Initially, there was a new version of the PMP Exam expected for December 2019. However, the changes have been delayed until Jan 2, 2021 – due to COVID. That means that, if you have been preparing for the PMP, make sure to take the exam by Dec 31, 2020. As you will note, this gives you ample time to study and finish studying, as well as schedule a convenient time to sit for the exam.
Also, for those of you wondering why the exam keeps changing every few years, it is essential to note that these changes are crucial in keeping up with the demands of various industries and organizations. The fact that new topics and emphases are introduced into the exam and PMBOK every 3 – 5 years means that the personnel at the Project Management Institute (PMI,) as well as their many contributors from the labor-market, is being proactive in addressing the needs and expectations of the project management community.
The changes in the exam are considerable and, therefore, you really should not wait any longer to take and pass it. Among the changes identified by the Project Management Institute (PMI) are these newly defined domains:
- People/Human Resources – the exam will emphasize and test candidates on the skills and activities needed by the Project Manager to effectively lead and guide a project team towards a successful project.
- Process – this includes the technical aspects required to manage a project, including using the appropriate processes at the right time, integrating them as needed across the knowledge areas, and sequencing them accordingly. In other words, which process feeds into the next one and why.
- Business Environment – this relates to the connection between the projects and corporate strategy. We all know that finishing on time, staying within budget, and developing good quality work are success criteria for any corporation. However, at times, other approaches, such as growing the organization, minimizing staff turnover, or providing goodwill, take precedence. Therefore, it is essential to be aware of what the corporate strategy is at all times, and how to incorporate that into the project management work.
Additionally, the new version of the PMP Exam will cover the approaches to managing a project. It is expected that 50% of the exam will cover the predictive (i.e., waterfall-type) approach to project management, while the remaining 50% will cover the agile/hybrid approach. As you will note, this is quite a departure from previous versions of the exam. It has been done to address the growing importance of, and increase in, agile and hybrid projects across many industries. Therefore, for those of you accustomed to working primarily within the predictive approach, the new version might be more of a challenge. That said, you do have time to study and prepare for further questions. As well, this is a great time to go through as many practice exams as feasible.
Lastly, the new version will no longer cover the usual five domains, which used to include Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing. The latest version will be pared down to the three domains, which were referenced and described above:
- Domain I: People 42%
- Domain II: Process 50%
- Domain III: Business Environment 8%
The PMBOK 6th Edition remains the primary study guide for the exam. The new exam version will simply contour the questions from the PMBOK to address the three domains noted above. In general, studying for the exam should still be done as usual: read the PMBOK, interpret the content to address real-life situations, and go through sample questions. However, you should also ensure that, as you go through the PMBOK and sample questions, you address and find the connection to People, Process, and Business Development, since the exam questions will be geared towards these three domains.
Though the exam’s changes may make some of you a bit nervous, there are still more than six months to prepare for it. Also, the changes will improve the way we view and practice project management, as well as make us better managers. The introduction of the agile/hybrid approach, for example, into the exam will also make us more adaptable project managers, which can only be a benefit to our teams and our clients.