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Changes to the PMBOK Guide - Intro

Before starting the development of the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition, PMI actively engaged a broad range of global stakeholders to identify ways to enhance the value and use of this edition. The feedback and inputs collectively emphasized four key points:

Maintain and enhance the credibility and relevance of the PMBOK® Guide.
Improve the readability and usefulness of the PMBOK® Guide while avoiding overstuffing it with new content.
Sense stakeholder information and content needs and provide vetted supplemental content to the PMBOK® Guide that supports the practical application.
Recognize that there is continued value for some stakeholders in the structure and content of previous editions of the PMBOK® Guide so that any shifts enhance, rather than negate, that value.
In addition, PMI and third-party research have shown that over the past 10 years, technology and software are driving innovation, new business models and new ways of working.  Transformed organizational models have yielded new project work and team structures; the need for a broad range of approaches to project and product delivery; and a stronger focus on outcomes rather than deliverables. These changes and more have created this opportunity to support the continued evolution of the PMBOK® Guide while maintaining fundamental concepts in project management that endure.

This edition of the PMBOK® Guide reflects changes aligned with stakeholder feedback, research-informed perspectives on project delivery and contributions from volunteers within the global project management community.

Changes to The Standard for Project Management


Since 1987, The Standard for Project Management aligned the project management discipline and function around a collection of business processes. While effective in supporting good practice, process-based standards are prescriptive by their very nature. With project delivery evolving more rapidly than ever before, the process-based orientation of past editions cannot be maintained in a manner conducive to reflecting the full value delivery landscape (e.g., predictive, hybrid and agile). Therefore, this edition shifts to a principle-based standard that applies across the delivery landscape and that emphasizes project outcomes in addition to deliverables.

The Standard presents a set of principle statements. The principle statements capture and summarize generally accepted objectives for the practice of project management and its core functions. The principle statements provide broad parameters within which project teams can operate and offer many ways to remain aligned with the intent of the principles. Using these principle statements, The Standard reflects the effective management of any projects across the delivery landscape. This change does not negate alignment with the process-based approach of past editions. Many organizations and practitioners continue to find that approach useful for guiding their project delivery capabilities, aligning their methodologies and evaluating their project delivery capabilities. That approach remains relevant in the context of this new edition, and content related to those processes has shifted to the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge portion of the PMBOK® Guide.

Another significant change is a systems view of value delivery as part of The Standard. This updated perspective shifts from one of governing projects, programs and portfolios to focusing on the value chain that links those and other business capabilities to advancing organizational strategy, value and business objectives. In the context of project delivery, The Standard emphasizes that projects do not simply produce deliverables, but more importantly, enable those deliverables to drive outcomes that ultimately deliver value to the organization and its stakeholders.

Visualizing the Shift from the Sixth Edition to the Seventh Edition


The following graphic presents a visual perspective of the shifts between the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition and the PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition:

 pmbok guide sixth seventh edition graphic21

The Standards Plus Digital Content Platform


The Standards Plus™ interactive digital content platform presents detailed information about current, emerging and future practices, methods, artifacts and other useful information. The digital content better reflects the dynamic nature of the project management body of knowledge. It provides project practitioners and other stakeholders with access to a richer and broader range of information and resources that can more quickly accommodate advances and changes in project delivery. It explains how specific practices, tools, methods or outputs apply within projects based on industry segments, project types or other characteristics.

Starting with the inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs from the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition, Standards Plus will incorporate new resources that support continued evolution in project delivery on a continuous basis.

The Standards Plus platform is scheduled to launch in Q2-2020.  

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