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