Things in the project management industry continue to evolve, just like all other industries that project management pertains to. For project managers, this means it is important to keep up with changes as well as any new techniques or tools used to manage these modifications. If you want to stay at the top of the game and make sure you’re up to date and following the new rules and regulations.
In accordance with the changes in the project management industry, the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam is updated every three to five years. Changes are made, based on the findings of the Project Management Institute (PMI.) PMI leadership takes into consideration tips and recommendations by experts from all over the world.
An important thing to note: when changes are made to the PMP exam, this doesn’t mean that the Project Management Body of Knowledge will change as well.
The most recent edition of the Project Management Body of Knowledge was released 5 years ago, and the changes made to the Project Management Professional exam came a year later. It’s best to think of the Project Management Body of Knowledge as its own changing piece of information that is connected to the PMP exam, but doesn’t entirely match, or correlate exactly to the exam.
Now, let’s dive in and learn more about the most recent changes to the PMP exam. What changes were made? When did they start to apply? What do you need to know to be ready for the PMP exam? To learn all of this and more – keep reading!
What New Content Will You Find in the Newest PMP Exam?
The Project Management Institute reported on its official website that starting in January of 2021 every Project Management Professional exam candidate will be required to sit for a brand-new content plan.
So now that the changes have been completed, what is next and what is the best way to prepare?
These Are The PMP Exam Changes
As we know, the Project Management Professional exam from the PMI consists of one hundred and eighty questions, which are made out of a random mixture of multiple options, open replies, connecting ideas, and a set number of questions where you need to add in the best matching word or number. You get 4 hours to finish it, with no official breaks, although you can take them if needed, as long as you know that time will be deducted from the 4 hours.
The questions revolve around three categories, with 50% of the questions going to be regarding processes, 42% being People and 8% Business Environment. Nearly ½ of the PMP Exam will be regarding predictive project management methods while the remainder will be agile and hybrid methods.
What was Included in the previous PMP Exam?
2015 was the year of the biggest PMP Exam change. After this point the exam was based on five main areas with PMP exam questions weighted towards different ones. The five domains are listed below:
- Initiating – 13% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Planning – 24% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Executing – 31% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Monitoring / Controlling – 25% of Questions on the PMP Exam
- Closing – 7% of Questions on the PMP Exam
The 2015 PMP Exam aimed its questions at a project’s lifecycle and the various stages it goes through, where there would be several tasks and questions within the previously mentioned 5 domains regarding it.
As you can see, the PMP Exam Content is designed to test the knowledge skills and experience of a Project Manager in order to certify that they can manage high level projects to industry standards.
2021 PMP Exam Changes and Content Structures
As we mentioned, the PMP used to be based on 5 areas and based a project’s life cycle on them, but with the PMP exam changes it now focuses on just three domains (again in a weighted fashion). These being People, Process and Business environments.
The Project Management Institute continually develops it’s exam based on current research of the Project Management landscape and ensures that being PMP certified means a project manager can take advantage of various approaches to most effectively support their project.
While we know that the exam changes have now placed weighted questions on three domains (people, process and business environment), we also know that 1/2 of the questions across these areas will discuss predictive project management styles, while the other 1/2 will discuss agile and hybrid styles, so be aware of these 2022 new exam contents.
The 2022 PMP Exam changes include content, questions and tasks below each of the three domain areas listed above, to be prepared here is a short glossary of terms regarding the PMP Exam Content:
- Domains: This is the highest view of the exam and is separated into three areas, (people, process, business environment). Before the PMP Exam changes there were 5 domains listed (initiate, plan, execute, monitor, control, close).
- The Tasks: The tasks beneath these domains discuss the specific responsibilities that applicants will need to understand and show competence in.
- Enablers: Enablers is a new term that shows how the work connects to the task. These are not a complete list, rather some examples to support your understanding of the task.
The Content Crossover Map and How This Involves the 2021 New PMP Exam
The Project Management Institute released a content crossover map to support candidates in discovering and understanding how the PMP Exam content areas have changed.
This helps both candidates and training providers understand what exactly is new, what can still be used as well as what no longer applies in the newest PMP Exam. It is important that candidates take advantage of this document to see what areas they may need to practice, study or review before taking on the newest PMP exam.
PMP Exam Content: How do the new domains reflect the 2015 Exam Content?
As mentioned, the five domains have been refined into three, which has resulted in a complete reorganization of the exam. However, there are certain areas that connect and can be reused. For example:
The process domain should be fairly familiar to anybody that has taken a previous test or worked with the 2015 version. Half of the exam is based around processes, therefore it is important for a candidate to stay ahead of modern systems, but a lot of content already exists for this domain.
The people domain however is completely new, and with it filtering across 42% of the exam it is a very important domain to study. Note: The questions based around this domain are not in a cluster, they exist throughout the exam.
Additionally, the business environments domain also is a new system and so it is important to ensure candidates have studied adequate content to make sure they are familiar with this part of the exam.
Finally, the enablers are another new variable to consider for candidates when taking the new PMP Exam.
Below is a full list of the new enablers:
- Value servant leadership (e.g., relate the tenets of servant leadership to the team)
- Measure training outcomes
- Maintain team and knowledge transfer
- Assess behavior through the use of personality indicators
- Analyze personality indicators and adjust to the emotional needs of key project stakeholders
- Assess opportunities to deliver value incrementally
- Support the team to subdivide project tasks as necessary to find the Minimum Viable Product
- Coordinate with other projects and other operations
- Recommend a project methodology/approach (i.e, predictive, agile, hybrid)
- Use iterative, incremental practices throughout the project lifecycle (e.g., lessons learned, stakeholder engagement, risk)
- Confirm approach for knowledge transfers
- Classify compliance categories
- Determine potential threats to compliance
- Use methods to support compliance
- Analyze the consequences of noncompliance
- Determine the necessary approach and action to address compliance needs (e.g., risk, legal)
- Measure the extent to which the project is in compliance
- Verify measurement system is in place to track benefits
- Evaluate delivery options to demonstrate the value
- Assess and prioritize impact on project scope/backlog based on changes in an external business environment
- Recommend options for scope/backlog changes (e.g. schedule, cost changes)
- Continually review the external business environment for impacts on project scope/backlog
- Support organizational change
- Assess organizational culture
- Evaluate the impact of organizational change to project and determine required actions
- Evaluate the impact of the project on the organization and determine required actions
The PMP Exam Changes: Outline
Looking at it numerically, you could be forgiven for assuming the PMP Exam has grown less intensive, with the number of domains being lowered from 5 to 3 and the tasks lowering from 42 to 35, but don’t be misled! The Exam is still based on the PMBOK which has not changed, the only way the exam has changed is how the Project Management Institute uses it to evaluate the candidates.
The previous PMP exam used its 5 domains to look at a project lifecycle and its stages, however the new pmp exam content does not use this methodology, instead looking at people, processes and business environments.
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