Why you should not care about the PMBOK Guide changes?

Every time there is a change in the PMBOK Guide, and for a year or more before, we start to see the hype, which is quite annoying.

One really can find it quite hard to filter through the numerous posts and it might be impossible to distinguish which is a legitimate post, an imitated post (copy-paste), or just bogus marketing.

Well, the hype brings business but we thought there is a code of ethical and professional conduct, do these people read it or even know it exists?

Here are some key words we have read;

  1. “The new PMBOK Guide is coming and it is a Tsunami”
  2. “Rush and take the PMP exam now before the change”
  3. “The new exam will be difficult so you must take the exam now”

Why you should not care?

Let us divide the audience into three groups:

Group 1: Already hold a PMP Certification

If you are in this group; you might not care about the change, especially if you are no longer in project management or is not interested in keeping your PMBOK Guide knowledge current.

On the other hands, many in this group probably want to keep their knowledge current. OK great. If the guide change, spend a few days reviewing the changes. They are not major and never have been. There are only two or three new processes and one chapter is now about different types of resources not only human resource.

Oh, we forgot the Agilists – those talking about tsunamis – agile principles have been around for 15 or 20 years under the agile label and longer if we ignore the labels. So the PMBOK Guide is many years behind the current market. Of course, if you know nothing about agile, then maybe you need to pick up a book and read.

Group 2: Those who are considering a PMP Certification

This group is usually the cause of much of the hype. I remember with the change between the 4th and 5th edition I had a debate with a “promoter” who claimed the new exam will be harder. I asked him why? He said there is an addition of about 50 pages. So out of 600+ pages there were new pages – mostly due to repeating mostly the same inputs-tools & techniques-outputs for 5 processes that were separated from other processes.

Now, we hear the same debate about the new exam being harder. Why, Agile! Really?

In response to a recent post on LinkedIn where one was claiming the new exam will be harder, I asked, “how did you know? did PMI announce anything?” — of course no response.

Again, why should not we care?

Well, first, for the PMP situational questions dominate and these are not necessarily PMBOK driven. Questions about scheduling, earned value, risk, scope, etc. will not necessarily change since the guide is not changing these topics. Maybe a question here and there but the exam has 200 questions.

Further, a common knowledge in the PM community (of course PMI does not say this and we do not know for sure) is that less than 30 or 40% of the exam is knowledge questions directly from the PMBOK Guide. Therefore, knowing that only one knowledge area changed and limited change in processes so does this mean the change in the exam could be more than 5%?

Finally, if you have been studying the 5th edition, then it is best to take the exam on the 5th edition and you still have about 6 months (+/-). If you have not been studying – start now on 5th edition or wait until September or October and start studying the new guide.

So I wish, we can stop this hype; annoying hypes and focus on how can we enhance the practice of project management and add value to our organizations and communities.

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About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.