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PMBOK 7th Edition – What changed from the PMBOK 6th Edition?

By September 13, 2022No Comments

When was the PMBOK 7th Edition released?

The PMBOK 7th Edition was released on the 1st of August in 2021. In order to give exam administrators and trainers time to integrate any changes into their curriculum, the PMP exam was not immediately changed. A window of a few months occurred between the PMP seventh edition release and exam or training changes. By January 2022, trainers were expected to update their training materials to incorporate PMBOK changes and new exam information. Currently, training content should be based on the new PMBOK 7th Edition additions.

Why did the PMBOK® change?

Prior to the August 2021 PMBOK 7th Edition updates, the PMBOK was primarily targeted at waterfall project management methods. Due to the nature of technological advances, competition continues to grow. To meet the demands of shorter product life cycles and stricter product or project requirements, changes are made in the pursuit of progress and efficiency. The latest PMBOK edition includes the latest necessary PM practice guidance.

For example, traditional project management approaches have difficulty meeting the needs of today’s fast-paced world. Therefore, the agile project management approach burgeoned in the early 2000s. The agile framework was well-suited for the growing IT and software industry, and many organizations adopted this newer project management style. The PMBOK 7th edition includes newer approaches such as agile project management, thus offering professionals more PM options to choose from.

Of all the project management certifications in the world, the PMP is the most respected, reputable, and sought-after project management certification in the world. With roughly one million PMP-certified professionals and counting, the PMBOK sets the industry standards for PM, including PMP certification exam content.  

Because of changing trends, currently accepted frameworks, and the nuances of project management, the PMBOK should reflect the newest and most useful systems applicable to the profession of project management. To remain relevant and useful, the PMBOK tends to undergo edits and changes every three to five years.

The Latest PMBOK Guide – Seventh Edition— What are the changes?

The changes within the PMBOK 7th Edition aren’t difficult to summarize, but they are significant in today’s project management atmosphere. To be concise, the PMBOK Seventh Edition changes can be reflected in one sentence:

Rather than concentrating on processes as it had in the past, the PMP seventh edition of the PMBOK is based on principles, which also makes the guide much shorter.

As you know, project managers must pivot quickly and efficiently, and adapt to the needs of the industry, project, organization, and stakeholders. Whether the approach is hybrid, waterfall, predictive or agile, project managers can’t be married to one single approach. Being adequately responsive means not favoring one approach over all others, but changing the approach to meet the needs of the project. In project management, the standards should target value delivery and successful project execution rather than the project management theory or approach.

Principle Over Process-Based Project Management

You will notice that the PMBOK 7 is principle-based rather than process-based. In the newest PMBOK, the project management standards are less focused on the process. Instead, the emphasis is placed on the principles.

PMBOK knowledge areas within previous editions of the PMBOK contained tools, techniques, inputs, outputs, and — processes. These processes are not contained in the seventh edition of the PMBOK. Instead, the current PMBOK has principles that are generally standard within the project management industry.

Despite the fact that previous PMBOKs honed in on deliverables, the PMBOK 7th edition matches today’s ever-evolving project management environment — focusing on project outcomes rather than deliverables. A solely process-based approach can be too prescriptive in the modern environment, and project management ultimately thrives in a dynamic and responsive atmosphere.

That’s not to say that a process-based approach is not applicable or useful — they are! Conventional approaches remain a tried and true concept in many organizations and can lead to successful outcomes. Many project management practitioners still utilize conventional project management approaches and see them as indispensable. Like the current project management landscape, conventional approaches are essential in the context of PMP Seventh Edition as well.

That said, projects produce outcomes in the PMBOK 7th Edition, in addition to deliverables. In the end, after all, it’s outcomes that bring value to stakeholders rather than deliverables.

Summary of PMBOK 7th Edition Changes

The following are the changes from PMBOK Sixth Edition to PMBOK Seventh Edition.

The PMBOK contains three chapters for introduction, and the PMBOK 6th Edition holds 10 knowledge areas. In contrast, the PMBOK 7th Edition notes performance domains instead of knowledge areas. There are also chapters for Tailoring, Models, Methods, and Artifacts.

The PMBOK Sixth Edition contains five project management process groups (also known as the five stages of a project lifecycle): initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing. Each stage is broken down into processes. For example, an estimate cost process is a part of the planning process group within the cost management knowledge area.

In comparison, the PMBOK 7th edition is much less process-heavy. Instead, the focus is on principle. The seventh PMBOK edition lists 12 Project Delivery Principles and a Value Delivery System. The Value Delivery System emphasizes delivering valuable outcomes, instead of deliverables. Projects are thought of as vital parts of the Value Delivery System.  These principles will guide stakeholders, Project Managers, and Team Members — serving as a way to cultivate and achieve intended outcomes, therefore delivering value to stakeholders.

Value Delivery System

Based on the Value Delivery System within the latest PMBOK guide, the strategies, objectives, or missions of an organization selects the upcoming investments or portfolios. Portfolios may incorporate programs, projects, or sub-portfolios. To meet the objectives, project delivery should meet its intended goals and targets. However, based on the analysis of the outcomes and their impact on business, portfolios are adjusted for any future movement.

Upon successful delivery of a project, the organization must also receive applicable expected business values — called “Business Value Realization.” Thus, organizations depend on their realized business value to determine their strategy regarding new portfolios.

Outcomes are achieved through project teams using a variety of delivery approaches. In some projects, the tasks are cut and dry and outcomes are obtained following and completing standard actions. In some cases, however, projects require continually evaluating each task or activity after completion to decide the next step. In these cases, the more appropriate term might be “project delivery” rather than “project management.” Because of this, the latest PMBOK 7th edition covers outcomes along with the conventional concept of deliverables.

Project Delivery Principles

The PMBOK 7th edition contains 12 principles. These principles describe the “what” and “why” of project delivery. Project delivery principles are not prescriptive nor are they set in stone. Instead, they outline a norm, truth, or value that binds the project team members and guides decision-making. The following 12 principles in the PMBOK 7th Edition are:

1 Stewardship: Behave as a respectful and caring steward.

2  Team: Create a culture of respect and accountability.

3 Stakeholders: Involve and engage stakeholders to get to know their needs and interests.

4 Value: Hone in on value.

5 Holistic Thinking: Develop awareness, recognize, and respond to the system’s dynamics and interactions.

6 Leadership: Coach, mentor, motivate, and learn.

7 Tailoring: Tailor and customize the delivery approach based on context and needs.

8 Quality: Incorporate and integrate quality into processes and results.

9 Complexity: Approach complexity through experience, knowledge, and learning.

10 Opportunities & Threats: Address and resolve opportunities and threats.

11 Adaptability & Resilience: Become flexible, adaptable, and resilient.

12 Change Management: Facilitate change to meet envisioned goals and missions.

PMBOK Seventh Edition’s New Platform: The Standards Plus Interactive Digital Content Platform

The PMBOK 7 includes an interactive digital content platform called The Standards Plus. This platform is linked within the PMBOK 7th Edition through the Models, Methods, and Artifacts. Standards Plus offers a “How To” about current and emerging methods and practices, and also contains relevant information for project management.

PMBOK: How is it updated?

The following are the six steps utilized by PMI to update the PMBOK.

  1. A volunteer committee is chartered by PMI to develop, review, or update a standard.
  2. The volunteer committee drafts a new standard or reviews and refines an existing standard.
  3. Selected subject matter experts review the initial drafts of the standard, then offer their feedback to the committee.
  4. A revision of the draft is made and sent to the public for review and feedback. The committee may revise the standard depending on public comments. At this point, the PMBOK exposure draft is released.
  5. The finished standard is sent to the PMI Standards Consensus Committee for final review.
  6. The finished standard is submitted to the PMI Director for approval for publication prior to release.  

Summary of PMBOK Seventh Edition Changes

The most significant change in the PMBOK 7th Edition is the move from a “process-based” to “principle-based” project management. Instead of the conventional processes, inputs, and outputs, the focus of project delivery is on principles and outcomes.

The knowledge areas in the PMBOK have been removed. Instead, there are performance domains.

The Standards Plus, connected to the PMBOK 7th Edition, is a new digital platform that serves as a “How To” for current and future project delivery activities geared towards project practitioners.

The PMBOK 7th Edition has undergone significant and useful changes for project management practitioners. The newest PMBOK moves away from waterfall project management techniques and towards agile and holistic project delivery systems. 

Because of these major changes, we recommend taking Brain Sensei’s Self-Paced PMP exam prep course — they also offer live virtual instructor classes — before taking your PMP certification exam.

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Passed on the first try!

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Good courses, lots of text and reading. Not as many videos or interactive pieces that I was expecting. And some misspelled words.

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It was great!

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The Course documents should remain open for longer than 6 months, given that PMI gives you 365 days to prepare for exam. Also, the option to extend visibility for the course documents, costs almost a 5th of the course, but opens up the docs for just 30 more days. Propose to extend this to 90 days at the very least.

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Studied BrainSensei for 11 days and passed. Succinct and highly informational chapters. The 4 practice exams are marginally more difficult then the PMP. Borderline impossible to fail the PMP if you pass this course.

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Your course, quizzes at the end of most modules and practice exams truly challenged me. I definitely derived the value and knowledge I was looking for in preparation for taking the PMP Certification Test. In particular, I appreciated the explanations that popped-up in the tests after an answer was submitted - very educational and helpful to my learning/understanding the material and concepts better. Some areas that could be improved (and some of this is nit-picking) include: * Some of the grammar and overall sentence structures, particularly in the latest set of practice exams, needs to be cleaned-up. Some were missing 'of', 'for, or had an extra 'an' in the narrative - got confusing at times. * In the practice exams, I'd like to see shorter sentences rather than the flurry of 'and' and 'or' conjunctions that made reading the sentences go on forever (had to read them multiple times to truly understand their meaning). That said, I enjoyed the overall online course taking experience and thank you for accommodating my requested time extensions. Best regards, Scott Conn

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Liked it. Need access for longer though.

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What I like best about Brain Sensei is the interactive nature of the course. I think this material would be numbing if delivered as simple lectures with slides. This method is an improvement on that. On the other hand, an in-person course, while more expensive, would likely be even more useful if you have the funds and the time. I haven't taken the PMP exam yet, so I can't comment on how useful the practice tests are.

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Passed first attempt

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Truly the best course in town if you wish to pass the PMP exam on the first try. I love the idea of playing the role of the samurai and practice your project management skill in her shoes. And not to forget, the generous amount of practice exam gave me just the right dose of confidence before taking the real one. Highly recommended

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The course was great, though I found a lot of parts hard to comprehend. I feel a lot more prepared and better skilled to manage projects in my career. Thanks, Brain Sensei.

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The BrainSensei PMP preparation course provided me with all the material required to be ready for the exam. It is well structured, explains the concepts clearly, and most importantly, provides ample training questions through the four mock exams and assessment questions at the end of each module. I passed the exam with Above Target in all sections on the first attempt.

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Overall I really liked this learning course. It was very helpful and allowed me to be well prepared for the exam. The 2nd and 3rd practice exam are great to give you real example questions and help prepare you for what to expect. BrainSensei's customer service was the best. I had to delay taking my test due to COVID and they extended my membership for free. They went above and beyond my expectation which was great. Only changes I would recommend is to add 1 or 2 more practice exams like the 2nd and 3rd exam and get rid of the agile practice exam. This is not a real focus of the test and therefore is not really applicable in my opinion.

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BrainSensei developed a great learning method to prepare for the PMP certification exam. Their customer service is always very professional, fast, spot on and dedicated to your success. I recommend them.

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I've sent several emails to BrainSensei (one of them not so nice, but the rest were okay) and the team has always been so polite in answering the questions. I'm a very straight-forward person and don't like the PMI-ism type questions because they seem like 'gotchas' or traps, and this is not how I manage my team. I took the Master of Project course (which was garbage) then failed the PMP exam. Throughout the PMP exam I felt so out of touch. Even with the first practice exam on BrainSensei I felt out of place, but I am not getting the hang of things. I hope to pass the exam on the second attempt! The brain sensei experience has been *miles* ahead of the Master of Project garbage. Brain Sensei should be proud of both their product and of their team! I love getting replies to my concerns so quickly. Nice work :) !!!

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very useful

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I was very pleased with the preparation provided for the PMP certification. I went through the materials twice and passed the exam on the first try. A couple of the questions need to be polished up, but very good training overall.

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The storyline provides excellent examples that provide context for understanding the core concepts and processes

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Good self paced learning tool

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Outstanding job

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I have studied with other programs and I didn’t feel prepared. After a short time with Brain Sensei, I had the confidence to succeed on exam day, which I did on the first try after studying with Brain Sensei. It was worth every penny.

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Course is made for people who are already grounded in the material, not for someone that needs all the basics. Was budget friendly and OK content.

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Brain Sensei is great tool to have in the study arsenal while preparing for the PMP exam.

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I really enjoyed the modules and content offered by Brain Sensei! I passed the PMP Exam on the first try and would recommend this course to anyone who is looking for a great PMP Exam Prep.

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Overall layout is good, but there are some quality issues. Progress isn't always saved across all devices and progress gets lost. Some small spelling mistakes. I loved the practical storyline...

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Passed my PMP on first attempt using Brain Sensei Prep course.

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Quick and helpful response. Thanks!!

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Need improvement in presenting more relevant real exam type questions. The practice exams are too simple and easy and do not prepare you for the real exam. Otherwise, good concept presenting material

- Amir

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The prep materials provided plenty of content which prepared me well for the PMP exam. The questions were packed with information.

- Cameron

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Teaches the PMP in a solid manner, some things you need to know as a potential consumer: -The Samurai backstory is extremely short, and didn’t really assist me with recall in any in-depth way. It only gave broad brush-strokes as to what each phase entailed. -MOST of what was on the test was covered in the lessons, however if I had zero real prior PM knowledge prior to the test, I would have failed. -The first practice test forces you, as the student to actually read into the PMBOK, which was a benefit in the long run as it assisted me with quickly referencing what I needed to find. -The course will likely cover wave tops and subjects, forcing me to self-study for a week before my test... not a bad deal all things considered. -Brain Sensei’s course has incorporated Agile into one of their practice tests, and this test IS mandatory. This may seem strange, and I didn’t get a satisfactory reason why I needed to take a purely Agile test when I only wanted to take the PMP, for anyone else in this scenario, this is the reason: In June, PMI is revamping the PMP test to include Agile as a significant portion of the PMP. Brain Sensei is just ahead of the curve trying to get students prepared... fret not. Their customer service is extremely responsive and does take care of their members. My program had a couple bugs, and the customer service fixed my problems within 24 hours. All in all... it was absolutely worth the money for me.

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I am very impressed with this learning system. The content is laid out in a way that will make any learner understand all the process groups and ITTOs in order to understand Project management and be equipped to excel in the test. The learning system is engaging and fun at the same time. It's very different than other learning material which is composed mostly of videos. Some improvements are needed, but in my opinion Brain Sensei is great value for money

- said durra

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At first, I was attracted to Brain Sensei training for their original learning program using a Samurai's story. And indeed it made the whole learning experience funnier - so easier. I felt like the Samurai. Then, I was amazed by The Brain Sensei Team's reactivity and help when I reached out through contact@brainsensei.com Their support was constantly reliable and efficient. I appreciated their professionalism and didn't feel on my own. At last, the course and the practice exams proved to be efficient since I passed the PMP exam - with 'Above Targe't in all Domains. So thank you so much Brain Sensei Team !! Charlene

- Charlene LU

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Overall very good. Got stuck a few times trying to find resources which I should have downloaded the before starting the program. Customer service has been great.

- Jonathan Williams

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SO far I am thoroughly enjoying the Brain Sensei PMP prep course. I have taken a Project management class as a part of my degree which I recently completed and project management has always interested me. I find the course to be educational and easy to follow. I am grateful that this course has been designed in such a way that is simple to understand all of the complexities in project management and that allows me to study at my own pace.

- Eric Browne

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The content is good and easy to understand

- Glenn

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This review is based on completing all course work through module 102. The story and interactive nature of the course are helpful for learning and relating the material. It would be nice to have the page numbers to the PMBOK guide where references are made to it. Other information that will be helpful, are the explanations to the practice questions at the end of each module. These are provided only after immediately answering the questions. Having these available in the score summary from the 'history' tab will be helpful to refresh why the answer is correct and other options are not.

- Rohan Punit

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Overall I would rate this course an 8/10. I liked how there were exams towards the end of every module and I felt that it was very useful having it laid out in different scenarios. I rate it only an 8/10 as I had some glitch/software issues and lost my progress resulting in me having to re-do modules/exams multiple times. All in all, that was maybe useful in the end as it was a way for me study or 're-learn' the course material. Thank you!

- Nikki Cordy

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Clear and precise explanations of how things work. I was never lost navigating the course.

- Gary Nicol

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A smart approach to present the information which makes it fun and engaging while at the same time preparing for the PMP exam. Brain Sensei differentiates itself from other PMP exam preps in that it delivers the knowledge through the use of storytelling technique. I recommend this course because it will help you pass your PMP exam on the first try.

- Jamal

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Loved the story telling and the practice exams. I felt very prepared when the actual exam came around.

- Josh

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One of a kind training that was truly engaging!

- Claire

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Excellent course for preparing for the PMP exam in a fun and engaging way! The practice questions resemble the actual questions on the exam making it a completely worthwhile experience.

- Rossetta

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I passed the PMP exam after taking Brain Sensei's Online PMP Certification Exam Prep. The practice exam questions were so similar to the questions that appeared on the exam. On exam day, when I sat down to take the test and started running through the questions I felt so relieved! The practice exams are also timed so you get more comfortable with the exam experience and feel better prepared when you sit down to take the test. The other differentiator was the video content throughout the modules. The concepts are taught through a story of a young samurai defending her kingdom. This will probably be the only PMP prep course where you can learn all the knowledge areas and feudal Japan at the same time. I'd recommend this course not just because of the videos but because it helped me pass my exam on the first try.

- Jackie

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Good course, but a few grammatical errors with how some questions were worded.

- Sonia

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It was good!

- Sergei

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Loved the unique approach and it still had all the info I'd expect from a full PMP exam prep course. Very responsive on questions too.

- Chris