You may have heard that the Project Management Professional (PMP®) exam is changing, and if you did, you heard correctly. “What is the big deal?” you ask. Well, 25 percent of the exam is changing, beginning on January 11, 2016, and the changes will be centered around eight new tasks and topic areas. The next question that you may have is, “Why?”
The Project Management Institute (PMI®) periodically conducts, and subsequently publishes, its Role Delineation Study (RDS), which is the basis for the PMP Exam Content Outline, which is the basis for the questions on the PMP exam. The exam is changing to reflect current practices in project management, which are always changing.
The RDS is conducted every three to five years to ensure that the PMP credential reflects current best practices and has kept pace with industry by evaluating the most important facets of project management. The RDS takes a comprehensive look at the roles a project manager (PM) plays and the key competencies each PM must possess in order to be successful. The competencies include domains of practice, tasks performed by a PM and the knowledge and skills required to perform this role successfully. The work done by PMI is then validated by a broad segment of industry and published as the Exam Content Outline.
The Exam Content Outline is exactly what it sounds like: an outline of the content on the exam. All of the questions on the exam relate back to those competencies I mentioned earlier (domains of practice, tasks, skills and knowledge). A noticeable difference is the slight change in percentage of questions per domain. The domains of practice align with the five process groups outlined in A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) — Fifth Edition.
|Domain||Percentage of items on New Version||Percentage of items on the Old Version|
|I. Initiating||13 percent||13 percent|
|II. Planning||24 percent||24 percent|
|III. Executing||31 percent||30 percent|
|IV. Monitoring and Controlling||25 percent||25 percent|
|V. Closing||7 percent||8 percent|
|Total||100 percent||100 percent|
This may not look like a lot, but the weighting of the exam is not the only thing that has changed.
Within each domain of practice, there are tasks and knowledge/skills that make up the source of the questions. Those have changed more significantly.
A glimpse at the domains and what has changed in them:
|Domain I: Initiating||Domain II: Planning||Domain III: Executing||Domain IV: Monitoring and Controlling||Domain V: Closing|
|Task 2 (added)||Task 13 (added)||Task 6 (added)||Task 6 (added)||N/A|
|Task 7 (added)||Task 7 (added)||Task 7 (added)|
|Task 8 (added)|
As you can see, eight tasks have been added and some have been removed. For example, in the Executing domain, Task 6 from the old Exam Content Outline has been removed and merged with Task 2.
Some key changes include an emphasis on business strategy and benefits realization, moving away from PMs simply handling deliverables. This indicates a shift from tactical execution to strategic value. There is also a shift away from holding the PM accountable for the sole development of the project charter. This is now recognized as something that the executive sponsor has more involvement in. Building and enhancing stakeholder relationships also gets more emphasis in the new Exam Content Outline.
It’s important to remember that the exam is not a PMBOK® Guide update; it will still be based on the fifth edition. The RDS is what drives the new Exam Content Outline. The PMBOK® Guide drives terminology updates and changes to process groups and knowledge areas. So, the PMP exam is not just a test on the PMBOK® Guide, itself. You can be certain that everything in the Exam Content Outline is testable and will likely be on the exam.
A lot is changing, but don’t worry! Global Knowledge is updating our PMP Exam Prep Boot Camp to make sure that you are ready for the challenge. We will roll out our updates prior to the exam revision.
If you have already taken a Global Knowledge PMP Exam Prep Boot Camp, please schedule your test on or before January 11, 2016. Register early while your local testing center still has openings. If you plan to take the exam after January 11, 2016, our updated boot camp will roll out on January 4, 2016, to make sure you are ready. If you have any other questions, contact your Global Knowledge training advisor.
Visit the PMI website for a short video that explains the PMP exam updates: Webinar: Upcoming PMP Exam Change – Explained.