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Posted by on May 21, 2015

The PMP® Exam Is Changing

The PMP® Exam Is Changing

ExamIf you are considering sitting for the PMP® exam, you might want to hurry! PMI® recently announced that the PMP® exam is changing. The new exam becomes effective on November 2, 2015. Until then, the current PMP® exam is still in effect.

Why the Change?

The changes are the result of the annual PMP® Role Delineation Study (RDS) conducted in March 2015 which updated the description of the project management professional role. The RDS gathered information from project management practitioners and examined the specific tasks of a project management professional, as well as identified the knowledge and skills required to perform project management tasks competently. Study participants came from a large cross-section of industries, work environments, and geographic regions. As a result of the study, exam content and qualification criteria is being updated to reflect the current status of the profession. This study serves as the foundation for the PMP® exam and helps to ensure that the exam is valid and relevant to the project management practitioner by validating up-to-date performance domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills.

This blog will focus primarily on describing the changes to the performance domains and the domain tasks. The April 2015 PMP® Exam Content Outline is not final – the proportion of each domain’s exam questions are not yet decided, and the knowledge and skills for each domain and task are not yet included. We’ll post a follow up blog when these are released, on or before June 15, 2015.

What is Changing?

Several tasks were added to four domain areas. A review of these tasks reveals that many of them are related to stakeholder management activities, most likely resulting from the fact that it was added a new knowledge area in the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition, released in 2013. Some of the other tasks are related to elements of portfolio management.

Specific Domain and Task changes that affect the exam content are:

Domain 1: Initiating the Project – 3 new tasks were added:

  • Task 2 – Identify key deliverables based on the business requirements in order to manage customer expectations and direct the achievement of project goals.
  • Task 7 – Conduct benefit analysis with stakeholders (including sponsor, customer, and subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organizational strategy and expected business value
  • Task 8 – Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter, in order to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities

Domain 2: Planning the Project – 1 new task was added:

  • Task 13 – Develop the stakeholder management plan by analyzing needs, interests, and potential impact in order to effectively manage stakeholders’ expectations and engage them in project decisions

Domain 3: Executing the Project – 2 new tasks were added:

  • Task 6 – Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed
  • Task 7 – Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan in order to receive continued support and manage expectations

Domain 4: Monitoring and controlling the project – 2 new tasks were added:

  • Task 6 – Capture, analyze, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques in order to enable continuous improvement
  • Task 7 – Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives

What Does This Mean to You?

The education and experience eligibility requirements for the PMP® certification are not changing. The application and testing processes also remain the same. The only exam-related events you need to know are the date of the exam change and the updates to the exam content. After November 1, 2015, all PMP® exams administered, including retakes and language aids, will align with the new exam content outline.

The bottom line – don’t wait. If you have been studying and preparing to take the exam sometime this year, plan to accelerate your exam preparation and planning. Now is a good time to take the PMP® Exam Prep Boot Camp – either in person or virtually.

Next Steps

We’re already at work updating our renowned PMP® Exam Prep Boot Camp course to align with the new requirements – and we’ll reach out to students once the finalized changes are released (expected next month). Also keep an eye out for a follow-up blog once the new knowledge and skills associated with each domain and task are released for more information on passing the revised exam!

Teidi Tucker also contributed to this post.

2 Comments

  1. Hi

    Thank you for this detailed update on the change in syllabus for the new exam. What is funny is that nobody tells you where to get the material or the subject matter for the new changes / tasks that have been added. Not even PMI. I have either misunderstood how this works or something is not quite right.

    1. Where does one get the details of the subject matter to study for the new updates?.

    2. Does PMBOK ver5 cover the new tasks and updates?.

    3. Will the questions change related to the new tasks and in what way?.

    Could you please elaborate?

    Thank you

  2. Cecil,

    Thank you for your comment and inquiry. I’ll try to answer it the best I can.

    The PMBOK Guide is still the best study tool for the exam. I still covers the primary content you can expect to find on the exam. You also want to look at the Exam Content Outline released in June of 2015 that was based on the Role Delineation Study (RDS) released in April 2015. The link to the Exam Content Outline is https://www.pmi.org/~/media/PDF/Certifications/pmp-certification-exam-outline.ashx

    The Role Delineation Study is the result of an extensive global survey of project managers to determine what they really needed to be able to do to perform their functions as PMs. The exam outline is based on the RDS.

    These areas have added or have been emphasized in the new Exam Content Outline:

    • Strategic Management
    • Lean and Efficiency Principles
    • Regulatory and Environmental Impact Assessment Planning
    • Requirements Gathering Techniques
    • Interdependence Among Project Elements
    • Continuous Improvement Process
    • Emotional Intelligence
    • Generational Sensitivity and Diversity
    • Vendor Management Techniques
    • Process Analysis Techniques
    • Quality Control Limits
    • Compliance applicable laws and regulations
    • Cross-Functional Knowledge and Skills – This area includes general management and leadership knowledge and skills that are applicable to all Domain areas and all process groups. The domain areas are titled the same as the process groups.
    • Business Case and Stakeholder Analysis has been de-emphasized by the latest Role Delineation Study

    I don’t think that anything has been added that would require special study materials. Lean, Generational Sensitivity, and Regulatory and Legal Compliance are some areas that you might want to find additional study materials. Lean has been around for a long time and there are many references available of Lean Project Management. Generational sensitivity has been a growing area of emphasis during the past 10 – 15 years and you should be able to find material on that in any human resources books and PM books that address team building and managing human resources. With regard to Regulatory and Legal compliance, I expect question around this to be more general in nature and not asking about specific laws or regulations. If there are, I would expect them to be around equal opportunity, the environment, Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and 508 Compliance (or something similar). These are always issues important issues facing project managers.

    Bottom line – I would study the materials that you would have studied anyway. Continue to take several example exams. Given that all PMP prep courses have to comply with the new outline, if you find practice exam written after July 2015, they are likely to have questions that cover the new Exam Content Outline.

    This may not have the level of detail that you wanted, but I hope this helps. I wish you the best on your exam.

    Regards,
    Lowell

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