Something in changing. Open PM2 vs PMBoK Seventh Edition

In project management, PMBoK has been a worldwide reference, both in terms of knowledge and in terms of professional certification.

The six existing editions of the PMBoK have included and defined all the areas, phases and respective processes, where inputs and outputs played a main role.

The next edition of PMBoK, the seventh, has a completely different focus. As some of the professionals who have participated in its development indicate, it is a completely new formulation.

It is an interesting reflection to compare the changes that will appear in the new edition of PMBoK versus the structure and philosophy of the PM2 Methodology (developed by the European Commission and available in an open and free version to the whole community of project managers since 2016).

Project Management Institute (PMI) explains that:

With project delivery evolving more rapidly than ever before, the process-based orientation of past editions cannot be maintained in a manner conducive to reflecting the full value delivery landscape (e.g., predictive, hybrid and agile).

Therefore, this edition shifts to a principle-based standard that applies across the delivery landscape and that emphasizes project outcomes in addition to deliverables.

In addition, on PMI webpage, it is possible to read:

  • Improve the readability and usefulness of the PMBOK® Guide while avoiding overstuffing it with new content.
  • Sense stakeholder information and content needs and provide vetted supplemental content to the PMBOK® Guide that supports practical

PMI believe that because the continuous change environment, it makes no sense to publish all the technics, tools, templates, etc. In parallel, a digital platform will be launch where it will possible to get deeper in any project management domains. The digital possibilities are the most because it includes podcasts, videos, personal experiences and multi-focus project management approach. A diverse range of perspective is the key for being a universal methodology. Sharing information with your pair makes possible to build strong project management skills and capabilities.

The changes that PMBoK Seventh Edition is going to include (2020, 2Q) are based on the following ideas:

  1. The practical approach is essential for project managers.
  2. Any methodology has to be short and sweet.
  3. Outcomes and people have to be in the cure of the methodology.
  4. Agile is an interesting complement for project management.
  5. Practitioners’ community will help to improve the methodology.
  6. Digital repository is the best place to upload any kind of not essential information and additional tools, technics, etc.
  7. Tailoring is an important part of PMBoK.
  8. Artefacts (in US English – Artifacts) will be use and improve by the community.
  9. And finally, a common project management language is the foundation.

Definitely, PMI & PMBoK is moving from the current five technical domains to a new framework in which three are clearly defined: people, process & business environment.
PMI really wants that the project managers accredit a enough knowledge, experience and skills to deal with and manage projects.

The Open PM2, an open and free edition of PM2 is a practical oriented methodology where outcomes and artefacts are in the center. It is also an open, free, light, short and direct methodology where the practitioners’ community plays a very important role in the process of improving it.

Open PM2 has taken care of its writing using at all times the common language of all project methodologies. To do so, it has taken into account all the terminology and expressions included in the international standard ISO 21500. A common language for all project managers avoids misunderstandings and communication problems.

Basically PM2 includes roles and what to do in all the project’s phases.  Because project managers’ skills and capabilities are essential PM² refers to OCB, designed by International Project Management Association (IPMA). PM² include people and perspective competences adapted from IPMA-ICB:

  • People Competences
    • Self-reflection and self-management
    • Personal integrity and reliability
    • Personal communication
    • Relationships and engagement
    • Leadership
    • Teamwork
    • Conflict and crisis management
    • Resourcefulness
    • Negotiation
    • Results orientation
  • Perspective Competences:
    • Strategy
    • Governance, structures and processes
    • Compliance, standards and regulations
    • Power and interest
    • Change and transformation
    • Culture and values

It also has taken in account Agile methodologies because its utility in changing environments.

PM² recognises the complex and uncertain nature of many types of project and the positive contribution of the Agile way of thinking to their effective management. Agile approaches meet various challenges, which often grow with the size of the organisations in which they are applied. These challenges may include coordination between Agile and non-Agile teams, compliance with various organisational governance and audit requirements, and organizational architecture and interoperability constraints.

Other of the Open PM2’ key points is the PM² Project Support Network (PSN). It aims to become a decentralized project management support network which provides guidance and support to PM² users on both the PM² Methodology and the effective use of project management tools & techniques more broadly.

The Project Support Network (PSN):

  • Promotes the exchange and sharing of knowledge, experiences and best practices.
  • Makes it possible to collect feedback to continuously improve and build on the PM² Methodology.
  • Enables the Local Project Support Offices (LSPOs) to support each other as a community.
  • Depends on the contributions of PM² champions (individuals and organizations).

In parallel to the official network, PM2 Alliance has emerged as a private initiative that aims to get the most out of the methodology.

The PM² Alliance is an international, not-for-profit organisation. Founded by PM² practitioners, the Alliance brings together individuals from institutions, companies and the academia to inspire dialogue, share resources, and address the field’s challenges while promoting the wider adoption of the PM² Methodology.

Tailoring and customization of the methodology and the artefacts are a fundamental part of the Open PM² proposal.

Tailoring makes more sense at the organization/departmental level, but some tailoring can also take place at the project level, based, for instance, on the complexity, size or type of a project. In addition to any tailoring, further customization may also be required at the project level to reflect the project’s specific management needs. Examples of such customizations are the definition of decision thresholds for escalation, risk tolerances based on the risk appetite of the stakeholders, etc.

Considering all these facts, it could be concluded that PMBoK Seventh Edition is addressing most of the ideas, concepts and principles that the Open PM² methodology has already gathered.

This conclusion is really interesting because as it has been indicated in some presentations at international level, the PM² methodology is currently the frontier of project management.

It is also important that at an international level there is a convergence in the approach to project management which will surely increase the knowledge and experience transfer among the whole community of project managers.

I would like to conclude by insisting that a methodology, its tools, templates, artefacts, etc., are always in continuous change. Therefore, it is essential to have the collaboration and participation of as many practitioners as possible who can provide a wide range of perspectives that will certainly provide great added value.