Written by Klaus Nielsen, PMBOK® Guide-Seventh Edition Development Team member
PMI is going through a transformation, so is our profession and so is the standards.
PMI continues to serve the profession of project management by ensuring practitioners are ready for the future. This means PMI needs to empower project professionals to deliver value in The Project Economy.
PMI is committed to ensuring all of its offerings – including credentials (such as the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification), exam prep options, and The Standard for Project Management and A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide)—remain relevant as the profession evolves.
The purpose of this article is to follow up on the webinars on the PMBOK 7. Edition which were arranged by the Danish PMI chapter in May and give a unique insight from working firsthand with the development of the PMBOK Guide 7. Edition.
The development is a work in progress. Directionally the path is laid out, but the content continues to adjust based on reviewer feedback.
Firstly, I receive a lot of positive feedback from people who are encouraging about the many changes, but some still prefer the old ways. The PMBOK Guide had to change. Due to the speed of change and the fierce market competition, every organization, irrespective of industry, is required to adjust much faster today than in the past. To do so, organizations launch projects and expect them to deliver results. There is also more emphasis on leadership and strategy, two critical skills required to become a more effective project leader.
How work is getting done is also changing. New advances in technology are disrupting traditional industries and thereby changing the functional roles and responsibilities of workers. The key points here are that the practice continues to evolve and the standard and guide need to keep up. One book cannot contain all the options for approaches, tools, and techniques. PMBOK® Guide 3rd edition – 390 pages, 4th edition – 467 pages, 5th edition – 589 pages, 6th edition w/Agile Practice Guide – 924 pages - This trend cannot continue!
Project management is expanding beyond the traditional boundaries, which is a good thing, and value delivery is the common objective of all project work.
The entire PMBOK® Guide is not the Standard. The PMBOK® Guide contains both The Standard for Project Management and the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Both the Standard and the Guide are evolving to reflect the current state of practice.
PMI has been conducting research to better understand the needs of its customers related to the PMBOK® Guide. The research has included surveys, focus groups, and general feedback of users of the PMBOK® Guide. People wants to maintain and enhance the credibility and relevance, continue developing and publishing the PMBOK® Guide but improve its readability and usefulness; avoid overstuffing it.
Over the last two years, PMI conducted workshops with project practitioners and Global Executive Council members around the world, including Europe and the Middle East, China, India, Brazil, Canada, and the U.S. One of the central questions posed in the workshop was: What project advice would you offer your younger less experienced self? The workshop sought to uncover fundamental principles that drive project management actions and behaviors. In addition, an array of literature was surveyed to flesh out principles that inform the delivery of projects regardless of industry segment, geographical location, or project delivery approach.
One thing is clear: stakeholders want more information but not more pages of dense content—And keep it relevant to the changing world of project management.
The approach to the development of the PMBOK® Guide and The Standard for Project Management reflect a shift in focus from how project management is done to the “what” and “why” of project management. The development approach used for any given project should be tailored to the unique characteristics and environment of the project. This concept of tailoring was covered in various parts of the previous edition of the PMBOK® Guide but is now more fully developed in the Guide.
The PMBOK® sixth edition content was organized around Process Groups and Knowledge Areas with a focus on Inputs, Tools and Techniques, and Outputs. This had led many to see it as biased toward a predictive approach.
The PMBOK® seventh edition builds on the Standard with its core principles and focuses on project performance domains; tailoring of approach and practice to the unique needs of the project; and models, methods, and artifacts from which to select as needed.
Lastly, the “how to in practice” options are dynamic and growing. The forthcoming digital platform Standards Plus™ will be the home for all of PMI’s standards and supporting content. It is initially being developed to support the PMBOK® Guide—Sixth Edition but will be expanded in support of the seventh edition when it launches. The future vision is that it will support all PMI standards and guide content.
The PMBOK® seventh edition is out December 2020 in English (electronic version) and January 2021 on paper, if all goes well.
I hope you liked how we revolutionized and evolved the PMBOK® Guide to lead the way to the future.
Klaus Nielsen, PMBOK® Guide-Seventh Edition Development Team member