What’s New in the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition?

Project Management

The Project Management Body of Knowledge Guide (PMBOK® Guide) serves as a recognized standard for the profession of project management. A standard is a formal document that defines established norms, methods, processes, rules, and practices. The knowledge and facts contained in this standard are evolved and derived from the acclaimed effective practices of project management practitioners who contributed to the development of this standard. So, the majority of the questions in the PMP Exam are based on or derived from the information given in the PMBOK Guide. As a PMP candidate or aspirant, it is essential to understand the objective, content, and context of this guide.

Purpose of PMBOK® Guide

The fundamental purpose of the PMBOK Guide is to recognize and explain generally accepted knowledge and systems that can be applied to the projects. The PMBOK Guide is a subset of the project management body of knowledge that is generally recognized as good practice. Here, generally recognized means the knowledge and practices described in the book can be applied to maximum projects most of the time as it is a standard and there is general agreement about their value and usefulness. Good practice means most of the people agree that the application of the knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques given in the book can improve the chances of success over many projects.

Although there have been many establishments of pre-defined facts, the project management profession is still emerging. The dynamism in the industry leads to uncertainty and little commonality around terms. The secondary purpose of the PMBOK Guide is to help provide a common lexicon or vocabulary. It can be used and understood by all for applying project management concepts. A common vocabulary is a crucial element of any discipline.

However, it is possible that these practices are followed by the masses but cannot be expected to be applied uniformly on all projects. It’s always the decision of the project team to determine what the most suitable and feasible practice for any given project would be.

What’s New in 6th Edition?

  1. Processes organized by process groups

    In PMBOK 6th edition, the processes are organized by process groups. This is because processes are more relevant to the process group as compared to a knowledge area.

  2. Content of chapters

    In PMBOK 5th edition, there were a total of 13 chapters covering the concepts of the project, program, portfolio and organizational structures in addition to the life cycle of the project. PMBOK 6th edition combines and strengthens these chapters. In addition to this, the skills and competencies a project manager should possess have been aligned to the PMI Talent Triangle.

    Click here to View PMI Talent Triangle

  3. Names of Two Knowledge Areas

    The ten knowledge areas in PMBOK 5 still exist in PMBOK 6th edition, but 2 of these knowledge areas’ names have been changed. Refer to the following table:

    PMBOK 5th Edition PMBOK 6th Edition
    Integration Management Integration Management
    Scope Management Scope Management
    Time Management Schedule Management
    Cost Management Cost Management
    Quality Management Quality Management
    Human Resource Management Resource Management
    Communication Management Communication Management
    Risk Management Risk Management
    Procurement Management Procurement Management
    Stakeholder Management Stakeholder Management
  4. Six Changes in Existing Processes

    Estimate Activity Resources belonged to Planning Process Group and Time Management Knowledge area. In PMBOK 6th edition, it still belongs to Planning Process Group, but now it will be part of Resource Management knowledge area. Six processes are renamed in PMBOK 6 although their content stays same mainly. The table below shows the changes of process names from PMBOK 5 to PMBOK 6th edition.

    PMBOK 5th Edition PMBOK 6th Edition
    Perform Quality Assurance Manage Quality
    Plan Human Resource Management Plan Resource Management
    Control Communications Monitor Communications
    Control Risks Monitor Risks
    Plan Stakeholder Management Plan Stakeholder Engagement
    Control Stakeholder Engagement Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
  5. Addition of information on Agile methodologies

    Adding more information on the adaptive and iterative methods helps one to keep up with current practices. Agile and adaptive practices are a significant part of all business strategy and projects now. Numerous projects are incorporating the agile methodology on their projects. So, PMI has added the relevant agile practices needed for each knowledge area in the PMBOK 6th edition.

  6. Addition of Three New Processes

    The process Close procurement in the Procurement Knowledge area has been removed in 6th edition. On the other hand, three new processes in different Knowledge areas are added. The following table lists the processes and the process group and knowledge area to which they belong:

    Process Process Group Knowledge Area
    Manage Project Knowledge Executing Integration Management
    Implement Risk Responses Executing Risk Management
    Control Resources Monitoring and Controlling Resource Management

    Therefore, to PMBOK’s 5th edition 47 processes, three are added. Then, from that, one is removed. So, essentially 49 processes are mentioned in PMBOK 6th edition.

  7. Other changes:

    Some other additions included in 6th edition are:

    • Trends and emerging practices

    • Tailoring considerations

    • A higher weight on Strategic and Business Knowledge

    • A new section on the role of the project manager


As you must know, knowledge and understanding of PMBOK gives you an upper hand on the following exams:

  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)

  • Project Management Professional (PMP)

  • Program Management Professional (PgMP)

  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)SM

  • PMI Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)

  • PMI Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)

PMBOK 6th edition presents solutions for project delivery professionals working in the entire spectrum of approaches – from predictive to cutting edge agile methodologies. It is a better, more accurate and more precise version of its previous forms.

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