very simple framework based on the scrum values of;

  • Courage
  • Focus
  • Commitment
  • Respect
  • Openness
Picture Courtesy
Product backlog (task list)

Is the pending task list towards a major milestone. When the product backlog gets exhausted, that is an indication that the associated milestone is about to get accomplished.

Sprint (Iteration) backlog

The scrum project progresses in sprints (iterations). Sprint is a time box not exceeding 30 days. Before the start of the sprint, the team sits together and decides what all things they can commit during the next sprint (time box). Once they agree on a set of tasks to be completed during the sprint, they prepare detailed plan for the sprint. The output of the sprint planning meeting is the sprint backlog which comprises of tasks and responsibilities.


During the sprint, the team carryout the work related to the sprint.

Daily stand-up meeting

Daily stand up meetings are 20 minute meetings (for 10 member teams) where each person explains three things to the rest of the team like;

  • What did I do yesterday?
  • What am I doing today?
  • What are the issues I am facing and need help?

This helps the team to see the status of the sprint on a daily basis. This also increases collaboration among team members to resolve issues quickly.

Sprint review

On the last day of the sprint, the team along with other key stakeholders review the status of the output of the sprint. If all the planned activities are completed with the required quality, the sprint is considered as successful.

Sprint retrospective

After the Sprint review, sprint retrospectives are conducted. The lessons learned during the sprint are consolidated and incorporated into the subsequent sprint’s planning meeting.

Sprint board

Is tracking board where tasks are classified into ‘To be done’, ‘Being done’ and ‘Done’. Based on the progress made the tasks are moved across these columns. The sprint board provides absolute clarity about who is working on which task and the status of every task to the project’s stakeholders.

Burn down charts

The ‘X’ axis of the burn down chart always represent the duration of the iteration (sprint). The ‘Y’ axis represents either the number of tasks to be completed, or the equivalent cumulative value (size, effort) of the tasks to be completed. The cumulative value on the ‘Y’ axis is updated on a daily basis based on the actual progress made.


Kanban is a sprint without start date and end date. That represents continuous flow with thresholds defined for every stage of the work. This works based on a pull system based on ‘Stop starting things, Start finishing things’.

As you can see scrum is simple to understand. All the ceremonies of scrum together creates the necessary peer pressure, discipline, transparency resulting in optimal productivity of the remote teams.

Opportunities to apply agile best practices within EPC projects
  • Development of prototypes / models
  • Engineering
  • Work packaging (AWP)
  • Look ahead planning & tracking
  • Snagging
  • Forensic analysis