I recently wrote an article about the new PMBOK 7th Edition, which has taken me a while to review and digest. For those of you who have not read it yet, you will note that there are many changes. First, for example, the new PMBOK is less than half the size of the previous editions. Secondly, the current seventh edition is not as prescriptive as before. Instead, the new PMBOK basically outlines the various tools and techniques at our disposal and explains the benefits of using such tools and techniques. Gone, however, are the 49 processes explained in detail, including the ITTO boxes.
Aside from the literal changes to the PMBOK, the obvious other modification is the changing project management industry. For those of you studying for the PMP certification exam, you will see that the structure of the PMBOK, which dictates the exam format, is no longer based on a predictive and/or waterfall methodology. That is not to say that the PMP uses an agile approach now, but it is more of a combined and open approach, which reflects what is occurring in the marketplace. That said, for those of us working in engineering, for example, which is a predictive, traditional, and projected business sector, there is still enough in the new PMBOK to help us execute our projects. However, as mentioned earlier, it is not as prescriptive. Therefore, we now have to emphasize creating our own framework, selecting the processes, and making the needed revisions that best serve our projects and stakeholders. In other words, something we have always done, but now the PMBOK reflects that.
It has taken me a few weeks to get used to the new PMBOK. However, as I review it more and more and apply it to my work, I definitely notice the new format’s advantages. I can also appreciate the newness and freshness of the new framework. Still, as is the case for most things in life, change does not always come easy, nor is it welcomed by all. In fact, one of the most noticeable content items of the PMBOK is the redefining of change management, which previously addressed change requests, to the Change Control System. And Change Management now refers to “transitioning individuals, groups, and organizations from a current state to a future state with intended business benefits.” (PMBOK 7th Edition, page 237.)
Since the PMBOK just came out this month, it isn’t easy to ascertain how fast the new framework will be applied across all industries that subscribe to PMI and PMP. However, it is worth noting that many industries, such as IT, design, and so on, are already applying the same principles. Therefore, we already have some examples to follow and a community where we can provide some hands-on experience. Also, we can look forward to taking the new guidelines in the PMBOK and applying them to the projects we see fit, which appears to be the main goal of the latest edition.