new pmbok guide 5th edition

The PMI published the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition on December 31, 2012, four years after publishing the 4th Edition. This is a major update. 

It has been over three months, and many aspirants have been asking me questions about the new PMBOK Guide, the validity of their certification, the changes to the PMP exam, etc.

The most frequently asked question is whether they should prepare with the 4th edition of the PMBOK Guide or take the test when it changes to the 5th edition.

First, please note that exam content will update with the guide on the 31st of July, 2013.

So, if you are planning to take the exam before 31 July, prepare with the 4th edition. However, if you plan to take the exam on July 31st or after this date, you can start your preparation with the 5th edition.

You have over three months until the exam content changes, which is enough time to prepare.

It takes time for publishers to publish updated content when the exam content changes. The most important factor is to include the feedback of exam-takers in the study material, and this does not happen quickly.

The first edition of any book often has typos, errors, and mistakes. Publishers correct these in the following edition. This process takes time. After the 31st of July, it will take a few months for the content to align with the exam pattern and new study resources are always costlier.

Therefore, if you want to become a PMP, I suggest you start your preparation now and attempt the exam before the 31st of July.

Now, let us discuss the changes in the 5th edition of the PMBOK Guide.

What’s New in the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition?

The major change in this new edition of the PMBOK Guide is the inclusion of a new knowledge area–Project Stakeholder Management. This knowledge area has four processes.

In the 4th edition, stakeholder management was a part of the Communication Management knowledge area. This change shows PMI’s recognition of stakeholder management.

There were five process groups and 42 processes in the 4th edition of the PMBOK Guide; in the 5th edition, the number of groups is the same, but now it has 47 processes.

These five new added processes are:

  • Four planning processes were added to different knowledge areas: plan scope management, plan schedule management, plan cost management, and plan stakeholder management. This is consistent with other project management knowledge areas.
  • Two communication processes have been merged into one; the Distribute Information and Report Performance became Manage Communications.
  • Two new controlling processes were added: Control Communications and Control Stakeholder Management.

Two processes, Identify Stakeholders and Manage Stakeholder Expectations, were moved to the Stakeholder Management knowledge area.

A few processes have new names:

  • Verify Scope was changed to Validate Scope.
  • Administer Procurement was changed to Control Procurement.
  • Direct and Manage Project Execution was changed to Direct and Manage Project Work.

Some changes are for consistency: Project Document Update was changed to Project Document Updates. You can find a few minor changes in Input, Tools & Techniques, and Output.

This is a short description of a few changes in the 5th edition of the PMBOK Guide.

Now, I’ll answer a few questions asked by several PMP aspirants.


I passed my PMP exam based on the PMBOK 4th Edition. Will my certification be valid when the PMI changes the test questions based on the new guide?

Yes, your certification will be valid even when the 6th edition comes out. 

The PMP credential is not tied with the PMBOK Guide. Once you pass the exam, you are a PMP. The only condition is to maintain the CCR Cycle. To complete it, earn 60 PDUs every three years and report them to PMI. 

As long as you continue to do so, your certification will be valid regardless of the version of the PMBOK Guide.


I passed my PMP exam based on the 4th edition of the PMBOK Guide. When the exam pattern aligns with the PMBOK 5th Edition, do I have to retake the exam, or am I required to take any test to upgrade my certification?

You don’t have to retake the exam or attend a bridging course.

You never have to retake the test as long as you maintain the CCR Cycle. If you fail to complete it, then you will have to attempt the PMP exam again to earn the title. This is the only condition that requires reexamination. 


PMI updates the PMBOK Guide every four years to keep it current and to align it with the latest industry standards. It is always best for you to keep yourself updated with the latest version of the guide. Every new edition brings changes. If you have knowledge of the earlier book, understanding the changes and implementing them will not cost you much effort.

If you are a PMP certification holder, you can update your knowledge based on the current version of the guide, and if you have yet to take the exam, you can start with the 5th edition of the guide.

I hope you now have a better idea of the changes in the new 5th edition of the PMBOK Guide. If you find anything not mentioned here, I request that you post it in the comments section so others can learn about it.

I suggest you refer to page 463 of the PMBOK Guide 5th Edition (Appendix–X1) to read about the changes to the PMBOK Guide.