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.

Process additions

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

Process changes

The following table shows the process changes that are happening between PMBOK 4 and PMBOK 5:

Distribute Information Manage Communications
Report Performance Control Communications
Monitor and Control Risks Control Risks
Plan Procurements Control Procurements
Identify Stakeholders  Identify Stakeholders 
Direct and Manage Project Execution Direct and Manage Project Work
Verify Scope Validate Scope
Plan Quality Plan Quality Management
Perform Quality Control Control Quality
Develop Human Resource Plan Plan Human Resource Management
Plan Communications 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

“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


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.