The sixth edition of PMbok

the sixth edition of the PMbok

General overview and differences from the fifth edition

At the end of 2017, the sixth edition of the PMbok was published. 

Let’s start from the base: what is the PMbok?

This is the Project Management Body of Knowledge, a guide, published by the Project Management Institute -PMI, which aims to document, gather and standardize the practices generally used and recognized in project management.

We specify that for “generally recognized” practices we mean the ones applicable to most projects and on which there is a widespread consensus on their value and usefulness.

This means that sometimes the latest project management trends promoted by some consultants, although interesting from an evolutionary point of view, may not be part of the latest version of this guide, because they are not yet”generally recognized” practices.

The PMbok has evolved over the years, making its debut with the first version in 1987, up to the current sixth edition published in 2017.

But what are the PMbok changes from the fifth edition to the current one? 

We summarize the changes in this article.



Increase of total chapters
The areas of knowledge
The new three processes
6 changes in existing processes
Who will be affected by these changes?


PMBOK sixth edition: Increase of total chapters

In the fifth edition of PMbok five groups of processes were listed:

  1. Initiating
  2. Planning
  3. Execution
  4. Monitoring and Control
  5. Closing

These remain unchanged in the sixth edition, but what changes is the number of sub-processes within each group of processes.

Furthermore, in the fifth edition there were a total of 13 chapters.

In the sixth edition we find instead the inclusion of a new chapter dealing with the role of the project manager and its functions.

In addition to this, the skills and competences that a project manager must possess are now aligned with the so-called Triangle of Talent.

For instance, it is not enough to have technical skills, but the dynamism of the working environment and the evolutionary trends in the sector require that the project manager has additional skills. Among the most relevant we find:

  • Strategic and corporate management: It is necessary to understand the progress and the functioning of the company business in order to adapt the project to it. The project manager must therefore possess the skills to analyze the competition, the market, know the legal implications, business models, etc.
  • Leadership skills: this skill has already been discussed in the fifth edition of the PMbok, but the new one gives it more emphasis. Leadership skills include emotional intelligence, problem solving, team building and the ability to influence and motivate the team;
  • Technical skills: mainly related to the sector in which one works and the skills required, specifically, from the project.

 The sixth edition of the PMbok: The knowledge areas

In the fifth edition of PMbok 10 areas of knowledge were listed.

These are still present in the sixth edition, but two appear with new names, as specified in the following list:

  1. Integration Management
  2. Scope Management
  3. Time Management is replaced by Schedule Management
  4. Cost Management
  5. Quality Management
  6. Human Resource Management is replaced by Resource Management
  7. Communications Management
  8. Risk Management
  9. Procurement Management
  10. Stakeholder Management

Why these two changes?

The new term Resource Management refers not only to the human workforce, but also to the physical resources (such as materials, equipment, licenses, etc.) that are always part of a project and contribute to its success.

Time Management has been replaced with Schedule Management to emphasize the importance of project management planning.

the sixth edition of the PMbok

Furthermore, in the sixth edition of the PMbok, each area of knowledge will have four additional sections:

  • Key concepts;
  • Tailoring considerations: they must help to focus on the important processes of a project depending to its size and, of course, on the scope of work;
  • Developments and new project management practices;
  • Focus on the Agile  and adaptive Methodology.

PMBOK sixth edition: The three new processes

The sixth edition of the PMbok lists 49 processes, 2 more than the last edition.

Actually the changes to the processes are 4 because three processes have been added while one has been eliminated.

Specifically, the Close Procurement process has been removed because it refers to the closing of vendor contracts, tasks that generally, are not performed by project managers.

Among the new processes added we find instead:

  1. Manage Project Knowledge: born from the need to process the data of the market and the business in which the company operates to transform them into knowledge and “wisdom” on which certain decisions will be based. Knowledge is a power that will help the project manager to use data processing technologies and make decisions based on concrete analysis;
  2. Implement Risk Response: PMI surveys have stated that most project failures are due to improper risk management. Therefore, implementing the risk response in the management of the project is a necessary addition;
  3. Control Resources: this new process refers to the monitoring and control of the various resources present in the project and is aligned with the modification, seen previously, in the area of knowledge from human resources.

PMBOK sixth edition: 6 changes in existing processes

6 processes are renamed in the current PMbok edition, even if their content remains unchanged:

  1. Perform Quality Assurance becomes Manage Quality.
  2. Plan Human Resource Management becomes Plan Resource Management.
  3. Control Communications becomes Monitor Communications.
  4. Control Risks becomes Monitor Risks.
  5. Plan Stakeholder Management becomes Plan Stakeholder Engagement.
  6. Control Stakeholder Engagement becomes Monitor Stakeholder Engagement.

From Perform Quality Assurance to Manage Quality. It refers to the fact that, while quality assurance is a way to manage quality during execution, in reality there are also other qualitative aspects to consider. This overall quality management is what reflects the name change.

The change from “Control” to “Monitor” indicates that, while the project is executed, we monitor it to understand what is happening and customize the strategy to meet the changing needs.

the sixth edition of the PMbok

Points 5 and 6 on stakeholders refer to the essential factor of understanding how involve the stakeholders to ensure that everyone agrees with progress and results.

Who will be affected by these changes?

The figure of the Project Manager is becoming more and more important and is spreading in all sectors; this is why  the need to certify your skills increases.

The sixth edition of the PMbok becomes a fundamental text for all those who are struggling with an official exam to get the title of Project Manager.

Now, in fact, there are five internationally recognized certifications:

  • CAPM – Certified Associate in Project Management
  • PMP – Project Management Professional
  • PgMP – Program Management Professional
  • PMI-SP – PMI Scheduling Professional
  • PMI-RMP – PMI Risk Management Professional
  • PMI-ACP – PMI Agile Certified Practitioner

But regardless of the type of certification, students and future Project Managers will always refer to the Pmbok and, consequently, their work will certainly be influenced by the changes in the sixth edition of PMbok.

But not only.

Even a certified Project Manager must be aware of the changes contained in the new edition of PMbok.

Stay up-to-date and in step with the times is the best quality of a serious and competent professional.

A careful reading of the new edition of the Pmbok will certainly be useful and a source of interesting reflections to guide any type of project in an efficient and professional manner.

Leave us your comment or your impression on the new edition of PMbok.

Get familiar with the phases of your project.

Related Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *