If you're studying for the Project Management Institute's (PMI) Project Management Professional (PMP) exam, considering taking it, or procrastinating about getting this certification, you should know the PMP certification exam is changing on July 30, 2013. I spoke with PMI's Victor Carter-Bey, Director, Certification, and John Kleine, Global Product Manager, who told me the changes are to ensure there are no conflicts between the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide and the standard exam, because PMBOK 5 is replacing PMBOK 4.
PMBOK 4 to PMBOK 5 changes
Here is a breakdown of the changes that are occurring with the update from PMBOK 4 to PMBOK 5:
- Project stakeholder management joins the Knowledge areas, making 10 knowledge areas.
- Processes increase from 42 to 47, with the process groups remaining at five.
- 19% increase in input, output, tools, and techniques, now totaling 614.
The release of PMBOK 5 also brings with it these process additions:
- Plan Scope Management
- Plan Schedule Management
- Plan Cost Management
- Plan Stakeholder Management
- Control Stakeholders Engagement
The following table shows the process changes that are happening between PMBOK 4 and PMBOK 5:
|PMBOK 4||PMBOK 5|
Monitor and Control Risks||
Identify Stakeholders ||
Identify Stakeholders |
Direct and Manage Project Execution||
Direct and Manage Project Work|
Verify Scope||Validate Scope|
Plan Quality Management|
Perform Quality Control||
Develop Human Resource Plan||
Plan Human Resource Management|
Plan Communications Management|
Manage Stakeholder Expectations||Manage Stakeholders Engagement|
Behind the new PMP changes
"The hiring managers can expect the same things they have in the past," according to Kleine. "One of the things about the PMP exam and the credential in general is that it is a dynamic credential, so it stays relevant. There is not only an exam, but professional development as well."
Kleine offers, "Regardless of when the credential is bestowed, it's us making sure through either the professional development in the current and the newest credential holders that they are up to speed and their skills and experience speak to the global marketplace of project management. From a PMI perspective, we take great pride in the exam development process that we do have in place and employ." Kleine tells me that PMI prides themselves on the process behind developing the PMP exam because it involves certified PMPs working across industries.
According to Kleine, "The exam itself, while it's designed by PMI, we use some other resources to pull it all together. The actual exam creation as far as questions are concerned and the content is done by certified PMPs around the world."
"This is on two different fronts," Kleine details. "The first is when we think about the actual construction of the exam and the actual domain areas of knowledge for the exams. These areas are really based on research we do with practicing professionals, practicing PMPs around the world. So every three to five years we perform what's called a role delineation study where we look at the specific role of the project manager. Particularly in the case of the PMP, we look at someone who leads and directs projects for companies. And going through that research, the project managers will identify what are the areas of responsibility for project managers and what are the various tasks a project manager performs in that role while leading and directing a project."
"We take all that research and aggregate it for the examination. That specific process is managed and facilitated by PMI, but the actual inputs are coming from certified PMPs around the world," says Kleine.
This latest change is part of the overall maintenance of the PMP certification, according to Kleine. He stated, "The other piece is about the maintenance of the certification. What we do each year is have four or five sessions around the world where we bring in certified project managers to refresh and update the content to make sure it remains relevant, but again that is coming from the certified project managers and facilitated by PMI."
The practitioners are defining the terms, structure, and layout of the exam, and PMI has taken that and built on it according to Kleine and Carter-Bey.
The upcoming changes in the PMP examination are in response to market changes and the natural evolution of the project manager role in the global market. Be aware of these changes to the PMP exam if you plan to seek PMP training or take the exam.
Will Kelly is a technical and marketing communications writer based in the Washington, DC area. He has written about SMB technology, data center management, project management applications, mobile computing, Microsoft Office, and productivity applications for online and print technology publications. You can reach Will at firstname.lastname@example.org.