Certification Insider

Cornelius Fichtner help you with your PMP Exam Prep (https://www.project-management-prepcast.com) as well as earn free PDUs (www.pm-podcast.com/pdu). Passing the PMP Exam is tough, but keeping your PMP Certification alive is just as challenging. Preparing for the exam requires an in-depth study of the PMBOK Guide and dedicated study discipline. And once you are PMP certified, then you are required to earn 60 Professional Development Units (PDUs) every 3 years to keep your certification alive. Let me help you make this journey easier with tips and tricks on how to prepare for and pass the exam as well as efficiently earning your PDUs once you are certified.

About this Blog


Recent Posts

How to Upgrade Yourself to The PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

Episode 411: The Future of Project Management

Episode 410: How NASA Manages its Annual Plan and Portfolio

Episode 409: CCRS and PDUs

Episode 408: How to Write Excellent User Stories

How to Upgrade Yourself to The PMBOK Guide 6th Edition

Categories: PMBOK Guide, PMP Exam

How to Upgrade Yourself to The PMBOK Guide 6th EditionAs of March 26th, 2018 the Project Management Professional (PMP)® exam will be based on A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) Sixth Edition. The Project Management Institute (PMI)® will grant no exceptions. So, if you find yourself in a situation where you had been studying the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition with the plans for taking the PMP® exam prior to March 26th, and you realize that this is just not going to happen, then you are probably wondering what to do now.

In a nutshell: You now have to study the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition because that is what you will be tested on.

You Cannot Study Only What Has Changed

You can start learning the new knowledge by reading the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition, which was released in September 2017. However, due to the extensive changes between the Fifth and Sixth Edition, you cannot simply learn the changes. Yes, there are a great number of articles available that talk about the changes. But unfortunately, you cannot simply study those sections that have changed alone. There are too many interactions between concepts, processes, and ITTOs to make this feasible. Instead, you need to take a holistic approach to learning the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition. Here we will review some of what has changed in this most recent edition, as well as some tips on how to prepare yourself to now take the "new" PMP exam based on the most current edition.

Conceptual Changes To The Sixth Edition

The changes start with a realignment of information in the first three sections. Information formerly discussed in these sections is now covered in the first two sections. Section one, "Introduction", now includes high-level information on the selection of development approach (predictive, iterative, adaptive, and incremental) based on the nature of the project. Section two covers "The Environment in Which Projects Operate". Information on enterprise environmental factors and organizational process assets are covered as before; however, also included now is information covering different organizational systems to include governance, management, and types.

Section three is now completely dedicated to "The Role of the Project Manager". This section includes information on the project manager’s sphere of influence and competencies. Here you will also learn about the PMI Talent Triangle®, which focuses on the technical project management, leadership, and strategic and business management skills required for project managers. Understanding the PMI Talent Triangle® will be invaluable to you once you become PMP® certified and you need to keep your skills up to date and need to report your professional development units (PDUs) to maintain your certification.

One of the most notable changes between the Fifth and Sixth Edition is the inclusion of agile and adaptive methodologies. Starting with section four, going through section 13, you will now see several new subsections to include: trends and emerging practices, tailoring considerations, key concepts, and considerations for adaptive environments. You will also see some information on using agile specific tools and techniques such as iteration planning and sprints.

In fact, if you purchase or download your copy of the PMBOK® Guide then a copy of The Agile Practice Guide is included to show the growing importance of agile in project management.

Knowledge Areas an Processes

There have also been numerous changes made in both the Knowledge Areas and Processes. Two Knowledge Areas have been updated to better reflect how work is actually accomplished. What was the Project Human Resource Management Knowledge Area is now the Project Resource Management Knowledge Area. This has changed because a project manager doesn’t just manage human resources on a project, they manage all of the project resources. The Project Time Management Knowledge Area has been changed to Project Schedule Management Knowledge Area because a project manager actually manages work as defined in the project schedule, they do not manage time.

Some processes have been renamed to improve consistency and clarity, as well as to be more in alignment with what project managers actually do such as managing, monitoring, and facilitating versus controlling. Those that have changed are:

  • 8.2 Manage Quality – was Perform Quality Assurance
  • 9.1 Plan Resource Management – was Plan Human Resource Management
  • 9.2 Acquire Resources – was Acquire Project Team
  • 9.3 Develop Team – was Develop Project Team
  • 9.4 Manage Team – was Manage Project Team
  • 10.3 Monitor Communications – was Control Communications
  • 11.6 Monitor Risks – was Control Risks
  • 13.2 Plan Stakeholder Engagement – was Plan Stakeholder Management
  • 13.4 Monitor Stakeholder Engagement – was Control Stakeholder Engagement

And these are just some highlights of what has changed. If you dig into the details you will find that there are dozens and dozens of small, medium and large changes in every chapter, paragraph, and sentence.

Project Management Hasn't Changed

However, it must also be said that just because the PMBOK® Guide has changed, project management itself hasn't changed. The fundamental way in which projects are managed is still the same. Only the publication that describes the activities & techniques that are commonly accepted to be good practices on most projects most of the time has changed. And just because it updated some tools and techniques for Project Cost Management, that doesn't mean that Earned Value systems need to be changed as well.

But in order to pass your PMP exam, you will need to be aware of everything in the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition. Studying them takes effort, dedication and time. There is no shortcut.

PMP "Upgrade" Guide To The Sixth Edition

Since you've already studied the PMBOK® Guide Fifth Edition, here is our recommendation on how to approach the Sixth Edition:

1) Begin by studying Appendix X1. This appendix provides an overview of the changes made in the Sixth Edition. This will give you a good understanding of the conceptual changes that were applied.

2) Skip Appendix X2. You don't need to know this information for the exam.

3) Study Appendix X3 on the topic of agile, iterative and adaptive project environments. You may even want to open up The Agile Practice Guide that you received for free with your copy of the PMBOK® Guide and glance at it while reviewing this appendix.

4) Study Appendix X4 for an understanding of the key concepts in each Knowledge Area. You will notice obvious and subtle differences to what you know from the Fifth Edition.

5) Study Appendix X5 and learn that "tailoring" has a much bigger role than it previously did. In the Fifth Edition, the term was mentioned only twice in the whole guide. In the new Sixth Edition tailoring has a dedicated section in each Knowledge Area.

6) Study Appendix X6 to be introduced to yet another fundamental change because the Sixth Edition presents tools and techniques differently than previous editions. In short: tools and techniques are now grouped by purpose.

7) Study the Glossary from beginning to end. Maybe not all at once, though. Instead, review a couple of pages a day as part of your studies.

8) Study Table 1-4 on page 25. This will give you a good overview of the Process Groups, Knowledge Areas, as well as the processes and how they are mapped. This is, in fact, the only information from the PMBOK® Guide that I recommend you know by heart. You should be able to draw this table from memory onto a blank sheet of paper.

9) And finally (and unfortunately): Study the complete PMBOK® Guide twice.

When studying the new PMBOK® Guide, familiarize yourself with the new inputs, tools & techniques, and outputs of all the processes. A good approach is to study the Data Flow Diagram for each process. These diagrams illustrate the flow of the inputs and outputs and will strengthen your understanding of how they move between the many processes. It will also help you understand the integrated nature of all the processes in the guide.


As you might have guessed by now, "upgrading" your knowledge to this new version of the PMBOK® Guide is not something that you can do in just a day. The changes in the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition are extensive and cannot be learned and understood on their own.

While your PM experience is the main focus of the PMP Exam, it will also be necessary for you to have an in-depth understanding of the PMBOK® Guide to be able to correctly answer many of the questions on the test. This is because the PMP exam uses the PMBOK® Guide as its primary reference for identifying the correct answer to a question.

I therefore recommend that you plan a minimum of two weeks of intense study.

Posted on: April 23, 2018 10:46 PM | Permalink | Comments (9)

Episode 411: The Future of Project Management

Categories: Project Management

(Click to download MP3...)

Stephen Maye, Projectified host

The Project Mangement Institute (PMI)® launched their new podcast "Projectified with PMI®" at their thought-provoking Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

And during the conference I had the opportunity to sit down with Stephen W. Maye (LinkedIn Profile) who is the Projectified host.

We begin by looking at PMI's new podcast itself, but then quickly move on to a number of "futuristic" topics. Stephen has had the opportunity to interview some of the brightest project management thinkers from around the world. Anand Swaminathan, Dr. Michael Chui, and Jacqueline Van Pelt to name just a few. Stephen summarizes their thoughts and ideas for us.

We also discuss what Stephen sees as the number one trend in project management, what this trend means for us project managers, and how digitalization, artificial intelligence and the internet of things will influence the way we manage projects going forward.

You can find Projectified with PMI by visiting http://www.pmi.org/podcast.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: April 23, 2018 02:48 AM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Episode 410: How NASA Manages its Annual Plan and Portfolio

(Click to download MP3...)

Darryl Hahn and Cornelius Fichtner

NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory has worked with PMOs around the United States to define a "best practice" for creating and delivering an annual plan.

This interview with Darryl Hahn (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the stimulating Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

Our interview presents both strategic and tactical approaches for uncovering your organizations' goals and objectives and for creating the prioritized list of achievable projects. We also examine ways of categorizing and classifying types of work, identifying and weighting priorities and adjusting the completed plan for when it collides with real life.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: April 10, 2018 01:40 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Episode 409: CCRS and PDUs

Categories: CCRS, PDUs

(Click to download MP3...)

John Kleine

The Project Management Institute (PMI)® has made a number of changes to the Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) in the past 18 months. These requirements define the policies and guidelines that certified project managers must follow in order to earn PDUs and renew their certification.

In this interview we speak with John Kleine (LinkedIn Profile) who is the Global Manager, Product Strategy & Delivery, at Project Management Institute. One of John's responsibilities is overseeing the CCR and any changes made to it.

We begin by discussing the recertification requirements for a certified Project Management Professional (PMP)® and walk you through many of the updated rules. Of course, the interview is also full with good ideas and suggestions on how to earn PDUs. For example, what would you expect are the most frequently used, and the most under-used PDUs earning activities?

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: March 19, 2018 06:45 AM | Permalink | Comments (7)

Episode 408: How to Write Excellent User Stories

Categories: AGILE

(Click to download MP3...)

Betsy Stockdale and Cornelius Fichtner

In agile, technically anyone can write user stories. Sounds easy, right?

However, many people really do not have a good understanding of how to write high-quality stories or effectively manage the product backlog. In this interview you will learn about the full life cycle of agile requirements, including how to use visual models at each step of the iterative process.

This interview with Betsy Stockdale (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the inspiring Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois.

We explain the life cycle of agile requirements and how to use visual models to identify epics and user stories, and how to write testable acceptance criteria using a variety of techniques. Those currently working on their PMI-ACP training will find this interview valuable for their general understanding of Agile approaches.

(This interview was originally published on The Project Management Podcast.)

Posted on: December 21, 2017 11:31 PM | Permalink | Comments (10)

"In youth we learn; in age we understand."

- Marie von Ebner-Eschenbach