Differences between PMBOK® Guide 5 & PMBOK® Guide 6

As Project Management methodologies and best practices evolve, The Project Management Institute (PMI) updates their processes outlined in the PMBOK® Guide. At a high level, the changes found in Guide 6 stem from additions in the number of processes, the streamlining of processes, and a greater emphasis in the importance of both product and project scope.

Here is a more detailed look of the changes we observed in the new PMBOK® Guide 6.


Change #1: There were a total of 13 chapters in the 5th edition of the PMBOK®. Chapters 1 to 3 presented an overall picture of the project management framework and the role and skills involved with being a PM. The 6th edition consolidates these chapters while adding a new chapter on the responsibilities of a project manager (PM). The skills and competencies a PM should possess are now aligned with the PMI Talent Triangle.


Change #2: While there are still 10 Knowledge Areas in the 6th edition of the PMBOK®, two of them will appear with new names. Time Management is changed to Schedule Management, and Human Resource Management is shortened to just Resource Management.

In addition to these minor changes, the 6th edition will have four additional sections that consist of Key Concepts, Tailoring Considerations, a discussion about the developments and new practices being used in project management, and a focus on agile and adaptive methodology.


Change #3: There are 3 new processes, as well as one deletion, bringing the total number of processes in the 6th edition up to from 47 to 49.

The three new process added include: Manage Project Knowledge, Implement Risk Responses, and Control Resources. Estimate Activity Resources is still part of the Planning Process Group, but it is associated with Project Resource Management processes instead of Project Schedule processes. The Close Procurements process has been consolidated into the Close Project or Phase process.


Change #4: Six processes are renamed in the 6th edition even though their content is roughly the same.


Change #5: There are changes in Project Management Plan Components and Project Documents. In the 5th Edition, Project Management Plan Components (Procurement Management Plan, Stakeholder Management Plan, etc.) were described as inputs and outputs to a process. In the 6th Edition, project documents are now listed as an input and project document updates are listed as an output. There is a list of potential project documents that could be considered inputs or outputs depending on the needs of the project.


Change #6: Since many projects are embracing the Agile methodology for project delivery, PMI has updated the 6th Edition with the relevant Agile practices that are needed for each Knowledge Area. Additionally, they have added an appendix containing practices used in adaptive environments.


Change #7: Project Risk Management considers overall project risks and added a risk response called ‘Escalate’. This response allows a Project Manager to escalate the risk to the appropriate party so that it is no longer his/her responsibility. Once escalated, the PM will now have the option to either remove the risk from the project’s risk register, or keep it in the risk register and classify it as “Escalated/Assigned To”.


Change #8: There is nearly 20% more content (over 200 pages) that has been added in the new PMBOK® Guide. The Agile Practice Guide adds another 210 pages of potential exam content on both Agile development and adaptive environments. Together, these changes add up to 400+ pages of new written content for the exam, more than doubling of ITTO (Inputs-Tools & Techniques–Outputs) to 1440.


Arrowhead Consulting has been monitoring these changes, and updating our training content accordingly to provide students with the best opportunity to pass the PMBOK® 6 exam the first time. If you take our course and do not pass, Arrowhead will allow the participant to take our next PMP® Exam Prep course or have a one-on-one review session with one of Arrowhead’s facilitators for free. To read about the benefits of getting your PMP Certification, check out our blog entry “Is PMP Certification Good for Me?”


If you’re interested in benefitting your career and enhancing your Project Management performance by earning your PMP® Certification, find out what classes are coming up here.


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