Let’s start by acknowledging that this is not new information. The current and fifth edition of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge® became available to us in January.
Why talk about it now?
Well… some of you have asked some really good questions. Basically it comes down to this, “So there is a new PMBOK® Guide, what should I do about it?” With that thought in mind, let’s tackle the easy stuff first.
If you are studying for an exam that is based on of The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge® of course you need to use the most recent edition. You also want to use study materials which map to the most recent edition. YOU know that, this is not really your question. YOUR question is more about other types of training and your responsibilities as a project manager and how you do your job. That is exactly what we will talk about right now.
If you create project management training, shouldn’t all of your training materials have been thrown out and updated for the fifth edition of the PMBOK® Guide? Not necessarily. If your training covers project management best practices and is not tied to referencing specific sections of the PMBOK® Guide, you are probably fine.
Now what about those of you who are looking for training? Well again, if you are preparing for one of the PMBOK® Guide based exams, you need to use the most recent edition of the guide and you need materials that map to the most recent edition of the guide. If you are taking training to understand project management and the best practices in project management and how to be a project manager AND you do not need it to be PMBOK® Guide specific, then you do not need to turn up your nose at a class or package that has not been rewritten over the past few months. There are plenty of good classes and programs which teach you the best practices do not violate or go against the PMI® or Project Management Institute process, yet do not specifically draw upon the PMBOK® Guide as a text. They do not replicate the process groups or bodies of knowledge. This is absolutely fine. You will still learn how to be a project manager.
Yet another question and perhaps this is really what is on your minds, is “Do I have to change how I do my job because there is a new PMBOK® Guide?” “Do we as an organization have to change our project management methodology?” It is good for you to consider these questions. First take a look at the new the PMBOK® Guide, there is a section which describes what is new. It is likely that you are already following the recommended approach. A big change is the addition of a new body of knowledge, Project Stakeholder Management. These processes were for the most part located elsewhere in previous versions AND if you are not managing stakeholders NOW (no matter what the PMBOK® Guide says); you do need to make changes. This is something you and I should already have been doing.
If you are not having the success you desire as a project manager or the methodology used by your team is not garnering the results you seek, it is time to think about making some changes. That is true whether or n not we have a new guide. You and I do have a responsibility to pay attention to the updates and when the PMI® makes updates the PMBOK® Guide we want to take a look and assess whether or not we need to make updates and improve our approach. Shouldn’t we be doing this as part of our ongoing growth and continuous improvement anyway?