The Project Management Institute (PMI) updates their Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) every few years – give or take. This is a wonderful thing. It would be arrogant to think that every best practice of project management was captured precisely in the first try and thinking that practices and the profession does not change over time. Taking a look at the latest draft of the upcoming edition of the PMBOK, I am thinking that they are on the right track.
Personally, I have experienced the changeover from 3rd to 4th and 4th to the 5th. I was a full time project management instructor, developer, and author during those transitions. I was also one of the contributors to the 4th edition. Not that influences my impressions, but I do declare that move from the 3rd edition to the 4th edition was the most radical and beneficial. This was primarily due to the standardization of naming and structure. The process nomenclature was all over the board in third edition. The fourth edition set out to uniformly establish all processes with a VERB – NOUN structure. For instance Scope Planning became Plan Scope Management. Does not sound to drastic or earth-shattering, but as instructor attempting to get all my students to understand, memorize, and internalize all the vast amounts of content and exact naming, this was a major improvement.
Reading thru the sixth edition, there is not the major structural changes like those just mentioned. Nevertheless, there is obvious recognition of how our industry is maturing and expanding. There appears to be more attention given to all the various industries where our project management skills and methodologies are used and applied. This is most noticeable in terms of agile project management practices. As one certified in PMI’s Agile certification called the PMI-ACP, I welcome the inclusion of agile considerations in with the more traditional methods of project management. Naturally this demands more of project managers and those seeking the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification, but it is not out of line to ask for our PMPs to be more well rounded and obtain a broader knowledge base and tool bank in which to lead projects with. I equate everything contained in any edition of the PMBOK and the broader collective of what we expect a certified PMP to know is like a toolbox. A carpenter has his or her own toolbox that enables them to tackle various projects. Every project he or she works on is not going to require the same exact tools or strategies to meet the project’s objectives. Same with project managers. We need to have a toolbox. The more it contains, the more we have available to us. The more we comprehend the tools contained within, the more we are able to make the most appropriate decisions. Project management, like carpentry, requires skills, knowledge, and practice. And like any trade, we should expect the industry, the knowledge bank, and the technologies used to grow and evolve in hand.
So I fully embrace the upcoming changes to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. I am excited to train future and current project managers and PMP seekers on the 6th edition of the PMBOK. The PMBOK 6th edition is expected to be released later this year (2017) in the 3rd or 4th quarter.