PMBOK Guide: Top Differences Between PMBOK 7th vs 6th Edition

2023-03-18 13:41:09

The Project Management Institute created the widely used project management standard, the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Handbook (PMI). A collection of standardized terms and instructions for managing projects are included in the PMBOK Guide, which offers a framework for best practices in project management.

The 7th Edition of the PMBOK marks a substantial change from the 6th Edition and reflects the developing needs of project management professionals in the current quickly changing corporate environment. The transition from a process-based to a principles-based approach, the increased emphasis on agile methodologies and digital transformation, the Focus on project manager competencies, and the emphasis on adjusting project management procedures to the unique requirements of each project are all noteworthy changes that will significantly alter how project managers approach their work.

PMBOK 6th Edition

The PMBOK 6th Edition was made available by the Project Management Institute in 2017. It provides a thorough foundation for project management methods, processes, and concepts; the PMBOK Guide is a widely accepted standard for Project Management.

The PMBOK 6th Edition has several upgrades and modifications over the prior 5th Edition, including:

1. Agile methodologies: A new section on agile methods is included in the PMBOK 6th Edition, representing the rising understanding of the significance of agile methods in project management.

2. Process groups: The "Managing Stakeholder Engagement" process group, which the PMBOK 6th Edition introduces in place of the "Stakeholder Management" knowledge area in the previous Edition, replaces the "Stakeholder Management" process group.

3. Knowledge areas: Reflecting the increasing significance of stakeholder management in project management, the PMBOK 6th Edition adds a new knowledge area called "Project Stakeholder Management" to the framework.

4. Guidelines for customization: The PMBOK 6th Edition contains more thorough instructions for customizing project management procedures to meet the project's demands.

5. More emphasis on strategic and business expertise for project managers: The PMBOK 6th Edition recognizes the value of being thoroughly aware of the business environment in which their work is conducted.

In general, the PMBOK 6th Edition marks a substantial advancement in project management techniques. It reflects the rising appreciation of the value of agile methodologies, stakeholder management, and business expertise in project management.

PMBOK 7th Edition

The PMBOK 7th Edition designates the seventh iteration of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Handbook, a widely accepted project management standard. The PMBOK Guide, produced by PMI, offers a comprehensive framework for project management methods, processes, and concepts.

Project management companies and professionals use the PMBOK Guide frequently as a reference for project management best practices. A significant update to the preceding 6th Edition, issued in 2017, the 7th Edition of the PMBOK Guide was published in August 2021.

Here are some features of PMBOK 7th Edition:

  • A focus on agile approaches
  • More emphasis on project manager competencies
  • Increased attention to digital transformation is just one of the new elements introduced by the PMBOK 7th Edition.

The 7th Edition also reduces the number of knowledge areas from ten to eight and adds more thorough instructions for adjusting project management procedures to meet the project's demands.

The PMBOK 7th edition, in general, represents a substantial advancement in project management techniques and is designed to give project managers a more flexible and agile method of managing projects in a constantly shifting corporate environment.

The Top difference between the PMBOK 7th edition and the 6th Edition

The most recent PMBOK Guide Edition, issued in August 2021, is the 7th Edition. This article will diacritical the critical differences between the PMBOK 7th edition and the preceding 6th version.

1. Concentrate on Principles

The emphasis on principles is one of the main distinctions between the PMBOK 7th and 6th editions. The 7th Edition focuses more on the guiding principles for project management techniques, whereas the 6th Edition is more concerned with methods.

The 12 project management principles, essential facts that direct behavior and decision-making in project management, are listed in the 7th Edition. The guiding ideas comprise:

  • Stakeholders: Project managers are obligated to safeguard stakeholders' interests.
  • Teamwork: People complete projects; successful partnership is crucial to completing every task.
  • Value: Initiatives must offer stakeholders value.
  • Good leadership: It is essential for a project's success.
  • Customization: Project management techniques should be modified to meet the project's demands.
  • Quality: Both project management methods and outputs should be high-quality.
  • Risk: Effective risk management is crucial for projects to succeed.
  • Benefits: Initiatives should match strategic objectives and benefit stakeholders.
  • Adaptability: Project management should be flexible and adaptable to change.
  • Complexity: Project management procedures should be adjusted depending on the complexity.
  • Interdisciplinary cooperation: Successful project management involves interdisciplinary collaboration.
  • Sustainability: Initiatives should be long-lasting and benefit people and the environment.

The transition to principles-based project management reflects the rising understanding that project management is a discipline that necessitates a deeper grasp of the guiding concepts that underpin efficient project management rather than just a set of procedures.

2. Agile Focus

Another significant distinction between the PMBOK 7th and 6th editions is the greater emphasis on agile approaches. Although the 6th Edition has a section on agile, the 7th Edition goes further and has a separate appendix on agile and hybrid techniques.

The 7th Edition emphasizes that traditional waterfall methods may only be appropriate for some projects and that agile methods may be more flexible, responsive, and customer-focused. An overview of agile methodologies, such as Scrum, Kanban, and Lean, as well as how agile and conventional approaches might be blended to create hybrid systems, are covered in the appendix on agile.

In the 7th Edition, standard project management procedures have also been updated to incorporate agile principles, such as iterative and incremental development cycles.

3. Project Manager Skills

The 7th Edition gives more weight to the skills necessary for efficient project management. A section on project manager competencies was introduced in the 6th Edition, but the 7th Edition goes beyond and includes a whole chapter on project manager competencies.

There are three competency domains listed in the chapter on project management competencies:

  • People: This domain focuses on the leadership and interpersonal abilities necessary for successful project management, such as collaboration, team building, and dispute resolution.
  • Process: This area concerns the technical abilities needed for efficient project management, such as project planning, risk management, and quality management.
  • Business: Business acumen, stakeholder involvement, and strategy alignment are just a few examples of the business skills emphasized in this sector. These abilities are crucial for successful project management.

4. Tailoring Instructions

The 7th Edition offers more precise instructions for modifying project management procedures to meet the project's requirements. The 7th Edition contains a section specifically on tailoring, whereas the 6th Edition only provides some advice.

The 7th Edition's tailoring principles acknowledge the necessity to modify project management procedures to meet the unique requirements of each project. The guidelines give a framework for tailoring, which includes:

  • Identifying the project features that require tailoring;
  • Choosing the relevant project management practises being adopted; and
  • Modifying the project management practises fitting the project characteristics.

The tailoring recommendations in the 7th Edition reflect the growing understanding that project management is not a one-size-fits-all approach and that project management procedures should be tailored to meet the particulars of each project.

5. Knowledge Domains

The number of knowledge areas decreased from 10 in the 6th Edition to Eight in the 7th Edition. In the 7th Edition, the following knowledge areas are covered:

  • Project integration management,
  • Project scope management,
  • Project schedule management,
  • Project cost management,
  • Project quality management,
  • Project resource management,
  • Project communications management,
  • Project risk management.

The 7th Edition's knowledge categories reflect a move towards a more streamlined method of project management, focusing on the crucial areas needed for successful project management.

6. Digital Transformation

Digital transformation and the use of technology in project management are given more attention in the 7th Edition. The 6th Edition included some advice on using technology in project management, but the 7th Edition contained a digital transformation section.

The digital transformation section explores how technology can be utilized to strengthen project management procedures, boost project results, and raise stakeholder participation. The dangers and difficulties that could arise from digital transformation are also covered in this part, including cybersecurity issues and the requirement for project management specialists to acquire new skills.

The addition of a section specifically devoted to digital transformation reflects the growing significance of technology in project management and the requirement for project management professionals to be knowledgeable about the most recent tools and technologies.

7. Agile Practice Guide

The Agile Practice Guide, a separate book, is now incorporated into the PMBOK Guide's 7th Edition. Agile processes and their integration with conventional project management techniques are explained in the Agile Practice Handbook.

Including the Agile Practice Guide in the PMBOK Guide reflects the rising appreciation for the value of agile methodology in project management and the requirement that project management professionals be conversant in conventional and agile methods.


The 7th Edition of the PMBOK marks a substantial move towards a more principles-based approach to project management, with a stronger focus on agile methodologies, project manager competencies, and digital transformation. The Agile Practice Guide's incorporation emphasizes the significance of agile methods in contemporary project management practices. At the same time, the reduction in the number of knowledge areas and the addition of specific tailoring guidelines show a more streamlined and flexible approach to project management.