What PMP Aspirants should know about the New PMP Exam Syllabus [from 11 Jan 2016]
The good news is: if you own current editions of PMP Exam Prep book or courses, you will also be well prepared for the upcoming changes!
PMI has just posted the new PMP Exam Content Outline (which is the equivalent of the exam syllabus for the exam) to be effective from 11 Jan 2016 online. It has included a few changes which will affect aspirants in their exam preparation if they plan to take the exam after 11 Jan 2016.
After an in-depth analysis of the changes, it can be concluded that the changes are considered just “minimal”. If you own current editions of exam prep book or courses, you will also be well prepared for the upcoming changes!
Major publishers of exam prep resources are trying to update their materials, but as seen in most cases, this would just be a few amendments (take the example of Rita’s book…… only 7 changes).
What have NOT been Changed?
- The current edition of the PMBOK® Guide for the new exam is still the 5th edition meaning that most of the PMP exam reference books on the market (e.g. exam prep by Andy Crowe, Rita, etc.) will still be very useful.
- There are still 5 domain groups for the PMP Exam:
- Initiating the Project
- Planning the Project
- Executing the Project
- Monitoring and Controlling the Project
- Closing the Project
The Changes of the New PMP Exam
- The most notable changes to the PMP Exam are the new tasks added to the 5 domain groups of the exam by putting more emphasis on stakeholders (including managing, engaging and communicating with the stakeholders). The total number of tasks increases from 34 to 42.
- Initiating the Project [3 new tasks]
- Identify key deliverables based on the business requirements, in order to manage customer expectations and direct the achievement of project goals.
- Conduct benefit analysis with stakeholders (including sponsor, customer, subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organizational strategy and expected business value.
- Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter, in order to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.
- Planning the Project [1 new tasks]
- Develop the stakeholder management plan by analyzing needs, interests, and potential impact, in order to effectively manage stakeholders’ expectations and engage them in project decisions.
- Executing the Project [2 new tasks]
- Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan, in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed.
- Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan, in order to receive continued support and manage expectations.
- Monitoring and controlling the Project [2 new tasks]
- Capture, analyze, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques, in order to enable continuous improvement.
- Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives.
- Closing the Project [0 new tasks]
- Initiating the Project [3 new tasks]
The changes made to the exam this time will not be as “revolutionary” as the PMBOK® Guide is still based on the 5th edition (unlike the PMI-ACP® Exam which will see a major change of its exam syllabus and organization from 15 July 2015). You can be assured that the popular PMP Exam prep materials in use now will stay relevant and useful for the new exam as all of these are based on PMBOK® Guide 5th edition. The changes are more like ‘enhancements’ to the current version of the PMP Exam.
The new questions for the exam is currently being tested by PMP exam takers in 2015 as the “pre-test” questions in their exam papers. It is therefore very useful to read new lessons learned of exam in order to understand the magnitude of the changes. However, from my reading of the lessons learned of many aspirants, the changes to the new exam are not “revolutionary”, aspirants do not find many “novel” questions in their exam paper.
The new PMP Exam will come into practice from 11 January 2016 onwards. Aspirants will be able to sit for the new exam from that day and get the results immediately if they are taking the CBT (computer based tests). Languages aids will also be provided for the new exam beginning from Day 1.
The average PMP aspirants takes around 2 to 3 months to prepare and pass the exam, there is still enough time to get your credential before the switch to the new exam syllabus!
To learn more about PMP Exam and how to prepare for it, please read my lessons learned to get more information and tips (including FREE study resources).
Appendix: Presentation on new PMP Exam by PMI
Why is the PMP Changing?
- The Project Management profession continues to evolve over time. In order to reflect the most current practices, the exam syllabus of the PMP Exam must be updated from time to time.
- Every 3-5 years, PMI carries out role delineation studies (RDS) for each PMI Certifications to ensure relevancy to the current environments.
What is an RDS?
- The Role Delineation Study (RDS) examines the role of project managers to determine key competency areas (including domains, tasks, knowledge, skills, etc.)
- It aims to allow the PMP certification to be validated by the industry.
- The output of the RDS 2015 is the updated PMP Exam Content Outline which will also mean an updated exam paper.
What is the Exam Content Outline?
- The Exam Content Outline for the exam can be considered as the syllabus for the exam (there is always a common misunderstanding here: the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition is NOT the syllabus of the PMP Exam, the PMBOK® Guide is just a key reference for the exam)
What was Updated as a Result of the RDS?
- There are multiple updates for the
2015 Nov2016 Jan exam:
- Modification to existing project management tasks
- A few obsolete tasks were removed
- Weighting of different areas for the PMP exam has been changed
- 8 new tasks were added
- 3 tasks for Initiating Process Group
- 1 task for Planning Process Group
- 2 tasks for Executing Process Group
- 2 tasks for Monitoring and Controlling Process Group
Why was this New Content Included?
- The new content was added to the exam in order to:
- focus on business strategy and benefits realization
- pinpoint the value of lessons learned
- make clear the responsibility of project charter
- enhance stakeholder relationships
What do These Changes Really Mean?
- According to PMI, there are new content topics from these 8 new tasks to be added to the exam.
- Around 25% of all the exam questions to be found on each exam paper would be added from these new tasks and/or updated to align with the updated PMP content exam outline. (Though the “25%” is a daunting figure hinting that the PMP Exam will undergo great changes on 1
November 2015January 2016, it can be rest assured that people preparing for the PMP Exam based on the current PMP exam prep materials will only need to “top up” their studies with knowledge of the new 8 tasks – some of which (e.g. stakeholder management plan) has already been included in most PMP Exam prep materials like the PM PrepCast™.)
What’s Not Changes in the PMP Exam?
- PMP Exam eligibility requirements
- 4,500 – 7,500 hours of project management working experience; and
- 35 hours of formal project management education (i.e. 35 contact hours)
- Overall structure of the PMP Exam
- 200 questions (175 questions to be scored) in 4 hours
- All questions are multiple-choice type questions with 1 correct answer
- Many of the questions are “scenario based questions” (or aka situational questions)
What’s the Difference Between an RDS and PMBOK® Guide Update?
- RDS Update:
- Results in new/updated PMP exam content outline
- Shifts the weighting of the exam
- Introduces 8 new topics to the exam
- PMOBK Guide Update:
- May result in terminology changes (e.g. from PMBOK® Guide 4th edition to PMBOK® Guide 5th edition in 2013)
- Process groups for project management framework may change
- Notes: PMBOK® Guide in a reference for the PMP Exam, not the syllabus for the exam
Important Reminders for the New PMP Exam
- The new exam will be available after
1 November 201511 January 2016.
- The new exam will be based on the new PMP Exam Content Outline dated June 2015
- All language aids will be available at the same time.
- Aspirants taking the computer-based exam will be able to get their exam results immediately.