As 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:
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.
You are asking yourself right now, “Where do I start to guarantee I pass the PMP® exam in 30 days”? Be patient, stay calm, and continue to read this quick article to understand the steps of this process – how each step leads to the next. So remember – finish one step before starting the next to prevent yourself from becoming overwhelmed. Preparing for the PMP exam will take daily dedication to studying and understanding the material.
How to Get a PMP Certification Fast?
So you have decided (or been told) that you will get your PMP done in a very short period.
How to Pass the PMP in 30 days?
As I said, while I do not recommend trying to study and pass the PMP in 30 days, sometimes there are legitimate reasons that you may find yourself in this situation. First and foremost, start with my article, Creating Your PMP Study Plan – The Complete Guide. This provides a very clear process to effectively create your own customized study plan. Don’t stress – this article also provides PMP Study Plan templates to help you get started.
How to Pass the PMP in 10 days?
But what if you have been told you have to pass the PMP in a 10-day window – what do you do now?
Need your PMP Fast? Think again!
If you have the option to study for more than 30 days – take it! Slow down, take your time, and ABSORB. The best way to pass the PMP exam is through methodical study, review, and application.
So, what is the Best Way to Pass the PMP Exam?
What is your learning style? Are you a visual, auditory, or tactile learner? Do you learn best in groups or individually? Knowing your learning style is important to understanding how to approach your studies for the PMP exam.
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.
Why is The PMP Exam Changing?
PMI wants to ensure that the PMP Exam is an accurate reflection of the tasks, knowledge and skills project management professionals actually perform and need on a daily basis. If PMI didn’t regularly add new methods and remove outdated ones, then PMP aspirants like yourself would still be tested on obsolete tools and techniques that were used 30 years ago when the PMP exam first came into being.
The PMBOK® Guide Isn’t Changing
This is important: The PMP Exam is based on the PMP Examination Content Outline and NOT on the PMBOK® Guide. Yes, there are many overlaps, but they are not 100% the same and the exam content outline even has some unique sections not covered by the PMBOK® Guide. The PMBOK® Guide itself, however, is not changing.
The PMP Exam Structure Isn’t Changing
The PMP Exam is a computer-based exam. You have to answer 200 multiple-choice questions in four hours. There is no change in this aspect of the PMP Exam.
The Domains and Score Report Aren’t Changing (Much)
When taking the PMP Exam, you will be tested in the five domains of Initiating (13%), Planning (24%), Executing (31%), Monitoring & Controlling (25%) as well as Closing (7%). At the end of the exam you will receive a score report that tells you how you did in each domain and whether you passed or failed the exam.
The PMP Exam Eligibility Requirements Aren’t Changing
The PMP Exam eligibility requirements remain the same. You still need to show the same amount of education and experience as before. You can find the details on page six of the PMP Credential Handbook. No change.
The Exam Changes on 11 January 2016. No Ifs, Ands or Buts About It.
The change was originally scheduled to take place on 1 November 2015. This was not enough time for everyone involved to get ready, so PMI changed the date to 11 January 2016.
Your Study Materials Will Change
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:
My Recommendations For PMP Students
1.) Take Your PMP Exam before 11 January 2016
My final recommendation to you as a PMP student is this: Don’t worry about the coming change too much!
You have read the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) publication, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide), from cover to cover; studied other Project Management-related texts; and you feel you are preparing well to take and pass the Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. There are, however, a number of myths related to the exam process and the exam itself that you are not sure are valid. In this article, we are going to take a look at six myths related to the PMP® Exam process and bust them so you can quit worrying about what is true and continue with studying for and taking the exam.
Myth1: You need to score a 61% to pass the PMP® Exam
No, while this was true at one time, it is no longer the case. Passing the PMP® Exam is no longer determined by the percentage of questions you answer correctly. It is calculated using a sound psychometric analysis. In essence this means that the harder questions are worth more than the easier questions. So you get a higher score if you answer more of the harder questions correctly and a lower score if you answer more of the easier questions correctly. The minimum score needed to pass is determined by the overall difficultly of your individual exam.
Myth 2: Only PMI Registered Education Providers are authorized to give PMP® Exam Prep Courses
No, there is no authorized or unauthorized training material for the PMP® Exam. Several types of training companies can provide training for the PMP® Exam, which may include courses or programs offered by PMI Registered Education Providers (REP); training companies or consultants; PMI component organizations; employer- or company-sponsored programs, distance-learning companies, which need to include an end-of-course assessment; or even university or college academic or continuing-education programs. Essentially anyone can provide training for the PMP® Exam. The advantage of ensuring your training comes from a PMI REP is you have the assurance that the provider has been reviewed by PMI for standardization and quality.
Myth 3: Obtaining the PMP® Certification will lead to a higher salary
That depends. The potential to see an increase in salary depends on several factors including your country of employment, years of experience, and the average size of projects you manage. Every year PMI conducts and publishes information related to their salary survey. In the 2012 report, it was found that even with a sluggish economy, the average salary for a PMP® credential holder had risen. However, there is no guarantee that passing the PMP® Exam will lead to a higher salary.
Myth 4: The exam application audit process uses applicant profiling
No, the exam application-audit process is completely random. When completing your PMP® Exam application, keep in mind that you may be audited, so be prepared just in case you are selected. Make sure you are 100% truthful; have documentation to back up anything you claim on your application such as training certificates; and mention to current and former employers or colleagues that you are applying to take the PMP® Exam in case they are contacted by PMI to verify any assertions on your application. Think of this application as a job application; there is a chance that your references will be checked.
Myth 5: You must know the Inputs, Tools & Techniques, and Outputs (ITTOs) by heart
No, you do not need to spend time memorizing the around 500 ITTOs described in the PMBOK® Guide; instead you need to understand the concepts behind them. It is possible you will have questions on the PMP® Exam such as “Which of the following is not an input to the Create WBS process?” where memorizing the ITTOs may help. However, it is more likely you will have questions that relate to how or why a specific ITTO is used in a process and memorization will be of no use to you when answering those types of questions. So, your goal needs to be to fully understand the concepts of each process in the PMBOK® Guide, not the memorization of the ITTOs.
Myth 6: You need 35 PDUs before you can take the PMP® Exam
Almost. You need are 35 contact hours before you take the PMP® Exam -- not 35 Professional Developmental Units (PDUs). So you are required to have at least 35 contact hours to be eligible to take the PMP® Exam. You do not need to worry about PDUs until you have obtained your PMP® Certification, then you must follow PMIs Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) and earn 60 PDUs every three years to maintain your PMP® Credential. Remember, you need contact hours before taking the PMP® Exam and PDUs after.
There are many PMP® Exam myths, and it is often difficult to distinguish what is the truth and what is myth. Myths can be difficult to eradicate so remember, anytime you come across something that makes you scratch your head or say “hmmmmm”, you can verify what you have heard or read by checking the PMP® Handbook or writing to PMI Customer Care; they are happy to help dispel myths.
Is studying for and obtaining your Project Management Professional (PMP)® Certification one of your personal or career goals? Are you wondering about things such as where is a good place to start, what materials might be the most helpful in studying, or how many practice tests are just right or too many? Are you interested in the experiences and insights of those who have been there, were once also wondering many of the same things, and who have recently passed the PMP® Exam?
If any of these questions sound familiar to you then there is a forum you need to explore on The PM PrepCast website. Every post is from those who have recently obtained their Project Management Professional Certification and are willing to provide tips and information concerning their study methods and experiences taking the PMP Exam. These individuals most likely were where you are today, full of questions and concerns, and looking for a place with information and answers.
Let’s take a look at one example from this forum. It was written by Scott Coonrod, PMP, not too long after he obtained his PMP certification. In his PM PrepCast Forum post he discusses how he studied for and prepared for both the PMP Exam and the exam day itself along with his experiences at the test site.
Lessons learned and other tips related to preparing for the PMP Exam:
Lessons learned and other tips related to PMP Exam study materials:
Lessons learned and other tips related to taking the PMP Exam:
These are just a few examples of the PMP Exam related lessons learned and other tips offered by someone who has recently been in your shoes and has shared his experiences. You can access these lessons learned and other tips and many more in The PM PrepCast Forum at http://www.pm-prepcast.com/ll.
About the authors: Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM is a noted PMP Exam Prep expert. He has helped over 26,000 students prepare for the PMP Exam with The Project Management PrepCast and offers what is possibly the best PMP Exam Simulator on the market.
Scott Coonrod, PMP recently obtained his PMP certification (April 2014) and has 17 years of experience in the electric motors industry; mostly leading or championing projects. He currently is developing and leading the Project Management Office (PMO) for the manufacturing operations of a multi-billion dollar global manufacturer of motors, generators, switch gear, and mechanical gearing aimed at converting power into motion to help the world run more efficiently.