Project Practitioners > PMBOK 6th Edition: Highlights of What's New

PMBOK 6th Edition: Highlights of What's New

By Sinikka Waugh

As a project manager, as with any profession, it’s important to stay current.  The PMI models this by continually reviewing, updating, and republishing the content of the PMBOK Guide.  The newest edition comes out on September 6, according to the PMI.   

Why is it changing – really?   

The PMI does a great job of researching, analyzing, and responding to current trends.  The organization seeks to maintain an active and vibrant standing in our workforce (a truth for which most of us career professional PMs are grateful!).  Project Management is a set of skills, processes, and techniques that, when applied well, allow us to achieve results for our organizations.  Why wouldn’t we want to keep those skills and techniques up to date with the latest advances in technology, science, and professional development? 

So why should I care? 

As a practitioner here in Iowa, if you’ve already taken the PMP certification exam, then you can use the changes to the PMBOK guide as an opportunity to brush up on the skills noted and earn your PDUs to maintain your credentials.  If you’re preparing for the PMP certification exam, then you’ll want to grab the 6th edition copy and study that, since it’s the foundation for the exam. 

(HINT:  thinking about taking the PMP?  Look to this helpful link from PMI: 

kay so what’s the skinny? 

The changes to the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition can be summarized in the following five bullets: 

  1. Perhaps the biggest changes include two knowledge areas with new names (Time Management went to Project Schedule Management, and Human Resource Management changed to Project Resource Management).  While this overview article is not the right forum for a deeper dive on these, knowledge areas, watch for articles in our PMI Central Iowa Chapter monthly newsletter for more detail on these! 
  1. Each of the knowledge area chapters have four new sections (Key Concepts, Trends and Emerging Practices, Tailoring Considerations, and Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments).  Overall, this is a pretty exciting call-out by PMI to call more attention to the practical application, the usage trends, and the nuances of each of these knowledge areas when applied in environments that aren’t using exclusively traditional “waterfall” methodologies.   Watch for more information on this too! 


  1. The new PMBOK guide is expected to place a greater emphasis on business application, including strategic knowledge, business knowledge, and the PM contributions to business documents.  This is critical because each project should exist within the context of an organization, and PMs need to have the business and strategic knowledge at our fingertips to make sure the project delivers the right results for the organization. 


  1. There’s a new section on the role of the project manager, and in this section, we’ll see more explanation and clarification around the PMI Talent Triangle, including the skills and competencies expected of PMs (Technical PM, Leadership, and Strategic & Business Management).  Focusing on the role of the PM and how to leverage the Talent Triangle will help us as PMs continue to add value to our organizations. 


  1. There’s an appendix focused specifically on agile practices.  As you’ve seen our Central Iowa Chapter continue to talk about agile and how we as PMs can be most successful within agile or “agile-waterfall-hybrid” organizations, we’re looking forward to digging deeper into this appendix!  Agile This will be particularly useful for the many IT PMs in and around the Central Iowa Chapter  


So now what? 

  • If you’d like to hear directly from PMI Global about the changes, check out this link for a video.  
  • If you’d like to read the PMBOK Guide 6th edition, it’s available now for download and purchase.
  • Best of all, check back in two weeks for another article about the changes! 

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