The Critical Path

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Welcome to The Critical Path--the home for community happenings and events on! This is where you'll find community news, updates, upcoming events, featured member posts and more. We'll also be showcasing hot topics in the project management arena and bringing you interviews with industry experts. The Critical Path is our primary way of getting news out to members, so be sure to check back for updates!

About this Blog


View Posts By:

Marjorie Anderson
Kimberly Whitby
Laura Schofield

Past Contributers:

Carrie Dunn
Danielle Ritter
Kenneth A. Asbury
Craig Dalrymple
Rebecca Braglio
Kristin Jones

Recent Posts

PMBOK® Guide – Seventh Edition Volunteer Opportunities for Translation Validation

What are Performance Domains, and Why Should I Care?

Thank You For All Your Support!

PMI Educational Foundation Open House - Happening Today!

Busting Standards Myths

Viewing Posts by Kimberly Whitby

What are Performance Domains, and Why Should I Care?

Categories: standards




By: Cynthia Dionisio, Co-leader PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition Development Team

In past blogs, various members of the PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition development team and community have talked about the evolution of The Standard for Project Management and you have heard from team members about some of the thoughts around the principles that comprise the concepts for the Standard. Recently, Maria Cristina Barbero, Standards Member Advisory Group member, discussed the concept of a Body of Knowledge. One of the sections in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge is Project Management Performance Domains. This is a new approach in the PMBOK® Guide. Past editions of the PMBOK® Guide used Process Groups and Knowledge Areas as the organizing concept. In the Seventh Edition we are shifting the focus to Performance Domains.

If you are a bit of a Standards geek like I am, you may have noticed that The Standard for Program Management and The Standard for Portfolio Management are comprised of performance domains, so this is not a new thing in PMI’s standards. As we communicate about this shift, I have been asked several times, what is a performance domain? I admit, the term is a bit vague. I struggled with this myself for a while. Here is what The Standard for Program Management says:

Program Management Performance Domains are complementary groupings of related areas of activity or function that uniquely characterize and differentiate the activities found in one performance domain from the others within the full scope of program management work.

If that doesn’t quite resonate with you, let me share how I think of domains. I think of them as broad areas of focus for project delivery. Think about when you work on a project. You spend time focusing on the outcome or deliverable that the project was undertaken to develop. You spend time focusing on the team. You spend time focusing on stakeholders. These are areas of focus that interrelate and interact with each other within your project. There are times when a situation arises with a stakeholder that you need to address immediately.  That situation involves a stakeholder but it also impacts planning, delivery, navigating uncertainty, project performance measurement and other aspects of project work.  So instead of thinking about engaging with the stakeholder in isolation of everything else, you think about the stakeholder, the situation and their impacts across the various project work domains.

Domains run concurrently throughout the phases of a project life cycle, regardless of how you deliver value (frequently, periodically, or at the end). If we use the examples above, your focus on the deliverables has to include thoughts about your stakeholders, and your team. But the activities associated with creating those deliverables are different activities than those you undertake in working with your team members. The activities interrelate, but they are different. They are interdependent, and they overlap in different ways throughout the project. However, you can’t work on a project without focusing on deliverables, stakeholders and team members.

There is another aspect of performance domains – they are outcomes focused. Notice that outcomes are different from outputs. As you are likely aware, in previous editions of the PMBOK® Guide the processes culminated in an output, such as a scope statement, risk management plan, stakeholder register, etc. Outputs are fine, but they are not the same as outcomes. Outputs enable outcomes. For example, if we have a performance domain around effective interaction with stakeholders, I would want to know the outcomes associated with that. For example, one outcome might be satisfied stakeholders. I can measure that with surveys, observing relationships and interactions, etc. Each performance domain has measurable outcomes, and the outcomes are different from an output. I might use an output, such as a stakeholder register to enable the outcome, but the stakeholder register is not the most important thing, stakeholder satisfaction is what’s important.

This is a big shift in how we think about delivering projects, so let me summarize it for you:

  • Project management performance domains are areas of focus for delivering projects
  • They are interdependent, interrelated, and overlapping
  • They occur throughout the project life cycle
  • They are outcomes focused

In forthcoming blogs, you will hear from team members who will share their thoughts on possible performance domains for project management. I hope you enjoy the upcoming series. There is much more to come, so check back frequently.

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: December 04, 2019 10:03 AM | Permalink | Comments (8)

Thank You For All Your Support!

Categories: PMIEF, social good, webinar

On this global day of giving, we are grateful for people like you who choose to support our mission to promote Project Management for Social Good®. We are focused on working together to help create a better future for people and communities around the world, especially our youth, by leveraging the power of project management. So, how would your gift make a difference?

This year, support from donors has helped PMIEF:

  1. Work with nonprofits to help some of our most vulnerable youth
  2. Supply project management scholarships and awards
  3. Bring PM education to communities around the world

gift to PMIEF of just $25 by year-end will have a ripple effect on people and communities around the world. Together we’ll change the world, one project at a time!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: December 03, 2019 04:59 PM | Permalink | Comments (4)

Busting Standards Myths

Categories: communication, standards


Busting Standards Myths

Over the past few months, members of PMI’s Standards Member Advisory Group (MAG) and PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition Development Team have blogged on the standards transformation journey at PMI and, in particular, observations and thinking around the next edition of the PMBOK® Guide. There is much more to come as the work continues. However, as this work has progressed, we have heard a few observations and rumors. Take a minute (well actually 10 minutes) to watch this video as we bust a few myths. Enjoy!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: November 25, 2019 10:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (18)

PMI Educational Foundation Virtual Open House – 3 December 2019

PMI Educational Foundation Virtual Open House – Join Us to Celebrate Giving Tuesday!

If you are interested in learning how to use your project management skills for social good and also want to pick up a few PDUs, then this exciting LIVE event is for you!

In the spirit of Giving Tuesday, PMI and the PMI Educational Foundation (PMIEF) have joined forces to offer practitioners a unique opportunity to learn how to:

Give back

Impact youth around the globe

Interact with fellow project managers

Grow your professional development portfolio

Ask the PMIEF team questions and much more

We are offering a robust and interactive digital experience for this year’s annual event.  Participants can watch webinars, read articles and participate in discussions about how to get involved and – more importantly – why it matters.  Not to mention, project managers can earn up to 3 PDU’s for the day, just by participating!

A Few FAQs:

Event date: 3 December 2019


Question: What can I do now to prepare? Answer: Click here to learn more about PMIEF

We hope you’ll join us on 3 December 2019 for an informative day of giving back.

Be sure to mark your calendars now!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: November 20, 2019 09:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (17)

Register for our next “Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything! Webinar

Categories: webinar

Our next “Discover PMI - Ask Us Anything!” webinar, is scheduled for Tuesday, 19 November 2019 at 12:00PM EST. As previously posted, the format, which is executed through non-PDU bearing webinars, is meant to encourage conversation with various PMI departments. Simply put, members having a one hour Q&A session with a particular PMI department. We're thrilled to have guest speaker, Shari Rathet, along with her fellow colleagues, guide you in understanding the different types of content available and how to access them. They will demonstrate how we have recently improved the search function and how to make your own contribution to this valuable collection and share your expertise with other practitioners. 

PMI Members can register at the following link: We hope you will join us!

As always, Our project is YOU. Your successes and setbacks, your passions and peeves—we want to hear about them all, and help you get to where you're going today and tomorrow. We hope these webinar series guide you in the right direction. As always, your feedback and ideas are most welcome!

Posted by Kimberly Whitby on: October 24, 2019 06:20 PM | Permalink | Comments (12)

Denial ain't just a river in Egypt.

- Stuart Smalley