PMBOK Guide 4th Edition Changes

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Main Areas of Change From 3 to 4

The changes are mainly in the area of readability, linkages to other PMI standards, and clarifying how the project documents work together. So the first couple of chapters are now the same as in the Program Management Standard and the Portfolio Management Standard of PMI. This also helps bring PMI’s Organizational Project Management Maturity Model (OPM3®) up to date.

There are also some striking philosophical changes which seem minor at first but are rather interesting to those of us who are ‘highly interested in the PM endeavor’ – otherwise known as PM geeks.

One of those striking changes was the elimination of any reference at all to “The Triple Constraint”, called by some the Iron Triangle. This is the principle that a project has to balance Time, Resources (Cost) and Scope. The question was always – what about risk and quality and requirements, where do those all fit in. So the PMI has put in words that simply say that a PM has to balance all of these aspects and no longer even refer to the Triple Constraint.

In terms of readability, all process names are now in verb-noun format. The concept of “project documents” was introduced, to distinguish the large set of documents and artifacts that arise in a project from the Project Management Plan, and to avoid the silly situation of the 3rd Edition in which the Project Management Plan was an input to processes which had as their output ….you guessed it…the Project Management Plan or a predecessor.

New Processes, New Appendix

There are two new processes introduced:

  • Identify Stakeholders (a predecessor to the Plan Communications process, which makes sense)
  • Collect Requirements (a nod to the IT and software development communities)

With a nod to the necessity of getting things done through people, there is a brand-new Appendix G focused on Interpersonal Skills.

  • Leadership
  • Team building
  • Motivation
  • Communication
  • Influencing
  • Decision making
  • Political and cultural awareness
  • Negotiation

Details, Details

The book can be purchased for $65.95, but PMI members get to buy it for $49.50. The book is available in PDF format for free from PMI if you are a PMI member. You will need to upgrade to a newer version of Adobe Acrobat and the file is password protected (so you cannot duplicate and share the file). Visit the marketplace at

The book also comes with a poster - yes, a poster. Tucked inside the book is a 20-inch by 30-inch poster called, “Project Management Process Groups - Interactions and Processes”. Seeing this, I rummaged through the package to see if there may also be an action figure, perhaps a Teenage Mutant Ninja Scope Creep Figher. No such luck. But the poster is nice, and if you’re like me you’ll have it up on your office wall in no time….