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  • Writer's pictureBill Holmes

What will PMI® do with the 6th Edition of the PMBOK®?

Project, program, portfolio
Project Managers need to know how to do things!

“The sales department isn’t the whole company, but the whole company better be the sales department.” Philip Kotler

“I am not a product of my circumstances. I am a product of my decisions.” Stephen Covey

What will become of the 6th Edition of the PMBOK®?

What will PMI use as a reference for future iterations of the PMP® Exam?

Prior to the latest exam change, the PMP certification was heavily weighted toward a predictive approach to project management. It was based primarily on the 6th Edition of the PMBOK, which I view as an outstanding “how to” research document for a predictive project. It is the result of almost 15 years of continues improvement and is clearly organized and easy to research.

However, a predictive approach is not the only approach. In February of 2001, the Agile Manifesto was written. It described a new approach to software development and introduced the 4 Paired Values and 12 Principles that form the directional underpinning for all Agile methodologies. It was a brilliant document, and it ushered in a new approach to software development.

Software development.

Not building bridges, roads, houses, or any project where you have fixed requirements.

In 2011, 10 years after the Agile Manifesto, PMI responded with the PMI-ACP® certification. It is very popular. As of June 30, 2021, it was PMI’s third most popular certification with 43,154 holders. As of that same date, there were 1,141,147 PMP certification holders.

That was the state of certifications until PMI Issued the 7th Edition of the PMBOK.

With the 7th Edition, PMI moved completely away from a tactical approach on how to run predictive projects by adopting a values-based approach. While I certainly understand the desire to undergird your processes with values, you still need to understand HOW things work.

The 7th Edition does not do that.

PMI also changed the PMP Exam by dramatically expanding the presence of Agile in their Exam Content Outline. Roughly 50% of the test is now focused on agile methodologies. Interestingly, no specific approach is endorsed, and neither Scrum nor the Agile Manifesto are described in detail in the PMI sourced course material.

Interestingly, much of the predictive content is based on the 6th Edition of the PMBOK.

What will PMI do? They have an exam that is aligned with an older version of their PMBOK, and they risk deprecating their third most popular certification!

I will propose a solution in my next post.


I continue to be fascinated by how leaders are selected. I was on a call recently with a senior leader for an important organization, and when they did their introduction, they led with “I’ve had a lot of jobs.” I’ve known this person for over 20 years, and that was a perfect analysis. They managed sit in jobs long enough to get the next job in line. They never really accomplished much, but the never got in trouble and never made any waves. When you are looking for bold leadership, you should probably screen for a different skill set….


Barsa Tiwari
Barsa Tiwari

The PMBOK® Guide is updated by PMI® on a regular basis to reflect changes in the industry, industry best practices, and input from the project management community. Processes, terminology, and the addition of new concepts or knowledge domains can all be revised. Here are the PMBOK® Guide 7 information.


Robert Prol
Robert Prol

It went from a reference manual to a graphic novel. No like.

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