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How To Upgrade Yourself To The PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition

If you studied to take your Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam using A Guide

to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) fourth edition and had to

reschedule your exam date to on/after July 31, 2013, then you now have to take the PMP Exam

based on the new PMBOK® Guide fifth edition. The Project Management Institute (PMI)® will

not make any exceptions to this rule.


There are notable changes between version four and version five of the PMBOK® Guide. For

instance the number of Knowledge Areas has been increased from 9 to 10 and the number

of processes has been increased from 42 to 47. But this change is only simple if you look at it

numerically. It is much more complex under the hood. Here’s an example:


The new Knowledge Area is called Project Stakeholder Management and was added to

emphasize the importance of good stakeholder management on all projects. It contains

four processes. Two of these processes were renamed and moved here from Project

Communications Management. Two are new processes. That leaves three new processes that

were added in other Knowledge Areas throughout the guide. In addition many more processes

were renamed.


Appendix X1 in the PMBOK® Guide fifth edition describes the bulk of the changes. A number

of authors have also described these changes and made their analysis available on the web.

A quick search for “PMBOK 5 changes” will find them. It is, however, important to note that

these articles don't list all the detailed changes. For instance, the inputs, tools & techniques

and outputs of almost every single process have changed. Some ITTOs have been removed

and new ones have been added. You will therefore not find a complete description of all the



Because of this large amount of changes throughout the PMBOK® Guide it is impossible to

simply "study the difference". The changes are sometimes conceptual, sometimes dramatic

and sometimes minor. But they are here and your PMP Exam may require you to know

them. "Upgrading" your knowledge from the fourth to the fifth edition can therefore not be

done "change-by-change". You have to apply a holistic approach.


However, it must also be said that just because the PMBOK® Guide has changed, project

management itself hasn't changed. The fundamental way in which projects are managed is

still the same. The PMBOK® Guide is simply our general framework describing the activities &

techniques that are commonly accepted to be good practices on most projects most of the time.

And just because the PMBOK® Guide has changed its Project Cost Management Knowledge

Area from three to four processes doesn't mean that Earned Value systems need to be changed

as well.


But in order to pass your PMP exam you will need to be aware of the new definitions in the

PMBOK® Guide. Studying them takes effort, dedication and time. Here is a possible study

approach to "upgrade" yourself to the PMBOK® Guide fifth edition:

1) Study Appendix X1 and familiarize yourself with the changes. In particular: Familiarize

yourself with the processes that have been added, moved or renamed and learn the new

process names.

2) Study Appendix X3 and familiarize yourself with the Interpersonal Skills a project manager

should have.

3) Study Annex A1 - The Standard for Project Management of a Project. Here you want to Study

the short descriptions for each of the five process groups and for each of the 47 processes.

4) Study table 3-1 on page 61 and know which process belongs to which process group. (You

will find that it contains the same information as Table A1-1 in Annex A1). For the exam it is a

good idea to be able to start with a blank piece of paper and draw this table from memory.

5) Study table 4-1 on page 78 and know which documents are part of the project management

plan and which ones are "just" other project documents.

6) And finally (and unfortunately): Study the complete PMBOK® Guide 5th edition twice.

When studying the new PMBOK® Guide familiarize yourself with the new inputs, tools &

techniques and outputs of all the processes. A good approach is to study the Data Flow

Diagram for each of the 47 processes. These diagrams illustrate the flow of the inputs and

outputs and will strengthen your understanding of how they move between the many processes.

It will also help you understand the integrated nature of all the processes in the PMBOK®



You should also get to know the new processes that have been added and make special note of

the new Earned Value Calculations Summary Table 7-1 on page 224, which looks suspiciously

close to a table that I developed and have published since 2009 for our PMP Exam Formula



As you might have guessed by now, "upgrading" your knowledge to this new version of the

PMBOK® Guide is not something that you can do in just a day. While your PM experience

is the main focus of the PMP Exam, it will also be necessary for you to have an in-depth

understanding of the PMBOK® Guide fifth Edition to be able to correctly answer many of the

questions the test.


I therefore recommend that you plan a minimum of two weeks of intense study.


About the author: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM is a noted PMP expert. He has helped nearly

25,000 students prepare for the PMP exam with The Project Management PrepCast and offers

one of the best PMP exam simulators on the market.

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