The PMP, a very coveted certification, is changing. Come June 2020, and the PMP exam will see a vast transformation. “Project Management Institute (PMI), USA” is all set for a complete overhaul of the entire essence of the test. We explain the changes and their impact on PMP aspirants and project management professionals in this article.

Focus Areas

In the current format, it divided the test questions into five areas, Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. The exam had 13, 24, 31, 25, and 7 percent questions from the five areas. In the new format, the test will have three domains, People, Process, and Business Environment, with 42%, 50%, and 8% distribution. These changes are profound for two reasons. First, the focus on the people is now explicit and prominent. Second, it signifies the close strategic ties with other parts of the business. While both these areas were part of the earlier exams, the new format highlights their importance.

Focus on Agile

The second colossal shift is the focus on Agile and Hybrid approaches. While PMBoK deals with the predictive methods, PMI had published the Agile Practice Guide to cover these other, now conventional approaches. The exam will now reflect the focus on Agile with a 50:50 split between the predictive and Agile methods. The tilt towards Agile is following the general industry trend. With the inclusion of Mike Griffiths as co-lead for the next (7th) edition of PMBoK, we can expect a radical change in the guide itself.

What’s New?

Significantly, the changes in the new exam outline include the areas that are missing or superficially mentioned in the current version of PMBoK. PMI has published a Content Crossover Map to explain the relationship between old & new focus domains. Twenty-five task enablers for the new Exam Content Outline (ECO) are fresh. They don’t have any direct correlation with the current ECO. Most of these areas are missing from the PMBoK 6th edition. These new areas are;

1. Leadership, with a focus on servant leadership and team building
2. Incremental value delivery
3. Inter-relationship with other projects
4. Project governance & compliances
5. Impact of changes in the business environment including the organizational culture

Let’s see the specific new tasks and enablers for each domain.

1. People

  • Value servant leadership (e.g., relate the tenets of servant leadership to the team)
  • Measure training outcomes
  • Maintain team and knowledge transfer
  • Asses behavior through the use of personality indicators
  • The emotional needs of key project stakeholders

2. Process

  • 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 life cycle (e.g., lessons learned, stakeholder engagement, risk)
  • Confirm approach for knowledge transfer

3. Business Environment

  • 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 the measurement system is in place to track benefits
  • Evaluate delivery options to demonstrate value
  • Assess and prioritize impact on project scope/backlog based on changes in the 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
  • 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 Impact

For the PMP aspirants, the changes mean a shift in strategy. In its current format, the exam mostly focused on the tactical, operational aspects of Project Management. Apart from the greater focus on Agile, the new form emphasizes the strategic importance of PM functions related to the overall business. The upcoming outline also suggests that the questions will test the test seekers on practical experience more in coming future. Overall, PM practitioners across the world have welcomed these changes, which they expect to boost the importance of PMP certification even more.


The Current PMP Exam Content Outline

The New PMP Exam Content Outline

The Content Crossover Map

We will continue to bring more updates and study plans for you as more details emerge. Till then, Keep watching this space. If you prefer proactive alerts, subscribe to our blog.