This Guest paper was submitted for publication and is Copyright M. Abdomerovic (2005).
Published here July 2005.

Abstract | Background | Introduction | Our Approach
Findings | Recommended First Stage Improvements | Second Stage Improvements
Other Research | Conclusions | Glossary of Terms Used in this Paper


As a result of the study, we discovered that changes included into the 2004 Edition have deviated from the historical perspective of the PMBOK® Guide. Consequently, the changes do not help us to better understand the previous 2000 Edition. For example, textual and conceptual changes include:

  • Text volume of the 2004 Edition has increased 68% in comparison to the 2000 Edition (see Table 2)
  • The 2004 Edition introduces content changes at the output/input level. For example, the added text describes changed process content and context compared to preceding editions. As evidence:
    1. The increased number of inputs has changed the contents and context of input process sets. Implicitly, this changes the content and context of the output process sets. As a result, none of the 2004 Edition input sets are the same as in the 2000 Edition. And only three sets of outputs are the same in both editions (see Tables 1 & 2)
    2. With the number of outputs increasing by 60% from the previous edition, a real problem has arisen in the restructuring of the sets of output processes. As a result of restructuring we find ninety-eight reappearances of outputs with the same name, more than four times those in the previous edition. Out of all outputs in the 2004 Edition, 55% are repeated outputs that are created with different sets of inputs, implying that in practice they are not the same, but different.
  • The 2004 Edition introduces conceptual changes compared to preceding editions of the Guide. This implies a changed understanding of the whole structure. As evidence:
    1. A powerful output/input concept that has been consistently applied in preceding editions assumes that an output created in an earlier process is used as an input in a later process or processes. For example, in the 2000 Edition, the component "Project plan" is created by taking the results of other planning processes and putting them into the plan. However, in the 2004 Edition, many processes from the Planning Process Group already contain "Project management plan" as an input, e.g., Input (Project management plan).[6] The output from that process flows into Process 4.3 (Develop Project Management Plan) to take a part in generation of Output (Project management plan).[7] This results in an invalid process loop.
    2. The 2004 Edition also uses other output/input approaches that make the sequence difficult to follow. For example, an output that has been generated for the first time should not have the suffix "updates", e.g., Output Cost management plan (updates).[8]
    3. If a component has to be used as an input, it must be generated as an output in a preceding process or in a previous iteration of a subsequent process. However, there are inputs that may not be ready to be used as inputs, e.g. Input (Contract).[9] The component "Contract" cannot be used here as an input because "Contract" is generated as an output in Process 12.4 (Select Sellers).[10] This process is a part of the Executing Process Group while Process 7.2 (Cost Budgeting) is a part of the Planning Process Group.[11] Therefore, "Contract" cannot be an input to Process 7.2 (Cost Budgeting).
    4. If a component is to be used as an input, it must first be generated in full as an earlier output. However, there are partially accomplished outputs that cause invalid process loops. For example, Input (Project management plan) should not contain suffix "Activity cost estimates" at this time. This specific content of "Project management plan" passes from Process 6.4 (Activity Duration Estimating) to Process 6.5 (Schedule Development) to Process 7.1 (Cost Estimating) and back to Process 6.4 (Activity Duration Estimating).[12] To develop Output (Activity cost estimates) we need Input (Project management plan), which contains suffix "Schedule management plan". This input comes as an Output (Project management plan) from Process 6.5 (Schedule Development). Finally, to develop this output we need Input (Activity duration estimates), which is developed as an output of Process 6.4 (Activity Duration Estimating). There is also the case where a process contains the same components within input and output, e.g., the component "Deliverables" from Process 4.6 (Integrated Change Control).[13]
Our Approach  Our Approach

6. Ibid, pp105
7. The PMBOK® Guide Third Edition, pp79, 89
8. Ibid, pp159, 167
9. Ibid, pp159, 168
10. Ibid, pp272
11. Ibid, pp70
12. Ibid, pp125, 159
13. Ibid, pp79, 98-99
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