Major Differences Between PMBOK Guide 6th and 7th Editions
PMBOK Guide (A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge) is a publication from PMI (Project Management Institute). It is considered as a Project Management Standard.
The latest version of the Guide is 7th edition, which was released in August 2021. Prior to this, the 6th edition of the Guide was published in 2017.
There are many differences between PMBOK Guide 6th and 7th edition. The organization and content of both these books is completely different.
The seventh edition is smaller book and has substantially content than the sixth edition. The 7th edition of the Guide has less than 400 pages, which are lot less than 750 pages in the 6th edition.
The bulk of the 6th edition is made up of Process Groups (PG) and Knowledge Areas (KA). The 7th edition is just briefly touches PG and is completely bereft of KA.
On the other hand, PMI has introduced some new concepts in the 7th edition like project delivery principles, system view, and performance domains.
Let’s compare PMBOK Guide 6th edition and 7th edition in detail and understand the difference between them.
What is PMBOK Guide?
PMBOK Guide contains “generally accepted,” project management concepts that can be applied to most projects most of the time.
Distinction must be made between PMBOK Guide and PMBOK. The Guide is a subset of the Project Management Body of Knowledge that is known to project management practitioners like us.
The first edition of PMBOK Guide was published by PMI in 1996 after which PMI has been releasing a new edition after every 4 years. The new versions are published because the project management landscape have been continuously evolving and changing. New business models are driving innovation and organizations are fining new ways of managing projects.
Difference Between PMBOK Guide 6th and 7th Edition
PMBOK Guide sixth edition and all the editions before it contained a collection of business processes to enable consistent and predictable practices. The processes could be used to assess and measure the performance. Improvements in the processes could be made to maximize efficiency and minimize threats.
PMBOK Guide 6th edition lists and describes 49 processes, which are part of 5 Process Groups and 10 Knowledge Areas. However each process is part of only one Process Group and one Knowledge Area. These processes were eliminated from the PMBOK Guide 7th edition.
The process-based standards approach was effective in supporting good practice but processes are prescriptive by their inherent nature.
Since project management evolving more rapidly than ever before, the process-based orientation of the past editions cannot be maintained in a manner conducive to reflecting the full value delivery landscape. Therefore, through 7th edition, PMI has shifted to a principles-based standard to support effective project management and to focus more on intended outcomes rather than deliverables.
Furthermore, unlike previous editions, which were written primarily for a project manager, 7th edition is written for everyone involved in the project.
There are 5 new things in the PMBOK Guide seventh edition. Let take a look at them in detail.
1. Principle Statements
Principle Statements capture and summarize generally accepted objectives. They provide broad parameters within which project teams operate.
There are 12 Principle Statements:
- Be A Diligent, Respectful, and Caring Steward
- Create A Collaborative Project Team Environment
- Effectively Engage With Stakeholders
- Focus On Value
- Recognize, Evaluate, And Respond To System Interactions
- Demonstrate Leadership Behaviors
- Tailor Based On Context
- Build Quality Into Processes And Deliverables
- Navigate Complexity
- Optimize Risk Responses
- Embrace Adaptability And Resiliency
- Enable Change To Achieve The Envisioned Future State
2. System View
The new edition focuses on complete view of system and not of sum of parts. It means that the Guide looks at the whole organization and not on a single project.
The new edition changes the perspective from governance of portfolios, programs, and projects and stresses more on the value chain and value delivery. It emphasizes that projects do not simply produce outputs, but enable those outputs to drive outcomes that ultimately deliver value to the organization and its stakeholders.
The new edition links business capabilities to advancing organizational strategy, value, and business objectives.
3. Project Performance Domains
The systems view shifts the focus from the KA of past editions to eight Project Performance Domains.
A Performance Domain is a group of related activities that are critical for the effective delivery of project outcomes.
They represent a project management system of interactive, interrelated, and interdependent management capabilities that work in unison to achieve desired project outcomes.
The eight Performance Domains are:
- Development Approach and Life Cycle
- Project Work
Through Tailoring, project management approach can me modified to suit the nature and context of each project.
The importance of Tailoring was discussed in all of the previous editions of the PMBOK Guide but 7th edition explains this concept in much more greater depth than any of the previous editions. There is a dedicated chapter on on Tailoring in the latest edition.
5. Models, Methods, and Artifacts
The seventh edition take a new approach to the project management terminology. It has a whole new chapter, which defines various Models, Methods and Artifacts.
A Model can be considered as an approach to do project management. Methods can be thought of as tools and techniques from the previous editions. Artifacts are same as the outputs that were described in the previous editions of the PMBOK Guide.
PMBOK Guide 7th edition defines all these without prescribing when, how, or which models or methods should be used.
The following table provides a summary of changes in the seventh edition.
|Total in 7th edition||Included in 6th edition and/or
Agile Practice guide
|New in 7th|
|1||Commonly used Models||23||5||18|
|2||Commonly used Methods
(Listed as Tools and Techniques in 6th edition)
|3||Commonly used Artifacts
(Listed as Outputs in 6th Edition)
PMP Exam Preparation
PMP exam is one of the most prestigious certificates present across the globe. Only project professionals with good work experience in project management are eligible to take the certification exam.
Many PMP aspirants believe that PMP (Project Management Professional) exam is based on the PMBOK Guide but this is not true. PMBOK Guide along with Agile Practice Guide is a primary reference book for the exam but the new PMP exam curriculum is based on Examination Content Outline. You can go to PMI website and download Exam Content Outline.
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Note: CAPM exam (Certified Associate in Project Management) is completely based on the PMBOK Guide.