PMP Exam Changes (August 2011)

Every five to seven years, the Project Management Institute (PMI)® performs a Role Delineation Study to determine authority (“the role”), responsibilities & duties of project managers today. The findings are then used to update the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam. In this way, PMI ensures that the PMP Exam is a reflection of what project managers actually do in the field. If PMI didn’t regularly go through this process adding new elements and removing old ones, then you would still be tested on outdated methods that were used in the 1980s when the first PMP exam was given.

PMI completed their latest study at the end of 2010. The findings will lead to an update in the PMP Exam on 31 August 2011. Let’s look at what this means to you.

The PMBOK® Guide Is Not Changing
First of all and most importantly: There is NO change to the PMBOK® Guide. The PMP Exam is currently based on the PMBOK® Guide 4th Edition. The 5th edition is scheduled for publication at the end of 2012. This means that the PMP Exam will continue to be largely based on the 4th edition until sometime in 2013. Therefore, everyone preparing for the PMP Exam can continue to do so using the PMBOK® Guide 4th edition until 2013.

The Exam Format Is Not Changing
The PMP Exam will continue to be a computer-based exam, and you have four hours to answer 200 multiple-choice questions.

The Score Report is Not Changing
PMI stated “At this time, PMI does not anticipate any changes will be made to the PMP score report”. This suggests that the way the passing score is determined will remain the same.

The Eligibility Requirements Are Not Changing
The education and experience eligibility requirements for the PMP Exam will remain the same. Please read the eligibility section of the PMP Credential Handbook for the details.

The Exam Changes on 31 August 2011. Period.
The new exam will be rolled out on 31 August 2011 and the last day on which you can take the exam under the current specifications is on 30 August 2011. No exceptions.

Professional & Social Responsibility Will Be Integrated
In the current exam format Professional and Social Responsibility is tested as a separate domain. The Role Delineation Study showed that Professional and Social Responsibility is integrated into all of the work of project management and cannot be seen as separate. The Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct should therefore be viewed and tested as an integrated part of a project manager’s day-to-day work.

For the new exam, students will have to understand the effects of Professional and Social Responsibility on their daily tasks. Exam questions will ask about ethical considerations during procurement, mix social responsibility with team management and test your application of professional responsibility in a written status report.

Studying, understanding and living the Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct in your daily work as a project manager will have a much higher importance for the exam.

PMP Overview

To become a PMP you would have to pass a rigorous multiple-choice examination. This exam is designed to objectively assess and measure your ability to apply project management knowledge in the following six domains:

Project Management Area Percentage of Questions
Initiating the Project 11
Planning the project 23
Executing the project 27
Monitoring and Controlling the Project 21
Closing the project 9
Professional and Social Responsibility 9

This computer-based examination is administered globally with translation aids in 10 languages. You will have 4 hours time to answer 200 questions related to the above six domain.

Out of 200 questions there will be 25 pretest questions and they would not effect your scoring. These questions will be placed randomly in question paper and you would not be able to differentiate these questions from other live question.


PMP Question Types

Next to studying the PMBOK Guide®, practice questions are your most important study activity. After all, the PMP Exam is not a simple memory-recall, multiple-choice test. You have signed up for a four-hour, 200-question multiple-choice exam with up to five question types.

These include complex situational questions, short situational questions, formula-based questions, knowledge-based questions and interpretive questions. Each question type has its own purpose and pitfalls, which makes knowing how to get the most out of each question crucial.


PMP Study Notes

Free PMP Study Notes:

Project Lifecycle Project Management Processes Integration Management
Scope Management Time Management Cost Management
Quality Management Human Resources Management Communications Management
Risk Management Procurement Management Professional Responsibility

PMP Salary Survey

Despite the global recession, historic unemployment and massive corporate budget cuts, U.S. project managers are largely optimistic about their salaries in 2010, according to data from the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) recently released 2009 Project Management Salary Survey.

 Two-thirds (67 percent) of project management professionals in the U.S. expect their salaries to improve in 2010. Only 4 percent think their salaries will decrease this year, while 29 percent see stagnating wages in their future.

During the worst of the global recession, between fall 2008 and fall 2009, American project managers who managed to hold onto their jobs didn’t fare too poorly, compared to professionals in other fields: 53 percent earned a raise (though most raises amounted to between 1 percent and 3 percent of their salaries), 34 percent went through a salary freeze, and 14 percent experienced a pay cut.


Is PMP Worth The Hassle?

As a certified PMP®, I often come across the un-convinced who question the value of project
management certification and believe that it represents a triumph of book knowledge over
experience and common sense. I often hear comments like “doesn’t just taking a test mean
that you are good at reading and memorising knowledge?” and “how can taking a test really
indicate a level of ability on something that is fundamentally an experience based skill?”
However, these un-convinced, or late adopters, haven’t quite caught on to the growing ‘tour
de force’ that is project management.

As those of us working in project management know, things have moved on quite
considerably. The days when an individual was given a project to complete alongside
their normal day to day roles are going. Project management is becoming an established
profession on its own, like accountancy; it has professional bodies, certification bodies,
frameworks and methodologies, protocols, research and best practice. There is a difference
between ‘certified’ and ‘qualified’. In my book, to be considered a ‘qualified’ project manager,
you have to do more than simply pass a test and manage projects, you have to manage the
people, stakeholders, resources and a whole host of other project related soft skills.

As a PMP® myself, I would (predictably!) advocate the PMI®’s certifications. The most popular
of the PMI’®s qualification is the Project Management Professional (PMP®). Other credentials
offered by the PMI® include:

• The Certified Associate Project Manager (CAPM®) – for those that are just entering the field
and may not have the experience required

• The PMI® Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP®) – for those that work in the project
environment and are becoming the risk manager for their organisation

• The PMI® Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP®) – for those that are schedule planners and
manage the complexities of the schedules and dependencies.

• The Program Manager Professional (PgMP®) – for those individuals that work with multiple
related projects and programmes

Project Management Institute (founded in 1969), introduced The Guide to the Project
Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) as a way to standardise project
management practices across the globe and to raise standards. By creating these common
processes, project managers had something to refer to when looking for best practices. To
show commitment to meeting these standards and advancing project management all over
the globe, the PMI® created a credentialing programme, the first of which was the Project
Management Professional (PMP®). In 2004 and again in 2008, the PMBOK® Guide became an
approved standard by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI-PMI 99-001-2008), and
the process for credentialing PMP® is also approved by ANSI. Both of these ANSI standards
lend a huge level of credibility to the credentials.

It is only recently that understanding of the value of disciplined project management
processes, has become widespread (obviously not everyone but a large enough number
to make a real difference). The PMI®’s most recent stats reported that there are over 370,000
certified PMP®s worldwide.

At this point, I would like to say for the record to anyone who thinks that achieving the PMP®
Credential is easy – it isn’t. The value of the PMP® is rooted in how challenging it is to obtain,
not everyone who tries makes it – even on the second attempt. Not only is there a gruelling
exam (especially if you have been out of university for a while), but you also need to show
evidence that you have (depending on education level) 3 to 5 years experience in which you
have to have accumulated between 4500 and 7500 hours managing and leading a project
and working in a project environment. In addition you also need 35 hours of formal project
management education. You have to have some serious dedication to get PMP certified!

So, why would I recommend adding the PMP® credential to your name?

1. Put yourself ahead of the pack

Project management as a core skill is growing within organisations, leading some organisations to elevate it
from a specialised niche skill to an identified core skill. This means that you need something to set you apart from the other project managers going for the same job/contract/ promotion as you. I have seen it many times in the past, where organisations filter out people who don’t have the PMP®…before they even get to interview stage. If you are a consultant or a freelancer, often the organisations where you will go to work, are made up of teams led by certified PMP®s and will expect at least this standard for new people coming in. I have also seen the trend in tenders released by government agencies or private organisations where they require that the leading project manager be certified!

2. Position yourself for a better salary (possibly)
Ok – so that’s a bit of a crude way of putting it, the more sensitive among you might refer to it as ‘higher billing
potential!’ But seriously, if the recent survey done by PMI® showing stats that are to be believed, certified PMP®s , earn 20% more than the non certified Project Managers, on average. I definitely believe that being PMP certified has definitely made me more marketable.

3. Broaden your experience with global networking
I have mentioned that there are around 370,000 certified PMP®s around the globe. This is a massive benefit in itself. This means that all PMP®s are able to talk to each other in a common language and work to an international standard. For employers, it is invaluable for them to be able to recruit
people from anywhere on the globe, if they have the PMP® credential, they will all speak the same vocabulary! PMI® also offers a fantastic opportunity for networking through their conferences, chapters, and special interest groups.

4. Distinguish yourself through recognition and credibility
Taking the time and making the effort to get certified says something about you. As an employer, I am always impressed by someone had been proactive and fulfilled this commitment to their career, in addition to telling me that they have achieved a set level of knowledge and skill in project management, it gives them just a bit more credibility and says that they will stick it out when the going gets tough. On the flip side, The PMP® certification is especially useful way for employers to show that they value their employees, as it requires that you invest in continuous professional development. This ensures that your knowledge stays fresh and that project managers remain current and relevant.

Of course, there really is no substitute for experience. It isn’t just the certificate that makes you a great
project manager, but what you do with it that counts. Getting the credential represents a commitment to learning and gives you a solid foundation from which you can continue building your road-tested skills and experiences.