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The PMBOK Guide received significant changes when the Project Management Institute (PMI) released the Seventh Edition of its PM standards book on August 1, 2021.

The updated version of the Project Management Body of Knowledge featured some of the biggest changes we’ve seen in between editions.

Let’s run through the modifications to the PMBOK Guide that you’ll need to be aware of before taking the PMP Exam.

PMBOK Guide Major Change No. 1: Removal of the 10 Knowledge Areas

Perhaps the most significant change to the PMBOK Guide in the Seventh Edition is the removal of the 10 Knowledge Areas of project management.

A foundational concept in the Sixth Edition — and a major area of study focus for the PMP Exam — the Knowledge Areas have been replaced by a new concept in the Seventh Edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge.

For a quick refresher, the 10 Knowledge Areas are:

While the concepts of those Knowledge Areas still permeate the PMBOK Guide, they have been replaced by 8 Project Performance Domains, and many of their concepts have been rolled into a new Project Management Principles structure, both of which we’ll detail below.

PMBOK Guide Major Change No. 2: Addition of 8 Project Performance Domains

New in the PMBOK Guide’s Seventh Addition are the 8 Project Performance Domains, which are:

  • Stakeholders
  • Team
  • Development Approach and Life Cycle
  • Planning
  • Project Work
  • Delivery
  • Measurement
  • Uncertainty

Make sure you spend ample time reading about these Performance Domains before taking the PMP Exam. Memorize the list itself and get familiar with the details of each one!

  • BUY A COPY: Purchase a copy of the PMBOK Guide — Seventh Edition here.


    PMBOK Guide Major Change No. 3: Addition of Project Management Principles

    Another topic that you’ll encounter on the PMP Exam now is the concept of Project Management Principles, which are also new in the PMBOK Guide — Seventh Edition.

    Again, memorize the list of principles, but also make sure you understand what each one represents and how they connect to the larger picture of managing projects.

    The 12 Project Management Principles detailed in the PMBOK Guide are:

    • Stewardship
    • Team
    • Stakeholders
    • Value
    • Systems Thinking
    • Leadership
    • Tailoring
    • Quality
    • Complexity
    • Risk
    • Adaptability and Resiliency
    • Change

    That last one is particularly appropriate given the modifications to the PMBOK Guide itself!


    The PMBOK Guide’s changes in its Seventh Edition represent a big departure from many of the concepts project managers needed to take to heart from the Sixth Edition, both for the PMP exam and for the real-world tasks involved with managing projects.

    Becoming familiar with these new concepts — specifically the 8 Project Performance Domains — will be crucial to passing the PMP exam going forward.

    As always, PMI notes that the exam itself is based on its ECO (Exam Content Outline) — here’s the ECO that was released in January 2021 — and not specifically on the PMBOK Guide, but we can attest that having a healthy familiarity with the PMBOK is essential to nailing whatever is on the latest version of the ECO and passing the exam.

    So, make sure you give the PMBOK Guide’s Seventh Edition a read, create some flash cards and do your best to memorize the updated concepts in particular — as well as the ones that were not changed — before you take the exam.