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PMBOK 7 is on its way. What we Search 1

Know…
a few months ago / PMBOK Guide & PMP Project Trends and Changes Subscribe by RSS

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Work on PMBOK 7 is on its way, and information


is starting to seep out. Of course, there are only
Recent Posts
a handful of people* who know what is planned
and are working on PMBOK 7 at this stage. But
some of them have published their thoughts on
The Top 20 Stakeholder
aspects of the endeavor – mostly on the PMI’s
Analysis Techniques All PMs
ProjectManagement.com site.
Should Know

I try to keep the most up-to-date news for my newsletter subscribers. But sometimes, I’ll want
to share it more widely. Today, I want to share my information and speculation about the next
edition of the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge. What is Design Thinking?
Human-centered Problem-
Yes, PMBOK 7 is on its way. solving | Video
It doesn’t seem so very long ago that I was writing about the changes in the ‘new’ 6th Edition How to Manage Vendors:
of the PMBOK Guide, and its companion Agile Practice Guide. Yet momentum is already Getting the Best Results | Video
building for the next edition: the PMBOK Guide 7th Edition.

Project Document Management:


* In general, with things like this, I subscribe to the dictum: ‘Those who know don’t How to Organize and Manage
say. Those who say don’t know’. Here, I am not claiming any privileged knowledge. I
Project Information
am simply collating publicly shared information from people actively involved in the
PMBOK 7 development process.

Five Project Leadership Tips:


Be a Better Project Leader |
Video
The Standard forPlease
Project
Share Management
= Share q Tweet – w
7th Edition
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PMI published the exposure draft for the new Standard for Project Management on 15
January, 2020. The current one forms Part 2 of the 6th Edition of the PMBOK Guide. Increase Your Email Responses
| Video
The new exposure draft is out for comment from 15 January to 14 February 2020. I have seen
it but, as a condition of downloading a copy, I had to indicate that I would not share it in any
way.

I read the draft after writing the rest of this article. All I feel it is safe to say (PMI’s lawyers can Popular Posts
be assertive) is that nothing in it contradicts what I have collated below, from sources in the
public domain.
50 Great Project Management
Blogs for 2017

What We Will Cover


I want this article to be as comprehensive as possible. And I’ll be updating it from time to time.
Here’s what it covers… The Best Project Management
1. The PMBOK Guide and the PMI’s Process Blogs for 2019

2. The Principles and Thinking behind PMBOK 7

3. What We Know about Publication of PMBOK 7 What are the Best Project
Management Books?
4. Related PMI Initiatives

5. Further details about PMBOK 7


12 Project Management Rules
6. Our Predictions about PMBOK 7 You’d be Wise to Note
7. Our Assessment of What We Know about PMBOK 7

8. Keep Up-to-Date on PMBOK 7 News


Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin Project Management Reading
List for Christmas

The PMBOK Guide and the PMI’s Process


Communication Skills for
Project Managers | The Best
Books
For Those who are Unfamiliar…
Here’s a short introduction to what the PMBOK Guide is.

Categories

Select Category
What is the PMBoK (Project Management Body of Knowledge)?

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The Purpose of the Project Management Body of


Knowledge
The PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge, or PMBOK Guide, has two parts:

1. A collation of what PMI considers to be the core body of knowledge it expects all
professional project managers to know. It is the basis for its principal examinations and
qualifications, Project Management Professional (PMP) and Certified Associate in
Project Management (CAPM).

2. The Standard for Project Management


PMI has affirmed that it will continue its affiliation with the two standards bodies, ISO and
ANSI. As with previous PMBOK Guides, PMBOK 7 will contain PMI’s standard for
Project Management
PMBOK and PMI Qualifications
Note, thePMBOK Guide is not the syllabus for the PMP examination – that is the Examination
Content Outline (ECO). However, the PMBOK Guide does set the outline for much of the
knowledge the exam will test.

PMBOK 7 will continue to be a resource for preparing for your PMP exam. But PMI aspires for
it to be more relevant and useful than previous editions, for practitioners throughout their
careers

For more information on PMP and CAPM qualifications, take a look at:

» PMP versus CAPM: All You need to Know

» PMP Certification: WhatPlease


You Need
Share to Know [Complete
= Share Review]
q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

» Roadmap: I Want to Study for Project Management Professional (PMP)

» PMP Exam Changes in July 2020: What will be Different?

» PMP Course Comparison: PM PrepCast and PTCoE

PMI’s Statement on Standards


PMI will continue its affiliations with:

» ANSI: American National Standards Institute

» ISO: The International Organization for Standardization

Here is what PMI has said:



PMI continues to respond to practitioners’ needs for reliable professional tools. As
an ANSI ASD (Accredited Standards Developer), many of PMI’s global standards
are also ANSI approved. PMI also continues to actively support and participate in
ISO (International Organization for Standardization) activities related to the field of
project management.
PMBOK Guide and Standards
From the PMI Website, retrieved 23 December, 2019.

History of Updates to the PMBOK Guide


Publication of the PMBOK Guide links to PMI’s maintenance of the ANS (American National
Please Share
Standard) for Project Management. = Share
PMI needs q Tweet
to renew Sharea 4-year
this on (Iwthink) - Share
cycle. m Pin

The PMBOK Guide has been updated every 4 years since the first edition in 1996, with the
exception of a 5-year gap between the 4th and 5th editions. 4 years on from autumn 2017 is…
autumn 2021.
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So, we’re currently predicting that the PMBOK edition will be available either in the last
quarter of 2021 or the first quarter of 2022. This means the PMP and CAPM exams are likely
to change, to reflect the new PMBOK Guide, by the start of Q3 2022.

The Update Process for the


PMBOK 7th Edition
For PMBOK 7, PMI has assembled a core team of 12
highly experienced practitioners. We’ll list those we’ve
been able to identify, below.

They will be chaired by two co-leaders:

» Cyndi Snyder Dionisio


Cyndi chaired the PMBOK 6 Core Committee

» Mike Griffiths
Mike was involved in the creation of the Agile
method, DSDM, and has over 20 years of
experience in Agile methods. He’s an Agilist through
and through, and it was his article
Please that first
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me to PMBOK 7 and his ambitions for it.


‘this will not be just an update, instead a radical departure from all previous editions
aligned with PMI’s new digital transformation strategy.’
Mike Griffiths’ Blog, ‘Leading Answers‘
Retrieved on 27 June, 2019
Review Team
PMI put out a call for development and review team members in June 2019. The review team
will be a much more extensive group of experienced, but not necessarily eminent, PMI
members.

The brief they received for how to apply for the role tells us something of the early thinking
about PMBOK 7. Here are two quotes from PMI’s call for volunteers to serve on the
Development and Review teams:

1. Required experience:
‘Knowledge of the full value delivery spectrum (waterfall, hybrid, iterative, adaptive, etc.)’

2. The second (of two) essay question for selection:


‘What are the three principles that apply
Please Share to all projects
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w Sharehybrid,-iterative
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m Pin
adaptive)?’

PMBOK 7 and the July 2019 Examination Content Outline


At the time of first writing this article, we are waiting for the start of the new PMP examination
in July 2020. This will follow the June 2019 Examination Content Outline (ECO). We have an
extensive article on that transition.

It is the ECO that forms the syllabus for the PMP exam, and not the PMBOK Guide. However,
since the ECO has changed substantially and moved away from the structure of the PMBOK
6th Edition, I think we are likely to see PMBOK 7 cater more closely in structure to the ECO
and its three domains of:

» People
» Process

» Business Environment

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The Principles and Thinking behind PMBOK 7


Let’s get onto the important stuff… What we know about the thinking behind PMBOK 7 and
the principles it will embody.
The First Indication of PMBOK 7 Thinking: Mike Griffiths
The quote I gave above from co-chair, Mike Griffiths, suggests a core principle will be full
integration of:

» Traditional, predictive project management

» Agile, adaptive project management

» Hybrid approaches to project management

This is strongly supported by the June 2019 PMP ECO. This tells us the new examination will
split approximately equally between traditional, predictive project management and Agile or
hybrid approaches. And predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches will feature in questions
across all domains and tasks.
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The Second Indication of PMBOK 7 Thinking: Nader Rad


Nader Rad is the instructor on our PMP & CAPM Preparation Course. He has written about
work on the 7th Edition in two places:

» Adaptation and Value Creation for All Projects – at ProjectManagement.com

» PMBOK® Guide 7th edition: Interesting Changes – at the mPlaza blog

A Principles-Based PMBOK Guide


In both of these articles, he refers to the shift to a principles-based approach. What does this
mean?
The current PMBOK Guide is built around 49 processes in 5 Process Groups. Nader sees this
approach as either:

» Overly prescriptive, when set out in detail, or

» Too abstract, if covered at a high level

Certainly, detailing the 49 processes, across 10 Knowledge Areas has produced a weighty
tome. And, in truth, it fails to cover a lot of knowledge that is vital to a modern project
manager. It needs to grow in scope (as the new July 2020 Examination Content Outline will
acknowledge). Yet if it does, it will become still more unwieldy.

Nader’s Solution…Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

Nader is arguing for a radically different approach. Like Mike Griffiths, Nader is an active
proponent of Agile principles. So I’ll expect a tighter integration of Agile, Hybrid, and Predictive
approaches in the PMBOK 7th Edition.

But that’s not Nader’s focus in his articles. He’s arguing for a structure built around basic
principles, rather than process or knowledge areas. And his articles imply that this is the thrust
of the Core Team’s work.

PMBOK 7 will be Principles-based


There are three general approaches that organizations like PMI can use to document their
standards:

1. Narrative-based standards use storytelling and description. This is the least rigorous.
2. Process-based standards document a set of processes that together deliver the
desired outcomes.

3. Principle-based standards are built around a set of statements of fundamental


principles. They aim to capture and summarize broadly agreed approaches to best
practice within core areas.

PMBOK 6 and all previous editions have clearly taken a process-based approach. But the
Seventh Edition will create a Principle-based standard. So, what is a ‘principle’ in this context?

Principles
Principles are statements of:
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» Standards of moral and ethical conduct

» Widely agreed assumptions or truths

» Fundamental laws or rules

Whilst they will mostly be subjective matters of judgment, useful principles will be those that
gain wide – near-universal – acceptance among a relevant community of practitioners.

PMI has adopted, as its guiding definition of a principle:


A statement that captures and summarizes a generally accepted objective for the
practice of the disciplines and functions of portfolio, program, and project
management.
Mike Frenette, PMI Standards Member Advisory Group
from an article: ‘Baking Principles‘ at ProjectManagement.com
Retrieved 16 december, 2019

Sound Familiar? PRINCE2 has 7 Principles


The idea of project principles guiding how we work is embedded in the Axelos methodology,
PRINCE2. This has 7 Principles, 7 Processes, and 7 Themes.

Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

I shan’t comment on how the 7 PRINCE2 Principles align with what we know of the emerging
principles that may feature in PMBOK 7 (below). But I shall list them out here, for reference. It
is notable that at least one member of the Core Team, Nader Rad, is a PRINCE2 trainer.
There are seven Principles in PRINCE2 2017. Together, they give you a powerful framework
for good practice. Indeed, they are all mandatory parts of a PRINCE2 project:

1. Continued Business Justification – not just a business case at the start, but
maintaining it under constant review.

2. Learn from Experience – continually drawing lessons learned, as you go.

3. Defined Roles and Responsibilities – and a clear organizational structure for your
team.

4. Manage by Stages – these form a framework within which the seven processes operate.

5. Manage by Exception – setting defined project tolerances and authorities to act when
Please Share
the project exceeds them. = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

6. Focus on Products – clear definition and strong attention to meeting quality


specifications.

7. Tailor to suit the Project Environment – factors include size, complexity, importance,
capability, and risk.

If you want more information about PRINCE2, do take a look at our article, ‘PRINCE2
Certification: Everything You Need to Know’.
What is PRINCE2? Project Management in Under 5

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What are some of the Principles that will go into PMBOK


7?
A series of articles at ProjectManager.com gives us some insight into the principles that the
core team is working on, at the start of 2020. Here, I’ve summarized each, and added a link
for you to review the full articles.

Stakeholder Engagement
Anyone with any connection to the changes we create is a stakeholder. We must identify who
our stakeholders are, understand them, and engage with them.
Maricarmen Suarez considers stakeholder engagement a pivotal principle. Practitioners need
to engage and serve stakeholders proactively.

See: Stakeholder Engagement

Navigating Complexity
Project Management practitioners is a strategic discipline. And, in a rapidly shifting, VUCA
world, project leaders must navigate the complexity and ambiguity, while actively managing
risk.

Federico Vargas Uzaga suggests that navigating complexity is, to some degree, a
fundamental requirement of all projects.
Please Share It=is,Share
therefore,
q aTweet
core principle
w Share of project
- Share m Pin
management.

See: Navigating Complexity in Project Management

Value
Delivering value must be at the heart of every choice we make and process we follow.

To do this, Nader K. Rad, suggest two principles:

1. Continually evaluate project alignment to business objectives and intended value

2. Utilize capabilities and learning throughout the life cycle to change, recover, and advance

See: Adaptation and Value Creation for All Projects: An Exploration of Principles
Agility: Adaptation and Response
You need to keep your project fully aligned with your customer’s vision, needs, and
expectations. Your job is to deliver the outcomes your client commissions and create value for
your customers and employer.

‘To do this’, says Nick Clemens, ‘you need to recognize, evaluate, and respond to the
dynamic circumstances within and surrounding the project delivery systems as the systems
interact and react with each other.’

See: Change is a Given. How we Respond is the Issue.

Tailoring Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin


There is no single. perfect project process. We need to be able to design a delivery approach
based on the context and needs of the project and its stakeholders. And we must select an
approach that will maximize value, control costs, and optimize the pace of delivery.

Klaus Nielsen suggests that there might be a principle or two in there.

See: To Tailor or Not to Tailor: A Foregone Conclusion?

Communication
‘Projects are led by people, done by people, and made for people’ says Maria Isabel Specht.

So, project leaders need to view their projects as nets. This allows them to coordinate efforts
and understand impacts across the project. This way, they become more effective project
leaders.
See: The Communication Net: Navigating Project Teams with an Active Listening Approach

What We Know about Publication of PMBOK 7


It is quite possible that, when we see the final PMBOK 7, it may not look like previous editions.
I’ll talk below about my speculations about its size. But here, I want to stick to what we know,
from PMI’s statements.

PMI is increasingly focusing on how it uses digital technology and this transformation will
encompass the PMBOK 7th edition.

PMI is aware that its knowledge products (of which PMBOK 7 will be the flagship) need to be
Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin
available in an accessible format for quick reference in the real world. This means digital
production. I’d speculate on a ‘digital-first’ design.

They also want PMBOK 7 to be of use to practitioners as much as a learning resource for
PMP aspirants. So, it will include additional content that they will add to help practitioners
apply the standards in day-to-day.

So, we can expect something exciting…


An interactive, digital experience that allows you to take the standard and additional
content on-the-go for ease of use.
PMBOK® Guide and Standards, on the PMI website
Retrieved 16 december, 2019
Related PMI Initiatives
It really does seem to me that PMI is trying to build an integrated offereing. It is increasingly
taking Agile and Digital approaches to its way of doing buisiness. And, in the choice of
PMBOK 7 development team members, is taking Agile seriously.

Disciplined Agile
And this seems to connect to PMI’s recent (summer 2019) acquisition of Disciplined Agile
(DA). The DA website now displays PMI’s branding.

The DA toolkit is a comprehensive agile body of knowledge in its own right. It’s far more
complete and coherent than PMI’s Agile Practice Guide.
Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

The DA toolkit guides individuals, teams, and enterprises in selecting and customizing an
appropriate ‘way of working’. it can draw upon any method or framework, such as predictive,
Scrum, or SAFe.

Key principles of DA include:

» Customer centricity

» Pragmatism rather than purity

» A range of agile and lean options

» Application of context-based practices

» Optimizing flow across the entire enterprise


Further details about PMBOK 7
Some may consider this as trivia. Others may be interested. This section is a catch-all for
further information that PMI has publisehed

Translated Editions of PMBOK 7


PMI looking for translators for the PMBOK 7th Edition. As a minimum, you can expect it to
appear in:

» Hindi

» Arabic Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

» Chinese (Simplified)

» French

» German

» Italian

» Japanese

» Korean

» Portuguese (Brazilian)

» Russian

» Spanish
PMBOK 7 Development Team Members
The development team members we know about are:

» Cynthia Snyder Dionisio, Co-leader

» Mike Griffiths, Co-leader

» Federico Vargas Uzaga

» Maria Isabel Specht

» Maricarmen Suarez

» Nick Clemens
Please Share = Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin
» Klaus Nielsen

» Nader K. Rad,

» Jean-Luc Favrot

» Dr. Gail Ferreira

» Giampaolo Marucci

» Laurent Thomas

Core Team Member: Nader Rad


One of the Core Team members is Nader Rad, who delivers our PMP and CAPM Exam
Preparation Course. I wish Nader well in his work.
You can get the first 30% of the PMP and CAPM Preparation Course without even signing up
with an email. Find out how from our website. Click the button.

Find out about our PMP and CAPM Preparation Course

Review Team Member: Markus Klopko (Klein)


Markus Klopko has been selected to join the wider development team. He is the lead
developer of our Project Manager’s PMP Exam Prep Guide. Markus and I are planning to
update the guide in good time for the change to the PMP Examination on 1 July 2020. And he
will no doubt be in a great position to make further updates as soon as the PMI publishes the
PMBOK 7 Guide.
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Our Predictions about PMBOK 7

Systems and Principles


I expect that the PMBOK 7th Edition Guide will take a systems approach, with information
arranged around performance domains. These will probably mirror the domains in the new
ECO, in the same way that those domains mirror the three sides of PMI’s Talent Triangle.

These domains will interact together, while each domain will individually add to the delivery of
outcomes
A Smaller PMBOK Guide for PMBOK 7
I expect a smaller Body of Knowledge, supplemented by a larger and more comprehensive list
of recommended reading. This is purely speculative, but let’s look at some facts.

1. PMBOK has been growing steadily, edition by edition. he first edition had just 176 pages;
the sixth: 756. If this trend sustainable.

2. Integrating Agile suggests even greater growth. The 2017 Agile Practice Guide is
another 167 pages. That’s 923 total!

3. The July 2019 PMP Examination Content Outline (ECO) expands the focus on ‘non-
Technical’ skills and knowledge that have never been covered in depth (nor well, in my
opinion) in the PMBOK Guide. And that hasn’t been its purpose. Adding these in could
add another 100, 200,Please
300…Share
pages.= Share q Tweet w Share - Share m Pin

4. PMI has promised further recommended reading to supplement the new ECO. At the
time of writing (December 2019), this has not appeared yet.

5. Here’s a leap: take a look at my review of the new 7th Edition of the Association for
Project Management Body of Knowledge, the APMBoK. That document takes a very
different approach and has only 234 pages. It’s a framework document, with loads of
references to other sources. I’d be surprised if the co-leads haven’t bought and reviewed
this book

I can’t escape the conclusion that the alternative to radically increasing the size of the PMBOK
Guide is to shrink it by taking a new approach. And the approach of the APMBoK, of adding
references, seems the only solution.

PMTQ in PMBOK 7
We must avoid the temptation of looking for everything and the kitchen sink in the new
PMBOK 7th Edition. And I hope that the development Team will avoid the temptation to load it
up in this way. But, PMI’s primary new thinking in 2019 was its Pulse of the Profession paper.
This diverged massively n style from previous survey reports.

That must mean something. At the very least, we can assume that PMI takes its concept of
Project Management Technology Quotient (PMTQ) very seriously. Take a look at PMI’s paper
on the future of Project Management: PMTQ. I gave it a thorough review.

Does this mean it will appear in PMBOK 7? I don’t know. We must keep an eye out for signs.

Our Assessment of What


Please Share = ShareWe Know
q Tweet about
w Share - Share m Pin
PMBOK 7
All the mood music suggests the changes will form a huge shift moving from PMBOK 6 to 7.
The big changes are likely to be:

1. New Domains that echo the ECO’s domains, rather than the current 10 Knowledge
Areas

2. An approach based on Principles

3. Full integration of and balance between predictive and adaptive approaches

I welcome all of these changes. If we also get a shorter, smarter, more grown-up PMBOK
Guide as a result, that will be a fabulous outcome. I’d love to see it jump ahead of the APM’s
Body of Knowledge (APMBoK) and become a still better and more valuable tool.
Two Cautions
Some of the 12 Core Development Team members have written about their perspectives on
aspects of what is likely to be a ‘radical departure’ from earlier PMBOK Guides.

Caution 1
Predictably, there will be differing views on what principles will come to the fore and how to
express them. There is a lot of work to do.

But I am broadly optimistic. I like the idea of a principles-based approach… in principle. But of
course, it comes down to:

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» what principles they select, and

» how PMBOK 7 articulates their application

As you’d expect, no-one has yet gone into any detail publicly. And it is early days. We aren’t
expecting the publication of PMBOK 7 until late 2021 at the soonest.

But some insight into the kind of principles Nader Rad will promote, as his starting point, are
available. He has a lightweight web site called ‘NUPP’: Nearly Universal Principles of Projects.
That sets out Nader’s 6 Principles (in 16 languages to date). Do take a look.

Caution 2
It’s early days. Did I say that already?
Everything can change – and may well do so. Here in the UK, Geoff Reiss has long been one
of the most highly regarded Project Management professionals and thought leaders.

Take a look at this answer he gave to a question on Quora about participating in the creation
of a new edition of the PMBOK Guide.

In short, the team created a radically new draft, of which they were proud. And PMI nixed it
and reverted to a more familiar format for the new edition. This is my summation.

I’d hope that PMI has learned a lesson and discussed the scope for change with the two co-
chairs. And likewise, I’d hope the two co-chairs are aware of this risk and have discussed it
with PMI.

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Keep Up-to-Date on PMBOK 7 News


There are three ways that you can stay up-to-date on public information about how PMBOK 7
is developing:

1. We’ll update this article from time-to-time, as we learn substantive new information. So
bookmark it and return.

2. I’ll put any small snippets I glean into my free weekly newsletters, as soon as I get that
information

3. I gained a lot of the most valuable information for this article from a blog on the PMI’s
community site, ProjectManagement.com. So, take a look at The Critical Path. It is where
PMI puts its own community news and updates.
Stop Press: Latest Updates
Since preparing this article…

» Cynthia Dionisio, Co-leader PMBOK® Guide–Seventh Edition Development


Team, has published a short article to coincide with PMI’s publication of the
exposure draft of The Standard for Project Management – 7th Edition.

» Giampaolo Marucci has published Planning is Thinking … But Don’t Think About it
Too Much. Planning is a Performance Domain in PMBOK 7.

» Laurent Thomas has published Measuring is Important for Project Work, but
Beware of the Traps, arguing for Measurement as a PM Performance Domain.

» Jean-Luc Favrot has published


Please Share Uncertainty.
= Share Really?,
q Tweetarguing that Uncertainty
w Share - Share is am Pin
key project management performance domain.

What are Your Thoughts about or Insights into PMBOK 7?


Please do use the comments below to let us know what you know, and to share your thoughts
on what’s here. I’ll respond to every comment.

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About the Author Mike Clayton


Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand
project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14
best-selling books, including four about project management.
He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to
ProjectManager.com and Project, the journal of the Association
for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a
successful project manager, leading large project teams and
delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched
OnlinePMCourses.
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