The PMBOK® Guide Has Been Updated: What You Need to Know About the Changes

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This year, The Project Management Institute (PMI)® released a major re-organization of the PMBOK® Guide, 6th Edition. The PMBOK® Guide now contains multiple parts and, for the first time, includes The Agile Practice Guide.

PMI® has spent considerable effort looking at how project managers get work done in today’s world. While its process doesn’t align exactly to any one standard, the guide does mention that project managers should consider other skills such as business analysis, Agile, and adaptive execution.

In this edition, PMI® consolidated and aligned the information from many of its Practice Guides and updated it to reflect common practices in today’s environment. Four new sections have been added to each knowledge area:

  • The Key Concepts section consolidates the themes of the knowledge area into a brief overview of what a project manager needs to know about a particular Knowledge Area and, in some case, a bit about how this Knowledge Area may be applied
  • The Trends and Emerging Practices section provides a quick mention of some of the project management “best practices” that are being applied in various industries
  • The Tailoring Considerations section addresses the fact that as projects are all unique, the way we manage each one may be slightly different.  Considerations for potential tailoring are provided for each Knowledge Area.  This section seems to most clearly support PMI®‘s stance that the PMBOK® Guide should be considered a collection of “generally recognized good practices,” as opposed to a particular project management methodology for how each and every project must be managed. This allows for the use of those processes, tools, etc. that are necessary based on the specific needs of the project and the context that it is being conducted in. This section may also help the up-and-coming generation of project managers who are looking for new and more efficient ways to complete work on a more flexible, less prescribed, manner
  • The Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments section provides a very limited mention of some of the tools or processes in an Agile or adaptive environment that may be unique or at least differ from a traditional approach as is typically followed by PMI® practitioners. This information is instead found in the Agile Practice Guide.

These updates speak to a broader trend happening in the project-based work space. The discipline of project management is no longer trapped behind organizational silos and limited to a series of ordered processes; it has been replaced by an adaptive and dynamic approach to getting work done. Savvy professionals are learning to solve business problems by borrowing best practices from across disciplines like Agile and business analysis.

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