The Project Management Institute (PMI®) has officially released the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) Guide Sixth Edition – electronic copies are available, printed copies are coming, and the PMP® exam will change on March 26, 2018. But, what does it all mean?

What can we expect to see and what changes mean the most to us as project managers? Well, we’ve done some analysis and provided a summary of everything you want to know about the Sixth Edition, but were afraid to ask!

Bolder and More Lively Than Ever

With this release, Agile and Knowledge Management play a significant role in project management and the respective knowledge areas. The Project Manager (PM) has earned the role as the key integrator – the one who understands the Talent Triangle for all (Agile) project management work. This makes sense since the PM is the one responsible for the work.

The Sixth Edition now clarifies the difference between when to monitor and when to control. For instance, you cannot control all communications, but you can certainly monitor them. You can control a risk with an effective work around or mitigation/response strategy, but you still need to monitor the risk.

What’s in a Name

Yes, there are name changes as well. PMI acknowledges resources are not just a human factor; they can be material, publications, presentations, and inventory, to name a few. PMI did a wonderful job of refocusing how you “manage” a team and project lifecycle through resource management via estimating and acquiring resources to develop, manage, and control resources.

As PMs, we always ask ourselves, are we managing time or are we managing a schedule? You got it. We manage to a schedule, so Schedule Management replaces Time Management!

Did I mention Agile?

Yes, PMI now recognizes the value of Agile methodologies as part of the Develop Schedule process of Schedule Management and should always be a consideration as you plan to develop deliverables or end results.

Now the Fun Part…Project Management Rules

PMI said it; there are rules a PM must follow. The application of these rules are a result of PMBOK best practices and they make sense!

We all are aware how it might be tough to wrap our minds around the inputs and outputs, but now, the PMBOK includes clarifying fundamental rules. An input is a document key to the process and an output is an input to another process. This change better explains the funky flow diagrams. Product Documents are an output first, before they can be an input to another process.

But wait, I’m not done. We have to sequence these inputs and outputs. An input should always be first and the Enterprise Environmental Factors and Organizational Process Assets are always last, as they relate to outputs – not that they aren’t important. They are extremely relevant to updates to support appropriate documentation and affirmation.

And finally, recognition that the Project Management Plan is the mother of all plans and all knowledge area plans are subsidiaries of the Project Management Plan.

And we can’t forget about tools and techniques, can we? It’s what makes ITTOs (inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs) complete. Our tools and techniques now have rules – six of them to be exact, as follows:

  1. Data Gathering (9 Characteristics)
  2. Data Analysis (27 Characteristics)
  3. Data Representation (15 Characteristics)
  4. Decision Making (2 Characteristics)
  5. Communication Skills (2 Characteristics)
  6. Interpersonal Skills (17 Characteristics)

Going into each is a blog of its own, but PMI did a great job categorizing these rules as they apply to each knowledge area.

Overall, major kudos to PMI! I challenge my readers to take the time to understand each rule and all the changes encompassed in the new PMBOK® Guide. It makes sense and incorporates the changing world of project management. I’m proud to be a PMP, and as PMs, we are all accountable to understand best practices for managing projects.


Eric W. Perlstein, PMP, PMI-ACP/RMP, serves as Edwards’ Director, Healthcare Programs and has an extensive history with PMI, including Board Member, PMI Baltimore Chapter 2006-2016 and 2013 PMI Leader of the Year Recipient.

PMI®, PMBOK®, and PMP® are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.


  1. Eric, thanks for the review comments on PMBOK 6. You probably could write a series of blog posts to go through the changes.

  2. How to print PMBOK Guide 6 Sixth Edition

    1.) Open the PMBOK PDF in ‘Xodo Docs PDF Reader’ v4.3.8 for Android (or a higher version)
    2.) In Xodo Docs PDF Reader use function ‘Save Copy’ – ‘Change/remove password from copy’ and save PDF without password as not-protected PDF
    3.) Open the not-protected PDF file in Acrobat Pro and use function ‘Remove Watermark’ to remove the Watermark from all pages.
    4.) Use the Acrobat Pro ‘Redaction Tool’ to search and remove the copy right text:
    In Acrobat Pro open the menu Tools – Protection – ‘Black Out & Remove Content’ –
    – Configure ‘Redaction Properties’: Set color to ‘No color’, deactivate overwrite by text
    – ‘Black Out & Remove Content’ – ‘Search & Remove Text’ –
    – Enter search text ‘PMI Member benefit licensed to: [NAME] – [MemberID]. Not for distribution, sale, or reproduction.’
    – Search
    – Press button ‘Check all’ (Select all)
    – Press button ‘Mark for redaction’
    – Apply Redactions
    5.) Repeat the ‘Search and Redaction’ function using separate search strings for:
    [First name]
    [Last name]
    ‘Not for distribution, sale, or reproduction’
    ‘Not for distribution’
    ‘or reproduction’
    6.) Clean up Meta data (but do not remove the Bookmarks) and save as new PDF

    Optional steps to restore Bookmarks (if needed only):
    7.) Open the not-protected PDF file and the new PDF file in parallel in ‘PDF-XChangeViewer’ or in ‘PDF-XChangeViewer Portable’
    8.) Activate Bookmarks View, select all Bookmarks in not-protected PDF and paste the bookmarks in the new PDF file and save new PDF

    Optional step to optimize the aspect ratio of the pages:
    9.) In Acrobat Pro use the Crop function in menu Tools – Edit PDF – Crop Pages – CropBox
    and crop pages to optimize the aspect ratio of the pages for printing or for your tablet aspect ratio
    (To optimize the aspect ratio for your tablet it could be recommend to use separate crop values for Even and Odd Pages.)

    Copy Bookmarks to another Language version of the PDF file:
    You can also transfer the Bookmarks of an English version of the PMBOK PDF to another Language PDF version which comes without Bookmarks
    1.) Open the new PDF file of another Language PDF version in Acrobat Pro in parallel with the not-protected English file
    2.) Insert or remove some empty pages to synchronize the page numbers of both PDF files
    (If needed create an empty one page PDF file and insert this file at the start of the new PDF and so on)
    3.) Open the not-protected English PDF file and the new PDF file in parallel in ‘PDF-XChangeViewer’ or in ‘PDF-XChangeViewer Portable’
    4.) Activate Bookmarks View, select all Bookmarks in not-protected PDF and paste the bookmarks in the new PDF file and save the new PDF
    5.) Open the new PDF file in Acrobat Pro and remove the inserted empty pages

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