Changes to the PMP® exam in 2015

PMI® Project Management Professional (PMP)®  credential is the most important industry-recognized certification for project managers. Globally recognized and in-demand, the PMP® certificate demonstrates that you have the experience, education, and competency to lead and direct projects.

This recognition results in increased marketability to employers and higher salaries; according to the PMI® Project Management Salary Survey–Eighth Edition, the certification positively impacts project manager salaries.

Interested in becoming a Project Manager? Gain all the skills and knowledge required to become a skilled project manager through Project Management course.

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 RDS captures perspectives of project management practitioners from all industries, work settings, and regions. It serves as the foundation for the PMP® exam and ensures its validity and relevance.

The PMP® exam was changing in 2015. Please read ahead to get all the details.

How is the PMP exam changing infographic

Important Dates:

11th January 2016: Last day to test under the current version of the exam
1st December 2015 - The new Continuing Certification Requirements policy for all PMI® courses will become applicable for both old and new PMP® certified professionals.

What you should know?

Q - When will the changes to the PMP® examination be implemented?

A - The last day to test under the current version of the PMP® exam is 11th January 2016. After this date, the PMP® exam will reflect the new content outline.

Q - Why has the date for the launch of the new version of the PMP® exam been pushed to January 2016?

A - Originally, PMI® had planned on introduced changes to the exam effective from 1st November 2015. This has now been pushed to 11th January 2016. This has been done to give all stakeholders adequate time to prepare for the new-look exam.

Q - How am I affected, as a candidate?
A - As a PMP® candidate, the only factors you need to be mindful of are the date of the exam change and the updates to the exam content. All other elements of the application and testing process remain the same. If you do not want to test under the new version of the PMP® exam, you must test on or before 11th January 2016. After this date, all PMP® exams administered, including retakes and language aids, will reflect the new exam content outline.

Q - Are the eligibility criteria changing?
A- No, the education and experience eligibility requirements for the PMP® certification will not change.

Q - Will the exam report be changing?
A - No, the exam report for the PMP® will not change. For computer-based testing (CBT) candidates, you will continue to receive an exam report immediately after testing both before and after 11th January 2016.

Changes to the proportion of Questions from Domains

The five domains of practice for PMP® remain the same. However, the proportion of questions from each domain that will appear on the exam has changed, as detailed below.

These percentages are used to determine the number of questions related to each domain and tasks that should appear on the multiple-choice format examination.

Domain NEW % of Items on Test OLD  % of Items on Test
1. Initiating 13% 13%
2. Planning 24% 24%
3. Executing 31% 30%
4. Monitoring and Controlling 25% 25%
5. Closing 7% 8%

Changes to the Content - Domains, Tasks, and Knowledge and Skill Statements  

As mentioned earlier, the five domains of practice for the PMP® remain the same.  However, tasks within each domain have been modified, added, or removed. Additionally, the knowledge and skills associated with these domains and tasks have been added.

Here’s an overview of the newly added content:

Domain I Initiating 3 tasks added – task 2, task 7, task 8
Domain II Planning 1 task added – task 13
Domain III Executing 2 tasks added – task 6, task 7
Domain IV Monitoring and controlling 2 tasks added – task 6, task 7
Domain V Closing No new tasks added

Details of the changes:

Performance Domain I - Initiating [3 new tasks]
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 sponsors, customers, subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organizational strategy and expected business value.
  • Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter to ensure a common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.

  New  Knowledge and Skills

  • Analysis of Skills
  • Benefit Analysis techniques
  • Elements of a project charter
  • Estimation tools and techniques
  • Strategic management     

Performance Domain II - Planning [1 new task]
New Tasks

  • Develop the stakeholder management plan by analyzing needs, interests, and potential impact to effectively manage stakeholders’ expectations and engage them in project decisions.

 New Knowledge and Skills

  • Change management planning
  • Cost management planning, including project budgeting tools and techniques
  • Communications planning
  • Contract types and selection criteria
  • Estimation tools and techniques
  • Human resource planning
  • Lean and efficiency principles
  • Procurement planning
  • Quality management planning
  • Requirements gathering techniques (e.g., planning sessions, brainstorming, and focus groups)
  • Regulatory and environmental impacts assessment planning
  • Risk management planning
  • Scope deconstruction (e.g., WBS, scope backlog) tools and techniques
  • Scope management planning
  • Stakeholder management planning
  • Time management planning, including scheduling tool and techniques
  • Workflow diagramming techniques

 Performance Domain III - Executing [2 new tasks]
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 to receive continued support and manage expectations.

 New  Knowledge and Skills

  • Continuous improvement processes
  • Contract management techniques
  • Elements of a statement of work
  • Interdependencies among project elements
  • Project budgeting tools and techniques
  • Quality standard tools
  • Vendor management techniques

 Performance Domain IV - Monitoring and controlling [2 new tasks]

New Tasks

  • Capture, analyze, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques to enable continuous improvement.
  • Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, to verify compliance with project objectives.

 New  Knowledge and Skills

  • Performance measurement and tracking techniques (e.g., EV, CPM, PERT, Trend Analysis)
  • Process analysis techniques (e.g., LEAN, Kanban, Six Sigma)
  • Project control limits (e.g., threshold, tolerance)
  • Project finance principles
  • Project monitoring tools and techniques
  • Project quality best practices and standards (e.g., ISO, BS, CMMI, IEEE)
  • Quality measurement tools (e.g., statistical sampling, control charts, flow-charting, inspection, assessment)
  • Risk identification and analysis techniques
  • Risk response techniques
  • Quality validation and verification techniques

Performance Domain V - Closing [no new tasks]

New Tasks - None

New  Knowledge and Skills

  • Archiving practices and statutes
  • Compliance (statute/organization)
  • Contract closure requirements
  • Close-out procedures
  • Feedback techniques
  • Performance measurement techniques (KPI and key success factors)
  • Project review techniques
  • Transition planning technique

NOTE: The change is only to the examination content outline, and not to the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition.

Changes to the Continuing Certification Requirements Programme:

Effective 1st December 2015, PMI® CCR program will be aligned with the skills depicted in the PMI Talent Triangle®. 

PMI Talent triangle

PMI Talent Triangle® is a depiction of the ideal skill-set of a professional, combining technical, leadership, and business & strategic management expertise. 

To ensure professionals are able to develop their careers in a more meaningful and relevant way, and that these developments are in line with industry\employer requirements, employer-relevant skills from the Triangle have been incorporated in the CCR program. 

The overall framework of the CCR program remains unchanged. However, the classification of PDUs earned from the two categories, Education, and Giving Back, will undergo a change.

  • Education PDUs: a minimum of 35 PDUs in total, with a minimum of 8 PDUs each from the Technical, Leadership, and Business modules. Up from 30 PDUs, previously.
  • Giving Back PDUs: a maximum of 25 PDUs in all, with a maximum of 8 PDUs from Category F (work as Project Manager). Down from a requirement of 45 PDUs, previously.
  • Total: 60 PDUs per 3-year cycle.

For the PMI-ACP®, RMP®, and SP® Certifications, a minimum of 18 Education PDUs and a maximum of 12 Giving Back PDUs are now required.

Changes to cross-cutting knowledge and skills 

Please note that in addition to domain-specific knowledge and skills, the PMP® exam content outline specifies a set of cross-cutting knowledge and skills used in multiple domains. The list of cross-cutting knowledge and skills has also undergone a change, and the new list is listed below:

  • Active listening
  • Applicable laws and regulations
  • Benefits realization
  • Brainstorming techniques
  • Business acumen
  • Change management techniques
  • Coaching, mentoring, training, and motivational techniques
  • Communication channels; tools, techniques, and methods
  • Configuration management
  • Conflict resolution
  • Customer satisfaction metrics
  • Data gathering techniques
  • Decision making
  • Delegation techniques
  • Diversity and cultural sensitivity
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Expert judgment technique
  • Facilitation
  • Generational sensitivity and diversity
  • Information management tools, techniques, and methods
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Knowledge management
  • Leadership tools, techniques, and skills
  • Lessons learned: management techniques
  • Meeting management techniques
  • Negotiating and influencing techniques and skills
  • Organizational and operational awareness
  • Peer review process
  • Presentation tools and techniques
  • Prioritization/time management
  • Problem-solving tools and techniques
  • Project finance principles
  • Quality assurance and control techniques
  • Relationship management
  • Risk assessment techniques
  • Situational awareness
  • Stakeholder management techniques
  • Team-building techniques
  • Virtual/remote team management
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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.

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