Friday, December 31, 2004


PMI had release their third edition guide book. It took them 2 1/2 years to finally complete it and got it published and delivered to PMI members.

For those who are going for their PMP certification after October 2005, they will have to master the new guidebook elements.

There are many changes made as compared to the 2000 Edition. Changes to the standard affect the structure, content and language of the PMBOK Guide. While the Knowledge Areas remained as nine, seven new processes were added and two previous processes were deleted. The new processes are:

Develop Project Charter (Section 4.1)
Develop Preliminary Scope Statement (Section 4.2)
Monitor and Control Project Work (Section 4.5)
Close project (Section 4.7)
Create WBS (Section 5.3)
Activity Resource Estimating (Section 6.3), &
Manage project team (Section 9.4).

In addition, PMI renamed 13 Processes, presumably for greater clarity. I am not sure if members felt the same.

Going through all the Chapters in the new PMBOK, I gather, many of those who are going for their certifications after October may feel the text structure tougher than previous version.

Although, the chapters and processes may be new, but actually, they are not. What had been added was basically an expansion of the write up and segregating them into new processes to provide clarity.

Personally, I suggest that those who wants to get their certification may consider to do it before October 2005 which will still be based on the PMBOK 2000 Edition, which to me, is much simpler, easier to understand and apply and readable to non-Americans.

From my own analysis, I would prefer the 2000 Edition although the new Edition provides more detailed information. To me, those information are necessary, but unfortunately are expressed in a language to cater for generic project management industries. In fact, the language is so "American" and it will take those who are weak in the American English and its Jingo to have insights to its intended meaning and expression.

The Project Integration Management Knowledge Area are much better than the previous. It has more detailed discourse and provides an extensive description of integration from the Project Management Process groups perspective. This is an area I felt was worth all the efforts taken by PMI.

IN Project Scope Management, Project Initiation was rewritten and moved to Project Integration Management. I would have thought that it was more appropriate to add a new chapter for Project Initiation Management as the subject matter and its various processes are extensive in real life and is thus not appropriate to be only a small sub-section of Project Integration Management. In fact, Initiation could not be considered as a whole process within Integration as only after the project award and project charter would integration to the 9-knowledge areas and the processes group be effectively propounded. This, I hope PMI would reconsider. For example, in the construction industry, the contractors would be sourcing for projects, tendering for projects, getting information such as feasibility study, market study, financial analysis and potential buyers' background information - all these activities are presumably within the Project Initiation Management. Then, when they were awarded the project, a project charter will then be forwarded to the project manager appointed, to authorize him to use organizational resources to organize and implement the project.

With the mandate, the project manager would then need to, first get the full contract documents (which he may not get them all), visit the project site (assuming he was not involved during the tender stage; such as the cases in Malaysia), and begin the Scope Planning exercise. Unfortunately, project charter in construction projects are mostly informal, unwritten, largely word of mouth from the project sponsor. The project manager will have to assume his authority (based on his past working experience with his organization, of which PMI now call it "Organization Process Assets and based on the "Enterprise Environmental Factors" to begin the planning process. Due to a lack of structured framework in scope planning, project managers will have little knowledge of the organizational resources that will be made available to him and what are the constraints he would be facing, such as - What would be the financial outlay & amount of financial working capital allocated for the project, how would be the appointment of sub-contractors (many of whom will be existing sub-contractors who are well entrenched into the system of cronyism and nepotism), what are the tolerance and thresholds levels in areas such as risk management planning, scheduling (what resources will be available if the sub-contractors have yet to be appointed and the Nominated Sub-contractors are unknown) and cost management (is it top-down budgeting: "Do it and complete the project at $xxx,xxx no matter what)?

Project Time Management would surely ranked as one of the best chapters in the PMBOK as they are clear, concise and pragmatic. The only weak area here is the lack of information as to critical path methodology and Monte Carlo Simulations which are worded in the tools and technique but with little information to readers. The reader at such, will need to read up more books to explore the usage of such tools, the interactions and integrations of these tools into the schedule, cost and risk management system. Tho' textbooks may provide the knowledge exploration, somehow, it is written in an academic language and contextual form that makes non-academic practitioners difficult to understand.

Project Quality Management chapters are almost identical to previous version. This is the Knowledge Area which I felt is too simplified and lack depth. The chapter maintain the 3-major processes, that is, Quality Planning, Perform Quality Assurance and Perform Quality Control. Personally, I would have it expanded into 5-Major Processes: Quality Management Planning, Quality Assurance Planning, Perform Quality Monitoring and Assurance, Perform Quality Control and Quality Audit.

The main problem in quality management is that the project quality plan is written in a language and documented in such manner that only a few of the project team members can understand. The performers of project activities are largely skilled and unskilled workers who may not be able to read those documents (worse, if they are not given one). At such, it is necessary to translate those quality plan into systematic action plan consisting basically flow charts and graphics, of which the workers will be able to understand and apply. This step, I called it "Quality Assurance Planning", which has not being practiced in the construction industry (probably, this step may not be necessary for IT Industry as the team players are trained in their own project language).

Project Risk Management and Project Procurement Management are similar to the previous edition, which I believe should have provide more indepth knowledge of the tools and techniques to be used. There were some graphics and metrics shown in the guidebook which are not user friendly. This is largely due to the fact that PMBOK Guide is generic, and at such, not specific industry friendly. For example, in Project Risk Management, the useful tool is Monte Carlo Simulation and there isn't any information and details as to how that tool can be used and applied during the risk quantification process.

Overall, with due respect to PMI, I would prefer the PMBOK 2000.