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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.

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

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You are welcome Guys, thanks for your kind words.

Here are the latest Updates:

PMBOK 6th Edition Release Date and Timeline - Update!

This article is a brief overview of the release date for A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Sixth Edition and how this affects the PMP Exam.

In addition to giving you all the dates of the PMBOK 6 release we will also give you our recommendation on which version you should use for your PMP exam prep studies.

This article will be updated over time as PMI releases more specific release dates.


1. When will PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition be released?
2. When will The PMP Exam change?
3. Which version of the PMBOK Guide should I use to study?

When will PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition be released?

Addition of Agile, PMI Triangle are welcome. Interesting description of the changes and well defined. Thanks Marcus

Thanks Marcus, for sharing this useful post.

Good to hear that they think about including some agile concepts in the PMBOK 6th edition, but hope they will keep a good balance to avoid any confusion with PMI-ACP standard which is more focused on Agile concepts when PMBOK (PMP) was currently more focused on Waterfall.

Thank you Markus for the update!

When do you expect that PMP certification will change from 5th edition to 6th edition?

Hi Bernd,

the official statement regarding that is actually - "in the beginning of 2018".
There is no specific date announced yet.
I would expect the change at latest til the end of Q1/2018.


Thank you Markus!

I appreciate your effort for this updates.


I have very carefully gone through the draft PMBOK Guide, 6th Ed and could find total of 49 processes after additions, deletions and updates, I feel you have to amend your figure of 50 processes. I have ventured a detailed update myself based on many of your inputs.


I have very carefully gone through the draft PMBOK Guide, 6th Ed and could find total of 49 processes after additions, deletions and updates, I feel you have to amend your figure of 50 processes. I have ventured a detailed update myself based on many of your inputs.

Based on Latest Changes to The PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition
Brief History
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, commonly known as PMBOK� Guide, has gone through a number of iterations since release of its first edition in1996. We have seen a new edition popping up after every 4-5 years, and now is the time for the next changes imminent on the horizon. We are all very curiously waiting for the release of PMBOK� Guide, Sixth Edition, which is likely to be released in third quarter of year 2017. Most of the rumour mongers have even pinned their hopes in the very first week of July 2017.
The timeline of PMBOK� Guide over the last two decades has been as follows:
Earlier than 1996, the body of knowledge did not exist in form and shape it is now. It used to be just a guideline document or a special report not more than 70 pages which did provide the outline framework for project management but was not published in a book form. The project to develop that report was initiated in 1981 and in 1984 the said special report was published as Ethics, Standards, and Accreditation Committee Final Report.
It was back in 1996 that the very first edition of PMBOK Guide, was released and since then it has gone through, a number of evolutions, always for the good. The Guide has increased from a 176 page document to a voluminous 589 page document in its fifth edition and it is very much expected that the sixth edition will be even larger than the fifth edition. Some of the rumours are that the PBOK Guide, Sixth Edition would be released in two volumes, one being the The Standard for Project Management and other the A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge.
Introduction of PMP Certification
Interestingly PMP Certification was introduced much before the first edition of PMBOK Guide was ever released. It was back in 1984 that PMP Certification was introduced, and the only document existing at that point was the special report titled Ethics, Standards, and Accreditation Committee Final Report. Founding members and Veteran PMPs like Eric Jenett (who was probably the very first PMP in the whole wide world), had no standard or a PMBOK Guide to follow, just a special report of a couple of pages. I had the opportunity of meeting and discussing with Eric Jenett personally, when he was alive, and he told me how difficult it was to prepare for PMP Exam in those days when exam questions could be created out of anywhere or any source on project management. Eric Jenett is not alive now for some years now, and PMI has instituted an award in his name, PMI Eric Jenett Project Management Excellence Award.
PMP Exam is affected by any change in edition of PMBOK Guide and the exam pattern is revised based on changes in PMP Exam Content Outline (ECO). This Exam Content Outline is revised in one other condition, and that is when PMI conducts a PMP Role Delineation Study (RDS), which encompasses the current market demand of PMPs. This study to measure change in role of PMPs, happens after every 5-7 years and PMP Exam goes through another change in case market expectation changes or evolves, to cater for which PMP Exam Content Outline and PMP Questions are revised.
Initially, PMI used to give one complete year to the candidates to prepare for the new exam content outline, after the ECO has been changed, to write their PMP exam. For last two edition changes, the exam change-over time has been decreased to 6 months. Again, there are rumours that this time the exam change-over time will be further decreased to 3-6 months, because PMI would like to start the PMP testing based on Sixth Edition by the start of 2018, most likely in first week of Jan 2018.
PMI is very clear in its instructions to exam takers, that PMBOK Guide is not the syllabus but a reference book or standard. Exam is based on the PMP Exam Content Outline, and question-makers rely on this document to prepare PMP Questions. Moreover, they can refer to any latest book or material on project management for these questions and PMBOK Guide may not be enough to pass the certification exam.
PMBOK� Guide, Sixth Edition - Look and Feel
So far, nobody has actually, seen the PMBOK Guide, Sixth Edition but the cover picture shown below can probably be a leaked image. The Exposure Draft was presented for review and possibly by now all changes have been inducted in the new edition. The new version is structurally similar to the fifth edition but conceptually many things have been changed, deleted or added to the new edition.

Instructions for PMP Applicants
Those preparing to appear in PMP Exam based on the new edition, must follow the concepts as given in sixth edition. All those intending to appear in PMP Exam before the exam change, must plan to appear latest by 31 Dec 2017. I would strongly recommend you to write the exam at least three months before the exam change date as the last few months will see a lot of seat reservations for PMP exam and the pass percentile will also go up, making it impossible for many to compete and pass the exam. It would be safe to fix end of September as your target to pass the exam, so plan backwards for preparations and application process.
Changes in Sixth Edition
As mentioned earlier, there are many conceptual but not very structural changes in the new edition. The number of knowledge areas remain the same as ten, yet the number of processes have increased from 47 to 49 due to additions, amendments or even deletions of some of the processes. The volume of the standard is also likely to increase and may even be released in two separate volumes.
" The Standard for Project Management
o Section I - 3 Chapters
o Section II-VI - 5 Chapters corresponding to 5 Project Management Process Groups
" A Guide to Project Management Body of Knowledge
o 10 Chapters corresponding to 10 Project Management Knowledge Areas
Section 1 of the Standard discusses key concepts and contextual information about project management, while Sections 2 through 6 of this standard provide definitions for each of the five Process Groups and describe all of the processes within those Process Groups. It also describes the key benefits and the inputs and outputs for each project management process. This standard serves as the foundation and framework for the PMBOK� Guide.
The PMBOK� Guide expands on the information in this standard by providing a more in-depth discussion of the context, environment, and influences on project management. In addition, the PMBOK� Guide provides descriptions of the inputs and outputs, identifies tools and techniques, and discusses key concepts and emerging trends associated with each Knowledge Area.
Alignment with PMI Talent Triangle"
PMI has recently started a new mechanism to assess competence of the project managers role and all future acquisition of Professional Development Units (PDUs) by PMPs would be governed now by the new PMI Talent Triangle", which is also reflected in new edition of PMBoK Guide. It is assumed that 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 in technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management.

Changes in Knowledge Areas
Two of the knowledge areas have been renamed / changed:
1. Project Time Management is now renamed as Project Schedule Management
2. Project Human Resource Management has been changed to Project Resource Management
As far as Project Schedule Management is concerned, it is simply a matter of renaming but Project resource Management is a major change as it no more concerns itself only with Human Resources but encompassed all kinds of resources in this new knowledge area. By including all other resources, the behaviour of this knowledge area has also changed, as a process to control these resources had to be included in Monitoring and Controlling process group, which was otherwise not there. Similarly Estimate Activity Resources process has now moved from the old Project Time Management to the new Project Resource Management.
Introduction of New Processes
There are three new processes which has been added to the Sixth edition.
New Process Name Process Group Knowledge Area
" Manage Project Knowledge Executing Integration
" Implement Risk Responses Executing Risk
" Control Resources Monitoring & Controlling Resource

Changed Processes
In addition, following process names have been changed:
" A new process Plan Resource Management is introduced in Project Resource Management knowledge area and Plan Human Resource Management process has been deleted as Project Human Resource Management knowledge area is no more existing.
" Estimate Activity Resources process has moved from old Project Time Management knowledge area to new Project Resource Management knowledge area, but still exists in Planning process group.
" Acquire Project Resources process has been added to new Project Resource Management knowledge area, while deleting/changing the name of Acquire Team from old Project Human Resource Management knowledge area, in Executing process group.
" Develop Team and Manage Team processes without any change in their names, have moved from old Project Human Resource Management knowledge area to newly introduced Project Resource Management knowledge area.
" As described earlier, there is an addition of Manage Project Knowledge process in Monitoring and Controlling process group under Project Integration Management knowledge area.
" As described earlier, there is yet another addition of Implement Risk Responses process in Executing process group under Project Risk Management knowledge area.
" Close Procurements process of Project Procurement Management knowledge area has been deleted from Closing process group.
" The function of the Close Procurement process has now been captured within Control Procurements and Close Project or Phase.
" The name of the Plan Stakeholder Management process has been changed to Plan Stakeholder Engagement.
" The name of the Perform Quality Assurance process has been changed to Manage Quality.
Renamed Control Processes to Monitor
In Monitoring and Controlling process group following Controls have been renamed and Monitors:
" Control Communications has been renamed as Monitor Communications
" Control Risks has been renamed as Monitor Risks
" Control Stakeholder Engagement has been renamed as Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
Project Management Plana nd Project Documents
PMI had pretty much standardized and clarified the two terms Project Management Plan and Project Documents in PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition. But still at many places the project management plan components or subsidiary plans were mentioned as specific inputs to relevant execution or monitoring and controlling processes, whereas at other places, just Project Management Plan had been mentioned. This caused a lot of confusion and needed to be standardized.
In the 6th edition, PMI has taken care of this problem and the components or subsidiary plans on project management plan are no more mentioned as input or output as updates separately to any process, but now standardized term Project Management Plan as input and Project Management Plan Updates as output will be used. It is up to the reader to interpret which component or subsidiary plan is relevant to the situation. It will also cater for more than one component plans being input to a process, will now just be represented by a single Project Management Plan.
Similar will be the treatment with Project Documents as input and Project Documents Updates, which will now be used instead of specific documents or their updates. Again it will be up to the reader to interpret which specific document is being referred or updated in project Documents.
Focus on Agile
PMI introduced iterative life cycle in 4th edition and it was further elaborated and emphasized in 5th Edition by putting spot light on Agile practices. With rising trend of agile in industry and organizations, PMI has been busy researching on the possibility of wide usage of agile practices in industries other than IT, where it is already very popular and was rather conceived. By the mere fact that PMI is recognizing Agile practices, projects the wide acceptability in project management in general, and its usage beyond IT industry.
Sixth Edition will also continue and even enlarge the focus on agile practices. But it should not be taken as ultimate acceptance of agile in all industries, it is rather opening doors for new opportunities. PMI has made specific arrangements for including agile practices for each and every knowledge area and a section has been added for agile tools and techniques in each of the relevant chapters. This will help project management practitioners to see the usage of agile practices more visibly through available agile tools and techniques.
An appendix has also been added to the Standard of Project Management on agile and other iterative practices. This is an enlargement on earlier mention of Agile Life Cycle in 5th Edition.
Agile Expectation from a PMP after Sixth Edition
As mentioned earlier, PMI has been trying to open the door to agile practices in project management for some time now. In the sixth edition, they have made the door wide open and more possibilities are now open to project managers from any filed to experiment with agile tools and techniques. This is done to breakout of the clutches of Waterfall Model generally followed in traditional project management. Although Agile is the baby of IT but still we have seen that many useful practices have been adopted in industry, which actually, originated due to advancements in IT. Agile is just such kind of advancement which has already proven it success in software development and is now making other industries to think how they can make use of it.
Whatever PMI has made part of PMBOK Guide is not a mandatory expectation from a project management professional but a possibility of using discretion in other fields if possible. Agile will not apply to other industries, in exactly the same manner, as it applies to IT. It will have to be re-invented and tailored to fit any industry it will be used in. There might be a possibility of new models and techniques being invented for specific areas of usage in various industries. The basic principle which had to be followed would be conformance to Agile Manifesto, with a slight amendment that it would not have a mention of Working Software but the Working Deliverable of the specific project.
It is very much expected that PMI will soon come up with a separate standard on Agile Practices which will also be very useful for PMI-ACP certification. Anyone preparing for PMP certification on new edition will have to have enough grasp of all agile tools and techniques applicable to all ten knowledge areas and five process groups. That essentially means there will be more question on agile practices from 1 Jan 2018 onwards in the PMP Exam.
I can foresee that over next few iterations of PMBOK Guide Editions, Agile will be the way of life and Waterfall or traditional project management will be completely buried. But this is not happening immediately, it will take something like a decade for complete turn over. So prepare yourself for the future and be part of the research machinery working tirelessly to find ways to apply agile in other industries like telecommunications, construction, engineering, government and many more.
Suhail Iqbal�

Thanx Marcus .. For a wonderful post .. This helps a lot !

Thanx Suhail for a very comprehensive post on PMBOK VI th edition .. I appreciate. I am now very clear on the VIth edition .. Wonderful !

Thanks for the contribution;
but unfortenately you responsed to the outdated version of this posting.

If you may refer to this version; there i have already mentioned the correct number of the processes:

I appreciate your additional information.



Thank you Marcus. These additions are great development in the right direction. Long live PMI.

Thanks for sharing

Does anybody know how, or if, the new tasks that were added to PMBOK 5 will handled in PMBOK 6? I do not see any mention of them. Are they just woven in or will this link/document remain separate yet testable?

The changes are exciting. Our organization is adopting Agile so it's nice to see that all the work people have done to get PM certified is still valuable with the shift towards Agile acceptance. One thing that should really be considered in the next version under the process name changes is the use of the word "Communications." I majored in Communication(no S) and it is a bit bothersome that a book created after so much collaboration of highly intelligent people uses the wrong term. See for information on the difference... (in CommunicationS, the S refers more to the technology that is used to be able to communicate, communication is the term that references the act of communicating. Are we managing cell phones and computers or the regularity and expectations of the discussions we're having about the project?

Thanks a lot Marcus, it is very helpful.

Guillermo Ibañez.

Good overview of the 6th edition updates.

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