PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition, Review: Standardization of the AOK Structure

by PH Lohnes, PMP

We have discussed some of the major changes to the PMBOK® Guide with the 5th Edition’s release in previous columns. To begin, all the Process Group and Areas of Knowledge names stayed the same from the fourth edition to the fifth edition. However, in the first AOK, Project Integration Management, the processes are the same with the exception of Process 4.3 where in the fifth edition the word “execution” was changed to “work.” This paralleled the use of the word “work” in Process 4.4 making the fifth edition more consistent in its wording.

Next, let us dispense with the Area of Knowledge that did not change in the numbering, naming, or ordering of its contents: the Project Integration Management. We will cover the internal changes to the Project Integration Management AOK later, but they are minor.

What the 5th Edition did standardize was the processes for most of the remaining AOKs to use the plan – control model. Each of the remaining AOKs with the exception of Project HR Management (go figure) was standardized on the Plan – other processes – Control process structure. In some cases this required the addition of a new “Plan” process, and in others it mandated a “Control” process. We will list the changes for the Scope / Time / Cost AOKs this month, and then the rest in subsequent issues.


In Table 1 below is a summary of these standardization changes for Scope / Time / Cost:


AOK / Process PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition
5. Scope <no process> 5.1 Plan Scope Management
5.1 Collect Requirements 5.2 Collect Requirements
5.2 Define Scope 5.3 Define Scope
5.3 Create WBS 5.4 Create WBS
5.4 Verify Scope 5.5 Validate Scope
5.5 Control Scope 5.6 Control Scope
6. Time <no process> 6.1 Plan Schedule Management
6.1 Define Activities 6.2 Define Activities
6.2 Sequence Activities 6.3 Sequence Activities
6.3 Estimate Activity Resources 6.4 Estimate Activity Resources
6.4 Estimate Activity Durations 6.5 Estimate Activity Durations
6.5 Develop Schedule 6.6 Develop Schedule
6.6 Control Schedule 6.7 Control Schedule
7. Cost <no process> 7.1 Plan Cost Management
7.1 Estimate Costs 7.2 Estimate Costs
7.2 Determine Budget 7.3 Determine Budget
7.3 Control Costs 7.4 Control Costs

From the included table, it is evident that the above three AOKs were standardized with the addition of the “Plan AOK Management” process – one of the main reasons for the increase of processes in the 5th Edition from 42 to 47.


The only other change in the process stack for these AOKs was the change of the 5.4 / 5.5 Process: Verify Scope to Validate Scope. The PMBOK® Guide project team modified this verb to the correct use of the activity since one cannot validate without the WBS being in existence whle one verifies before creating; their use is now correct.


Finally, there is much going around about the PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition now being in compliance with the DIKW (data, information, knowledge, wisdom) model of knowledge management. In the opinion of this author, this is another attempt to obfuscate and increase the liturgy of the project management body of knowledge currently making the art of project management more difficult to understand and even more difficult to implement.


Remember, Occam’s Razor (Google/Bing it): Keep it Simple!

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