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PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition will be released towards the end of 2017 - what will change?

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Like i wrote in my previous article "What is the current edition of the PMBoK Guide and when will the new edition be released?" the public review of the exposure draft has just begun and it is still a long road until the final version will be released towards the end of 2017 respective the beginning of 2018 when the printed version  will become available.

Nevertheless it is interesting yet having a look on the upcoming changes the new version will bring us.

Of course this is high level and feels like a BETA version, but the major changes should be finalized already since public review has started, right?

Well, here we go:

Agile and other iterative practices

As some of us already heard there will be some new content to emphasisze the importance and relevance of agile and other iterative practices.

Different from previous editions, the PMBOK®Guide –Sixth Edition will contain numerous references to adaptive and iterative practices, including agile. This decision was made in response to the requests of PMIs stakeholders. This content will include:

  • The practices often used in an adaptive environment in the front of each Knowledge Area section (Sections 4–13).
  • An appendix toThe Standard for Project Management on agile and other iterative practices.

PMI Talent Triangle™

Will the new PMI Talent Triangle™ find its refelction in the upcoming PMBoK Guide Version? Of course!

The PMBOK®Guide –Sixth Edition will contain a new chapter on the role of the project manager which discusses the PMI Talent Triangle™ and the skill sets organizations demand that make project managers more competitive and relevant—technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management.

Key Concepts

Many key concepts addressed in the first three chapters of the PMBOK® Guide are covered, in abbreviated form, in Section I of the Standard. Section II of the Standard contains a description of the project management processes, organized by Process Group, along with their key benefits, inputs and outputs.

Processes; Process Groups and Knowledge Areas

The Process Groups remain the same in the Sixth Edition, although two Knowledge Areas have new names:

Project Time Management is now Project Schedule Management, emphasizing the importance of scheduling in project management. This aligns with PMI’s Practice Standard for Scheduling.
And Project Human Resource Management is now Project Resource Management. We discuss both team resources and physical resources in the processes of this Knowledge Area.

There are three new processes in the Sixth Edition:

  • Manage Project Knowledge is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Integration Management knowledge area.
  • Implement Risk Responses is part of the Executing Process Group and Project Risk Management knowledge area.
  • Control Resources is part of the Monitoring and Controlling Process Group and Project Resource Management knowledge area.

Estimate Activity Resources is still part of the Planning Process Group, but it is associated with Project Resource Management processes instead of Project Schedule Management processes.

Since we do not know about deleting processes now, the overall number of processes seems to increase to 50!

In addition, some processes have different names. For example, to align with research showing that project management is more about facilitating and managing than controlling, we have shifted several processes from a Control function to a Monitor function. In other cases, we have aligned the process name with the intent of the process. The chart below identifies the overall name changes.


PMBOK 5th Edition

PMBOK 6th Edition

Perform Quality Assurance

Manage Quality

Plan Human Resource Management

Plan Resource Management

Control Communications

Monitor Communications

Control Risks

Monitor Risks

Plan Stakeholder Management

Plan Stakeholder Engagement

Control Stakeholder Engagement

Monitor Stakeholder Engagement


The function of the Close Procurement process has now been captured within Control Procurements and Close Project or Phase. Research shows that few project managers have the authority to formally and legally close a contract. Project managers are responsible to determine that work is complete, records indexed and archived, and responsibilities transferred appropriately. Thus, they have now included work associated with Close Procurements within the aforementioned processes.

Project Management Plan Components and Project Documents

Please note the following changes to the project management plan components and project documents:

  • The components of the project management plan that are inputs to a process, or that are updated as outputs from a process, are not listed individually in the inputs or outputs. Rather, the project management plan is the input and project management plan updates is the output.
  • Beneath the input/output table, a list of potential project management plan components is identified. However, the components of the project management plan that will be inputs or updated depends on the needs of the project.
  • Project documents are listed as an input and project documents updates is listed as an output, as appropriate. Beneath the input/output table there is a list of potential project  documents that may be inputs, or may be updated as an output. The needs of the project will determine the actual project documents that should be inputs or updated as an output.


This is what we know about the upcoming changes yet. There may be additional changes; as a result from the actual exposure draft review for instance.

We will update this article accordingly.

first published @

Posted on: March 15, 2016 06:35 AM | Permalink

Comments (58)

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Markus, thanks for sharing this information!

Markus, indeed this is insightful, thanks for the comparisons and I look forward to more i.e. domains.

Hi markus,

Thanks for the insightful detials.

Emphazising on Agile is indeed essential considering the current trend of projects evolving in a constantly changing envrionment. Moreover, the stress on Monitoring (seperate from controlling) is also relevant in terms of giving more sense to the outcome and purpose of each process.

I look forward to read more about the other changes.

According to PMI website, the release of the 6th Edition is targeted for Q1 2017...not "towards the end of 2017"

@all: thx guys, glad that u found it usefull

@Scott: thx for your input; unfortenatly that is not longer correct; it was just revised to "3rd Quarter 2017"; you may have a look into the official FAQ here:



Thanks Markus, this is very helpful.

You are welcome Anupam, glad that you like it.

What a great development.

Hi Markus,

Thanks for posting this.
Heard that as per latest RDS change, releasing resource is not a part of Close Project or Phase? Any thing mentioned on this topic in 6th edition?

Thanks Markus,

Agile is good news

Thanks for the update!

Thanks for update.
Introduction of Agile is good news.
Alignment with other practice standards is also welcome

Very much essential wording change...and alignment with current practices...bringing Agile in will be useful and ground breaking for all industry to take benefit!
Looking forward to 6th Edition!

Thanks for the summary of the changes. I think this new version have many improvements, even when I think is important to emphasize not mix material resources with human resources.

The semantic of processes name are now more logical.
Looking what's inside the new guide

Hi Markus, thanks for the update. From my experience the changes follow what we see in the daily work of a PM: higher complexity and deeper alignment to strategy and business. Not sure about the changes in wording though. I never liked "control" as it suggests old school "command and control" leadership (if you'd call the old methods leadership), but "monitor" somehow seems very passive to me, especially with regard to project risks. Maybe "manage" would be more apropriate, what do you think?

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has just released the exposure draft of The PMBOK® Guide 6th edition for review and comment. I will try to summarize the major changes. I won’t go into the level of detail around specific tools and techniques but instead focus on proposed changes to knowledge areas and processes.

Overall there have been some great updates to The PMBOK® Guide as proposed in the exposure draft of the 6th edition. You can see the body of knowledge maturing in terms of content and consistency, and also greater alignment with ISO21500 and other ISO standards.

Working our way through the exposure draft, which is only the first three chapters, we can see the following proposed changes:

The first chapter has all the usual useful foundational information but it is augmented by more detailed explanation about the following topics:

Organizational governance and project governance
Project success and benefits realization
Project stakeholders
Role of the project manager
The importance of tailoring
The development of an appropriate project management plan
Greater focus on Agile and other iterative processes
Alignment of the capabilities of the project manager with the PMI talent triangle

There are still 10 knowledge areas but instead of 47 processes there are now 49 processes – two have been removed and their work assimilated into other processes (Estimate Activity Resources and Close Procurements) and 4 added (Manage Project Knowledge, Control Resources, Implement Risk Responses, & Estimate Activity Resources).

The current six processes in the Integration Management Knowledge area are joined by an extra executing process called Manage Project Knowledge.

There are no proposed changes to the process names in the Scope Management knowledge area.

The Time Management knowledge area sees the removal of the Estimate Activity Resources process, and it is shifted to the Resource Management knowledge area which makes sense given the broader focus of this knowledge area beyond just human resources [thanks to Mounir Ajam for spotting an error here which I have corrected].

There are no proposed changes to the Cost Management knowledge process names.

There are still three process in the Quality Management knowledge area but the executing process called Perform Quality Assurance is now Manage Quality.

The Human Resource Management knowledge area becomes the Resource Management knowledge area which is greater alignment to ISO21500. The definition of resources is now the people, equipment, materials and supplies needed to perform project work. There are now two planning processes:

Plan Resource Management
Estimate Activity Resources (previously part of the Time Management knowledge area)

The three executing processes are now called

Acquire Resources
Develop Team
Manage Team

And finally, there is a monitoring and controlling process called Control Resources which has been one of the glaring and poorly explained inconsistencies in the PMBOK® Guide to date since version 2.

There are still three process in the Communications Management knowledge area but the Control Communications process is now called Monitor Communications. Which brings up a point that there is no clear reason given why some monitoring and controlling processes start with the Control, and some start with Manage. The final version needs to explain the distinction.

The Risk Management knowledge area gains an executing process called Implement Risk Responses which makes perfect sense and recognizes this work. The monitoring and control processes called Control Risks is now called Monitor Risks – see the point in the previous paragraph about this.

The Procurement Management knowledge area loses a process with the Close Procurements process being assimilated into the Control Procurements process which makes sense because in its current form as one of only two closing processes it gives the impression that contractual closure happens at the end of the project lifecycle when it occurs all throughout the project lifecycle.

The Stakeholder Management knowledge area retains its four processes with the Control Stakeholder Engagement process being renamed Manage Stakeholder Engagement.

So overall, there are some great improvements proposed and you have your chance to read it and make suggestions and comments simply by going to the website.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.

Sean Whitaker

Thank you Markus!
Keep us posted!!

Thanks Markus for the update. I have a couple of questions. First, you said that the printed version of the final PMBOK 6ed will be in Q1 2018. Why won't it be available in print when launched?

secondly, I see where you wrote there are now 50 processes, yet Sean Whitaker writes there are now 49. Who's correct?

When do you expect to write another blog update.

Many thanks

Thanx Marcus .. Once again you have posted a very interesting insight to the PMBOK 6th Edition changes .. Wonderful !

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