Thursday, December 21, 2023

PMBOK 7th Edition: Principles, Performance Domains and Artifacts – How Do They Plug and Play Together? (Part - 2)

I'd strongly recommend that you go through the first part of this series on PMBOK's principles (PR) and performanc domains (PD) before proceeding with this one. This part is about artifacts and interactions among the PRs, PDs and Artifacts. 

This series: Part - 1


PMBOK7 Artifacts *** UPDATED ***

The way to connect the dots and understand this article is also to know the artifacts. An artifact can be an output, a project document, or even a project deliverable.

Considering risk and uncertainty, we mainly have three artifacts:

  • Project Risk Management Plan: How to identify, assess, respond, manage, and monitor the risks in a project.
  • Project Risk Register: List of identified risks in a project, also known as the Risk Log.
  • Project Risk Report: Summary of individual and overall project risks.  

Similarly, when considering other aspects such as Delivery PD, Project Work PD, or Measurement PD, there can be a number of artifacts.

How Do They All Plug and Play Together? *** UPDATED ***

So far, we learned about the PRs, PDs, and artifacts. The final part of the PMBOK7 puzzle is to understand how all these work in unison. This is how.

  • For every project, while all principles are present, a few principles will be predominantly applied.
  • The degree of application of the principles and the way they are applied can vary. It can be based on organizational context, deliverables, project team, stakeholders, etc.
  • Performance domains are also present in every project, but then again, we don’t focus on all aspects of the PDs throughout the lifecycle of the project.
  • The way PDs relate and apply differ for each project.
  • Principles chosen for a project guide the behavior of the project team and project stakeholders, whereas performance domains chosen for the project are areas to demonstrate that behavior.
  • PRs influence and shape the PDs to achieve desired outcomes
  • The artifacts are used, applied, and can also come from the PDs. 
  • Models and methods are also applied on the project to achieve desired outcomes. 

An Example – Risk PR, Uncertainty PD and Artifacts

To understand better, let’s combine the Risk PR, Uncertainty PD, and the associated artifacts. I’ll also inform you of the models and methods involved in this interaction, shown in the figure below. 

Let’s interpret the above figure:

  • Principles guide the behavior of the people involved in the project. For example, the Risk Principle guides what to do with the uncertainties and risks in the project.
  • Domains are broad areas of focus to demonstrate that behavior. For example, the Uncertainty PD is a broad area of focus to demonstrate how risk responses are optimized.
  • The Models are applied on the PDs. For example, considering Uncertainty PD, Stacey’s diagram (a complexity model) can be applied. Another complexity model applied is the Cynefin framework.
  • The Methods are also applied to the PDs. For example, the probability and impact matrix is a method that can be applied to the Uncertainty PD.
  • The deliverables and artifacts are from the PDs. For example, the risk register and risk report are artifacts from the Uncertainty PD.

That’s it! Was it difficult to understand?

If you have read sincerely and understood so far, you have absorbed the very essence of the new PMBOK Guide.

Video – Key Notes on PMBOK7 *** NEW ***

Now, it’s time to note and recap certain key points with respect to the PMBOK7 principles, domains and artifacts. I’ve prepared this below video [duration: 04m:11s] for your understanding. Reference for this video has been taken from my RMP Live Lessons course.

Guidance for PMP and RMP Exams 

The most common questions I receive in my regular interactions with management practitioners are with respect to the RMP and PMP exams. PMBOK, 7th edition has taken a paradigm shift compared to the PMBOK, 6th and the practitioners want to know their usages and needs in the new versions of the PMP exam.

Is PMBOK7 needed for the RMP Exam?

The short answer is yes.

Elaborating further, one of the RMP exam’s explicit reference sources is the new edition of the PMBOK 7th edition, which has a principle-based standard. This is well-complemented with the PMBOK 6th edition, which is a process-based standard. For your RMP exam, you must refer to both, because the main source of the exam is the Foundational Standard for Risk Management in Portfolios, Programs, and Projects, which follows a process-based approach with a set of risk management principles.

Is PMBOK7 needed for the PMP Exam?

The short answer is no.

You’ve probably seen many sites, portals, and exam preparatory courses inform on the PMBOK Guide, 7th edition as a must-read. In reality, at the time this article is written, it’s a should- or could-read. Nevertheless, knowing the latest management principles, practices, and artifacts is a good idea. Recent PMP and RMP success stories in 2023 from my management sessions confirm that.

Conclusion *** UPDATED ***

To wrap up this article, principles by their very nature are self-evident, true, and real. For example, the principle of “Demonstrate leadership behaviors” applies not only to the project manager but also to every team member.

Principles will light up the path for your practices. Why so? Because a project is almost always executed in an uncertain environment. In other words, your path will be uncertain and sometimes dark and you won’t know how to proceed. Principles act like rays of light guiding your path in an uncertain project terrain. While principles are guidelines, practices are real-world usages. These practices are performed with activities and functions in the performance domains that we have reviewed here.

I hope you now have a big picture as well as a zoomed-in view of the PRs, PDs, artifacts, and how they all fit together. As always, your thoughts, views, and comments are welcome. Please share them in the comment section below.

This series is concluded.

This series: Part - 1

This article is dedicated to the memory of my father, the late Harendra Nath Dash, who passed away four years ago on June 11, 2019. It’s a tribute to him, my mother, and their teachings.

Thank you, dear readers, for reading this piece. And, wish you a very happy new year, 2024.


This article was first published by MPUG on June 13, 2023. This an updated and refined version. 


[1] RMP Live Lessons – Guaranteed Pass or Your Money Back, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] RMP 30/40 Contact Hours with Money Back Guarantee, by Satya Narayan Dash

[3] I Want To Be A RMP: The Plain and Simple Way To Be A RMP, Second edition, by Satya Narayan Dash 

[4] Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) Guide, 7th Edition, by Project Management Institute (PMI)

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