PMBOK’s seventh edition in English is due October 15, 2021, and it is a completely unexpected and unorthodox version of previous editions.
The origin of the PMBOK® guide and the approach and structure of it over the years are absolutely different than what the 7th edition will bring.
PMBOK®: a short story
In 1969, Ned Engman, James Snyder, Susan Gallagher, Eric Jenett and J Gordon Davis founded the Project Management Institute, or PMI.
PMI’s goals were clear from the very beginning: “promote acknowledgement of the need for professionalism in project management; provide a forum for the free exchange of project management problems, solutions, and applications; coordinate industry and academic research initiatives; develop common terminology and techniques to improve communications; provide an interface between users and suppliers of hardware and software systems; and provide guidelines for project management education and career development.”
And this is the origin of PMBOK – “A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge” with its editions:
- 1996: PMBOK® first edition
- 2000: second edition
- 2004: third edition
- 2008: fourth edition
- 2013: fifth edition
- 2017: sixth edition
- 2021: seventh edition
Every few years PMI carries out a definition study to understand how the role of the project manager is evolving, and the PMBOK® reflects project management methodologies, practices, and processes employed successfully in all industries around the world.
What are the key aspects that impacted PMBOK’s seventh edition?
PMBOK’s seventh version takes a step away from a process-oriented approach by moving to a principles-oriented, and results-oriented approach, thus supporting any type of project delivery.
Simply put, project management standards must focus on successful project and value delivery.
Yet another distinct change lies in the scope, where the focus is on project outcomes in addition to final project outputs.
Specifically, there are two key aspects that influence the changes in this new edition of the PMBOK:
- Value Delivery System
- Project Delivery System
- Value Delivery System
This is the holistic system through which projects deliver business value by achieving the organization’s business objectives.
Therefore, PMBOK’s seventh edition shows how a good strategy is able to deliver business value.
This is done through the definition of organizational strategies that help identify business objectives, which are then transformed into actionable initiatives such as programs and projects, which in turn produce end results that increase the organization’s capabilities.
The system that allows this to smoothly and predictively flow would be the value delivery system to be built into the organization.
The Value Delivery System consists of portfolios, programs, projects, and operations and uses a governance system to manage issues, enable workflow, and support decision-making capabilities.
- Project Delivery Principles
These are the “what” and “why” of project delivery that drive the thoughts and behavior of the people involved so that they can apply their efforts toward the end result.
Note the use of the concept of “project delivery” and not management.
There are 12 principles defined as standards for project management that describe a core norm or value:
- Be diligent, respectful and considerate
- Build a culture of responsibility and respect
- Engage stakeholders to understand their interests and needs
- Focus on value
- Determine and respond to system interactions
- Motivate, impact, teach and learn
- Customize delivery approach based on context
- Build quality into processes and outcomes
- Tackle complexity using knowledge, experience, and learning
- Face opportunities and threats
- Be adaptive and resilient
- Enable change to achieve the intended future status
And what will be the impact of these changes on the PMP and CAPM exams?
It is widely known that the PMBOK is the basis for PMP and CAPM certifications.
Therefore, one of the most frequently asked questions about PMBOK seventh edition concerns the impact of this new edition’s changes on the PMP and CAPM exams.
The PMP exam, for the time being, will continue to use PMBOK sixth edition as one of several references.
PMI is allowing several months before basing PMP certification on the new version of the PMBOK.
The same goes for the CAPM; the current exam will continue to be based on the sixth edition of the PMBOK as specified in the Exam Content Outline.
The fast technological advances and the need for organizations and professionals to adapt more rapidly to market changes have resulted in an even more rapid and radical evolution of project management.
Thus, this upcoming edition of the PMBOK will represent these major changes, which will already be visible by the fact that the guide will include only 250 pages compared to 700 pages in the 6th edition.
The seventh edition of the PMBOK will expand its potential audience to appeal to anyone involved in projects rather than being designed exclusively for project managers.
In addition, the guide will include a wide range of development approaches to address the needs of professionals, guide them to be more flexible, proactive, and effective in incorporating the requirements of their projects, and provide best practices for achieving value on the job.