PMBOK® 4th Edition..Changes from PMBOK® 3rd Edition

March 19, 2009

In a global, widespread and widely used project management standard like PMI’s PMBOK®, its only natural that all the impacted stakeholders would look towards it in anticipation. Therefore I just thought of documenting the changes, from PMBOK® 3rd edition and PMBOK® 4th edition.

 Before getting into details:

Lets remember that, PMI’s PMBOK® has been accepted as a standard in project management globally and it’s a ‘robust’ and ‘stable product’. There are no major process redefinitions. Only the improvements, clarifications, regrouping, renaming to continue with ‘verb-noun’ standards.

 To begin with Good News:

  • Its not a drastic change, so if you have studied PMBOK® 3 and can not take the exam before June 30th 2009. Don’t worry too much about it.
  • The changes and revisions are more to do with clarifications, removing process overlaps, improved graphics and figures.

 To ‘manage’ and ‘mitigate’:

  • - PMI Members will not receive the CDs of the PMBOK®, although PMBOK® can be downloaded from the website (I think this feature is currently disabled)

 Getting into details: For best understanding, changes to processes can be categorised as

  • New, Renamed & Deleted processes
  • Rearranged processes

 The table below lists the names of the processes, for each process group which are either new, renamed, deleted

 New, Renamed & Deleted Processes

Process Group





  Identify stakeholders  Develop preliminary scopestatement 



  Collect requirements Scope planning
Define scope    
Define activities    
Sequence activities    
Estimate activity resources    
Estimate activity durations    
Develop schedule    
Estimate costs    
Determine budget    
Plan quality    
Develop human resource    
Plan communications    
Plan risk management    
Identify risks    
Perform qualitative risk analysis    
Perform quantitativeanalysis    
Plan risk responses    
Plan procurements    

Monitoring & Controlling

Perform integrated control    
Verify scope    
Control scope    
Control schedule    
Control costs    
Report performance    
Monitor and control risks    
Administer procurements    


Close project or phase    
Close procurements    


Rearranged Process


Moved to

Moved from

Manage project team Executing

Monitoring & Controlling

Manage stakeholders Executing

Monitoring & Controlling

 How it affects the PMP® Exam candidates?

  • In the exam its critical to use the current terminologies, therefore, if you are going to take PMP® exam after 30th June 2009, then use the terminologies, processes, tools and techniques as described in PMBOK® 4th edition.

 How it impacts practioners:

  • As a process improvement envangelist and PM practitioner, I always wlecome improvements. Therefore, I think such new changes are only going to bring ‘positive’ improvements to the projects.
  • There will be better PM vocabulary and better project communication in the PM community.


  • Having acronym, PMP®, just after your name is never enough. Its about life long learning.  It’s the beginning.

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