17 January, 2023

Top 10 Things to Know about PMBOK 7 – the 7th Edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge

PMBOK 7 is the 7th edition of the Project Management Institute’s Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. Here are my top 10 things you need to know about it.

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PMBOK 7 Top 10

General Things about PMBOK 7

1. PMBOK 7 is a radical departure from its predecessors. It now sits alongside the content of its immediate predecessor, PMBOK 6. PMI has now placed the content from that earlier version onto its digital platform, PMIstandards+

2. PMBOK 7 is the first edition to properly include Agile Project Management. It does this by being agnostic about the approach you take. It suggests that the methods and approaches you choose are up to you. Your choice depends upon your situation. PMI won’t prescribe, nor weight their guidance in one direction or another.

The Structure of PMBOK 7

3. PMBOK 7, like former versions, is two books in one. The first part is the American National Standards Institute’s 2021 Standard for Project Management. The second part contains the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

4. The Standard for Project Management contains two principal sections. The first is called ‘A System for Value Delivery’. This introduces the PMI’s perspectives on the importance and process for creating value in our projects. I rate this as the most important innovation that PMBOK 7 introduced.

See our article: Value Delivery: The Driving Force that should Motivate your Projects

5. The second part of the Standard for Project Management sets out 12 Project Management Principles. These are-level statements that capture and summarize a generally accepted objective for the practice of effective project management. Each one has 2-3 pages of explanation and discussion.

See our article: Your Top 5 Questions Answered about Project Management Principles

The PMBOK 7 Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

6. The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge part of PMBOK 7 starts with 8 Project Performance Domains. To a degree, these replace the 10 Knowledge Areas of former editions. It’s the single largest part of the book. Each project performance domain is ‘a group of related activities that are critical for the effective delivery of project outcomes. Project performance domains are interactive, interrelated, and interdependent areas of focus that work in unison to achieve desired project outcomes.’

See our article: Project Performance Domains: Do You Know What they Are and Why they Matter?

7. There is an excellent section called ‘Tailoring’. In fact, I think it is the best-written and most helpful section in the book. Previous editions only gave this the most cursory of coverage. This edition offers exceptionally good guidance.

See our article: Tailoring: How to Determine Appropriate Project Methodology, Methods, and Practices

8. At last, PMBOK 7 is now acting as the kind of reference guide I’d expect of something called a ‘body of knowledge’. This is particularly so in the section, ‘Models, Methods, and Artifacts’. It offers useful lists common models, methods, and artifacts available to project practitioners, with a brief description of each. And it maps them onto the project performance domains where the authors suggest they may be most useful.

See our article: Models, Methods, & Artifacts: PMBOK’s Awesome Tools to Get it Done

Thoughts about PMBOK 7

9. There are a few important topics that PMI has introduced into PMBOK 7 which are very welcome, but which I’d like to see developed in future editions. Chief among these are Governance, Sponsorship, and PMOs.

10. Finally, what is the status of PMBOK 7? First, it offers the American Standard for Project Management – now very much more principles-based than previously. Second, it is the current statement of how PMI views the discipline at the heart of our profession. And third, PMBOK 7 is now clearly a part of PMI’s examination syllabus for its two core Project Management certifications: Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM). Together, these make PMBOK 7 a crucial reference document for all Project Managers seeking formal PMI certification.

Bonus Thought about PMBOK 7

11. I consider PMBOK 7 to be a landmark document that all Project Managers can benefit from reading. My only reservations are the shockingly high price and, given that, the poor production quality – especially in the light of Principle 8: Build quality into processes and deliverables.

Carefully curated video recommendations for you:

Recommended Article for More on PMBOK 7

What Kit does a Project Manager Need?

I asked Project Managers in a couple of forums what material things you need to have, to do your job as a Project Manager. They responded magnificently. I compiled their answers into a Kit list. I added my own. 

Check out the Kit a Project Manager needs

Note that the links are affiliated.

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Mike Clayton

About the Author...

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.
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