New Content in the PMP Exam

The Project Management Institute (PMI) announced that it is changing the content in the PMP exam, and PMP Insights wants to make sure you are ready for the new test. The changes, which go into effect January 2, 2021, reflect how project management is evolving. In a recent video, PMI explains that the industry’s emphasis is shifting “from the technical to a more diverse toolkit.” This new toolkit will include soft skills and the ability to “adapt and tailor the project approach based on the best solution.” PMP Insights is committed to preparing project managers for the demands of the future, and that starts with explaining the most important changes to the field’s gold standard certification.

Why is the PMP Exam Changing?

PMI is changing the PMP exam to reflect the shifts occurring within the industry. In their white paper The Future of Project Management, Harold Kerzner and J. LeRoy Ward explain that “project management is now seen as a business process where project managers are expected to make business decisions as well as project-based decisions.” Project management is no longer just a methodology for producing outcomes and deliverables. Project managers are assuming critical roles within the organization to influence its future direction. Kerzner and Ward observe, “Project managers are now managing strategic projects and are allowed to make, or participate in, strategic business decisions.” To meet these new demands, project managers must utilize a wider set of skills.

The New Content

As you’re preparing your application for PMP certification, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the Domains, Tasks, and Enablers listed in the PMP Examination Content Outline. Domains are “the high-level knowledge area[s]” or broad categories of work that project managers perform. Tasks are the specific duties that fall into these categories. Enablers are examples that illustrate how a Task might look like on the job. While the document doesn’t give an exhaustive list of Enablers, you can use them as a checklist to make sure your project management experience is what the PMI is looking for.

A project manager must also be familiar with multiple approaches to excel in strategic decision-making. To this end, the new PMP exam will test on the predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches, with a roughly 50/50 split between predictive and agile/hybrid. The PMP Examination Content Outline warns that “predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches will be found throughout the three domain areas listed [below] and are not isolated to any particular domain or task.” To pass the exam, you must demonstrate that you can apply each of these project management approaches to a range of work scenarios.

The Domains

The first Domain is People and emphasizes a project manager’s leadership responsibilities and soft skills. The second Domain is Process and covers the technical side of project management. The third and final Domain is Business Environment. It focuses on how the project management office interacts with the larger company. Here are some of the Tasks that fall under each of these Domains.

    • People
      • Conflict resolution
      • Empowering team and stakeholders
      • Mentoring team members
      • Team development (both in-person and virtually)
    • Process
      • Budgeting
      • Change management
      • Planning for transitions and closure
      • Scheduling
    • Business Environment
      • Addressing external pressures on project scope
      • Compliance
      • Earned value management
      • Response to organizational changes

Start Preparing Today

PMP Insights can help increase your chances of success, both on the test and in your career as a PMP. We offer exam prep courses that teach industry best practices as well as what you need to know for the exam. We also provide tailored coaching for one-on-one guidance. Contact us today to learn more and to sign up.


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