Project management professionals (PMP) exam is changing from 2 January 2021 announced by Project Management Institute (PMI) .Project management professionals (PMP) need more diverse skills and approaches than ever before.

Amidst the global pandemic, there was a huge impact on the education sector all over the world. Considering the global community’s safety and well-being, the Project Management Institute (PMI®) decided to extend the current PMP certification exam until December 31, 2020. A new PMP content outline effective from 02 January 2021.

Let’s walk you through all the PMI updates regarding the PMP examination 2021.

Key Highlights of PMP Exam:

The new content outline is effective for the exams on or after 02 January 2021.                                                             The new PMP exam will focus on the following three new domains:

  • People – Highlighting the skills and activities associated with effectively leading a project team.
  • Process – Strengthening the technical aspects of managing the project.
  • Business Environment – Emphasizing the relationship between projects and organization strategy

The new PMP Exam content includes a 50% Predictive Approach and a 50% Agile / Hybrid Approach across all the domains. Additionally, PMI launched Online Proctored Testing (OPT) for the candidates willing to give exams online according to their convenience.

What are the major changes in the new PMP exam?

The major change in the new PMP exam is the content outline. The new PMP content structure was released by PMI on 30 June 2019. The current content outline includes 5 domains. The 5 domains are divided into the following percentage valid till 31 December 2020:

         Domain                Total Percentage of item on Exam

  • Initiating                                                       (13%)
  • Planning                                                      (24%)
  • Executing                                                    (31%)
  • Monitoring and Controlling                     (25%)
  • Closing                                                         (7%)

          Total                                                           (100%)

The new course outline is based on 3 domains, which is effective from 02 January 2021:

       Domain                   Total Percentage of item on Exam

  • People                                                         (42%)
  • Process                                                        (50%)
  • Business Environment                              (8%)

          Total                                                           (100%)

To simplify the content structure and format, PMP has updated the structure to make it easy to understand and interpret.
The current content outline contains Domains, Tasks, and Knowledge and Skill Statements, whereas the updated content outline includes Domains, Tasks, and Enablers.

  • Domain- The umbrella term for the high-level knowledge area required to understand and execute project management practices.
  • Tasks- The project manager’s responsibilities or tasks within each domain area to complete the project.
  • Enablers- Enablers are the descriptive illustrations related to each task specified under each domain. ‘Enablers’ is a new term introduced by PMI in the updated content outline to simplify the tasks.

The terms ‘People,’ ‘Process’ and ‘Business Environment’ are newly introduced domain in the updated content outline.

  • People- In this domain, the current state of project management practices with people involved in the project are highlighted in simple terms called tasks and supported by modifiers called enablers. It is aligned with one of the arms of the PMI Talent Triangle- Leadership. 42% of the updated content outline covers the People domain.

This domain includes:

  • Domain percentage People (42%)
  • Tasks 14
  • Enablers 54

The tasks are simple to work managed by the project manager. ‘People’ domain is defined in 14 simple tasks:

  • Manage Conflict
  • Lead a Team
  • Support Team Performance
  • Empower Team Members and Stakeholders
  • Ensure Team Members and Stakeholders are adequately trained
  • Build a team
  • Address and Remove impediments, Obstacles, and Blockers for the team
  • Negotiate Project Agreements
  • Collaborate with Stakeholders
  • Build Shared Understanding
  • Engage and Support Virtual teams
  • Define Team Ground Rules
  • Mentor Relevant Stakeholders
  • Promote Team Performance through the application of Emotional Intelligence

Looking at the above tasks, we can say that there is an introduction to the Agile leadership concepts.
Progress- In this domain, the tasks are aligned with the technical aspects of project management. It is based on the second arm of the PMI Talent Triangle. The PMBOK 6th edition covers most of the processes described in 10 knowledge areas. The major part of this domain is covered in the current content outline. 50% of the updated content outline covers the Process domain.                                                                                                                            This domain includes:

  • Process (50%)
  • Tasks 17
  • Enablers 61

The tasks related to technical aspects of project management in the Process domain are:

  • Execute project with the urgency required to deliver business value
  • Manage communications
  • Assess and manage risks
  • Engage stakeholders
  • Plan and manage budget and resources
  • Plan and manage the schedule
  • Plan and manage the quality of products/deliverables
  • Plan and manage scope
  • Integrate project planning activities
  • Manage project changes
  • Plan and manage procurement
  • Manage project artifacts
  • Determine appropriate project methodology/methods and practices
  • Establish a project governance structure
  • Manage project issues
  • Ensure knowledge transfer for project continuity
  • Plan and manage project/phase closure or transitions

Business Environment- In this domain, the tasks are specified based on the relationship between the project and organizational strategy. Only 8% of the new content outline covers the business environment.

The Business Environment domain includes:

  • Business Environment (8%)
  • Tasks 4
  • Enablers 19

The tasks based on emphasizing the relationship between project and organization strategy are:

  • Plan and manage project compliance.
  • Evaluate and deliver project benefits and value
  • Evaluate and address external business environment changes for impact on the scope
  • Support organizational change

The other major change is the new PMP Exam content will cover 50% Predictive Approach and 50% Agile / Hybrid Approach across all three domains.
To align the PMP exam with current project management practice and adapt the new methodologies, PMI introduced the new PMP exam content outline as a 50 percent predictive approach and 50 percent agile or hybrid approach. The new content outline is crafted using a Role Delineation Study (RDS) or Job Task Analysis (JTA).

How does the new content outline map with the current content outline?

The current content outline is based on the PMBOK-6th edition. However, only the PMBOK-6th edition guide is not enough as the new content outline contains agile concepts and methodology for the new content outline.    According to the PMI’s 2020 PMP Exam Content Crossover Map V1,                                                                                     PMI addresses the three-domain in the following way:

People: The current course may have limited content to address this new domain. If there is content, it would be woven throughout your course.
Process: The current course may have a fair amount of content to address this new domain, as this was previously the exam’s bulk.
Business Environment: The current course may have minimal content to address this new domain. If there is content, it would be woven in small threads throughout the course.
In the PMI’s 2020 PMP Exam Content Crossover Map V1, PMI has provided the enabler number with alignment with the old content. It has also highlighted the new content involved.

Is the PMBOK guide changing?

No, the PMBOK guide is not changing. The current version of PMBOK is the 6th edition, and it includes all five domains. PMBOK is one of the reference materials for the preparation of the PMP exam. However, the PMBOK-7th edition is expected to be released in Q2 of 2021. Till then, along with the PMBOK-6th edition, refer to other books related to agile concepts for better preparation.
To better understand and prepare the new content outline, the participants should use their job skills aligned with the agile practices.

Can I take the exam online?

Yes, You can definitely take the exam online at the same cost. The PMI introduced Online Proctored Testing (OPT) for PMI Certifications.                                                                                                                                                                        To give the exam at your convenience, you need to:

  • Schedule the online exam after paying the fee
  • Arrange Computer or laptop with a webcam
  • Have uninterrupted internet connection

 Will the cost of the PMP exam increase for the new PMP exam?

No, The cost of the PMP exam has not increased as of now. According to the PMP handbook updated in August 2020.

How can I reschedule the exam if I couldn’t attend the exam due to COVID-19?

You can reschedule the exam if you are unable to attend the exam. Check the details of your test center location using Pearson VUE’s Coronavirus Update Page. PMI has assured about the exam’s rescheduling and automatically extend the exam eligibility till 18th January 2021.
The OPT system has made attending exams much easier. Over 50,000 participants have successfully taken their PMP certification exam online.

What are the important points to consider while preparing for the PMP exam on or after 02 January 2021?

If you have planned to take the exam on or after 02 January 2021, consider the following points:

  • Schedule your exam after taking the PMP training from a reputed PMP training center like Certification              Planner and earn 35 contact hours.
  • Thoroughly go through the new PMP content outline to understand the topics and new concepts.
  • Refer PMBOK6th edition along with the Agile practice guide and other reference materials.
  • Give time for the preparation.
  • Schedule an exam according to your convenience and considering safety measures.

Is the new PMP exam harder?

The new PMP content is not very hard for project management practitioners. All the concepts are aligned with the current project management practice. Many new concepts are introduced in terms of Agile. 50% of the questions are based on Agile methodology. Hence the well-defined preparation is required to clear the new PMP exam.

For further queries regarding changes affecting the PMP® exam, contact us.

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