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Taking and Passing the PMP Exam - Part 15 - PMBOK version 4

Long time readers may recall how I despise adore PMP certification, but I'm still going through the process. And there is a new twist, PMBOK Version 4 has been released. If you have not taken the PMP exam by now, chances are you will be tested on the latest version. So a discussion of what has changed is in order.

The place to start with anything is understanding what was the intent. This can conveniently be found in the project charter. And the PMBOK v4 tells us what they were after:

  • Remove conflicts with other PMI standards
  • Clarify writing style
  • Research use of life cycles based on current usage
  • Clarify Process Groups and Processes through deletion, combination, or addition
  • Update Knowledge Areas.

It sounds like a modest set of things to achieve. And, because the work is performed by volunteers, this is to be expected. In fact, I predict that the current structure and concept of the PMBOK is going to be calcified for at least a couple more versions until it becomes obvious that it is broken, or at least no longer describes the Project Management Body of Knowledge. This is not a bad thing, it is just the way things go.

With those goals in mind, what are the actual changes? The Preface tells us that the major changes are:

  • Process name syntax now all verb-noun (consistency being a hobgoblin...)
  • A standard approach to discussing enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets was employed. (I'm not sure what this means. We will have to read it to find out)
  • Same thing but for requested changes, preventative and corrective actions and defect repairs. (um... I get everything after the standard approach to discussing part...)
  • Some changes in processes (No comment. Just remember that today's processes may suffer the same fate)
  • Plan vs. Documents differentiated. (Good luck!)

So, some modest goals and modest changes. This is good news for people trying to pass the PMP exam. No major changes and none of them appear to be substantial. Next episode will dig in and see what these changes really are and whether they need addressing.

See the whole series on passing the PMP exam here

  • Project Management by Microsoft
  • Cramming for the Microsoft Project 2007 Certification Exam
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 14 - The Examination Specification
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 8 - What is Project Management
  • Taking the PMP Exam - Part 2 - Joining PMI
  • PMI Program Management Certification
  • Taking and Passing the PMP Exam Part 16 How I passed the PMP Exam
  • PM Web #001 - Glen B. Alleman's Herding Cats
  • Books to Consider – Decision Making
  • PMP Certification Exam Experience Requirements Spreadsheet

  • Comments (3)

    David Pratten:


    those studying for the PMP may also benefit from the PMBOK learning tool at www.jospar.com.

    You are welcome to check it out.

    Signup using invite code: "2009-06-30-evaluate"


    You wrote about consistency being the hobgoblin ... The correct reference is, I believe, that a *foolish* consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds.

    Yep. Exactly! -Jack

    Carrie Carden:

    This is hysterical and even though I have always known this, I feel validated about my perception of the PMI and the lack of "qualifying" PMP test takers any previous experience.
    However, due to the economy, I have been unemployed for 7 months and should be a "shoo in" except when it comes down between two candidates and they are the same in everyway except (1) - PMP Certified, of course, they will get the job.
    Sooooo, I am studying and ran across this. I laughed all morning.
    Carrie CArden

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