Quick and Easy: This is New in the PMBOK Guide Edition 7

Annalena Simonis, Monday 26 July 2021 | Reading time: 5 min.

The Project Management Institute (PMI) has released a new version of its PMBOK guide. According to its own statements, the latest changes to the guide are more significant than those of the last decades. Here is a summary of the most important changes.

Founded in 1969 in the USA, the Project Management Institute is a global non-profit project management association. In 2020, the institute counted more than 600,000 members in over 200 countries, making it the PM organization with the largest membership worldwide. Besides certification programs and extensive market research programs, PMI has been publishing its PMBOK guide (Project Management Body of Knowledge) since the late 1990s by setting standards for project, program and portfolio management. In July 2021, a revised 7th version of this PMBOK guide has now been published. In this article we explain briefly what is new.


What is PMBOK?

The PMBOK guide is a project management guide developed by PMI. Along with PRINCE2 and IPMA, it is one of the world's leading project management approaches. According to PMI, a project consists of the interaction of many processes. The PMBOK collects all the methodological knowledge, best practices, terms and guidelines that currently affect project management in order to make them applicable to all industries. Thus, the PMBOK is not only a fundamental knowledge resource, but also sets the standard for project management worldwide. To stay ahead of the curve, PMI regularly updates the PMBOK guide to reflect current project management challenges. Version 7 is already available in English on the PMI website. Translations are expected to be released starting at the end of August 2021.


Reason for the latest version

Project management is constantly changing. Due to numerous new technologies, approaches and faster market changes in recent years, it was necessary to adapt the standards again, according to PMI. The goal is to provide a guideline that supports the way project managers worldwide work today. PMBOK is intended to help execute work methods in a more proactive, innovative and adaptive way. Today's project managers need to be more flexible than ever and these requirements need to be reflected in the PMBOK guide.


That' s new in version 7

In the new release of PMBOK guide 7th Edition some significant changes have been made. Among other things, the entire content has been restructured. Previous editions of the guide took a strongly process-oriented approach. The new version moves to a more value- and principle-oriented perspective. The focus of the new project management standards is now on successful project and value delivery.

Some points have not been included in the new version. For example, the previous 10 knowledge areas and the five process groups of project management (initiation, planning, realization, monitoring, control, completion) have been removed. The new standard for project management is now formed by the so-called Project Delivery Principles and the Value Delivery System.


12 Project Delivery Principles

  1. Stewardship: Be a diligent, respectful, and caring steward.
  2. Team: Build a culture of accountability and respect.
  3. Stakeholder: Engage stakeholders to understand their interests and needs.
  4. Holistic Thinking: Focus on value.
  5. Recognize and respond to systems’ interactions.
  6. Leadership: Motivate, influence, coach, and learn.
  7. Tailoring: Tailor the delivery approach based on context.
  8. Quality: Build quality into processes and results.
  9. Complexity: Address complexity using knowledge, experience, and learning.
  10. Opportunities and threats: Address opportunities and threats.
  11. Adaptability and resilience: Be adaptable and resilient.
  12. Change management: Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state.


Value Delivery System

Instead of focusing on the processes of projects, the idea of the new "The Standard for Project Management" focuses on the value chain.  From this point of view, projects are fundamental components of a value delivery system. Indeed, they not only produce deliverables, but also create measurable value for companies and their stakeholders. The benefits created can be both tangible, such as a specific financial gain, and intangible, such as a societal benefit or improvement.


More information and detailed insights into the latest changes to the PMBOK Guide -Seventh Edition can be found on the PMI website. For more specific information, we recommend participating in the Institute's webinars around the new PMBOK version.


Also read other articles about the Project Management Institute:

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