PMP is the most sought after project management certification. PMP examination has always focused on checking how you as project manager would deal with practical problems faced during project lifecycle. Or in other words the questions primarily revolve around practical scenarios of situations faced by project manager while performing various project based tasks. We all need to remember that PMBOK 5th edition has not changed so we can’t expect addition of new knowledge areas or process areas at the moment. Neither is the exam format of of 4 hours with multiple choice answers is changing. This means that the exam will still be based on PMBOK 5th edition. What PMI has done is, they have upgraded the domain tasks and added few more based on project managers role. These tasks are crucial in project management for a predictable outcome. These new tasks are highlighted under Performance Domains (details below). Apart from this, the new PMP Exam has just shifted a bit of focus to Stakeholder Management, Communication Management and Project Charter, which are top three most important tasks project managers need to know more as found out from PMI’s Role Delineation Study (RDS) in 2015. Note that every five to seven years, the Project Management Institute (PMI)® performs a “Role Delineation Study (RDS)”. This is basically a big survey among project managers like you and me from around the world with the goal to identify what it is that we do on our projects. As a result of the most recent RDS, PMI now has a pretty accurate picture of the tasks that we project managers perform, as well as the knowledge and skills required for our job.
The new PMP Exam Content outline, includes some modifications to existing tasks, removal of a few tasks and the addition of eight new tasks. Some of the main drivers for the exam changes include:
- Emphasis on business strategy and benefits realization
- Values of lessons learned
- Project charter responsibility
- Enhancing stakeholder relationship.
PMI states that about 25% content change is based on new topics from the 8 new tasks, which were previously not tested. Note that in addition there are other changes to overall exam questions, which will be updated that are not tied to these 8 new tasks.
DOMAIN I: INITIATING THE PROJECT
- Task 1 Perform project assessment based upon available information, lessons learned from previous projects, and meetings with relevant stakeholders, in order to support the evaluation of the feasibility of new products or services within the given assumptions and/or constraints.
- (New) Task 2 Identify key deliverables based on the business requirements, in order to manage customer expectations and direct the achievement of project goals.
- Task 3 Perform stakeholder analysis using appropriate tools and techniques, in order to align expectations and gain support for the project.
- Task 4 Identify high level risks, assumptions, and constraints based on the current environment, organizational factors, historical data and expert judgment, in order to propose an implementation strategy.
- Task 5 Participate in the development of the project charter by compiling and analyzing gathered information, in order to ensure project stakeholders are in agreement on its elements.
- Task 6 Obtain project charter approval from the sponsor, in order to formalize the authority assigned to the project manager and gain commitment and acceptance for the project.
- (New) Task 7 Conduct benefit analysis with stakeholders (including sponsor, customer, subject matter experts), in order to validate project alignment with organizational strategy and expected business value.
- (New) Task 8 Inform stakeholders of the approved project charter, in order to ensure common understanding of the key deliverables, milestones, and their roles and responsibilities.
DOMAIN 2: PLANNING THE PROJECT
- Task 1 Review and assess detailed project requirements, constraints, and assumptions with stakeholders based on the project charter, lessons learned, and by using requirement gathering techniques, in order to establish detailed project deliverables.
- Task 2 Develop a scope management plan, based on the approved project scope and using scope management techniques, in order to define, maintain, and manage the scope of the project.
- Task 3 Develop the cost management plan based on the project scope, schedule, resources, approved project charter and other information, using estimating techniques, in order to manage project costs.
- Task 4 Develop the project schedule based on the approved project deliverables and milestones, scope, and resource management plans, in order to manage timely completion of the project.
- Task 5 Develop the human resource management plan by defining the roles and responsibilities of the project team members, in order to create a project organizational structure and provide guidance regarding how resources will be assigned and managed.
- Task 6 Develop the communications management plan based on the project organization structure and stakeholder requirements, in order to define and manage the flow of project information.
- Task 7 Develop the procurement management plan based on the project scope, budget, and schedule, in order to ensure that the required project resources will be available.
- Task 8 Develop the quality management plan and define the quality standards for the project and its products, based on the project scope, risks, and requirements, in order to prevent the occurrence of defects and control the cost of quality.
- Task 9 Develop the change management plan by defining how changes will be addressed and controlled, in order to track and manage change.
- Task 10 Develop the risk management plan by identifying, analyzing, and prioritizing project risks, and defining risk response strategies, in order to manage uncertainty and opportunity throughout the project life cycle.
- Task 11 Present the project management plan to the relevant stakeholders according to applicable policies and procedures, in order to obtain approval to proceed with project execution.
- Task 12 Conduct kick-off meeting, communicating the start of the project, key milestones, and other relevant information, in order to inform and engage stakeholders and gain commitment.
- (New) Task 13 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.
DOMAIN 3: EXECUTING THE PROJECT
- Task 1 Acquire and manage project resources by following the human resource and procurement management plans, in order to meet project requirements.
- Task 2 Manage task execution based on the project management plan by leading and developing the project team, in order to achieve project deliverables.
- Task 3 Implement the quality management plan using the appropriate tools and techniques, in order to ensure that work is performed in accordance with required quality standards.
- Task 4 Implement approved changes and corrective actions by following the change management plan, in order to meet project requirements.
- Task 5 Implement approved actions by following the risk management plan, in order to minimize the impact of the risks and take advantage of opportunities on the project.
- (New) Task 6 Manage the flow of information by following the communications plan, in order to keep stakeholders engaged and informed.
- (New) Task 7 Maintain stakeholder relationships by following the stakeholder management plan, in order to receive continued support and manage expectations.
DOMAIN 4: MONITORING AND CONTROLLING THE PROJECT
- Task 1 Measure project performance using appropriate tools and techniques, in order to identify and quantify any variances and corrective actions.
- Task 2 Manage changes to the project by following the change management plan, in order to ensure that project goals remain aligned with business needs.
- Task 3 Verify that project deliverables conform to the quality standards established in the quality management plan by using appropriate tools and techniques, in order to meet project requirements and business needs.
- Task 4 Monitor and assess risk by determining whether exposure has changed and evaluating the effectiveness of response strategies, in order to manage the impact of risks and opportunities on the project.
- Task 5 Review the issue log, and update if necessary, and determine corrective actions by using appropriate tools and techniques, in order to minimize the impact on the project.
- (New) Task 6 Capture, analyze, and manage lessons learned using lessons learned management techniques, in order to enable continuous improvement.
- (New) Task 7 Monitor procurement activities according to the procurement plan, in order to verify compliance with project objectives.
DOMAIN 5: CLOSING THE PROJECT
- Task 1 Obtain final acceptance of the project deliverables from relevant stakeholders, in order to confirm that project scope and deliverables were achieved.
- Task 2 Transfer the ownership of deliverables to the assigned stakeholders in accordance with the project plan, in order to facilitate project closure.
- Task 3 Obtain financial, legal, and administrative closure using generally accepted practices and policies, in order to communicate formal project closure and ensure transfer of liability.
- Task 4 Prepare and share the final project report according to the communications management plan, in order to document and convey project performance and assist in project evaluation.
- Task 5 Collate lessons learned that were documented throughout the project and conduct a comprehensive project review, in order to update the organization’s knowledge base.
- Task 6 Archive project documents and materials using generally accepted practices, in order to comply with statutory requirements and for potential use in future projects and audits.
- Task 7 Obtain feedback from relevant stakeholders, using appropriate tools and techniques and based on the stakeholder management plan, in order to evaluate their satisfaction.
My final recommendation to you as a PMP student is this: Don’t worry about the coming change too much!
We have done an extensive comparison between the old and new examination content outline and I have come to the conclusion that there is nothing “big” coming. Yes, there are a number of exciting concepts like lean principles, regulatory impact, and emotional intelligence listed in the new outline. But most likely you have already heard of these new tasks, knowledge and skills, or you may even be practicing them at present.
Also remember that PMI is continuously updating the PMP exam. For example, some time back questions about “delegation” started appearing on the exam. PMI didn’t officially announce this and so nobody made a fuss about it. But now that PMI is officially announcing an update everyone gets anxious.