Home > Articles > Certification > Other Non-Technical

PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition: What’s New and (Almost) Exciting

Are you ready for the newest guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge? PMI is poised to release the new version of the PMBOK Guide before the end of 2012. Product management consultant Joseph Phillips describes in detail how PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition has added and removed project processes, clarified previous edition, and includes a completely new project knowledge area.
Like this article? We recommend

If you’re like me, and I suspect you are, you’ve been counting down the days until the new and improved Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, 5th Edition is due to release. It’s like waiting for the next episode of The Walking Dead, football season to start, or gosh, even waiting for Disney on Ice to roll into town. Well, maybe. But it’s starting to become a tradition for the Project Management Institute (PMI) to update its book, the PMBOK Guide, every three or four years. It’s like waiting for the seven-year cicada to come out again.

Hey, I’m no critic of the PMBOK Guide—it a wonderful book for project managers to use as general guide to project management. It’s written by a host of volunteer writers, volunteer editors, and hundreds of people chip in every few years to review the book. To those people who’ve written, edited, and reviewed the PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition for free, I say, “Thank you!” And when you consider the hundreds of thousands of project managers, want-to-be project managers, businesses, and PMI-exam candidates who will be reviewing the work, it’s a real achievement—especially when you consider the cost of the PMBOK Guide is about $35, depending on when and where you buy it. Cha-Ching!

I’ve been one of the fortunate thousands who have a copy of the PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition in draft mode. If you’ve never read the earlier versions of the PMBOK before (lucky!), you’ll be pleased to know that this version follows the same drone as its predecessors. Again, not mocking, just giving you a fair warning. For example, you’ll read zingers like this one in the new PMBOK Guide: “A project management office (PMO) is an organizational body or entity assigned various responsibilities related to the centralized and coordinated management of those projects under its domain.”

If you’re preparing for the Project Management Professional (PMP), the Certified Associated in Project Management (CAPM), or you want to really dig into the PMI approach to project management, you’ll need a copy of the PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition. It’s expected to be released in the fourth quarter of 2012 (makes a nice Christmas present!). If past experiences are any indicator of future expectations, PMI usually changes its certification exams about six to eight months after a new PMBOK Guide is released. So, if you’re currently working towards your PMI certification I’d wager you have until September of 2013. Keep studying PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition until you hear otherwise.

PMBOK 5: What’s in It?

In the draft version of the PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition, you will find some juicy changes. Most notably is a completely new knowledge area: stakeholder management, which I’ll discuss in a moment. This means there are now 10 knowledge areas—something that’s caused a little bit of controversy on the blog roll and in my PMP Boot Camps. Wasn’t stakeholder management important all along? Did stakeholder suddenly become more important? While stakeholder management has been in the PMBOK Guide, in some form all along, the acknowledgment to the importance of stakeholder involvement is now stressed.

This version of the PMBOK Guide now has 47 processes identified, instead of the 42 project management processes you know and love now. Most of the new processes are linked to the new stakeholder management process, but you’ll also find that project planning for each knowledge area of a project have been added. For example, there’s now planning as a process for scope, time, cost, quality, human resources, communications, procurement, and stakeholder management. In the last edition of the PMBOK Guide, this was just all tucked into one knowledge area rather than spread around among the knowledge areas. All of these planning components help create the comprehensive project management plan and its subsidiary plans.

The project management office (PMO) now plays a more significant role in this PMBOK edition. You’ll find that the PMO will be supportive, controlling, or directive. And depending on which flavor of the PMO your organization has implemented, you’ll find rules and characteristics that affect how you get to manage your project. Even if you don’t have a PMO, you’ll find more information about policies and project governance. Gotta follow the rules! Rules apply to all of the project team members (full-time or part-time members), the project manager, the project sponsor, and the new classification of stakeholders.

The PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition writers have added some general information about other project management methodologies. Specifically, there’s an overview of Agile, Waterfall, and the Adaptive approach. This is nice, but I think it’s really an attempt for PMI to dovetail the PMBOK Guide into its PMI-Agile Certified Professional (PMI-ACP) designation. The writers also give some insight into how to actually calculate the critical path of a project network diagram—something that was sorely needed, but I think their explanation is a bit lacking.

A nice addition to this version is that there’s (finally!) a table of all the earned value management formulas. Earned value management (EVM) is a suite of formulas that help a project manager evaluate how well the project is performing and make predictions of how well the project is likely to finish on time and on costs based on the current measurements. EVM is a fine approach to tying a dollar amount to project performance based on what was planned and what was experienced.

Now let’s dig a little deeper and examine the expected changes to the meat of the PMBOK: the project management knowledge areas.

The Big Change: Project Stakeholder Management

The biggest change in the PMBOK Guide, 5th Edition is the addition of a knowledge area: Project Stakeholder Management. Previously, stakeholder management was part of project communications management. It’s grown over the years and is now its own knowledge area full of goodness and things project managers—good project managers—were doing all along. First, a stakeholder is anyone or group who is affected by your project.

Think of a project to install a new piece of software in a company with 1,200 users. Stakeholders in this scenario would be the project manager, the project, the project sponsor, vendors, managers of the 1,200 people, the IT department, the people who would eventually support the software, the help desk, and the guy in accounting who holds up the purchase. All of that is even before the 1,200 people directly affect by the project. These people are all stakeholders—and you might even think of more stakeholders in your company.

Project stakeholder management is broken down into four processes that you’ll do as a project manager:

  •   Identify the project stakeholders: You must identify all of the stakeholders as early in the project as possible. The longer you wait the worse it’ll be—like most things in life. Identifying the project stakeholders includes documenting who’s who and what their needs, wants, perceived threats, and expectations are.
  •   Plan stakeholder management: You need a strategy on how you’ll manage the different types of stakeholders, engage the stakeholders in the project, when the stakeholders need to participate, and what the stakeholder concerns may be as the project is in motion.
  •   Manage stakeholder engagement: The project manager must lead the charge on getting stakeholders involved in the project. This is especially true when you need stakeholder input on decisions, actions, and choices to allow your project to move forward. This process meshes with project communications management.
  •   Control stakeholder engagement: Some stakeholders will want to, or need to, be more engaged in the project than others. This means the project manager will need to evaluate and strategize on which stakeholders should be involved at different points in the project, the depth of engagement needed from the stakeholders, and the challenges that may be linked to the stakeholder engagement or resistance of the stakeholder to be engaged.

What’s Next

Yes, project stakeholder management is the big addition to PMBOK 5, but it’s not the only change. In my next article, I’ll run down the changes for each of the other project management knowledge areas.

InformIT Promotional Mailings & Special Offers

I would like to receive exclusive offers and hear about products from InformIT and its family of brands. I can unsubscribe at any time.


Pearson Education, Inc., 221 River Street, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, (Pearson) presents this site to provide information about products and services that can be purchased through this site.

This privacy notice provides an overview of our commitment to privacy and describes how we collect, protect, use and share personal information collected through this site. Please note that other Pearson websites and online products and services have their own separate privacy policies.

Collection and Use of Information

To conduct business and deliver products and services, Pearson collects and uses personal information in several ways in connection with this site, including:

Questions and Inquiries

For inquiries and questions, we collect the inquiry or question, together with name, contact details (email address, phone number and mailing address) and any other additional information voluntarily submitted to us through a Contact Us form or an email. We use this information to address the inquiry and respond to the question.

Online Store

For orders and purchases placed through our online store on this site, we collect order details, name, institution name and address (if applicable), email address, phone number, shipping and billing addresses, credit/debit card information, shipping options and any instructions. We use this information to complete transactions, fulfill orders, communicate with individuals placing orders or visiting the online store, and for related purposes.


Pearson may offer opportunities to provide feedback or participate in surveys, including surveys evaluating Pearson products, services or sites. Participation is voluntary. Pearson collects information requested in the survey questions and uses the information to evaluate, support, maintain and improve products, services or sites, develop new products and services, conduct educational research and for other purposes specified in the survey.

Contests and Drawings

Occasionally, we may sponsor a contest or drawing. Participation is optional. Pearson collects name, contact information and other information specified on the entry form for the contest or drawing to conduct the contest or drawing. Pearson may collect additional personal information from the winners of a contest or drawing in order to award the prize and for tax reporting purposes, as required by law.


If you have elected to receive email newsletters or promotional mailings and special offers but want to unsubscribe, simply email information@informit.com.

Service Announcements

On rare occasions it is necessary to send out a strictly service related announcement. For instance, if our service is temporarily suspended for maintenance we might send users an email. Generally, users may not opt-out of these communications, though they can deactivate their account information. However, these communications are not promotional in nature.

Customer Service

We communicate with users on a regular basis to provide requested services and in regard to issues relating to their account we reply via email or phone in accordance with the users' wishes when a user submits their information through our Contact Us form.

Other Collection and Use of Information

Application and System Logs

Pearson automatically collects log data to help ensure the delivery, availability and security of this site. Log data may include technical information about how a user or visitor connected to this site, such as browser type, type of computer/device, operating system, internet service provider and IP address. We use this information for support purposes and to monitor the health of the site, identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents and appropriately scale computing resources.

Web Analytics

Pearson may use third party web trend analytical services, including Google Analytics, to collect visitor information, such as IP addresses, browser types, referring pages, pages visited and time spent on a particular site. While these analytical services collect and report information on an anonymous basis, they may use cookies to gather web trend information. The information gathered may enable Pearson (but not the third party web trend services) to link information with application and system log data. Pearson uses this information for system administration and to identify problems, improve service, detect unauthorized access and fraudulent activity, prevent and respond to security incidents, appropriately scale computing resources and otherwise support and deliver this site and its services.

Cookies and Related Technologies

This site uses cookies and similar technologies to personalize content, measure traffic patterns, control security, track use and access of information on this site, and provide interest-based messages and advertising. Users can manage and block the use of cookies through their browser. Disabling or blocking certain cookies may limit the functionality of this site.

Do Not Track

This site currently does not respond to Do Not Track signals.


Pearson uses appropriate physical, administrative and technical security measures to protect personal information from unauthorized access, use and disclosure.


This site is not directed to children under the age of 13.


Pearson may send or direct marketing communications to users, provided that

  • Pearson will not use personal information collected or processed as a K-12 school service provider for the purpose of directed or targeted advertising.
  • Such marketing is consistent with applicable law and Pearson's legal obligations.
  • Pearson will not knowingly direct or send marketing communications to an individual who has expressed a preference not to receive marketing.
  • Where required by applicable law, express or implied consent to marketing exists and has not been withdrawn.

Pearson may provide personal information to a third party service provider on a restricted basis to provide marketing solely on behalf of Pearson or an affiliate or customer for whom Pearson is a service provider. Marketing preferences may be changed at any time.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user's personally identifiable information changes (such as your postal address or email address), we provide a way to correct or update that user's personal data provided to us. This can be done on the Account page. If a user no longer desires our service and desires to delete his or her account, please contact us at customer-service@informit.com and we will process the deletion of a user's account.


Users can always make an informed choice as to whether they should proceed with certain services offered by InformIT. If you choose to remove yourself from our mailing list(s) simply visit the following page and uncheck any communication you no longer want to receive: www.informit.com/u.aspx.

Sale of Personal Information

Pearson does not rent or sell personal information in exchange for any payment of money.

While Pearson does not sell personal information, as defined in Nevada law, Nevada residents may email a request for no sale of their personal information to NevadaDesignatedRequest@pearson.com.

Supplemental Privacy Statement for California Residents

California residents should read our Supplemental privacy statement for California residents in conjunction with this Privacy Notice. The Supplemental privacy statement for California residents explains Pearson's commitment to comply with California law and applies to personal information of California residents collected in connection with this site and the Services.

Sharing and Disclosure

Pearson may disclose personal information, as follows:

  • As required by law.
  • With the consent of the individual (or their parent, if the individual is a minor)
  • In response to a subpoena, court order or legal process, to the extent permitted or required by law
  • To protect the security and safety of individuals, data, assets and systems, consistent with applicable law
  • In connection the sale, joint venture or other transfer of some or all of its company or assets, subject to the provisions of this Privacy Notice
  • To investigate or address actual or suspected fraud or other illegal activities
  • To exercise its legal rights, including enforcement of the Terms of Use for this site or another contract
  • To affiliated Pearson companies and other companies and organizations who perform work for Pearson and are obligated to protect the privacy of personal information consistent with this Privacy Notice
  • To a school, organization, company or government agency, where Pearson collects or processes the personal information in a school setting or on behalf of such organization, company or government agency.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that we are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of each and every web site that collects Personal Information. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this web site.

Requests and Contact

Please contact us about this Privacy Notice or if you have any requests or questions relating to the privacy of your personal information.

Changes to this Privacy Notice

We may revise this Privacy Notice through an updated posting. We will identify the effective date of the revision in the posting. Often, updates are made to provide greater clarity or to comply with changes in regulatory requirements. If the updates involve material changes to the collection, protection, use or disclosure of Personal Information, Pearson will provide notice of the change through a conspicuous notice on this site or other appropriate way. Continued use of the site after the effective date of a posted revision evidences acceptance. Please contact us if you have questions or concerns about the Privacy Notice or any objection to any revisions.

Last Update: November 17, 2020