Everything you need to know about the changes to the PMBOK Guide® - Sixth Edition

What is the PMBOK® Guide?

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is the cornerstone publication of the Project Management Institute (PMI)®. It is an essential tool for those seeking to achieve the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential, or Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)® certification.

As it is widely recognised as a leading framework and body of knowledge, and always aligned with current project management practices it is also a key resource for all project managers worldwide.

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Why is the PMBOK® Guide Changing?

Practices, philosophies and approaches in project management are constantly evolving to keep pace with an ever-changing global business environment.

As champions of exceptional project management standards, the PMI® continually review the PMBOK® Guide and develop its content to remain at the cutting edge of excellent and effective project management practice.

When did PMBOK® Guide Change?

In September 2017, the sixth edition of the PMBOK® Guide was released.

Over the following months, PMI® R.E.P.s (Registered Education Providers) began to introduce the sixth edition. All providers are now using this edition.
  • PMP® Exam

    The updated PMP® Exam, aligned with the content of PMBOK® Guide - Sixth Edition, came into effect on March 26th, 2018.
  • CAPM® Exam

    The new CAPM® Exam came into practice on May 21st, 2018.
What is Changing?

What are the main changes in the PMBOK® Guide - Sixth Edition?

The changes from PMBOK® Guide - Fifth Edition to PMBOK® Guide - Sixth Edition reflect the type of environment project managers are working in today.

The PMI® is run by volunteers who are active and experienced project managers. They revised and updated the PMBOK® Guide - Sixth Edition in response to feedback from PMI® stakeholders, and answering requirements they themselves had encountered within projects.

Overall, the changes bring about even more clarity and the sense of a more organic, adaptive PMBOK® Guide, ideal for today’s project management world.

We have divided the main changes into the following sections:

  • Chapters
  • Knowledge Areas
  • Processes
  • Consideration for Agile Practices


A new chapter called “The Role of the Project Manager” has been added to the PMBOK® Guide.

You’ll find a greater emphasis on strategic and business knowledge here. There is a focus on linking projects to the strategic objectives of an organisation.

This chapter also includes guidance on how to be an effective leader within your project management role. The qualities required by project managers are closely aligned to the PMI® Talent Triangle*, which is covered in detail during this chapter.

PMI Talent Triangle


PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Processes

There were 47 Processes in PMBOK® Guide - Fifth Edition. In the Sixth edition, you’ll find 49, including 3 New Processes:

  • Manage project knowledge
  • Implement risk response
  • Control resources

The process “close procurement” has been removed.

Knowledge Areas…

PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Knowledge Areas

There are still 10 Knowledge Areas in the PMBOK® Guide - Sixth Edition, but two have been renamed:

  • Project Time Management:
    This knowledge area has been renamed “Project Schedule Management”.

  • Project Human Resource Management:
    As there are many other resources within a project, aside from people, this knowledge area has been expanded to include all, and renamed “Project Resource Management”.

4 new sections have been added to each knowledge area:

  • Trends and Emerging Practices
  • Tailoring considerations
  • Key concepts
  • Consideration for Agile
Changes and Additions to other Knowledge Areas
  • Project Integration Management
    The new “Manage Project Knowledge” process here ensures that all knowledge is shared throughout other projects in the organisation. For example, a lesson you learned on your current or last project, could be useful knowledge for another project in progress or just beginning. This lowers risk and improves the outcome of each project.
  • Project Scope Management
    Consideration is given to the relationship between the project manager and business analyst.
  • Project Quality Management
    “Perform quality assurance” has been replaced with “manage quality”. Project managers are responsible for managing the quality on a project rather than outsourcing it to another department.
  • Project Communications Management
    Here, the PMI® differentiate between actively communicating, and the artifacts of communication such as reports and written outputs.
  • Project Risk Management
    There are many changes here, mostly looking at overall risk instead of only focusing on event-driven risks. There is also a new risk response called “Escalate”.
  • Project Procurement Management
    This knowledge area now has more of an international focus, instead of just a North American viewpoint.
  • Project Stakeholder Management
    This is now more about stakeholder engagement with the philosophy that you can’t “manage” your stakeholders, but you can optimise how you engage with them.

Consideration for Agile Practices

Characteristics of Agile

Agile, and other iterative approaches to project management are becoming more widely adapted all the time.

The PMI® recognises the importance of agile and how it can be implemented alongside the PMBOK® Guide framework.

“What does this Mean for Me?”

“I want to achieve a PMP® credential”

If you’re not yet a PMP® credential holder, you’ve picked a fantastic time to start working towards achieving this highly-respected credential.

Here are our recommended next steps for you:

  • Read our advice on creating your strategy for PMP® success. Get Started
  • Find out more about our PMP® Exam Prep courses, and reserve your place. Get Started
  • Take action as soon as possible. We find that those who focus intensively, attending training, studying, and sitting their exam within a compact time frame are more likely to achieve PMP® success. Get Started
*The PMI TALENT TRIANGLE and the PMI Talent Triangle logo are marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.
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