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PMI Standards Update

Most people with an interest will know that PMI have released the PMBOK® Guide 5thEdition, the Standard for Program Management 3rdEdition and the Standard for Portfolio Management 3rdEdition, with an official publication date ofthe 31stDecember 2012. PMI’s other key standard; the Organisational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3) is in the review and pre-press stage for publication later this year.

Consistent with the last update, the contents of the three standards has been harmonised and all three feed into the OPM3 update. So what’s new and how do the changes affect project management and project control professionals?

The first element is changes to the PMI suite of credentials.  Between June and September all of the PMI credentials will be progressively updated to align with the new standards. Prior to the changeover, the current examinations and the ‘old’ standards are current, after the changeover updated examinations and the ‘new’ standards will apply. The degree of change in the examinations varies.  The PMI-SP (Scheduling Professional) is undergoing a complete re-structure; the CAPM credential directly aligns to the PMBOK® Guide and will therefore have some significant changes. PMP and PgMP will be less affected.

If you are in exam mode the key dates (subject to possible change by PMI) are

  • CAPM will change on the 1stJuly
  • PMP will change on the 31stJuly
  • PgMP will change on the 31stJuly
  • PMI-SP will change on the 31stAugust
  • PMI-RMP will change on the 31stAugust

From a reference and standardisation perspective the PMBOK® Guide 5thEdition is definitely fatter! Some of the key changes are:

  • The new PMBOK® guide now has 47 processes (up from 42) and a new Knowledge Area:Four planning processes have been added: Plan Scope Management (back from the 3rd Edition), Plan Schedule Management, Plan Cost Management, and Plan Stakeholder Management. This change provides clearer guidance for the concept that each major Knowledge Area has a need for the project team to actively think through how the related processes will be planned and managed, and that each of the subsidiary plans are integrated through the overall project management plan, which is the major planning document for guiding further project planning and execution.
  • The addition of a new knowledge area called ‘Stakeholder Management’ has been created making 10 Knowledge areas. In keeping with the evolution of thinking regarding stakeholder management within projects, this new Knowledge Area has been added addressing Project Stakeholder Management. Information on stakeholder identification and managing stakeholder expectations has been moved from Project Communications Management to this new Knowledge Area to expand upon and increase the focus on the importance of appropriately engaging project stakeholders in the key decisions and activities associated with the project. New processes were added for Plan Stakeholder Management and Control Stakeholder Engagement.
  • Data flows and knowledge management concepts have been enhanced:The PMBOK® Guide now conforms to the DIKW (data, information, knowledge, wisdom) model used in the field of Knowledge Management. Information/Data is segregated into three phases:
    • Work Performance Data.The raw observations and measurements identified during the performance of the project work, such as measuring the percent of work physically completed.
    • Work Performance Information.The results from the analysis of the performance data, integrated across areas such as the implementation status of change requests, or forecasts to complete.
    • Work Performance Reports.The physical or electronic representation of work performance information compiled in project documents, intended to generate decisions, actions, or awareness.
    • Understanding the information in the reports and making wise decisions are functions of the competence of the individual manager reading the report and are therefore beyond the scope of a process (for more on effective communication visit our PM Knowledge Index)
  • Annex A1 – The Standard for Project Management of a Project created: This new annex has been designed to serve as a standalone document. This positions the Standard for Project Management away from the main body of the PMBOK® Guide material allowing the evolution of the Body of Knowledge material to be separated from the actual Standard for Project Management. Chapter 3 remains as the bridge between Sections 1 and 2 and the Knowledge Area sections and introduces the project management processes and Process Groups as in the previous editions.


The Standard for Program Management 3rdEdition has got quite a bit slimmer (but the price has been increased to the same as the PMBOK! The major changes are:

  • The program life cycle has been assigned its own chapter and the details of the unique set of elements that make up the program management phase are defined.
  • The full scope of program management is now highlighted and the supporting processes that complete the delivery of programs in the organisation setting clarified.
  • The difference between project and program management is enhanced.

The Standard for Portfolio Management 3rdEdition has had its price increased to the same as the PMBOK! The major changes are:

  • A standardised approach to ‘Enterprize Environment Factors and Organisational Process Assets.
  • Three new Knowledge Areas have been added, Strategic Management, Performance Management and Communication Management.
  • The Defining Process Group has been added that includes key processes to define and plan the executing of the portfolio management work (process).
  • The Monitoring and Controlling Process Group has been renamed the Authorizing and Controlling Process Group to better reflect the processes involved.

We still have lots of wor to doupdating our PMI courses but overall this update has been an across the board improvement – we are certainly pleased to see the elevation in importance of communication and stakeholder management across the standards, after all none of the tools and techniques described in three standards will work without effective communication!

PMI members can download free PDFs for personal use from (you need your member log-in). Paperback copies of the standards are available from a range of sources including Amazon and  If you use the PMBOK as a basis for your project managment methodology the investment to update to the latest version is worthwhile. 

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