Hello there, and thanks for taking some time out to read this article. Since you are already here, I assume you are familiar with the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) or, at the very least, are interested in the project management knowledge domain.

In this article, I will share the top five things that I (along with many other project management professionals) would like to see in the next edition (the 6th) of the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

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The first version of the Project Management Institute’s PMBOK that I studied closely was the 4th edition, and I thought it was a really comprehensive guide to the project management knowledge area. However, like many other project management guides, it is quite difficult to compress the different knowledge areas required to successfully manage projects into a concise text, while still maintaining the structure of the text. I was quite excited to learn about the 5th edition and I was curious to see the improvements that were in it.

In my opinion, the 5th edition of the PMBoK was a significant improvement over the 4th edition in terms of structure and content. The separation of project stakeholder management as its own knowledge area (separate from project communication management) was a huge improvement.

Another improvement was the introduction of five more planning processes, which creates more emphasis on the planning process group and actual planning of the project, rather than just focusing on the outputs of the plan.

Finally, the introduction of the DIKW (data, information, knowledge, wisdom) model in collecting and analyzing project performance is a significant structural improvement. I was particularly excited about mature knowledge management models being integrated into the project management body of knowledge.

Despite the improvements mentioned above, there is still (a lot more) room for improvement in the next version of the PMBoK. And my top five suggestions would be;

  1. Statistical Estimation of Project Time & Cost: The 5th edition of the PMBOK still sticks to the analogous, parametric, bottom-up and three-point methods for estimating cost. While I agree that these are great methods, every project manager would agree that huge cost and schedule variances are still too frequent in project outcomes. I would love to see a better inclusion of uncertainty modeling in cost and time estimations. I would love to see “what-if analysis”, sensitivity analysis, and Monte-Carlo analysis be introduced as better ways to estimate cost (and potential variations based on uncertainties) at the beginning of the project. These analyses provide better unbiased information than the current methods (like PERT) which seems to be only focused on critical path. It is great to see sensitivity and Monte-Carlo analysis in the risk management section but I would love to see those in the time and cost management knowledge areas of the sixth edition!
  2. Improve on the planning processes: As I mentioned above, the introduction of more planning processes reinforces the need to “plan the planning.” To further improve on this, I would like to see how these planning processes can be integrated more coherently, since the outputs of one planning process can directly impact the other. In the 6th edition, I would love to see the impact and relation of project management planning and decisions highlighted from a dependency standpoint, just as they are for project activities in the current edition.
  3. Iterative project management life cycle: The PMBok’s project life cycle (initiation, planning, execution, monitoring/controlling and closing) still comes across as hugely linear, and at best, cyclic. In the 6th edition of the PMBOK, I would love to see more emphasis on iterative planning and execution. This leads me to my next point:
  4. Integration with software development methodologies: As someone with a background in Information technology, my first read of the PMBOK felt very adaptable to the waterfall model and that is still one of its greatest criticisms till today. Although the PMBOK principles can be applied to Agile software development, it is non-intuitive at best. I would admit that this is a stretch goal but I would like to see the 6th edition of project management integrating more short term iteration techniques like scrum and Kanban.
  5. Project information security: I would love to see more emphasis on securing project information. With the nature of complex projects, there is an increasing need for communication among project teams without the danger of compromising the communication. We need to ensure project information remains confidential and accurate, without compromising its availability. In selecting the method and mode of communication, Information security is becoming increasingly important. Eventually, I would like to see project information mature into its own knowledge area, separate from project communication. And while this maturity might not happen in time for the next edition of the PMBOK, I would be happy to see a new process for securing project information as one of the processes in project communications management.

There you have it, my top five preferences for addition in the new Project Management Body of Knowledge Edition. Do you agree with my thoughts? What would you like to see in the new PMBOK? Please use the comments section to share your thoughts!