The Upcoming 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide—10 Questions Answered


I am a member of the Orange County, California chapter of the Project Management Institute (PMI-OC). I took the PMP exam prep class they put on this summer, and have been blogging since that time about various topics of project management as presented in the 4th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

It was brought to my attention by someone in PMI-OC that the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide is coming out at the end of this year, and that this had implications both for a) those studying for the PMP exam and b) for those who have their PMP certification, but would like to remain involved about current trends in project management.

I have gleaned as much information I could that is available about the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide based on those that have read the draft of the upcoming guide. This post contains some questions and answers that I felt many project managers would like to know about it.

1. When does the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide get published?

It is scheduled to be published on December 31, 2012.

2. Why is a 5th Edition coming out at this time?

The Project Management Institute comes out with a new edition of its PMBOK® Guide every 4 years, and the 4th Edition came out at the end of 2008.

3. How much will it cost?

I haven’t been able to find it listed yet on Amazon, although I will check back in November and update this post when the pricing information does come out.

4. When will the PMP exam be changed to reflect the changes in the 5th Edition?

If you take the exam on July 31st, 2013, you will be tested based on the 5th Edition. If you have been studying for the PMP exam based on the 4th Edition, you need to take the exam by July 30th, 2013.

5. How long is the 5th Edition PMBOK® Guide?

Andy Crowe, author of the popular PMP exam prep book The PMP Exam: How To Pass On Your First Try, has expressed his concern that the 5th Edition would be longer and more cumbersome than the 4th Edition because of the increased number of processes and inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs (ITTOs).   However, much of the content has been streamlined (especially in section 3, an overview of the 47 processes), so the “meat” of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide (minus the Annexes and Glossary) is contained in 248 pages rather than the current 345 pages for the 4th Edition, according to Ojiugo Ajunwa at Ritetrac Consulting.

6. Are there any new process groups?

No, the same five process groups of Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing apply in the 5th edition.

7. Are there any new knowledge areas?

Yes, there is one new knowledge area called Stakeholder Management, so there are now a total of 10 knowledge areas instead of nine. This topic was included as a part of the Communications Management knowledge area, and it now has its own knowledge area in Section 13 in the PMBOK® Guide (the first nine knowledge areas comprise Sections 4 through 12). It was included because it is not just important to communicate with stakeholders, but to make sure that the appropriate stakeholders are engaged in the decision-making process.

Two of the processes that used to be under the Communications Management knowledge area, Identify Stakeholders and Manage Stakeholder Expectations, have been moved to the new Stakeholder Management knowledge area. Identify Stakeholders is called the same thing in the 5th Edition but Manage Stakeholder Expectations is now called Manage Stakeholder Engagement in the 5th Edition.

8. Are there are any new processes?

There are 47 processes instead of 42. Two of the five new processes are in the new Stakeholder Management knowledge area:

  • Plan Stakeholder Management
  • Control Stakeholder Engagement

Three of the five new processes are in the Planning process group under various knowledge areas:

  • Plan Scope Management
  • Plan Schedule Management
  • Plan Cost Management

These planning activities had been considered part of the Integration knowledge area process called Develop Project Management Plan; they are considered to be their own separate process now.

9. Are there any new inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs of the processes?

According to Andy Crowe, the author of one the most popular PMP exam prep guides, The PMP Exam: How to Pass on Your First Try, there are a total of 614 inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs (ITTOs), a 19% increase from the 4th edition. As opposed to the 47 processes, the number of ITTOs makes it impractical to memorize them; trying to understand their purpose in the various processes is something that I have been concentrating on for many posts on the 4th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide, and will continue to do so for the 5th Edition.

10. Does the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide take into account some of the new methodologies such as Agile?

It appears that the Section on the Project Life Cycle includes a description of the distinction between the traditional waterfall approach and the newer adaptive or agile approach which is increasingly influential in the IT application area.

This will enough for those in non-IT application areas to understand a little about what agile is about, but it probably will be insufficient for an actual practitioner of agile methodology.  They do offer a new certification called PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Professional); whether PMI will put out a corresponding Agile Body of Knowledge in the future is an important question that remains to be answered.

In the next posts I will discuss some of the implications of the contents of the 5th Edition of the PMBOK® Guide on current trends within the practice of Project Management.

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