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Breaking Down the Revised PMBOK® Guide: What’s New & What You Need to Know

Event Highlight
PMBOK

PMI Toronto’s September Chapter meeting was dedicated to understanding the changes to the PMBOK® Guide, 7th Edition. Experts, Sylvie Edwards and Frank W. Towson discussed the overall changes made to the new edition and what impact this would mean to the PMP exam. The presentation entitled, PMBOK® Guide 7th Edition: Dispelling the Myths (What's In It For Me), included content that is relevant to all project management professionals as well as those studying for or thinking of taking the PMP exam.

Meet Our Presenters

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Sylvie Edwards, PMP®, CMP, MCPM, STDC, FPMAC

Sylvie has been involved in Project Management in several industries for the past 25 years. Sylvie previously worked for a top-five consulting firm, where she oversaw projects in the IT, banking, health, government, and securities sectors as well as being a Manager in the Risk Management practice.

Currently, Sylvie is teaching at both Durham College and Fleming College. She is a frequent lecturer, presenter, and blogger on all things related to project management. Sylvie's involvement with PMI® is long-standing including over 12 years on the Board of Directors of a local Chapter where she led initiatives in education and mentoring, and held the role of President for two terms.

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Frank W. Townson, PMP®, PMI-RMP®, PRINCE2, PRINCE2 Agile, CCMP

Frank has over 34 years of public sector experience with Industry Canada, Treasury Board and Foreign Affairs Canada. Even after his retirement, he spent the next 16 years consulting and training.

Frank is a PMI-ATP certified PMP Exam Prep Instructor and a certified PRINCE2 Instructor. Frank has a Masters in Public Administration from Carleton University and a Bachelors from Laurentian University.

Deconstructing the Changes

The PMBOK® Guide, 7th Edition follows a principle-based approach and takes on a new structure. The format of the Guide includes:

  • 12 Project Management Principles supporting the 49 Processes
  • 8 Project Performance Domains broadening the 10 Knowledge Areas
  • A new chapter on Tailoring
  • Models, Methods, and Artifacts incorporating the Tools and Techniques
  • The continued focus on internal and external influencers
  • The removal of the project management process groups and ITTOs, can be found on PMIstandards+—Don’t worry though gone from the Guide they are still available here



The Guide is meant to apply to all projects all the time and be relevant to all project team members. The first section of the book focuses on the system for value delivery. In order to understand how projects work, we must first understand the value that the project brings to all concerned. The book describes each as:

  • Creating value: how projects operate within a system to produce value for organizations and the stakeholders
  • Organizational governance systems: how governance supports a system for value delivery
  • Functions Associated with Projects: which functions support projects
  • The Project Environment: what are the internal & external factors that influence projects and the delivery of value
  • Product Management Considerations: how do portfolios, programs, projects, and products relate

Sylvie explains, “you need to understand what the value of a project is, what is the  product life cycle, and how you will deliver the project.”

The Project Management Principles

Sylvie explains the 12 principles as best practices. Each principle acts as a guideline rather than a specific framework to be followed. The concept is that every project is different so some tailoring is needed to successfully deliver the project. Frank raves that “the chapter on Tailoring is one of the best-written chapters” in the Guide. In the diagram below each principle is identified and shows how each connects.

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Stewardship > Be a diligent, respectful, and caring Steward

Team > Create a collaborative project team environment

Stakeholders > Engage with Stakeholders effectively

Value > Focus on Value

Systems Thinking > Recognize, evaluate, and respond to system interactions

Leadership > Demonstrate leadership behaviours

Tailoring > Tailor based on the context

Quality > Build quality into Processes and Deliverables

Complexity > Navigate complexity

Risk > Optimize risk responses & learn to move forward

Adaptability & Resilience > Be prepared to adapt

Change > Embrace change to achieve the intended future state

These principles are the foundation for all project management professionals to utilize in working on all types of projects.

Getting to Know the PMBOK® Guide, 7th Edition

Franks walked us through how the Guide includes eight project performance domains. These are integrated systems but don’t fall into a specific order and they also rely on one another in order to successfully deliver a project.

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Stakeholder Performance Domain > Effective interactions with stakeholders contributes toward a successful project

Team Performance Domain > Fostering team development & leadership behaviours will make everyone feel that they share ownership of the project outcomes

Development Approach & Life Cycle Performance Domain > Which approach will work? Will it be agile, waterfall, or a hybrid approach?

Planning Performance Domain > How are you going to organize the outcomes your stakeholders are looking for?

Project Work Performance Domain > Decompose your plans into specific procedures and work components

Delivery Performance Domain > Meet the scope, quality, and stakeholder objectives

Measurement Performance Domain > Determine the metrics & the progress or issues that come up

Uncertainty Performance Domain > Since projects are unique there is always a form of uncertainty, so how will you deal with ambiguity?

Tailoring: The Way to Manage Projects

Both Sylvie and Frank agree that the chapter on tailoring is a very well done chapter in the new Guide. How does tailoring work? Frank breaks it down into four key steps.

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Tailoring comes into effect once you select your development approach. Then you will need to tailor this approach depending on your organizational requirements. Next you will get more tailor-specific for your project itself and how to do this is up to the project team. Frank explains that “the most interesting thing about the 7th edition of the Guide is that the focus shifts entirely away from the project manager to the project team.” Leadership is shared. Finally, you will implement ongoing improvement.

The last chapter of the Guide covers Models, Methods, and Artifacts. These are options available to project teams to help deliver projects.

How Will the New Edition Impact the Exam

Great news, it won’t. The exam is not modeled on any specific edition of the PMBOK. Frank recommends that candidates should review the Exam Content Outline (ECO)  which is a free download from pmi.org. This will inform you on what to expect on the exam. The 7th edition is one of many educational resources that is used to create the exam. Remember PMIstandards+ will have a great deal of information and it keeps growing making it a great resource for exam preparation and for all project management professionals. In the table below Frank explains the three domains covered in the exam and the breakdown of the question types.

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Frank advises that those interested in taking the PMP exam should take the PMP Exam Prep course offered through PMI Toronto. When you train with PMIT–an Authorized Training Partner for the PMP® exam–you will receive:

  • High-quality PMI-developed PMP® Exam Prep course content
  • The course’s student workbooks carefully and concisely cover each of the elements of the Exam Content Outline and are an invaluable exam prep resource
  • PMI-approved and vetted instructors
  • Classes taught by valid PMP® certification holders
  • Learning through discussion and dialogue
  • Sample PMP® exam questions to test your knowledge

PMI Toronto’s next Project Management Professional (PMP®) Exam Prep course is October 23rd  and November 6th. Keep checking our Events calendar for more courses throughout the year.

Grab your copy of PMBOK® Guide, 7th Edition. For PMI members the hard copy is available at a discount or download a free digital copy pmi.org. For non-members, the book is available for purchase. Sign up for PMIstandards+ and check out one of PMI Toronto’s many course offerings. For more information contact PMI Toronto at atpsupport@pmitoronto.ca or visit our website for more information on Certification & Training

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