The new edition of the PMBOK® Guide is not based on knowledge areas anymore, but on 8 performance domains describing the most important activities to achieve value results in the project. PMI has also changed the ANSI Standard for Project Management from 49 processes to 12 principles guiding the behavior of the professional project manager.

I think these changes were really needed:

  • Professional project managers needed a reference closer to real practice. They still need to be fluent on standardized project management processes to get a structured knowledge in mind, to speak the same language, etc., but they don’t usually apply the processes as they are in the guide. For instance, we know that, in order to get the schedule, first we should define activities, sequence them, estimate activity resource requirements, estimate activity durations, and finally optimize the model to fit the schedule constraints. We normally don’t follow these processes step by step, since we usually mix all scheduling planning processes going back and forth using a scheduling tool. Nevertheless, knowing about processes, inputs, outputs, tools, and techniques is worth it, especially for not “reinventing the wheel”: All a project manager may need is already invented.
  • PMBOK® Guide 6th edition was quite too big. It seemed like a student book, more than a body of knowledge. Readers got the wrong idea that all the necessary knowledge to manage all kind of projects was included in the guide, being this requirement impossible to meet, especially for adaptive projects. Process-wise content made people think they were reading a kind of methodology, but the guide should be a framework, not a method.
  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools. Professional project management is no longer effective if projects are managed in isolation—project team makes all—or by managed by meetings or by reporting. Stakeholders’ continuous collaboration is needed to achieve the project management goals, that is: delivering value on time, under budget, with the right quality, etc. In this hyper connected world, continuous collaboration in projects means online collaboration to take informed decisions and propose actions proactively. Projects need this kind of distributed collaboration, especially. Organizations don’t need bureaucracy related to documentation or status meetings. Organizations need online real time reporting and agile transparency mechanisms on project statuses. Professionals of the project economy should master their power skills. Projects succeed when people collaborate. The guide and the standard had to change the approach to results and principles, respectively.

In the project economy, many stakeholders need to be engaged beyond the review meetings. Team members, many of them working remotely, are expected to comment proactively on problems, alternatives, workarounds, conflicts, needs, etc. Project managers are not good professionals if they just follow orders. They need to be proactive to manage risks, model requirements, to finish on time, under budget, maximizing value, etc. Project managers are not alone in management. We need project management teams, instead. 

I have recently been assigned as interim project manager in a software project with the team divided among UK, Colombia and India. Still fresh in my mind my first reading of the PMBOK Guide, the webinar in PMI Madrid and the clarifying videos by Ricardo Vargas, I have tried to initiate this project trying to apply the concepts. Quoting Stephen R. Covey“To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know.”

To learn and not to do is really not to learn. To know and not to do is really not to know. –Stephen R. Covey

After our first project review meeting, I’ve convinced myself that I can follow the principles easily because I have the habit of updating the project data in PMPeople and, on the other hand, I can show performance results to stakeholders because they can get the evidence they need directly on PMPeople. I can see our tool PMPeople as the “conveyor belt” to move gears of professional project management in the project economy.

Follow the 12 Principles with PMPeople

PMPeople can be seen as a technology framework for practitioners who want to follow the new edition of the PMBOK: As a project manager, I can follow the 12 principles just updating the project data in PMPeople. As a stakeholder, I can check the project management outcomes on the 8 performance domains just getting the evidence of good or bad performance directly on PMPeople.

Let’s see how PMPeople can help project managers follow the 12 principles in the Standard for Project Management:

  1. Be a diligent, respectful, and caring Steward“Stewards act responsibly to carry out activities with integrity, care, and trustworthiness while maintaining compliance with internal and external guidelines. They demonstrate a broad commitment to financial, social, and environmental impacts of the projects they support”. With PMPeople, project professionals can model most project items, publish information and documents with the right security privileges, track value delivery and alignment with the business case, etc.
  2. Create a Collaborative project team environment“Project teams are made up of individuals who wield diverse skills, knowledge, and experience. Project teams that work collaboratively can accomplish a shared objective more effectively and efficiently than individuals working on their own”. With PMPeople, project professionals can help the team be aware of their contribution on the global scope, who are their teammates, who is in the extended project team. Team members can submit comments anonymously and their happiness index data for retrospectives, etc.
  3. Effectively Engage with stakeholders“Engage stakeholders proactively and to the degree needed to contribute to project success and customer satisfaction”. With PMPeople, project professionals can update the stakeholder register to manage expectations. Stakeholders can check project initiation and project control information. They can request changes, submit comments and provide feedback on the project and team members.
  4. Focus on Value“Continually evaluate and adjust project alignment to business objectives and intended benefits and value”. With PMPeople, project professionals can edit and share information about the project charter and the business case. Each project has a number to express its value, meaning its relative comparison against the other components of the program, portfolio, or business unit. At project review meetings –and specially at phase gates reviews– project professionals can check if the project is still aligned to value delivery.
  5. Recognize, evaluate, and respond to System interactions“Recognize, evaluate, and respond to the dynamic circumstances within and surrounding the project in a holistic way to positively affect project performance”. Projects are not executed in isolation. With PMPeople, project professionals can include the project inside a program and/or one or many portfolios. They can connect the project to other predecessor projects or third-party  projects.
  6. Demonstrate Leadership behaviors“Demonstrate and adapt leadership behaviors to support individual and team needs”. With PMPeople, project professionals can explain each person his or her role in the team. They can “give them voice” to submit any comment –anonymously if they prefer so– and register how they feel every day about the team building (happiness index).
  7. Tailor based on context“Design the project development approach based on the context of the project, its objectives, stakeholders, governance, and the environment using ‘just enough’ process to achieve the desired outcome while maximizing value, managing cost, and enhancing speed”. With PMPeople, project professionals don’t need to follow strict workflows. They can tailor from a framework in which they can use what they really need for the project and the organization. They can integrate tools for file sharing, task management, instant messaging, reporting, etc.
  8. Build Quality into processes and deliverables“Maintain a focus on quality that produces deliverables that meet project objectives and align to the needs, uses, and acceptance requirements set forth by relevant stakeholders”. With PMPeople, project professionals can register lessons learned as they occur. They can register data to automate ISO 9001 reports, etc.
  9. Navigate Complexity“Continually evaluate and navigate project complexity so that approaches and plans enable the project team to successfully navigate the project life cycle”. With PMPeople, project professionals can divide strategic plans into portfolios, programs, and projects. Project can be broken down into deliverables, requirements, tasks, teams, etc. Project professionals are not project owners: projects belong to performing organizations. Project managers should “involve people in the problems and seek the solutions with them”.
  10. Optimize Risk responses“Continually evaluate exposure to risk, both opportunities and threats, to maximize positive impacts and minimize negative impacts to the project and its outcomes”. With PMPeople, project professionals can keep, update and share a risk register. They can share risk summaries on each project review.
  11. Embrace adaptability and Resiliency“Build adaptability and resiliency into the organization’s and project team’s approaches to help the project accommodate change, recover from setbacks, and advance the work of the project”. With PMPeople, project professionals can register project status on each review date to involve managers. Managers can help measure current and future performance, anticipate problems, taking preventive or corrective actions, etc.
  12. Enable Change to achieve the envisioned future state“Prepare those impacted for the adoption and sustainment of new and different behaviors and processes required for the transition from the current state to the intended future state created by the project outcomes”. With PMPeople, project professionals can engage any number of stakeholders. Stakeholders can monitor the project via web or mobile. Stakeholders can join the project proactively.

Demonstrate the 8 Performance Domains with PMPeople

As a stakeholder, I can check the project management outcomes on the 8 performance domains just getting the evidence of good or bad performance, at the level of each project work package, directly on PMPeople.

  1. Stakeholders: “The project needs a productive working relationship with stakeholders throughout the life cycle. Stakeholders who are project beneficiaries should be supportive and satisfied; stakeholders who may oppose the project or its deliverables should not negatively impact project results”. With PMPeople, project professionals can update the stakeholder register with the engagement assessment information –unaware, resistant, neutral, supportive, leading–, process their changes, comments, feedback, etc. Project professionals can identify challenges associated with individual stakeholders by reviewing the project stakeholder register, the issue log, the comments log and the change log.
  2. Team“The project team should be high performance, empowered, resilient and aligned with objectives. They should trust each other and keep ownership of deliverables and outcomes in a collaborative environment”. With PMPeople, project professionals can explain the expected results to team members, read their comments –which can be anonymous– approve time sheets and expenses, etc. Team members can check their assignments, complete tasks, know who are their teammates, contribute updating the team charter, submit comments and retrospective information to the project manager, read feedback on them from managers and stakeholders, etc.
  3. Development Approach and Life Cycle: “The project should follow a lifecycle –predictive, adaptative, or hybrid – which is consistent with the development approach for the project deliverables. The series of phases of the project lifecycle should help governance and project termination if strategic criteria are no longer realizable”. With PMPeople, project professionals can set the management phase –initiation, planning, execution or closing– and the technical phase used inside the business unit. Project professionals can manage predictive, adaptive and hybrid projects, publishing periodic progress reports.
  4. Planning“Project managers should visualize next week, next month, how to get the project done, etc. The planning model should be holistic, including the component needed to manage stakeholder expectations, and progressively elaborated as new information is discovered”. With PMPeople, project professionals can practice progressive elaboration of scope, schedule, cost, funding, resources, deliverables, requirements, tasks, etc.
  5. Project Work“Status reports should demonstrate that project work is efficient and effective. Quality assurance should show that the processes are relevant and effective. The project communications should be effective to engage stakeholders. Procurement and material resources should be managed properly. Projects using a predictive approach should have an integrated change management procedure. Projects using an adaptive approach should have an update product backlog. The project team should minimize rework and optimize velocity”. With PMPeople, Project professionals can update periodic follow ups, manage procurement items, communication, comments, changes, lessons learned, retrospectives, etc. Project professionals can control work in agile projects and third-party projects.
  6. Delivery“Project should demonstrate alignment to the organizational strategy and business. Project benefits should be realized in the time frame in which they were planned. Deliverables should be validated, and requirements should be met”. With PMPeople, project professionals can check the project charter and the business case, manage deliverables, requirements, etc. Project professionals can measure stakeholders’ satisfaction based on their comments, changes requested, and feedback provided.
  7. Measurement: “At each project review meetings measurements should indicate whether the project is performing as expected or if there are variances, in order to take timely and informed decisions and actions”. With PMPeople, managers can check performance against baselines at each review date. Some status report data can be shown to stakeholders. Reliable organizations can publish project status reports in blockchain.
  8. Uncertainty“The project management team should be alert to anticipate any opportunity or threat which may have a positive or negative effect on a project’s objective or value delivery”. With PMPeople, project professionals can update the risk register, the contingency and management reserves. Project professionals can review risk registers of similar projects in the past: “Yesterday’s problems are today’s risks”. Team members can comment anonymously on potential problems.

Watch this 23′ video (in Spanish) with my thoughts on the changes to PMBOK7:

PMPeople is the tool for the project economy. It is aimed to unify professional project management by these differential points:

  • Designed by and for professional project managers, following professional project management standards.
  • Online productivity –less meetings, less documents, less workflows– through distributed collaboration among 12 specialized roles: Organization Owner, 6 roles on demand management and 5 roles on supply management.
  • Freemium product –unlimited time, unlimited users– usable via web and mobile application.

Start using PMPeople for free, for unlimited time and for any number of users. In premium organizations, only managers have a cost. Several roles –stakeholders, team members, sponsors and resource managers– are always free. You can increase or decrease your premium seats according to the organization actual needs. Premium organizations have access to our interactive support through Slack. Our servers are located in EU. This software can also be hosted on customer premises.

Read this article in Spanish