Norris S. Goff, an education provider and trainer, recently had this to say
about the latest PMBOK® Guide. Norris can be reached at norris@TheCourse.us
As a Registered Education Provider whose course is offered by more than 50 colleges
and Universities, I have a keen interest in the changing editions of the PMBOK
I am looking at the Oracle-Primavera ad on the back page of the May 
issue of PM Network, and notice the headline statement: "Prioritize competing
ideas and investments to maximize your results." I am reminded that the Fourth
Edition stripped out the entire set of material related to prioritizing competing
ideas and investments. That is a dramatic action to be taken, and I wonder how
that decision was made. It is so dramatic that, in my opinion, it should require
a vote of the membership of PMI.
Yes, I know, the membership has opportunity to review the work in progress
and make suggestions. In fact, because the book is more or less rewritten each
four years to suit the whims and druthers of the current team, so many new errors
are introduced that it is hard to see the forest for the trees, which is true
in any new manuscript. It is all the more difficult when we must look on a computer
screen rather than a printed copy.
There have also been too many attempts to overturn established standards and
- The introduction of a second set of abbreviations for earned value variables.
(Nobody took a strong stand against this, and we are now stuck with competing
sets of terms.)
- An attempt to rewrite the earned value formulas (2005).
- Substitution of the cumulative symbol for the standard deviation symbol (2009).
Such revisions as these are embarrassments to instructors who must stand before
professional people and attempt to explain.
I suggest that the method of revision is flawed. What if the American Medical
Association or the Bar Association periodically abandoned many of its established
practices, and invited a fresh team of volunteers to rework everything with little
held sacred? If we are to be professionals, let us establish a Standard, subject
only to modest revision that improves the document. Major revisions should require
open debate and decision-making by the membership.
I suspect many people believe we already have what I am recommending. They
would not include we who work closely with the text, and rewrite our course material
periodically to correspond to the revised process names, inputs, tools & techniques,
and outputs. I hope to engender an open discussion of these thoughts.
Norris S. Goff, PMP
University Learning Institute
As might be expected, with respect to Earned Value terminology, lead authors
of the Guide's Cost Management Chapter: Quentin W. Fleming and Joel M. Koppelman
take a rather different view. You can read their observations on page 13
of The Measurable News, Spring 2009, Issue 2, which you can find here: www.pmi-cpm.org/pages/measurable_news/5.00.measurable_news.html.