PMBOK® Guide, 5th Edition, Review. Standardization of AOK Structure, Part II

We have discussed in previous columns some of the major changes to the PMBOK® Guide with the 5th Edition’s release in January of this year. The next major change has been to the naming of the Areas of Knowledge (AOK) processes themselves. This change is very subtle, but can impact many educational programs. All of the AOKs with the exception of the AOK 9, Project Human Resources Management, are relabeled to conform to the Plan <AOK> Management, Control <AOK> structure. Why the HR AOK was not modified to conform was probably due to the differences of the human resources area of knowledge in dealing with teams and not physical resources or constraints.

Table 1 shows the summary of these standardization changes for Quality / HR / Communications.

Area of Knowledge

Processes in each PMBOK® Guide

PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition

PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition

8. Project Quality Management

8.1 Plan Quality

8.1 Plan Quality Management


8.2 Perform Quality Assurance

8.2 Perform Quality Assurance


8.3 Perform Quality Control

8.3 Control Quality

9. Project HR Management

9.1 Develop HR Plan

9.1 Plan HR Management


9.2 Acquire Project Team

9.2 Acquire Project Team


9.3 Develop Project Team

9.3 Develop Project Team


9.4 Manage Project Team

9.4 Manage Project Team

10. Project Communications Management

10.1 Identify Stakeholders

<process moved to 13>


10.2 Plan Communications

10.1 Plan Communications Management


10.3 Distribute Information

10.2 Manage Communications


10.4 Manage Stakeholder Expectations

10.3 Control Communications


10.5 Report Performance

<no process>


The AOK of Communications was the most heavily modified as it was “sliced and diced” in order to support the new AOK of Project Stakeholder Management where the process of Identify Stakeholders was moved to the new AOK along with the Manage Stakeholder Expectations process to Manage Stakeholder Engagement in the new AOK.

The changes to the Project Communications Management AOK will require the most study as the AOK was re-engineered to meet the Plan-Manage-Control construct that the PMI is moving towards in all their standards. The 4th edition of the PMBOK® Guide was a bit more disorganized with regards to communications in that it used a Distribute Information process and Report Performance process to complete the Communications environment. The 5th edition placed the communications processes in more definitive relationships with its simpler Plan-Manage-Control format.

The Project Communications Management AOK of the 5th edition improved the Inputs-Tools&Techniques-Outputs ITTO) of the AOK to include more updated communications tools, methods, and technologies. These updated facilities, most in the tools and techniques, will be discussed in more detail in a future articles since they will require more extensive treatment than what can be afforded in this issue.

The Project Human Resources Management AOK is the one with the least amount of modifications right after the Project Quality Management AOK. Only minor additions and subtractions between the 4th and 5th editions were made. Some wording changes to the ITTO artifacts, methods, and activities to accommodate the HR discipline modifications that have occurred over the past 4 years. The 5th edition did alter the Inputs to include the Project Communications Plan (subsidiary plan) instead of the Project Management Plan that the 4th edition used as a proxy – but more on that change later.

Finally, let us conclude with the differences between the editions in their treatment of Project Quality Management. This AOK is perhaps the least modified of all the AOKs between editions. However, the PMI created a list of quality tools called the “Seven Basic Quality Tools” that is used in place of listing them individually as the 4th edition did in the Tools & Techniques sections of two of the AOK processes: 8.1 and 8.3. Other than this modification, the 4th and 5th edition Project Quality Management AOKs are fundamentally similar.

The next article in this series will complete the ITTO modifications for the Risk, Procurement, and new Stakeholder Management AOKs. Then the series will wrap up with some of the more fundamental modifications between the two editions. Remember, the exam change-over date is July 31, 2013. Beyond that date, or in preparation for taking the exam past July 31st, one should use the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition for their exam study.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s