PMBOK 6th Edition Changes In 2018

The much awaited period for PMBOK 6th edition is over. Indeed, it is both a good and bad news for the PMP test takers. It is bad for the people who were already prepared for PMBOK 5th edition and couldn’t attempt the PMP exam, before it changed to align with PMBOK 6th edition. However, it is good for the people who are starting their preparations afresh with PMBOK 6th edition, so that they are aligned to the updated concepts of PMBOK.

Why PMI Changes The PMP Exam at All?

It is primarily for two reasons.

  1. PMI conducts a study called RDS (Role Delineation Study) to get latest facts, best practices, common project issues and many other project management related inputs from lot of project management practitioners across the world and accordingly update the PMP exam content outline document. Based on the updated PMP exam content outline document, the PMP exam will also gets revised. The content outline document contains primarily the critical tasks and knowledge areas tested on the exam.
  2. When the PMBOK or the standard gets updated to the next version, then the PMP exam will get revised to align with new PMBOK version.

Although there is no change to the PMP exam content outline document now, since the PMBOK 6th edition was released, the PMP exam was also revised to align with this.

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When Was PMBOK 6th Edition Released

Though PMBOK 6th edition was expected to release much earlier, it was finally released on 6th September 2017.

When is the New PMP Exam based on PMBOK 6th edition taking Effect From?

Though PMBOK 6th edition was released on 6 September 2017, the new exam was taking effect from 26 March 2018. So till 25 Mar 2018, PMP exam was based on PMBOK 5th edition. From 26 March 2018 onwards, the new PMP exam based PMBOK 6th edition is applicable.

PMBOK 6th Edition PDF Free Download for PMI Members

If you are PMI member, then PMBOK 6th Edition PDF is avialable  for free download. You will be able to find the hard copy of the book from most of the online stores for purchase.

How critical are the changes in PMBOK 6th Edition from PMBOK 5th edition?

There are significant changes in PMBOK 6th edition compared to PMBOK 5th edition. The size of PMBOK 6th edition itself increased also because of agile practices in PMBOK guide 6th edition. It may not possible to completely detail the changes in PMBOK guide 6th edition, I will try to briefly explain the primary changes.

PMBOK 6th Edition Changes

Changes in PMBOK 6th Edition and new PMP Exam

The following are the major changes to the PMBOK 6th edition.

Addition Of a New Chapter

The three introductory chapters in PMBOK 5th edition merged into first two chapters of PMBOK 6th edition.

Furthermore, there was an addition of a new chapter, emphasizing the role of the project manager and his required level of competencies.

Two Knowledge Areas Renamed

Two knowledge areas renamed are as follows:

  • Project Human Resource Management to Project Resource Management
  • Project Time Management to Project Schedule Management

This was a debate from lot of PMP aspirants on why only human resources are highlighted as a knowledge area. Why not the non-human resources? Are they not important for the project?

Fortunately PMI considers this in PMBOK 6th edition and renamed the Human Resource Management knowledge area to Resource Management knowledge area.

Similarly Time Management knowledge area renamed to Schedule Management knowledge area to make more sense of the processes.

Number of Processes in PMBOK 6th Edition

PMBOK guide 5th edition has 47 processes. However the total number of processes in PMBOK 6th edition increased to 49. This include addition of 3 new processes and deletion of 1 existing process.

Processes Deleted

  • This include deletion of Close Procurements process from procurement management knowledge area.
  • Merging of Close Procurements process into close project or phase process.

New Processes Added

This include the addition of 3 new processes.

  • Manage Project Knowledge
  • Control Resources
  • Implement Risk Responses

Renaming of Processes

Renaming of some of the existing processes to the new processes as follows

Old Process NameNew Process Name
Perform Quality AssuranceManage Quality
Plan Human Resource ManagementPlan Resource Management
Acquire Project TeamAcquire Resources
Control CommunicationsMonitor Communications
Control RisksMonitor Risks
Plan Stakeholder ManagementPlan Stakeholder Engagement
Control Stakeholder EngagementMonitor Stakeholder Engagement

Format of Each Knowledge Area

This is very important aspect. The begining of every knowledge area chapter include the following strcture.

  • Key Concepts
  • Trends and Emerging Practices
  • Tailoring Considerations
  • Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environments

Other Changes

Following are some of the other changes…

  • Strong consideration on the roles and responsibilities of project manager
  • Process tailoring – Instead of mandating each process, the emphasis on recommendations.
  • Some changes in the terminology and notations


To conclude with I tried to explain in this blog post, the major and important changes in PMBOK 6th edition.

Though the changes are significant, there are lot of interesting aspects such as bringing agile practices in project management, which is very much practical in the project management life cycle.

So what are we waiting for?

Grab the PMBOK 6th edition and start preparing for the new PMP exam. I wish all the very best. I appreciate, if you comment about your experience on the PMBOK 6th edition changes and how it impacted you.

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