PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition: What Candidates for the PMP Exam Should Know


The Project Management Institute (PMI®) published the current PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition, officially on August 1, 2021 (though for members it came a little earlier). Across six editions, the work had become larger and more elaborate – and therefore harder to read. Hence, the aim of this edition was to venture a fresh start and slim down the book. The structure was also reorganized. Previously, the PMBOK® Guide already consisted of several parts. These were rearranged in this edition.

November 2022 also saw the publication of the new “Process Groups: A Practice Guide”. This brought back the contents of the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition in a shortened form.

In this article, you will learn all you need to know about the PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition.

Let us begin.

What Is the PMBOK Guide?

A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) is PMI’s flagship publication. The guide is a fundamental resource for effective project management in any industry. Over the last few years, the business world has changed considerably, but projects remain critical drivers of business success.

The book includes The Standard for Project Management. The standard is the foundation upon which the vast body of knowledge builds. The additional guide serves to capture and summarize that knowledge.

The printed version of the PMBOK Guide 7 as well as the digital PDF and eBook versions are available in multiple languages. PMI® members can download the guide for project managers in the eBook format (PDF) in English and 9 other languages for free. This way to the PMBOK 7th Edition Download (PDF).

PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition: A Fresh Start

PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition – History since 1996
The history of the PMBOK Guide since the first version in 1996

In all previous editions including the Sixth Edition, the first and more comprehensive part was the actual “Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge.”

This was followed by the “Standard for Project Management”, the official ANSI Standard. ANSI is the American National Standards Institute. The third part was an appendix.

In the Seventh Edition, the two parts were reversed. As a result, the order is as follows:

  1. ANSI Standard
  2. Actual Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge
  3. Appendix as before

PMBOK Guide Sixth Edition & PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition – A Comparison

PMBOK Guide 6th Edition*

PMBOK Guide 7th Edition

PMBOK Guide 7th Edition PMBOK Guide 7th Edition
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

  • Introduction
  • The environment in which projects operate
  • The role of the project manager
  • 10 areas of knowledge
The Standard for Project Management

  • Introduction
  • System for value delivery
  • 12 principles
The Standard for Project Management

  • Introduction
  • 5 process groups
A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge

  • 8 project performance domains
  • Tailoring
  • Models, methods, and artifacts

* In November 2022, the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition was replaced by the new standard “Process Groups: A Practice Guide”. More detail in the chapter below.

Learn about PM certifications and their effect on project management salaries.

The New “Process Groups: A Practice Guide”

Almost unnoticed, the Project Management Institute (PMI) published a new standard with major implications – “Process Groups: A Practice Guide” – in November 2022. This brings back the contents of the PMBOK Guide 6th Edition in a shortened form. Already, it has replaced the latter in the development of exam questions at the PMI. In addition, it helps companies who developed methods based on the old standard, to retain them without losing the methodological basis.

Since spring 2023, the CAPM certification and the necessary exam have also been renewed and upgraded. The beginner’s certificate has been upgraded from a mere test on the textbook to an application-oriented certificate. I (Oliver F. Lehmann) – PMP trainer at TPG and author of this article – collaborated on the development and quality assessment of the certification.

Implications for the PMP Exam

In the past, there was always a cutover date for every new edition of the PMBOK Guide by which time the exam would be revised. This time, however, there is a coexistence of both Sixth Edition and Seventh Edition:

  • Questions regarding methods and processes are more likely to refer to PMBOK Guide 6th Ed. / Process Groups: A Practice Guide
  • Questions regarding principles and values, on the other hand, will tend to reference the 7th Edition

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You should be aware that the authors of the exam questions for the PMP® exam can also use other literature as references. After all, this is not just a test about the PMBOK Guide. The amount of material for the PMP exam therefore increased with the PMBOK 7. At the end of this article, you will find a link to a reference list with other sources that are relevant to the PMP exam.

Conclusion – PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition

Over the past few years, emerging technology, new approaches and rapid market changes have changed the world of work. This has caused the project management profession to evolve. The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Seventh Edition was therefore updated to meet these challenges. The aim was to better align the guide to how people work today and help them be more proactive, innovative and nimble.

The PMBOK Guide Seventh Edition:

  • Reflects the full range of development approaches (predictive, traditional, adaptive, agile, hybrid, etc.)
  • Provides an entire section devoted to tailoring the development approach and processes
  • Expands the list of tools and techniques in a new section, “Models, Methods, and Artifacts”
  • Focuses on project outcomes in addition to deliverables

Related Links:

Our final tips:

Get to know the individually adaptable “PPM Paradise” – the optimal environment for your enterprise-wide project, program, portfolio and resource management (PPM). Download the free eBook “The PPM Paradise” now (just click, no form).

And sign up for our bi-weekly blog newsletter with information on more hands-on articles, eBooks, etc. to improve your project management maturity level.

Interested in PMP Exam Preparation? At TPG, Oliver F. Lehmann, the trainer who is also author of this article, offers English-language company seminars.

What is your opinion on the changes in the PMBOK Guide 7? Please leave a comment below.

Oliver F. LehmannThe author: Oliver F. Lehmann, MSc, ACE, PMP

Oliver F. Lehmann is a trainer for project management and project business management. He is renowned as an author of reference books and articles and as an analyst for critical projects. For over ten years, he was actively involved in project management before becoming a trainer in 1995. Today, he serves a global audience, focusing on the certification of individuals and improving the project business. He is the owner of the Project Business Foundation, a think tank that provides support for customers and suppliers in the project business. Furthermore, he is a long-serving volunteer at PMI, the Project Management Institute. His activities for the PMI have included those of President of the PMI Southern Germany Chapter from 2013 to 2018 and project manager of the 24-hour global online charity conferences under the name of “Talk around the Clock”.

You can read more about Oliver F. Lehmann on LinkedIn and XING.

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  1. Valentino Muhako M. on

    Very good, I have learned a lot about project management ,I like it because I want to start my own project soon. Thanks very much. ( Can you please email for me the 7th edition for 2024 “PMBOK ?

    • Bettina von Staden on

      Dear Valentino Muhako M.,

      Thanks for your comment! As indicated above, the PMBOK Guide can be downloaded for free by PMI members. Non-members have to purchase it from the PMI. To do this, go to this page and indicate whether you are a PMI member and if you are shopping from within or outside the US and Canada.

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