Development of the PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition Underway

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Categories: PMI, standards

Written by Mike Griffiths

I have just returned from the first face-to-face meeting for volunteers working on the PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition development team. This is a personal reflection of the meeting, not an official account of what happened or planned next steps.

We met at the PMI headquarters in Philadelphia. I have visited the office before and was initially disappointed it did not look like Hogwarts or some ancient repository/font of knowledge. Instead it’s a normal, pleasant, but mostly non-descript, three-story building in a tree lined industrial estate.

The development team volunteers came from Latin America, North America, Europe, Asia, and Pacific regions. We had a mix of industries including construction, government, IT, materials science, and education. We also had a diverse mix of roles including practitioners, consultants, PMO staff, and academia.


The goal for our three days together was to identify and begin to define the principles and domains that will make up the Seventh Edition. Everyone had been tasked with homework to research and consider in advance what they believed these universal project principles should be and what common domains/elements/aspects are involved in the delivery of results.


While this was our first meeting, it is important to explain that research for the Seventh edition has been underway for over a year. PMI regularly surveys its members and partner organizations to determine how they work and what real-world guidance would be of most use to them. There have been several workshops at PMI conferences worldwide to gather information and ideas about what to include in the next edition of the guide.

The team reviewed other project management guides, standards, and frameworks to determine what principles might be inferred and commonalities across various publications. It is probably fair to say every popular, publicly available project management framework was examined and I was surprised at how just many there were – certainly more than I previously thought existed.


During our time together we distilled, combined and generally whittled down over 100 suggested principles to around a dozen. We likewise suggested, debated and wrestled with domain suggestions. Despite our diversity we were able to land on an initial set of principles and domains for further development. Once refined, these will go out to a similarly diverse Review team of almost 70 people.

What’s Next

If you have read this far you are probably interested enough to want to know what the new principles and domains will be. Those are still in development, but several team members will be sharing their thoughts on specific principle concepts over the next couple of months. What I can share now is that the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide will cover the entire delivery spectrum. It will be relevant for traditional, linear lifecycles and applicable to non-linear, incremental lifecycles such as Design Thinking, Lean Startup, agile, and Kanban.

I left Philadelphia excited and a little daunted by the work ahead of us all. Yet inspired by the new direction and confident in the strength of our team. The next edition will be quite different, and I am glad to see it evolve.

The profession of project management is changing quickly. All of PMI’s research and surveys have indicated people have great ideas for changes they would like to see incorporated. I am looking forward to working with the Development team, Review team, and wider project management community to help develop the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide. For updates, discussions and accounts of the journey going forward please check back.

Note: For those planning to attend PMI Global Conference in Philadelphia 5-7 October, I will be assisting with two workshops that will further explore principles of project delivery: PMBOK® Guide – The Next Generation: An Innovation Working Session (Saturday, 5 October) and Project Delivery: Evolution and Revolution (Sunday, 6 October). I hope to see you there.

Posted by Marjorie Anderson on: September 12, 2019 08:09 AM | Permalink

Comments (16)

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I'll get another spot ready on the bookshelf.

Great update. Thanks, Mike!

Thanks for the update Mike and Marjorie. Very excited for the new edition.

Wow, Mike. Thanks for the update. As a member of the review team, I can't wait what you guys will provide to us!

I would love to participate in your workshops at the conference. Unfortunately, I have no chance to head over. Nevertheless, I hope we will meet shortly personally.

And thanks once again for the great kick-off call two weeks ago. I am really excited to get things to work now ... ;)

I hope we are talking soon.

Thanks for the update.

I am excited to see the next edition. Thanks Mike and Marjorie!

Very much excited to see the outcome, thanks for sharing the latest!

Thanks for nicely elaborated update !!

Thanks for the detailed information, it's always nice to know that the PMBOOK is evolving.

Mike and Marjory, thank you for the update and detailed info. Can't wait for the public review.

I hope they are strongly considering a new knowledge area for Project Change Management. For a framework about an overall process that is all about change it is high time that PMI include professional guidance regarding managing change.
You could say that the process framework and the PMBOK Guide already say enough about change, but studies have shown that many projects fail because the change being brought about by the project wasn't well introduced into the organization in such a way as to be well accepted and put into proper use rather than shelved in favor of "the way we've always done this."

Thanks for the update!

Thanks a lot Mike and Marjorie! With the contribution of seasonal professional and scholars of the world, we hope to see the new standard of PM will embed the on going Transforming Practices of Project management into the reality. The real challenge will be incorporating the various life cycles and Frameworks, applicable to the most of the professional domains and type of Project. Well Excited to see the transformation

Thanks for the update Mike and Marjorie!

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