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What Changed in PMP Certification Exam?

Over the past three decades, the Project Management Professional (PMP®) certification offered by PMI® has become a credential that positions holders to deliver professional skills necessary to lead projects and deliver project results. In keeping up with the constantly changing landscape of the project management profession, PMI® reviews the exam content outline every 3 – 5 years. These reviews are based on common trends in the industry and is backed up by research. The changes made are to expand the skill set of project management professionals in effectively bringing projects to completion.

On January 2, 2021 a new PMP certification exam outline was adopted as proposed. This article highlights the major changes and what they mean:

  1. The new exam will comprise of only three domains: Unlike the old exam which comprised of 5 domains (initiating, planning, executing, monitoring & controlling, and closing).

The breakdown of the percentage of each new domain in the exam is given below

DomainPercentage of Items of Test
Business Environment8%
  1. The new exam will incorporate both predictive, agile and hybrid methodologies: About half of the questions coming from agile and hybrid methodologies. These questions will be spread across all three domains.
  2. The new exam format will have a new structure: The new exam is 180 questions and will be a combination of multiple-choice, multiple responses, matching, hotspot and limited fill-in-the-blank.
  3. The new exam has new enablers: The new exam has completely new enablers. Despite the fact that the number of task and enablers have reduced, the scope of the enablers have expanded drastically. Below is a list:
  • Value servant leadership (e.g., relate the tenets of servant leadership to the team)
  • Measure training outcomes
  • Maintain team and knowledge transfer
  • Assess behaviour through the use of personality indicators
  • Analyse 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
  • Analyse 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

You can check out the PMP crossover map PDF file below

What Do These New PMP Certification Exam Changes Mean for You?

  1. The new certification exam is harder: Unlike the old exam, the new one incorporates agile and hybrid, hence expanding the scope of the exam. A proper understanding of the agile approach to handling projects must be understood to pass the exam.
  2. The new certification has a higher perceived value: Since the agile and hybrid approaches are emphasized in the new exam, the PMP certification exam has a higher perceived value to employers.

For more information about the new exam you can check the new PMP Exam Content below.

If you are yet to attend a PMP training, or looking for a refresher course with certification as your end goal, kindly leave us a message here and we will communicate upcoming training dates with you.

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