Project Management Professional [PMP]: What’s new in 6.0?

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Project Management Professional certification, popularly known as PMP certification, is an internationally recognized certification introduced by Project Management institute [PMI] in 1996 as version 1.0

This world recognized, multi-industry approved, cross-functional and much respected certification is currently in its 5th version with 6 updated version announced on 6th  September, 2017 by PMI.

From 2018, PMP certification will be following the guidance issued by PMI in PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition.

PMBoK stands for Project Management Book of Knowledge and can easily be considered as Holy Book for Project Management Professionals. This books defines, discusses and lays down all the project management principles to be followed by professionals throughout the project from initiation to closure.

This post is about discussing the new introductions and changes in the PMP certification and hence in PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition. It goes without saying that this post assumes you are already well-versed in the history of PMP, PMI, knowledge areas, Process groups and most probably, you are already certified or in the process of getting PMP Certified.

Later, I will write some more on the other topics based on your feedback; but for now, let us discuss PMP 6.0 i.e. PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition changes as announced by PMI on 6th September, 2017.

Why the changes are required in PMP certification or PMBoK?

Since its introduction in 1996, PMP has undergone 5 revisions and this is the sixth one. This revision happens every 3 to 4 years as shown below.

• 1996, PMBOK® - 1st Edition
• 2000, PMBOK® - 2nd Edition
• 2004, PMBOK® - 3rd Edition
• 2009, PMBOK® - 4th Edition
• 2013, PMBOK® - 5th Edition

As you can see, there is a method to the madness [as I love to call it]. The revision happen regularly every 4 years. This is because PMI is a distinguished member of ANSI [American National Standards Institute] organization; and this membership requires PMI to update its guidance and book of knowledge every 3 to 5 years. Hence this explains the frequency of updates.

Generally what kind of updates come in revisions?

PMP certification and project management Book of Knowledge is not restricted to any specific industry or domain. It lays down the best of practices that are certified by Industries, organization to be the most optimum practices for efficient project management.

You can take any industry; be it Manufacturing, or service; all these best practices apply to all companies uniformly. Hence, PMP certified professionals are in great demand across the globe for their knowledge and ability to work across domains, factories, industries and geographies, due to their usage of uniformly approved terminologies and processes.

In every revision, PMI comes up with learning from latest advances in technology across sectors, updates in governance policies introduced by ruling authorities, updates in the best practices based on the results of last few years and introduction of new concepts that have a potential to be big game changers in project management.

Hence, the updates can be categorized in following manner:

1) New learnings and processes introduced in recent times

2) Updates to best practices based on the results of last few years

3) Updates in processes based on recommendations from standard and authorized bodies across the world

4) Game changer items that are going to be critical in project management.

What are the changes in PMP 6.0 or PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition?

Change # 1: AGILE is now officially part of PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition

• AGILE has been creating ripples  across the industries and projects for quite a few years now.
• PMI has recognized the trend and its potential to transform the way projects of future are going to be managed.
• There is going to be a dedicated booklet for AGILE, being shipped along with PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition

Change # 2: PMI Talent Triangle

PMI defines talent triangle as trinity of principles to achieve success in the project

• As the name hints, it consists of 3 processes
• Process, People and Technology and how they can be combined together to achieve success
• PMI discusses this concept in details in the 6th version

Change # 3: Process groups are now 49 processes instead of 47

• “Manage project knowledge” has been introduced to define how the knowledge accrued in Project execution can be managed
• “Control resources” has been introduced to control the resources. Note the usage of word control instead of manage
• “Implement risk responses” has been introduced as a separate process to manage the responses received during risk analysis. Earlier this was an activity; but now it is a full-grown process in itself owing to increasing uncertainties of projects in current times.
• “Close procurements” has been deleted. This was a separate process earlier but no more.

Change # 4: Renamed multiple process to reflect the current situation of project management

• “Project Human Resource Management” has been renamed to “Project Resource Management”, because resources can also include non-human resources such as electronic devices, software, infrastructure and logistics.
• “Project Time Management” renamed to “Project Schedule Management” because  schedule management needs to consider constraints on resources, risks, material and time. Hence the word “schedule” is more apt than “time”.
• “Perform Quality Assurance” changed to “Manage Quality” to reflect the development in thinking that Quality assurance is not a simple activity that you can perform in one go. Quality assurance in an independent career in itself. So this should be managed.
• “Plan Human resource management” changed to “Plan resource management” is self-explanatory because resources need not be only human.
• “Acquire project team” has been renamed to “Acquire Resources”
• “Control Communications” is now “Monitor Communications” to indicate the relaxation,and is debatable because here it takes out the onus of controlling the communications from Project manager and puts it on the team to conduct their communications in a responsible manner.
• “Control Risks” has been renamed to “Monitor Risks”, because managing risk response has been created as a new process.
• “Plan Stakeholder Management” is now Plan Stakeholder Engagement. Every good project manager knows that stakeholders need to be engaged with at multiple levels rather than simply managing them through reports and status meetings.
•  “Control Stakeholder Engagement” to “Monitor Stakeholder Engagement” to reflect change in the notion that project management should monitor such engagement rather than being heads-down in controlling them.

Change # 5: Role of project manager in a project gets a chapter for itself

This time, PMI spends a chapter on the topic of the role and responsibilities of project
manager as a whole.

• This is a big deviation from the old times, where PMBoK considered Project manager as a whole sole owner of project.
• But this time, PMI has expanded the definition of project manager and given him/her a broader role of a guide, mentor and monitor.

Change # 6: Distinctions between most commonly mistaken terminologies such as:

On-Going and Non-Ongoing processes

• Project Scope and how it is different from product scope
• Communication and communication(s)

Change # 7: Introduction of Risk response escalation strategy

• Here it discusses how to escalate the risk and its corresponding actions to the concerned stakeholders and multiple ways to handle this.

So these are 7 major changes in PMP certification and PMBOK® - 6.0th Edition; all of these changes will come into effect in the first quarter of 2018.

If you are planning to get certified before December, 2017 then continue to refer to PMBoK ® Version 5, else start referring to version 6.

In short, I can easily see that PMI has defined the role of Project manager to be more of a guide, allowing greater independence to the execution teams and at the same time, it assigns the tasks of responsible, correct communications, managing the risks to the team rather than only on PMs.

PM, in turn, has to coach the team to identify and plug the holes in their executions, plans and strategies.

The new version of PMBoK is definitely a step towards better and cohesive coordination between project management team and execution team, ensuring success through optimal usage of technology i.e. PMI Talent triangle!

All the best!

Feel free to write to me for questions and clarifications.

Abhinav Gupta

Blog Author

PMP, has 12+ years of experience working in Information technology sector and has worked with companies like Infosys and Microsoft in various capacities. He started his career as a manual tester for a world renowned software product and grew on to become automation champion in both functional as well as UI. He has worked with Healthcare units providing various software solutions to companies in North America and has worked with search engine based groups to enhance their experience and provide more bang for buck to their customers.