[PMP Exam Changes] How PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Affect PMP Aspirants in 2017?

How PMBOK Guide 6th Edition Affect PMP Aspirants in 2017? PMP Exam Changes in 2018

PMI is currently working on the finalization of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Sixth Edition). As announced by PMI, the PMBOK® Guide 6 is expected to be published in Q3 of 2017 (maybe around Sep to Oct of 2017). It is a practice for PMI to continually review and update the PMBOK® Guide to reflect the latest trend and changes in the field of project management and to amend any omissions/errors/inconsistencies of the previous PMBOK® Guide edition (as a reference, here are the details of the update of PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition to PMBOK® Guide 5th Edition). Like previous changes to PMBOK® Guide, the PMP® Exam will also be changed upon the publication of the new PMBOK® Guide.

If you are a PMP® Aspirant and would like to get PMP® Certified in 2017, this article is for you.

If you are currently preparing for the PMP® Exam, rest assured that there will be no changes to the PMP® Exam in 2017. The changes to the PMP® Exam will be seen from 2018 onwards.

How the Publication of PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition Affect PMP® Certification Aspirants in 2017? What Changes to the PMP® Exam in 2017 will be Expected?

Fortunately, the answer is little if not none. Rest assured all the currently available PMP® Exam Prep materials, including PMP® Exam online training courses and PMP® Exam Prep Resources and Books are still useful and relevant for the current PMP® Exam in 2017.

The publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition does not have major adverse effect on PMP® Certification Aspirants in 2017. And the only effect of the publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition has on PMP® Certification Aspirants is more on the psychological aspect.

Though PMI has not announced, judged from experience, the PMP® Exam will still be based on the current edition of PMBOK® Guide 5 (i.e. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge – Fifth Edition) throughout 2017. And the PMP® Exam may only be updated to be based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition in January 2018 onwards. PMP® Certification Aspirants who begin their PMP® Exam journey now will be able to complete their PMP® Exam based on the current PMP® Exam syllabus and PMBOK® Guide version — nothing has changed. My free PMP® Exam study notes and lessons learned can still be relevant for your PMP® Exam journey.

The only adverse psychological effect of the publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition to PMP® Certification Aspirants in 2017 is that if they can’t get a pass in 2017, they will not be able to take the same version of PMP® Exam in 2018 — as the exam syllabus would have been changed at that time. They would need to study for the PMP® Exam in depth based on the PMBOK® Guide 6th version. It seems that PMP® Certification Aspirants in 2017 may have less time and opportunities (as each PMP® Exam taker is given a maximum of 3 tries to clear the PMP® Exam) than usual which is a disadvantage. But every cloud has its silver lining. The positive effect of this is that PMP® Certification Aspirants are pushed more than ever to get certified in 2017 — which is a good thing as “procrastination” is the top reason for not getting PMP® Certified earlier!

Why Getting PMP® Certified in 2017?

If you would like to get PMP® Certified in 2017, you are highly advised to take action NOW as a kind of risk management:

  • the current edition of the PMBOK® Guide and the PMP® Exam are very familiar and PMP® Certification Aspirants can find lots of lessons learned and study resources/materials readily at their hands (i.e. no changes to the PMP® Exam in 2017)
  • the PMP® Exam fee may see a hike in 2018 following the introduction of the new PMP® Exam
  • the format of the PMP® Exam may be changed
  • the PMP® Exam may be getting more difficult as there are quite a few complaints that the quality of PMP® holders is decreasing over the previous years as getting PMP® Certified is becoming easier
  • the publishers of the PMP® online courses and PMP® Exam Prep books may not be ready to release the update versions of their PMP® resources with the introduction of the new PMP® Exam (this has happened in 2016 when PMI updated the PMP® Exam Content Outline and the new PMP® Exam was forced to defer)
  • some of the previously highly recommended PMP® study resources/materials may not live up to expectation for the new PMP® Exam as the depth of their understanding of the new PMP® Exam may not be the same as before (owing to change of the authors/editors, etc.) — it would take more time to search for the best PMP® Exam Prep materials
  • it is expected lots of errors in terminology and project management processes would be spotted in the early release of the PMP® Exam Prep materials based on the new PMBOK® Guide 6th edition as PMBOK® Guide 6 has quite a few updates from PMBOK® Guide 5
  • the PMP® Exam results for the first few weeks after the introduction of the new PMP® Exam may not be released immediately after the submission of the exam paper answers as PMI needs to adjust the passing marks — this would create extract psychological burden to PMP® Certification Aspirants

the conclusion is: if you don’t get PMP® certified in 2017, it is highly likely that you cannot get PMP® Certified in the first or even second quarter of 2018 — your career plan may be adversely affected.

Conclusion: Begin Your PMP® Exam Preparation Now and Get PMP® Certified in 2017 Before the PMP® Exam Changes

If you are taking your exam before January 1, 2018, you should continue to study from and prepare for your examination using the Fifth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide along with the examination content outline PMI makes available. If you are taking your exam after January 1, 2018, the PMP® Exam will be changed and you should plan to study from and prepare for your examination using the Sixth Edition of the PMBOK® Guide.

Don’t worry too much if you have begun your PMP® Exam preparation in 2017 but cannot finish it. The bottom line is: if you have understood PMBOK® Guide 5 well and you will find the structure of PMBOK® Guide 6 very familiar. — just learn several new project management processes and changes of naming of the processes/knowledge areas. And as the PMP® Exam is not just restricted to the PMBOK® Guide only, your training, knowledge and experience in project management will still be useful for clearing the PMP® Exam whatever the version of PMBOK® Guide it is based on.

A good new for PMP® 2018 though: ITTOs (Inputs, Tools & Techniques, Outputs) are now given less weight in PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition and PMP® Certification Aspirants would worry much less in remembering all the ITTOs for their PMP® Exam.

Appendix: What will be Changed in PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition?

As PMBOK® Guide 5 is already quite a comprehensive project management framework, the PMBOK® Guide 6 is considered an update rather than a revolution from PMBOK® Guide 5. Below are the key differences between PMBOK® Guide 5 and PMBOK® Guide 6:

  • Agile, adaptive and iterative project management practices are given more weights
  • The new PMI Talent Triangle (technical, leadership, strategic and business management) would be described in PMBOK® Guide 6.
  • Project Management processes are now described according to the 5 Process Groups (Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing)
  • Name changes:
    • Project Schedule Management from Project Time Management
    • Project Resource Management from Project Human Resource Management
    • Manage Quality from Perform Quality Assurance
    • Plan Resource Management from Plan Human Resources Management
    • Monitor Communications from Control Communications
    • Plan Stakeholder Engagement from Plan Stakeholder Management
    • Monitor Stakeholder Engagement from Control Stakeholder Engagement
  • New and Removed Project Management Processes:
    • Manage Project Knowledge
    • Implement Risk Responses
    • Control Resources
    • Close Procurements
    • Estimate Activities Resources


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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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