Project management is a dynamic field with changing needs and expectation. The Project Management Institute (PMI), a leading institute in the USA, sets the industry standards in the area of project management with “A guide to the Project Management Body Of Knowledge – PMBOK GUIDE”. PMI reviews and updates the PMBOK GUIDE every 4 to 5 years.

The release of PMBOK 6th edition, the latest version of PMBOK Guidance was on 6th September 2017 from PMI. PMBOK V6 has generated interest among both practitioners and aspirants for PMI certifications. People are eager to know what are the changes and how it would impact the certification.

This article has summarized the top 10 differences between PMBOK®Guide 5th and 6th Edition:

1. Changes in Knowledge areas:
There is no addition of new knowledge areas. So, many of knowledge areas remain the same. Yet, there is a modification of the names of two knowledge area so that they manifest what they mean.

Project Time Management is now Project Schedule Management. To make it clear that it is the schedule that we manage and not the time. Human Resource Management is now Project Resource Management. To signify that we manage both team resources & physical resources. There is no change in Process Groups. Thus, the process groups: Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing still exist.

2. Change in processes:

a) Addition of Processes: 3 new processes have been added

New Process names

Process Group Knowledge Area

Manage Project Knowledge

Executing Project Integration Management

Control resources

Monitoring & Controlling

Project Resource Management

Implement risk response


Project Risk Management

b) Process Shift: One process has moved between the knowledge areas (no change in Process group though)

Process name Knowledge Area(PMBOK V5) Knowledge Area(PMBOK V6)
Estimate Activities Resources Project Time management Project Resource management

c)  Renamed processes: Nine processes have been renamed as below:

Old name New name
Control communication Monitor communication
Control Risk Monitor Risk
Control Stakeholder Engagement Monitor Stakeholder Engagement
Perform Quality Assurance Manage Quality
Plan Human Resources Management Plan Resource Management
Plan Stakeholder Management Plan Stakeholder Engagement
Acquire Project Team Acquire Resources
Develop Project Team Develop Team
Manage Project Team Manage Team

d) Process Deletion:

One process named Close Procurement is removed from PMBOK v6. In reality, project manager hardly plays any role in this process, procurement manager & legal team handles it.

So, the PMBOK© Guide 6th Edition has 49 processes compared to 47 processes in the 5th Edition.

3. Chapter addition:

PMBOK ® guide 6th Edition has a new chapter (Chapter no. 3) on Role of Project Manager that address the skill sets required by organizations. This is in line with the PMI Talent Triangle (introduced in 2016) that mandates 3 levels of skill sets named

a) technical

b) strategic & business management

c) leadership from project managers

First three chapters are rewritten to understand the importance of project managers role. They define project managers as a leader, thinker, business expert and an integrator.

4. Tool and Techniques:

PMBOK ® Sixth edition distinguishes the Tools & Techniques from PMBOK ® Fifth edition. With the market sense, this edition has reduced the number. PMBOK V6 has 132 most common Tools and Techniques for the projects.

Further, PMBOK ® Sixth edition has grouped some of the used Tools &  Techniques in 6 broad groups :

  • Data gathering
  • Data analysis
  • Data representation
  • Decision making
  • Communication skills
  • Interpersonal & team skills

5. Knowledge Areas:

In PMBOK ® edition 6, each of the 10 knowledge area chapters has four new sections viz.

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

6. Introduction of Agile:

One of the most major and high impact change in PMBOK V6 over PMBOK V5 is the inclusion of Agile concepts. They have made effort to align traditional concepts of PMBOK® with Agile concepts. PMBOK® V6 has incorporated Agile concepts in all 10 knowledge areas. For the first time, PMBOK® Guide includes topics from Agile Practice Guide. This has broadened the gamut of project delivery approaches. These change will have an impact on PMI certification courses like PMP, CAPM, and PMI-ACP.

7. Introduction of risk response strategy:

A new risk response strategy “Escalate“ has been added for Positive Risk(i.e. for Opportunities) and for Negative Risk( i.e. for Threats). If the project manager identifies any risk beyond his scope, he should escalate. He has to pass it on to the relevant person or team within the organization. Once escalated, he can either remove it or classify it as “Escalated/Assigned to” in the risk register.

8. Introduction of notations:

For the first time, various notations have been used in PMBOK V6 differentiating between processes which are “Ongoing Process (“ones which are continuously executing) versus and “Non-ongoing process”.

9. Concept of earned schedule:

The concept of Earned Schedule(ES) has been included within The Earned Value Management (EVM) of Project Cost Management. It redefines the schedule variance and Schedule Performance Index (SPI) used in traditional EVM with ES and At(Actual Time).

10. Other minor changes incorporated in PMBOK V6 :

a. Besides the concept of OPA (Organizational Process Assets ) and EEF (Enterprise Environmental Factors) which were there in PMBOK V5, the latest version of PMBOK® adds new content on governance, management elements and organizational structure types.

b. A distinction has been drawn between “Communication” (as in  of communicating between two people or among people ) and “Communications” (artifacts  such as memos, presentations, emails).

c. A subtle distinction has been given between concepts of Project Scope and Product Scope.