The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a widely recognized credential for project management professionals around the world. To achieve this prestigious certification, candidates must demonstrate their knowledge and proficiency in project management practices. One essential resource that forms the foundation of PMP certification preparation is the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide.
PMBOK 6 emphasizes knowledge areas and processes, PMBOK 7 focuses on fundamental principles that guide the framework, including traditional knowledge areas and processes. Also, the most important distinction between the PMBOK 6th and 7th editions is the shift in emphasis from very specific processes and technologies to more overarching concepts.
Whether as, you’re familiar with PMBOK 6 and curious about the updates in PMBOK 7 or starting your PMP journey afresh, understanding the differences between these editions is crucial to your exam preparation. This article will serve as a valuable resource to enhance your understanding of PMBOK 6 and PMBOK 7.
Structural differences and significant changes :
PMBOK 6th Edition –
The Project Management Body of Knowledge 6th Edition, is a globally recognized guidebook published by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It focuses on knowledge areas and processes, also provides a comprehensive framework for project management practices, and serves as a standard reference for project managers and professionals.
The PMBOK Guide 6th edition is rooted in technical processes, emphasizing the project manager’s role with its detailed coverage of processes, inputs, tools and techniques, and outputs. The PMBOK 6 guide covers these topics as below:
- Project environment
- Role of the project manager
- 10 knowledge areas
PMBOK 7th Edition –
PMBOK 7 the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Seventh Edition,” is the latest edition of the PMBOK guide released by the Project Management Institute (PMI). It provides project management professionals with updated best practices, tools, and techniques to effectively manage projects in today’s dynamic and complex environment.
PMBOK Guide 7th edition places a greater emphasis on skills and resources for the entire project team to deliver value-based outcomes. This shift of focus is a significant distinction between the two editions.
- Models, methods and artifacts
- 8 Performance domains
The PMBOK 6 edition’s overall methodology is focused on perspective and emphasizes how, why, and not what because the primary target audience is professionals and project managers. Process-focused and more compliance-driven processes use tools and procedures to convert inputs into outputs in accordance with predetermined design. Project applications are projects most of the time. The degree of changes is a version that builds on preceding editions and is incremental. Tailoring Advice includes references to tailoring but no detailed advice.
Meanwhile, PMBOK 7 edition introduces general principles guiding mindset, action, and behaviors across project delivery, agile, lean, customer-centered design, and more. The primary target audience, including project leads, sponsors, product owners, and team members, emphasizing team roles and responsibilities. However, guide provides an overview of commonly utilized tools, approaches, artifacts, and frameworks in project management. It also explores the foundational aspects of design domains, which consist of interconnected and interdependent regions of activity that lead to desired performance outcomes.
ProThoughts has a video that goes into further detail:
Integration of Agile methodology:-
PMBOK 6 –
In PMBOK 6 (the sixth edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge), there is a recognition of the increasing prevalence and importance of agile methodologies in project management. Also, PMBOK 6 primarily focuses on the traditional waterfall approach, it does acknowledge the need to integrate agile practices when appropriate.
Here are some key points regarding methodology integration in PMBOK 6:
- Agile in PMBOK 6: PMBOK 6 includes a dedicated section on Agile Project Management. It provides an overview of agile methodologies, such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean, and highlights their value in addressing project complexities, changes, and stakeholder engagement.
- Agile Processes: PMBOK 6 identifies specific project management processes that align with agile practices. These processes emphasize flexibility, iterative delivery, continuous improvement, and collaboration. Examples include “Manage Agile Team,” “Sprint Planning,” and “Daily Stand-up.”
- Tailoring Approach: mainly, focus on tailoring project management processes to suit the project’s unique characteristics and requirements, PMBOK 6 emphasizes the importance of enabling project managers to choose the most appropriate methodology, be it waterfall, agile, or a hybrid model, depending on the project’s needs.
- Agile Considerations: Guide discusses considerations for integrating agile practices within a project. It covers areas such as stakeholder engagement, requirements gathering, adaptive planning, and the use of agile-specific tools and techniques. This guidance helps project managers effectively apply agile principles within the broader project management framework.
- Agile and the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Certification: The PMI-ACP certification, highlighted in PMBOK 6, demonstrates competency and expertise in agile methodologies for professionals with agile project management experience.
It’s important to note that while Guide acknowledges agile methodologies, it still predominantly focuses on the traditional waterfall approach. The integration of agile practices is a notable addition in PMBOK 6, paving the way for further developments and updates in subsequent editions.
ProThoughts covered a video with PMP-certified Ashish Sadekar for more information:
PMBOK 7 –
In PMBOK 7, there is a significant emphasis on integrating various project management methodologies, particularly agile and hybrid approaches. Here are the, key aspects of methodology integration:
- Adaptive Project Life Cycle: PMBOK 7 introduces a flexible and iterative approach to project management, allowing for continuous feedback and adaptation through an adaptive life cycle.
- Tailoring and Flexibility: PMBOK 7 emphasizes the importance of tailoring project management approaches based on project characteristics, stakeholder needs, and organizational factors to ensure a customized and effective approach.
- Agile and Hybrid Methodologies: PMBOK 7 integrates agile principles and provides guidance on blending predictive and adaptive approaches, recognizing the value of agile methodologies in dynamic project environments.
- Agile Practice Guide: Released alongside PMBOK 7, the Agile Practice Guide provides valuable recommendations, tools, and techniques for effectively applying agile methodologies in projects.
- Value-driven Delivery: PMBOK 7 prioritizes delivering value to stakeholders throughout the project life cycle, aligning project outcomes with strategic objectives and embracing change to optimize value delivery.
By incorporating methodology integration, PMBOK 7 acknowledges the diverse needs of projects, thereby providing project managers with the flexibility to select and adapt appropriate approaches. As a result, this integration aims to enhance project success rates and better align project outcomes with stakeholder expectations in an ever-changing business environment.
Key Focuses on Domain Areas in PMBOK 6 and PMBOK 7:
In PMBOK 6, the knowledge areas are categorized into ten distinct domain areas. These domain areas represent different aspects of project management that project managers need to consider throughout, the project life cycle. Here are the ten domain areas :
- Project Integration Management: Furthermore, this domain area focuses on coordinating and integrating all project management processes and activities. The project is executed in alignment with the project plan, communication and decision-making.
- Project Scope Management: Eventually, it involves defining, validating, and controlling the project’s scope, including processes to gather requirements, define scope boundaries, and manage scope changes.
- Project Schedule Management: This domain area deals with developing and controlling the project schedule. It involves activities such as defining project activities, sequencing them, estimating durations, and creating the project schedule.
- Project Cost Management: Project cost management encompasses processes for estimating, budgeting, and controlling project costs. It includes activities such as estimating costs, creating a project budget, and monitoring and controlling project expenditures.
- Project Quality Management: Project quality management involves processes and activities aimed at ensuring that the project delivers the desired level of quality. It includes activities such as planning quality, performing quality assurance, and controlling quality.
- Project Resource Management: This domain area focuses on effectively managing project resources, including human resources, equipment, materials, and facilities. It involves activities such as acquiring and developing the project team, managing team performance, and acquiring and managing project resources.
- Project Communications Management: Generally, it deals with establishing and maintaining effective communication channels within the project. It includes processes for planning, distributing, and controlling project communications.
- Project Risk Management: This domain area involves identifying, assessing, and managing project risks. It includes activities such as risk identification, qualitative and quantitative risk analysis, risk response planning, and risk monitoring and control.
- Project Procurement Management: Furthermore, it covers processes related to procuring goods and services from external vendors. It includes activities such as procurement planning, solicitation, source selection, and contract administration.
- Project Stakeholder Management: Project Stakeholder Management involves processes for identifying, analyzing, and managing stakeholders throughout the project.
These domain areas in PMBOK 6, provide a comprehensive framework for managing projects effectively and ensuring the successful delivery of project outcomes.
In PMBOK 7, the knowledge areas have been replaced with performance domains. These performance domains represent the key areas of project management focus. Further, it introduces eight performance domains:
In this guide, the project management knowledge areas have been replaced by eight performance domains. Although, performance domains represent areas of expertise that project managers should possess to effectively manage projects.
Here’s an explanation of each performance domain:
- Stakeholder Engagement: Managing stakeholder expectations, relationships, and communication throughout the project lifecycle.
- Value Delivery: Ensuring project outcomes align with strategic objectives and deliver value to stakeholders.
- Team Performance: Fostering a collaborative and high-performing project team to achieve project goals.
- Adaptive Planning: Continuously, refining project plans and adapting to changes while maintaining focus on project objectives.
- Leadership: By providing effective leadership, vision, and direction, project managers guide the project team towards success. Additionally, promoting effective teamwork, collaboration, and decision-making processes among project team members enhances project outcomes.
- Benefits Realization: Ensuring that project outcomes are realized and provide the intended benefits to stakeholders.
- Risk and Opportunity Management: Identifying, assessing, and managing risks and opportunities throughout the project lifecycle, project managers can optimize outcomes.
These eight performance domains PMBOK 7 provide a comprehensive framework for project management professionals. So, to enhance their knowledge and skills in key areas necessary for successful project execution.
With a comprehensive understanding of the interrelation and interdependence of the PMBOK 7 performance domains, project managers can effectively guide their projects to deliver value and achieve objectives. Therefore, considering all three domains is crucial for ensuring comprehensive and successful project outcomes.
Which Edition Is Right for You?
Determining, which edition of PMBOK (either 6 or 7) is right for you depends on your specific needs, project management context, and goals. Here’s a brief explanation to help you make an informed decision:
PMBOK 6: Choose PMBOK 6 if:
- You are already familiar with PMBOK 6 and have been using it as a reference.
- Your organization follows PMBOK 6 as its standard project management framework.
- You are preparing for the PMP certification exam and have been studying based on PMBOK 6.
- Your project management approach primarily aligns with traditional, predictive (waterfall) methodologies.
PMBOK 7: Consider PMBOK 7 if:
- To embracing agile and hybrid project management approaches, aligning your practices with industry trends and the growing popularity of agile methodologies.
- Starting your project management journey, you want to learn about the latest best practices and methodologies.
- Ensuring your knowledge reflects the most up-to-date industry standards as you prepare for the PMP certification exam.
Ultimately, the choice between PMBOK 6 and PMBOK 7 depends on your familiarity with the editions, organizational requirements, and personal preferences. PMBOK 6 as well as PMBOK 7, it is worth considering the benefits offered by each edition. PMBOK 6 provides comprehensive coverage, while PMBOK 7 introduces the integration of agile methodologies. To determine which aligns better with your project management goals and the needs of your projects.
What PMBOK Guide does PMI suggest for the exam?
The changes introduced in the Guide, such as performance domains, tailoring, and the inclusion of models, methods, and artifacts, go beyond minor process adjustments seen in the 6 edition. Where as, the 7 edition represents a conceptual upgrade in the presentation of the project management discipline. Project managers should familiarize themselves with the content of both the PMBOK Guide 7th Edition and 6th Edition instead of choosing one version over the other.
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In conclusion, the changes between the PMBOK Guides 6 and 7 editions go beyond process improvements. Significant changes have been made in the seventh edition. As the addition of performance domains, a focus on tailoring, and the inclusion of models, procedures, and artifacts. Particularly, this version represents a conceptual shift in the way the discipline of project management is presented.
Project managers must familiarize themselves with the material covered in both the PMBOK Guides 6 and 7 editions. As project managers should comprehend the subtleties and improvements introduced by the seventh edition. Meanwhile, recognising the foundational knowledge of the sixth edition, rather than adopting one version and ignoring the other.
Further, one of the key giveaways of ProThoughts Solution is the ability to showcase a strong understanding of Project Management tools, techniques, and methods aligned with the latest edition of the PMI A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK Guide).