PM Essence
PMBOK® 5 – What is new guide all about?
– Namita Gupta, PMP, UIDAI
PMBOK® 5th Edition is applicable and everyone is trying to achieve PMP® credentials with the new approach. Before talking about the changes and refinements PMI® did in PMBOK® 5th edition, it’s very important to understand for everyone that project management body of knowledge is “One” and holds the same purpose. For example, we plan to build a house, the objective is a House, how we build it can vary with today’s circumstances and exposure and what was known and experimented yesterday. We may use hollow blocks today in place of bricks we used in past for good of course.

Updates to PMBOK® has been made to achieve greater degree of consistency, clarity by refining processes, standardizing input and outputs where possible, and implementing a global approach for documenting the input and outputs. In addition to consistency and clarity the feedback received on PMBOK® 4th edition has been considered and taken as appropriate by the update team.

If you are familiar with PMBOK® 4th edition, you will realize that wherever there was no specific process to create subsidiary plan for KA, PMBOK® 5th edition added it.

Let’s discuss some high level differentiators. There is an additional Knowledge Area – Project Stakeholders Management. This makes the total count of knowledge areas 10 in place of 9 (4th Edition)

Total number of processes increased to 47 from 42 (4th Edition)

ITTO has been increased to maintain consistency with refinement of content. As per an online source, this increase is ~ 19%

Good news, there is no change in process groups number. Its same as 5. Surprised? Can you think of anything more than initiation, planning, executing, M&C and closing? How can this change unless until some really new innovative dimension comes into picture.

It’s worth to go detail of KAs and Processes to understand the context:

Knowledge Areas:

KA refers to complete set of concepts, terms, and activities that make up a professional field, project management field, or area of specialization. All 9 KAs defined in PMBOK® 4th edition are exactly named same and up to its purpose. There is one additional KA in PMBOK® 5th edition “Project Stakeholder Management.

Project Stakeholder Management KA has been conceived with bifurcation of PMBOK® 4th edition Project Communication Management KA into 2 KAs. Deferred and post publication comments on Project Communication management KA in PMBOK® 4th edition uncovered the need of a dedicated KA for Stakeholder Management.


There are two types of processes changes in PMBOK® 5th edition we need to look in:
1. Addition of processes
2. Updating of existing processes

Addition of processes:

As mentioned earlier we have total 47 processes in PMBOK® 5th edition on place of 42 in PMBOK® 4th edition. So there are in total 5 new processes listed below
1. Plan scope management
2. Plan schedule management
3. Plan cost management
4. Plan stakeholder management
5. Control stakeholder management

1-4 processes are around concept of detailed subsidiary plan for major Knowledge Areas. If you are familiar with PMBOK® 4th edition, you will realize that wherever there was no specific process to create subsidiary plan for KA, PMBOK® 5th edition added it. The idea behind doing this is to reinforce that subsidiary plans are developed to plan the details in each KA. Earlier in PMBOK® 4th edition there was no specific process to create scope, schedule and cost management plan and it was assumed that project management plan was taking care of it under integration management. This was a bit confusing because other KAs such as quality, communication, human resource, risk, procurement KAs had dedicated processes for planning of respective KA. Even the rest of planning processes are renamed for consistency which we shall discuss while talking updating existing processes.

Control Stakeholder Management process has been added to complete newly added Project Stakeholder Management knowledge area. On the similar lines of other major KAs, project stakeholder management KA needs controlling as it’s now a separate entity and not covered under communication management.

Updating of Existing processes:

Below is a brief about key updates and their drivers. On the whole PMBOK® 5th edition has refined, restructured input, outputs and tools & techniques for almost all the newly added, updated as well as existing processes. Definitions for processes have been changed to align with its names as well as inputs from project management community.