Since PMI has announced changes in PMP® Exam , we are getting many queries about the changes and its effect on the exam. Let’s understand from where these changes are coming. Every 3 to 5 years PMI conducts Role Definition Study (RDS) to identify what type of work the target professionals are involved in; this helps in keeping the certification aligned with market needs and trends. PMI takes inputs and suggestions from experienced project managers across the world to ensure that the credentials are in line with industry best practices, meet current needs in the profession, and also comply with the current ISO standards.

The role of a project manager has been experiencing change in past few years. Initially project managers were responsible only for the successful delivery of the project but now they are involved in major decisions like go, no-go decisions with respect to project selection.

Key changes include:

  • Emphasis on business strategy and benefits realization: Project manager would be involved earlier in the project where benefit is carried out. Project Manager is involved in all the processes where he can focus whether the benefits are involved, rather than generically on deliverable.
  • Value of lessons learned: More emphasis is placed on lessons learned throughout the entire life cycle of a project.
    • Lessons learned of other projects during initiation of the project.
    • Lessons learned of current project during its closure.
  • Project Charter responsibility: Project manager can participate in the development of project charter but is not solely responsible for it.
  • Enhancing stakeholder relationships: More emphasis on two ways relationship with stakeholders rather than one way communication. Project manager is now involved in maintaining stakeholder relationships by analysing and following the stakeholder management plan, so as to ensure continued support from them.

Let’s look at the change in detail:

DomainsDomain 1
Initiating
Domain 2
Planning
Domain 3
Executing
Domain 4
Monitoring&Control
Domain 5
Closing
Percentage of questions in exam till 11th Jan 201613%24%30%25%8%
Percentage of questions in exam after 11th Jan 201613%24%31%25%7%
New Tasks AddedTask 2,7,8Task 13Task 6,7Task 6,7None

Initiating: (1 Task modified and 2 new Tasks added)

Old Task 2: Emphasis on high level scope based on the business and complaince requirements, in order to meet customer’s expectations.Knowledge Area- Project Integration Management []

Process- Develop Project Charter: This task is more mapped to Develop Project Charter; project manager should be active participant in project charter preparation process and help stakeholders in identifying listing of key deliverables from the project. You can notice that meet customer’s expectations is replaced by manage customer’s expectations

New Task 2: Emphasis on identifying key deliverables based on the business requirements, in order to manage customer’s expectations.
Task 7: Emphasis on conducting benefit analysis of the project with other stakeholders.Knowledge Area- Project Integration Management []

Process- Develop Project Charter: This task is mapped with involvement of project manager in project selection decisions. Project managers can now participate in benefit analysis and help other stakeholders, in validating project alignment with organizational strategy and expected business value.

Task 8: Emphasis to ensure that all the key stakeholders carry a common understanding of the project charter.Knowledge Area- Project Stakeholder Management []

Process- Identify Stakeholders: Project managers are now responsible to inform stakeholders regarding the approved project charter and help stakeholders, to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.

Planning: (1 new Task added)

Task 13: Emphasis on more Involvement and engagement of key stakeholders.Knowledge Area- Project Stakeholder Management []

Process – Plan Stakeholder Management: This task is mapped with involvement of project manager in the development of the stakeholder management plan. Project managers can now participate in analyzing needs, interests, and potential impact of key stakeholders in order to effectively manage their expectations and increase their engagement in the project.

Executing: (1 Task modified and 1 new Task added)

Old Task 6: Maximizing team performance through leading, mentoring and training team membersKnowledge Area- Project Communications Management []

Process – Manage Communications: Some part of old task 6 is already taken care in task 2 of this domain. This new task is mapped with involvement of project manager in managing the flow of information by following the communications plan. This way they can keep the stakeholders engaged and informed in timely manner.

New Task 6: Emphasis on effective and efficient communication with the key stakeholders.
Task 7: Emphasis on maintaining healthy relationship with the key stakeholders.Knowledge Area- Project Stakeholder Management []

Process – Manage Stakeholder Engagement: This task is mapped with involvement of project manager in maintaining stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan. This can help project managers in getting required continued support of all the stakeholders and their expectations can be managed better.

Monitoring & Control: (1 Task modified and 1 new Task added)

Old Task 6: Emphasis on communicating project status to stakeholders, in order to align project with business needsKnowledge Area – Project Integration Management []

Process – Monitor and Control Project Work: The old task 6 is already taken care by the new task 6 of “Executing” domain. The new task 6 of this domain is mapped with involvement of project manager in documentation of lessons learned. Project managers can now participate in capturing, analyzing, and managing lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques, in order to enable continuous improvement.

New Task 6: Emphasis on lessons learned from start to closure of the project.
Task 7: Emphasis to ensure that the procurement plan is compliant with the objectives of the project.Knowledge Area – Project Procurement Management []

Process – Control Procurements: This task is mapped with involvement of project manager in analysis of procurement plan. Project managers can now participate in monitoring the procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives.

Closing: (no new task)

From PMP exam point the primary changes are-

  • Modification to existing tasks with respect to change in the role of a project manager.
  • Weighting of exam- One can expect 25-30% of change in content.

What is not changed?

  • The reference book for examination- You still need to refer to PMBOK® fifth edition and other related reference books.
  • The eligibility criteria
  • The application form filling
  • PMI Audit process

Please note the change is only to the examination content outline, and not to the PMBOK® fifth edition. Advice for test takers, you will do well if you can just understand the change in roles and responsibilities of the project manager and start attempting the questions with this changed role in mind. Do post follow up questions here on our DISCUSSION FORUM