It seems like it was only yesterday that we wrote a detailed and popular blog post about the changes to the Project Management Professional (PMP®) Exam as a result of the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) 6th Edition changes. Well not quite yesterday. But, Project Management Institute (PMI®) updated the PMP certification exam content in March 2018 to make it relevant to the PMBOK® Guide 6th edition which was released in September 2017.
The current change is not in response to any update to the most popular standard in project management, the PMBOK® Guide Guide, but rather due to a PMI - Role Delineation Study (RDS). A role what, you say? About every 3-5 years, PMI assembles a steering committee to determine if the PMP exam is current and relevant to the responsibilities of project managers today. So, it evaluates emerging practices, modern trends, knowledge, and skills required to address it. The last time PMI ever did that was in 2015. And, now with the current RDS in 2019, PMI has made the single biggest change ever to the PMP exam content and outline.
The first even PMP exam was conducted in 1984. The official PMI's PMP certification exam based on a formal exam outline started in 1987. PMI even celebrated 30 years of PMP certification in 2017 at the PMI Global Congress. The exam remained firmly rooted in its outline in terms of knowledge and skills across the five process groups and the (initially nine and later expanded to) ten knowledge areas which formed the basis of PMI's standard on project management. Although, there were a lot more questions tested in its initial years, around mid nineties, the examination also standardized on a 200 questions in a four hour window format. Since 2003, when Project Management Training Institute (PMTI) - https://www.4PMTI.com - was formed, the examination outline and its basis did not change and always had the PMBOK® Guide as a primary reference. This provided a direct correlation to both training providers and exam takers to map the domains in the exam to the content in the PMBOK® Guide.
There are two major changes that are occurring with the new PMP exam:
|PMI Talent Triangle®||New PMP Exam Domain|
|Technical Project Management||Process|
|Strategic and Business Management||Business Enviornment|
PMI has also changed the format in which the exam outline presents the responsibilities or tasks of a project manager under each domain which will be explained in the paragraphs below. There are several more in-depth and detailed changes incorporated in each of the individual tasks. There are several parallels between the tasks from the sunsetting PMP exam and the upcoming new PMP exam. We will update this document as we analyze and receive new information.
The last day to take the PMP exam based on the well-known process group / domain format outline is December 15, 2019. In other words, starting December 16, 2019, PMI will administer the new PMP exam format based on the People / Process / Business Environment domain format. We expect this will be a ground shaking change to the PMP exam since there is no one-to-one correlation to the standards published by PMI and hence will provide a tremendous latitude to the exam makers in terms of the sources for generating PMP exam questions. PMTI will closely review, analyze, and update our course content including creating a new PMP exam questions database for post December 2019 exam format. PMTI highly recommends you complete your PMP exam before the new exam takes effect.
Time is running out! Take the exam before it changes. The amount of time you have before the exam changes:
The previous exam, although updated to reflect the emerging practices of Agile and other specific knowledge areas, was primary based on the five process group domains. The PMP exam that will sunset in December 2019 had five domains and the questions were unevenly divided among these domains as follows:
|Domain||Percentage of Items on Test|
|IV. Monitoring and Controlling||25%|
The current PMP exam also outlined the tasks in each domain as to what the task entailed and the knowledge and skills required to succeed in each of those domains. For example, here is how the previous exam would present the tasks and skills in the Closing domain:
|Domain V||Closing: 7%|
|Task 1||Obtain final acceptance of the project deliverables from relevant stakeholders in order to confirm that project scope and deliverables were achieved|
|Task 2||Transfer the ownership of deliverables to the assigned stakeholders i accordance with the project plan in order to facilitate project closure.|
|Task 3||Obtain financial, legal, and administrative closure using generally accepted practices and policies in order to ommunicate formal project closure and ensure transfer of liability.|
|Task 4||Prepare and share the final project report according to the commmunications management plan in order to doument and convey project performance and assist in project evaluation.|
|Task 5||Collate lessons learned that were documented throughout the project and conduct a comprehensive project review in order to update the organiztions knowledge base.|
|Task 6||Archive project documents and materials using generally accepted practies in order to comply with statutory requirements and for potential use in future projects and audits.|
|Task 7||Obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders using appropriate tools and techniques and based on the stakeholder managment plan in order to evaluate their satisfaction.|
|Knowledge and Skills:
The new exam format also presents domains as a list of tasks. There are only three domains in the new PMP exam 2019 and the question distribution is as follows:
|Domain||Percentage of Items on Test|
|III. Business Environment||8%|
|Domain I||People: 42%|
|Task 1||Manage Conflict
|Task 2||Lead a team
If you look at the distribution of the questions in the current sunsetting exam, the exam questions are unevenly distributed. For instance, even though there are only 10 processes in Executing process group out of a total of 49 processes, the number of questions were 31% of the test! Clearly, Executing a project involves a lot of People Management in addition to Process Management. The new exam format recognizes that projects are done by and for People using Processes within a goal-oriented and results-driven Business Environment. In our opinion, this approach fixes the inequity of questions distribution in the sundowning PMP exam. So, we think these new changes are a welcome change. We also believe there will be a majority of overlap between the current and the upcoming PMP exam, but leaves enough room to incorporate emerging practices, ideas, and trends to account for modern project management success.
From an exam taker's perspective,