The changes made to the PMBOK this year, are not just about presenting process names in a verb-noun format consistently. Rather, the processes and ITTOs are made simpler, to provide practitioners of project management with a standard which is easy to understand and follow. For example, the constituent processes in the Third edition are reduced from 44 to 42.
Bellow is a summary of some of the major differences between the Third and Fourth Editions:
If you have looked at the beginning of the Fourth edition, you should find that the original “Develop Project Scope Statement (Preliminary)” in the initiation stage has been removed and replaced by another communications management process, “Identify Stakeholders”. This revision of the PMI standards reflects what has been proven by its practitioners – that a project scope statement can only be developed with the support of its stakeholders, whose needs and requirements are the key elements of the scope. Accordingly, identifying who these stakeholders are, and finding their expectations, should be an important step prior to developing any scope documentation.
Following stakeholder identification, their requirements have to be summarized and organized, and therefore, the original “Scope Planning” has been revised as “Collect Requirements”, as part of the definition of “scope”, which should be easier for beginners to understand. The “Plan” and “Purchase” processes in procurement management have also been combined into one process, “Plan Procurement”. Amalgamating these stages was designed to allow project workers, as soon as the procurement has been planned and the critical path work determined, to start subcontracting important work without any further delay.
Similar amalgamation has also been applied to the execution stage of procurement; the “Request Seller Responses” and “Seller Selection” have been combined into “Conduct Procurement”.
Several terms have been added or adjusted. For example, a new term, “Program Management”, has been added to the project management lifecycle, and the definition of “stakeholders” within “program management” has been expanded from the sponsor, customer, client, to, the PMO, Portfolio Steering Committee and portfolio manager. Therefore, a complete hierarchy of authorization levels, of a program’s stakeholders, is now shown and so is much easier to follow. Accordingly, different levels of management, across multiple projects, can also be organized by phases, which will, through continuous work from the lowest to the highest level, ultimately complete a program or project.
The process flow diagrams have been deleted and replaced with data flow diagrams. The Fourth edition now shows the relationships between the five processes and their constituent processes with “interactive” and “bi-directional” diagrams, replacing the original “mono-directional” diagrams.
The above are the major changes in the Framework section. Other sections have also been changed to reflect the real needs of good practice. For example, more emphasis has been placed on the PMO management in the Fourth Edition, which can be seen by the use of the “project audit” to enhance the Program manager’s monitoring and controlling power when managing multiple projects. It is worth noting that more attention is now given to how to distinguish different documentation, especially between the project management plan and related documents, and, the project’s management work documents, and how to systematically integrate and sort these documents. The distinction between the information in the Project Charter and in the Project Scope Statement has been clarified; so that learners can understand a project’s constraints and assumptions when developing the scope statement.
As for the three types of improvement actions (“corrective actions”, “preventive actions” and “defect repair”) were all put into the process of “change request”, which simplifies the definitions and relationships of the improvement actions in the Third Edition. They are still there in the “change request” process in the Fourth Edition, but now, the different kinds of defects a project faces can be dealt with by the change control board with more comprehensive procedures.
To summarize, the Fourth Edition clarifies many terms and definitions. However, even with the deletion of the constituent processes and the simplification of the ITTO, the same detail and logic of project management remain, and should not be overlooked by new learners.
Roger, Chou, PgMP, the Director of PM-ABC (www.pm-abc.com)