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PMBOK® Guide: What’s New in Time Management?

Note: This post is the third in a series reviewing the updates in each of the 10 Knowledge Areas (KA) in the new A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide) Fifth Edition. If you want the big picture of what’s changed in the 5th Edition, check out this earlier post.
So, what’s different in Time Management?  Without sounding like a broken record, the biggest change is one that is repeated through many of the KAs, and that’s the addition of a “Plan” process; in this case, the Plan Schedule Management process. And at the Process level, that’s the only change.

In a little more detail, the addition of the Plan Schedule Management process ensures that a pre-meditated, proactive approach for schedule management is defined and accepted during the planning process.  This is an important addition as it ensures that a sound strategy is defined for dealing with schedule variations when the project is in the middle of dealing with schedule slippages.  As simple as this sounds, being able to go back to the predefined process during a crisis can often be a significant time saver: it takes away the “What am I going to do now?” panic and provides a sound “cook book” approach for moving forward.

Within the processes, a significant but subtle change is the addition of risk register in the Estimating Activity Resources and Estimate Activity Duration processes. This addition ensures that resource estimates are based on known risk and appropriate risk mitigation strategies are included in the project plan.

The new edition provides a clearer definition of the processes required for applying the Critical Path Method on a project—and if you’re preparing from your PMP® exam, this is a important change as this, IMHO, is one of the areas on the exam that most people have the least prior experience (since we all use software tools for this and don’t do it manually). Therefore this clearer definition will help you be more prepared.

And finally, a new technique, Resource Optimization, expands on Resource Leveling and works with the available slack helping ensure the critical path is not impacted.

Bottom line, not a lot of changes in this KA. Time Management has a few improvements but doesn’t introduce any significant new areas. Anyone with some project management experience should be very comfortable with Time Management as defined in the PMBOK® Guide.

PMI, PMP, and PMBOK Guide are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.


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