Skilled project managers are in demand around the world. A globally recognized project management certification shows employers that you have the knowledge, experience, and education to effectively contribute to the success of a project.

Project Management Institute's (PMI)® Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential is one of the most important industry-recognized certifications for project managers.

PMI® is the world's leading not-for-profit professional membership association for the project, program, and portfolio management professions. Founded in 1969, PMI® delivers value for more than 2.9 million professionals working in nearly every country in the world through global advocacy, collaboration, education, and research.

In this article, we will look at the history and evolution of the PMP® Certification.

Are you a professional who is aspiring to be a project manager? Try answering this PMP Practice Test Questions and assess yourself.

History and Evolution of the PMP certification Infograpic

Globally recognized and in-demand, the Project Management Professional (PMP)® credential demonstrates to employers, clients, and colleagues that you possess project management knowledge, experience, and the skills to bring projects to successful completion. Year after year, the PMP credential has garnered global recognition and commanded higher salaries for certified individuals over non-certified individuals.

What makes PMP certification stand apart
What Makes the PMP® Certification Stand Apart

History of the PMP® Certification

It all started with the ESA Report published in August 1983 in PMQ (Project Management Quarterly -now known as the Project Management Journal). ESA Stands for Project Management Ethics, Standards, Accreditation.

The ESA report talked about a Code of Ethics for project management, a framework for the unique body of project management knowledge- critical to the recognition of the project management profession and developing minimum standards for entry into the field. All in all, the work of the ESA Project presented in the ESA Report proved to be a key development in the field of project management evolving into a project management profession.

An important concept was enunciated in the report. It was recognized that the body of knowledge of project management (now known as PMBOK® Guide) would continually evolve as the theory and practice of the area are defined and refined.

Baseline concepts of the content and character of PM were identified. Six areas of knowledge were identified: Human Resources Management, Cost Management, Time Management, Communication Management, Scope Management, and Quality Management.

PMP® Certification

The first report of the Certification Committee, chaired by M. Dean Martin, appeared in the December 1983 edition of PMQ (Project Management Quarterly- now known as the Project Management Journal). It noted that 86 percent of PMI® members surveyed favored “some type of certification program.” A detailed report was published in the March 1984 PMJ, “The Project Management Professional (PMP)® Program: Certifying Project Managers.” It detailed the process for becoming certified and identified the three areas in which points could be earned towards certification: education, experience, and service.

It has since become the de facto standard in the world of Project Management certifications. In 2007 it earned the ANSI/ISO/IEC 17024 accreditation from the International Organization for Standardization (ISO).

To obtain a PMI® credential, candidates must first document that they have met the required education and experience requirements. They must then pass an examination consisting of multiple-choice questions. To maintain most PMI® credentials, holders must earn Professional Development Units (PDUs), which can be earned in a variety of ways -such as taking classes, attending PMI® global congresses, contributing to professional research or writing and publishing papers on the subject.

There are currently 618,933 active PMP® certified individuals and 272 chartered chapters across 104 countries worldwide.

PMP certification training

The evolution of PMBOK® Guide(Project Management Body of Knowledge)

The first-ever edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 1996 by PMI®. PMI® felt the need to put together an official document and guide to advance the development of the project management profession. It initiated a project in 1981 to develop the procedures and concepts necessary to support the development of project management as a profession.

The ESA Report was published in 1983, and guidelines for the Project Management Professional Certification were also created (the first-ever PMP® certification was awarded in 1984). The special report underwent further development and expansion during the subsequent years and in 1987, “The Project Management Body of Knowledge”, was published as a standalone document. It was an attempt to document and standardize accepted project management information and practices. Finally, after extensive consultation and revision, the PMBOK® Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) was published in 1996 to supersede the previous documents. This was known as the PMBOK® Guide - 1st Edition.

In 2000, the second edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published. New materials reflecting the growth of the project management profession were included in the new edition. It aimed to include standard knowhow and practices in the field of project management that were useful and valuable to most projects.

The third edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 2004. One major change to the PMBOK® Guide in this edition was to evaluate project management practices based on what was “generally recognized as good practice on most projects most of the time”. This essentially means that the project management practices included in the PMBOK® Guide would be useful to most projects.

The fourth edition of the PMBOK® Guide was published in 2009, five years after the publication of the 3rd Edition. This edition aimed to make the contents the PMBOK® Guide more consistent and accessible. The widely recognized “triple constraints” for project management were expanded to six, namely, scope, quality, schedule, budget, resources, and risk. 

The current PMBOK® Guide — the Fifth Edition- was released in 2013. This edition attempts to include advancements in the field of project management - in particular, rolling wave planning and adaptive lifecycle- in its contents.

The PMP® Exam is changing in 2015

A recently completed Role Delineation Study (RDS) provided an updated description of the project management professional role. The research included a large-scale survey of the global Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification holders to validate updates to domains, tasks, knowledge, and skills.

The five domains of practice for PMP® remain the same. However, tasks within each domain have been modified, added, or removed.

The new PMP® Exam Content Outline is currently undergoing changes. The proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam has not yet been determined. Additionally, the knowledge and skills associated with each of these domains and tasks are not included. This information will be available no later than June 15, 2015.

Here’s an overview of the newly added content:

Domain 1 Initiating the Project 3 tasks added – task 2, task 7, task 8
Domain 2 Planning the Project 1 task added – task 13
Domain 3 Executing the Project 2 tasks added – task 6, task 7
Domain 4 Monitoring and controlling the project 2 tasks added – task 6, task 7
Domain 5 Closing the project 2 tasks added – task 6, task 7

Note: To view all the changes in detail, please refer to the Exam Content Outline.

Important Dates:

1  November 2015 → Last day to test under the current version of the PMP® exam.


The Project Management profession has come a long way since PMI® established its first-ever PMP certification program in 1984. Today, as the demand for skilled project managers is critically high, practitioners who hold the PMP® credential are well-positioned to deliver the professional skills necessary to lead project teams and achieve successful project results. The PMP® recognizes the competence of an individual to perform in the role of a project manager, specifically experience in leading and directing projects. PMI® global community of 490,000+ and growing certification holders is evidence that PMP® is a world-class certification program and has evolved with the changing world to stay relevant.

Are you looking forward to making a mark in the Project Management field? If yes, enroll in the Project Management Certification Program now and get a step closer to your career goal!

PMP® and PMBOK® are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. 

Our Project Management Courses Duration And Fees

Project Management Courses typically range from a few weeks to several months, with fees varying based on program and institution.

Program NameDurationFees
Post Graduate Program in Project Management

Cohort Starts: 31 May, 2024

6 Months$ 3,000
PMP® Plus36 Months$ 1,849

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