PMI released an exposure draft of the PMBOK® 7th Edition in January 2020 for the project management community review. The PMBOK 7th Edition will be released on August 1, 2021, one of the most critical resources for preparing for the PMP exam if you want to earn your PMP certification. As such, PMBOK 7th Edition will serve as a guide for PMI’s PMP and CAPM certification tracks.

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When Will the PMBOK 7th Edition Be Published?

PMBOK 7th Edition is scheduled to be released on August 1, 2021, according to PMI’s page. However, the PMP exam will not be based on PMBOK 7th Edition immediately after its release. We expect that the PMP exam will be based on PMBOK 7th Edition by January 2022, which will give training providers time to update their training content with the new PMBOK changes.

Why Does PMBOK® Change?

PMBOK has focused primarily on waterfall project management techniques until now. However, competition is more brutal than ever with the rapid evolution of technology. Product lifecycles are shorter, and product or project requirements change according to the project’s progress.

With traditional project management methods, it is impossible to welcome rapidly changing requirements to a project. This is why agile project management methods and tools emerged in the 2000s, which started to be adopted by many organizations in project management, especially in the IT and software industries.

PMP is the world’s most reputable project management certification, with nearly one million PMP-certified professionals. Because the dynamics of project management, popular frameworks, and trends are constantly changing, the PMBOK, which is the backbone of the PMP certification exam content, must also be related to the changing dynamics of the project management industry. This is the main reason why the PMBOK changes every three to five years.

What Is Changing in PMBOK 7th Edition?

PMBOK 7th Edition will be principle-based rather than process-based and much shorter than the current version.

Project managers often use different approaches, which can be predictive, agile, hybrid, or waterfall, in delivering projects according to the characteristics of the project, the industry, the stakeholders, and the organization’s requirements. The critical point is that project management standards must focus on successful projects and value delivery rather than be biased towards one approach.

Principles Vs. Process-Based Project Management

In both the current and previous PMBOKs, there are PMBOK Knowledge Areas, each with processes, inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs. These processes will not be available in the Seventh Edition of the PMBOK. While current and previous editions of the PMBOK have focused on deliverables, evolving project dynamics focus on the entire project outcome, and the new PMBOK will focus on results instead of deliverables.

However, this does not mean that a process-based approach is no longer relevant or useful. Traditional project management delivery methods are still used by many organizations and project managers. In the context of PMBOK 7th Edition, the traditional approach remains relevant as well.
In PMBOK 7th Edition, projects are more than just producing products or deliverables. Projects deliver results, and those results give value to the organization and its stakeholders.

Changes between PMBOK®-6 and PMBOK®-7

Here are the changes from PMBOK 6th Edition to PMBOK 7th Edition based on PMBOK 7th Edition exposure draft and PMI announcement.

1. The focus of Project Management Standards has shifted.

In PMBOK 6th Edition, The Standard for Project Management mainly focuses on processes, which is considered as good practices on most projects most of the time, organized by Process Groups:

  • Initiating
  • Planning
  • Executing
  • Monitoring & Controlling
  • Closing

In PMBOK 7th Edition, The Standard for Project Management mainly focuses on Value Delivery System and a dozen Project Delivery Principles.

We saw the delivery principles above, which are referenced in PMBOK-7 as below:

Project Delivery Principles PMBOK-7 Reference
Be a diligent, respectful, and caring steward Stewardship
Build a culture of accountability and respect Team
Engage stakeholders to understand their interests and needs Stakeholders
Focus on value Value
Recognize and respond to systems’ interactions Holistic thinking
Motivate, influence, coach, and learn Leadership
Tailor the delivery approach based on context Tailoring
Build quality into processes and results Quality
Address complexity using knowledge, experience, and learning Complexity
Address opportunities and threats Opportunities & threats
Be adaptable and resilient Adaptability & resilience
Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state Change management

It will further include:

  • Tailoring
  • Models, methods, and artifacts

2. Primary structure changes!

In PMBOK 6th Edition, the main focus was on 49 processes grouped into 10 knowledge areas:


Project environment

Role of the project manager

10 Knowledge Areas:

  • Integration
  • Scope
  • Schedule
  • Cost
  • Quality
  • Resources
  • Communications
  • Risk
  • Procurement
  • Stakeholders

In PMBOK 7th Edition, the guide will focus on Performance Domains primarily:


Models, methods, and artifacts

8 Performance domains:

  • Team
  • Stakeholders
  • Life cycle
  • Planning
  • Navigating Uncertainty & Ambiguity
  • Delivery
  • Performance
  • Project work

In Summary

Here are the key takeaways from PMBOK 6th Edition to PMBOK 7th Edition:

  • PMI is moving from an approach based on the process to an approach based on holistic principles, similar to the agile world
  • The standards for project management have moved from domains (of which there are 5) to project delivery principles (of which there are 12)
  • The skeleton structure has shifted from a classification based on knowledge domains (10 of them) to performance domains (8 of them)

The PMBOK 7th Edition has significant changes from waterfall project management techniques to agile and holistic project delivery methods. We recommend that you prepare and sit for the PMP exam before the changes. You can take SPOTO PMP training before the changes. Besides, SPOTO offers the latest PMP exam dumps and practice tests to ease your preparation process. Pass your PMP exam with SPOTO 100% Real PMP Exam Dumps before the changes!

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Last modified: 2021-06-18



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