Changes to the PMP® Exam on March 26th

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It is common enough knowledge that as a result of the release of the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition in September 2017, there is a large anticipation of the changes that this will present to the PMP® exam. The PMP® exam will change 26 March 2018 and we are informed that the exam updates will ensure the exam content is consistent with the PMBOK® Guide. This is great news because we often find that the PMP® exam does contain items that is not always contained in the PMBOK® Guide. Yes you are right in thinking that the reading of the Guide alone is not enough to get the PMP® exam on the first attempt.

The Project Management Institute widely regard that the PMP is not only a test of the PMBOK Guide®, it is a test of how you use the information in the Guide. However, it is still one of the primary references for the exam and you should be comfortable with the content, techniques and flow of this standard. From the revision of the 5th to the 6th Edition of the Guide, the major focus has been on:

  • updates surrounding the consistency of the language
  • updates on terminology used within the exam and
  • updates on the consistency of process groups, tools, and techniques.

This should be no surprise to those following the recent updates which means no new surprises so far.

So let’s summarise the upcoming changes / additions to the PMBOK® Guide:

  • Agile practices are to be incorporated into the PMBOK® Guide
  • There will be expanded coverage of agile and other adaptive and iterative practices. This will align proven, foundational project management concepts with the evolving state of the profession today.
  • Introductory sections and agile appendix are to be added to the standard
  • Addition of three introductory sections for each Knowledge Area, Key Concepts, Trends and Emerging Practices and Tailoring Consideration.
  • More emphasis on strategic and business knowledge and the PMI Talent Triangle™

So what does this all mean to the PMP® Exam and preparing for the PMP® Exam after March 26th:

  • There will be more of a focus on the role of the project manager and how a project manager can lead projects effectively. This will include the project manager competencies, the required experiences and the necessary skills that are required for any project.
  • There will be two new Knowledge Areas will have been renamed to more accurately reflect which elements can be managed and what the requirements of these areas are. So Time Management is now Schedule Management and Human Resource Management is now Resource Management. This should be no new departure of the as the content remains the same and hence the focus will be the same.
  • The big change for the exam is the broadening of the content for each of the Knowledge Areas. This will now features four new sections compared to what we had before which was essentially the inputs, tools and techniques and the outputs. The areas of focus can be categorised as:
    • Key Concepts which are still the inputs, tools and techniques and the outputs
    • Trends and Emerging Practices on how the knowledge area can be used and the knowledge / learning that goes with it
    • Tailoring Considerations which is focused on the scalability and adaptiveness of the project management across different industries.
    • Considerations for Agile/Adaptive Environment which is bringing the PMBOK into the world of Agile.

Clearly, there are quite a few changes. There are several things to consider to determine how big the impact would be of these changes on the exam. Let’s consider them.

  • The number of processes has gone up from 47 to 49. While that in itself does not predict a difficult exam, any good PMP® certification training must target to train for more “functions” within project management and their details.
  • There are three new processes. Thus, there will be at least 5-10% of new content to acknowledge in your PMP exam preparation.
  • Most importantly, there is Agile and Scrum related content strewn all over the PMBOK® Guide and a brand new appendix to expand its coverage. Your PMP Certification depends on learning the terminology, processes, and application of Agile. There is a good chance that PMI will borrow content from the PMI-ACP exam and incorporate it into the PMP certification test.
  • There are several miscellaneous changes that are mentioned above that will affect the exam in small and possibly big ways.

All in all, it is not bad and we await with expectation of the 2th of March and see what the exam will bring.

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