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Welcome to the PMBOK Guide 7 hotel and resort

What a hotel may have in common with performance domains and principles.

One of the biggest changes in the new PMBOK Guide are the performance domains in Part 2 and the principles in the ANSI standard, which is Part 1. At its core, the PMBOK Guide discusses these eight different domains.

What's the difference?

You will find these performance domains in almost every project. And yes, this also means that the (old) knowledge areas don't matter anymore, because they are no longer needed. Everything belongs in one of these performance domains, not just in one knowledge area. The performance domains are more comprehensive, larger. And more than just one area of knowledge.

I've struggled a bit with distinguishing between the principles and the performance domains and differentiating between them. How do these two aspects relate to each other? What do they have in common, and how do they differ? Are they simply two perspectives on the same topic? In the end, it's all about project management. And I admit that I had a hard time with it. If you felt the same way - I'll build a bridge or a picture here, since pictures are better than 1000 words. My goal is to take you on a small journey.

The hotel comparison

Let's visit a hotel. There are small hotels, backpacker hostels, business hotels, city hotels to the big convention centers. And even more.

There are also small projects, like process improvement projects, new product development projects, research projects, large infrastructure projects and so on. Completely different goals, ways of doing things, sizes and approaches. For both - hotels and projects

But: hotels have different areas, regardless of the size. Some areas are mandatory, others not. You can wait in a lobby (which can have the size of a ballroom or the size of a table), you can check in at the reception desk, there is fitness equipment in a wellness area, and you can eat in a restaurant. There are the rooms with beds, maybe suites, and possibly a cozy bar.

The domains

It is the same in a project. Every project is different. Infrastructure projects need a lot and intensive advance planning, research projects have a lot of uncertainties on the outcome. A new airport will involve many more stakeholder aspects than a data migration. An app development is ideally organized in an iterative and agile way, a new bridge hopefully not.

But: no matter the project type - there are different areas, just like with hotels. However, PMBOK Guide 7 does not name them Lobby or Wellness. The different areas of a project are Stakeholder, Team, Development Approach, Planning, Project Work, Delivery, Measurement and Uncertainty.

And just like in a hotel, the design and size and importance of the different areas depend on the different (project) types.

The principles

Alright, let's get to the principles. And let's go back to the hotel. There, too, are principles. So, in a hotel, the top principle could be: " Guest is king". Other principles could be:

  • Everything must fit the style of the house
  • We are high-priced but not ungenerous
  • Disagreements are always settled internally
  • and so on

These principles apply in all areas, sometimes more, sometimes less. These are the famous guard rails. Some principles apply more to room service, others apply universally to the whole house.

On the other side the ANSI Standard part of the new PMBOK Guide names a total of 12 principles that "hover above" as with the hotel, are guardrails, provide behavioral benchmarks.

The 12 principles are: Be a diligent, respectful, and caring steward / Focus on value / Build quality into processes and deliverables / Create a collaborative team environment / Demonstrate leadership behaviors / Navigate complexity Optimize risk responses / Effectively engage with stakeholders / Tailor based on context / Embrace adaptability and resiliency / Recognize, evaluate, and respond to system interactions / Enable change to achieve the envisioned future state

You could run a hotel with this, couldn't you?

If we look at the difference between principles and performance domains in the new PMBOK Guide through this lens, it becomes easier to relate the 12 principles of the ANSI standard to the 8 performance domains of the PMBOK Guide part. 

3 Hebel, wenn die Zeit fix ist

Comments 2

Kurt Lehberger (website) on Mittwoch, 12. Januar 2022 15:02

great example, clarifies the application Principles vs. Domains

great example, clarifies the application Principles vs. Domains
Jörg Glunde on Samstag, 29. Januar 2022 20:36

I love this comparison, which makes these new dimensions of principles on the one hand and the performance domains on the other hand so clear to us. Thank you for this great contribution, @Thomas.

I love this comparison, which makes these new dimensions of principles on the one hand and the performance domains on the other hand so clear to us. Thank you for this great contribution, @Thomas.
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