My 10-year old daughter playfully calls me a nerd sometimes. This is nothing new. I studied civil engineering, am a PMP, and am excited about sustainability in all its manifestations. Additionally, and this might make me seem like an even bigger nerd, I get excited when the new PMBOK edition comes out. I took the PMP exam with the 4th edition of the PMBOK, so I have seen noticeable changes over the years. However, this latest version threw me off a bit. For one thing, the new PMBOK is less than half the size of the previous three versions. And also, the processes are all gone; or at least not presented in the way they were before. There are no boxes with the inputs, tools, and techniques, and outputs for each. Nor are there the accompanying descriptions for each, which created the framework for my projects in the past.
At first, when I cracked the spine of my new PMBOK, I was rather disappointed. I felt that too much had been removed, a particular content, which speaks directly to the project work I do in the built environment. So, for example, the “perform Integrated Change Control” process is missing; or at least the previous versions. And I found that section especially interesting and applicable to my own work and when I provide consulting or training services to my clients. However, as I delved further into the PMBOK, I realized that the purpose for eliminating so many sections is due in part to its new approach. In the sixth edition, we started seeing the inclusion of agile methodology, which was a needed modification. But in the current seventh edition, agile is even more present. It has actually morphed into a more hybrid approach, which will afford the project manager more flexibility in setting p and executing their projects.
Since I always tell my clients and students that any tool is only as good as its user and the effectiveness of its application, the new PMBOK will be a tremendous asset for any project team, as long as it is applied efficaciously and efficiently. For one thing, the new PMBOK lays out a broader spectrum of options, approaches, and techniques for all kinds of projects, which may not fit as simply waterfall, agile or other type of lifecycle. Furthermore, no law says we cannot apply the previous techniques, knowledge areas, and 49 processes defined in the sixth edition. For example, in my case, many of my construction projects will still work well with these aforementioned artifacts.
As I always tell my professional stakeholders, don’t just try and pass the PMP for the sake of the certification. Instead, take advantage of the time and effort you will spend studying to get ready, improve your skills, learn tools and techniques to achieve project success, satisfy your own stakeholders, and positively impact your industry and/or community. And the new PMBOK 7th edition can do that if you apply it effectively!