Career / Management

PMI® Releases New PMBOK® Guide

by Steve Caseley
PMI® Releases New PMBOK® Guide picture: A
Published on January 11, 2013

So, PMI has just released A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide)—Fifth Edition; do you, or should you care?  If you're a practicing PM, of course you care; but the answer probably more depends on whether you're currently PMI certified or plan to get certified in the near future.

Already studying?

Let's start with those of you planning to get certified in the near future (where the near future is explicitly defined as before July 31, 2013).  If you expect to be certified before the end of July, then you really don't care about the new edition as the PMI certification exams will be based on the fourth edition of the PMBOK® Guide until then.  But you do need to commit to preparing and taking your certification before the exam changes.

Haven't started studying?

If you haven't started preparing yet, you're still not too late. With a focused push, you should be able to prepare for and take your certification within 2-3 months, so even if you're reading this in May, you can still plan to prepare using the 4th edition.

But is it really worth the last-minute stress? Perhaps waiting until August and prepare for the certification using the 5th edition makes more sense if you're truly just getting started.  Which probably leaves you thinking – is a 5th edition certification better than a 4th?  – the answer is NO, a PMI certification is a PMI certification regardless of when you got certified and what edition of the PMBOK® Guide was in use at the time.

How this impacts training CBT Nuggets has a complete certification preparation series based on the 4th edition and we are actively working on a totally new series based on the 5th edition. The new training will be available LONG before the exam cutover dates.

CBT Nuggets has a complete certification preparation series based on the 4th edition and we are actively working on a totally new series based on the 5th edition. The new training will be available LONG before the exam cutover dates.

So the choice is yours: 4th Edition certification now, or 5th edition certification sometime after Aug. 1, 2013.  But the longer you procrastinate, the more likely you keep postponing your certification! Use the July 31 deadline as your motivation to get your certification.

What's new in the PMBOK® Guide

And now, for those of you who aren't immediately working on certification: What has PMI changed in the 5th edition?

The 5th edition remains very consistent to the 4th, so there isn't a significant re-adjustment period. The most significant change is the introduction of a new Knowledge Area (KA) called Stakeholder Management – so for those of you like me who are used to rhyming off the 9 KAs, we need to adjust and add Stakeholder Management to the list.

But, the good news, is Stakeholder Management is really a re-organization of Communications Management, where Communications Management now focused exclusively on Planning, Managing and Controlling Communications and Stakeholder Management addresses Identifying, Planning, Managing and Controlling the project stakeholders.  I see this as a very positive change as it separates these two related, but distinct, PM responsibilities.

The other key change is the re-introduction of Planning processes into each of the KAs. There are now processes for Plan Scope Management, Plan Schedule Management, etc.  For those of you who have been around this business as long as me, you will remember similar processes in the 3rd Edition. Well, they're back, and again, this is something I see as a very positive change. This does increase the number of processes to 47, an increase of 5.

The one item not addressed in the new PMBOK® Guide, which is a disappointment to me, is that it still doesn't take Agile development processes into consideration. There were significant expectations that with PMI now offering the PMI-ACP® certification that the PMBOK® Guide would begin to support Agile management approaches.

But having said I am disappointed, I also recognize that to make the guide fully Agile would be a very large undertaking and would probably result in a TOTALLY new guide rather than a valuable update such as we are seeing now. Nevertheless, I believe that PMI will continue to embrace Agile approaches with future release of the PMBOK® Guide and/or possibly the creation of a Industry Standard Agile Body of Knowledge (we can hope, can't we?).

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



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