The PMBOK® Sixth Edition : Everything You Need to Know

by Sara Gallagher, PMP | June 07, 2017

Whether you’re ready to get PMP® certified for the first time or you’re actively maintaining your credential, the release of the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition could affect your plans. The final version was released in the third quarter of 2017. Here’s everything you need to know.


Agile and Iterative Project Management

New content in the PMBOK Guide® – Sixth Edition emphasizes the importance of agile and other iterative practices. The PMBOK Guide® notes at the beginning of each Knowledge Area chapter which practices are common in an agile environment. There is also an appendix which serves as a summary of agile and other iterative practices.


PMI Talent Triangle

The PMI Talent Triangle®

The PMBOK Guide® – Sixth Edition emphasizes the broader role of a project manager beyond technical project execution, including leadership and strategic/business management. Here is more information on the PMI Talent Triangle®, including how it impacts PDU requirements.


Emphasis on Processes by Process Group

For several years now, the exam has moved its focus from memorizing process inputs/outputs/tools toward understanding how and when to perform processes within a project. Now, Section II of the Standard contains a description of the project management processes organized by Process Group (i.e., where they fall in a project’s lifecycle).


Two Knowledge Areas Renamed

Project Time Management is now Project Schedule Management, emphasizing scheduling as a robust discipline within Project Management. Additionally, Project Human Resource Management is now Project Resource Management. This name change is important because the content will emphasize both team and physical resource management on a project.


Process Additions and Deletions

Three new processes have been added and one has been deleted:


  1. Manage Project Knowledge (Integration/Executing)
  2. Control Resources (Schedule Management/Monitoring and Controlling)
  3. Implement Risk Responses (Risk Management/Executing)


  1. Close Procurements (Consolidated with “Close Project or Phase”)


Processes Renamed

Some processes have minor changes related to the name changes mentioned above. For example, “Plan Human Resource Management” has become “Plan Resource Management,” and some of the “Control” processes (e.g., “Control Communications,” “Control Risks”) will change to “Monitor” processes (e.g., “Monitor Communications,” “Monitor Risks”).


Additional Emphasis on “Process Tailoring.”

Recent exams have always emphasized that a Project Manager should utilize the processes that are appropriate for the size and complexity of the project. This edition continues to emphasize “Process Tailoring,” or analyzing the project to determine how much emphasis to put on each process.


Differentiation between Ongoing and Non-Ongoing Processes

Some processes, like “Identify Stakeholders,” should be done throughout an entire project. We now refer to these as “Ongoing Processes.” Others may only be done once on a project. These are now called “Non-ongoing Processes.”


Differentiation between Project and Product Scope

A hot-button topic of debate in most of the PMP Exam Prep classes I’ve taught, the Sixth Edition finally differentiates between the scope of a Project and the scope of a particular Product within the Project.


New Tool/Strategy “Escalate Responses”

The Sixth Edition now acknowledges that a PM may need to escalate a risk or risk response to a new party so that the risk is no longer his/her responsibility.


More Emphasis on Continuous Updates to Lessons Learned

The Lessons Learned Register is now a Project Document that Project Managers are encouraged to utilize throughout the project.

The Project Management Professional (PMP), The PMI Talent Triangle, and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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