PMI (Project Management Institute) releases a new version of the PMBOK® (Project Management Book Of Knowledge) roughly every 4-5 years. The date set for the next release for PMBOK® 6th Edition is the third quarter of 2017. Watch the video below to find out what’s changing from the 5th edition to the 6th edition.

Why does the PMBOK® have to be updated?

The PMBOK® is a recognized standard by the ANSI (American National Standards Institute). To keep this recognition, the PMBOK® must be updated every 4 years to reflect the changes in the industry.

In this revision, PMI wants the PMBOK® to have closer alignment with ISO standards.

What revision state is PMI currently on?

In March 2016, PMI released the first draft of the PMBOK® 6th Edition to obtain feedback and comments from the project management community. You can submit your feedback if you are a PMI member. The PMBOK® 6th Edition will be finalized and published in mid 2017.

What are the proposed changes?

1) Alignment with Process Groups instead of Knowledge Areas

While the PMBOK® 5th edition is divided based on the 10 Knowledge Areas, the proposed 6th edition will be divided by the 5 Process Groups.

This change is consistent with the findings from the RDS (Role Delineation Study) that PMI conducts every 3-5 years. 

2) No new Process Groups or Knowledge Areas added

There will still be 5 process groups and 10 knowledge areas on the PMBOK® 6th edition.

3) Chapter 1, 2 and 3 of the PMBOK® are combined

The first 3 chapters about the project manager’s interpersonal skills and organizational skills will be combined together.

4) 3 new processes will be added

There will be 3 new processes added to the PMBOK®, and they are:

new processes added to PMBOK® 6th edition
5) 2 processes proposed to be deleted

  • The Close Procurements process will be removed and combined with the Close Project or Phase process.
  • Estimate Activities Resources to be combined with the Estimate Durations process.

6) Human resource management is changed to resource management

7) Time management is changed to schedule management

8) Changes to existing processes name

The following chart shows the current name in the 5th edition and the proposed name change in PMBOK® 6th edition:

processes that change names from PMBOK® 5 to PMBOK® 6th edition
9) PMBOK® size is reduced (at least for right now)

The first version of the PMBOK® 6th edition is ¼ the size of the PMBOK® 5th edition. The 6th editions currently has 10 chapters and 84 pages, while the 5th edition had 13 chapters and 415 pages.

While the 5th edition went into a lot of details about the ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs), the 6th edition currently only talks about the ITTOs at a high level.

However, between now until the release of the 6th edition, PMI will likely add the more content into the PMBOK®. 

10) A new chapter added about the Talent Triangle (read more here). 

11) Changes to Project Management Plan and Project Documents components

  • Instead of using the Project Management Plan and the Project Documents as an umbrella term, PMI specifies the components of these two assets.
  • Additionally, Project Management Plan and Project Documents are the input to processes, and Project Management Plan Updates and Project Documents Updates are outputs to processes, respectively.  

What should you do?

With every new version of the PMBOK® released, the PMP® exam tends to become harder. At the time of this writing, it is currently mid 2016, which means you still have more than a year left before the PMBOK® changes.

Instead of stressing over the changes to the PMP® exam, my recommendation would be to get certified now before PMBOK® 6th Edition is released. ExamsPM offers a free complementary class, sign up here. 

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Parting Comments

We do not know for sure whether any of the changes will occur for sure, since what we saw was the first draft of the PMBOK® 6th edition.

It is highly unlikely for the PMBOK® 6th edition to stay at 84 pages. In fact, with every new release of the PMBOK®, the guide increases by 50-100 pages. Thus, we do not know for sure what will make the cut and what will not.


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