pmpOn June 28th, Project Management Institute announced the release of a new Exam Content Outline (ECO) for the PMP® certification. This will have major impacts on exam candidates who plan to sit for the new exam, which is set to launch in mid-December 2019. To understand these impacts, it is important to understand what an Exam Content Outline is and how it is used in psychometrics.

An ECO is used to determine what tasks should be tested to determine proficiency in a specific career field, in this case project management. The tasks are based on a higher-level Role Delineation Study, also called a Job Analysis, which you can find in the PMP Handbook on PMI’s website. The role delineation study tells us what a project manager does, while the ECO tells us specific things which should be tested to demonstrate an ability to do exactly that.

The Exam Content Outline released in June 2019 has some of the most significant changes seen in many years.

Changes to the PMP Exam Content Outline

The structural changes involve shifting from five domains which were aligned with the five process groups of project management down to three domains: People, Process, and Business Environment. This means that questions will be categorized and represented on the test in a very different manner. This restructuring was meant to align the exam with PMI’s Talent Triangle® segments of Leadership (People), Technical Project Management (Process), and Strategic and Business Management (Business Environment).

PMI ECO Update Talent TriangleThe content change most notable is agile is included with equal weight as predictive lifecycles, sometimes called waterfall or traditional project management. Traditionally, the PMP exam and credential were focused almost solely on predictive lifecycles while the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® credential was focused on agile and hybrid approaches. The Exam Content Outline specifies the exam will be 50% agile and 50% predictive. The inclusion of agile was not wholly unanticipated, as the Agile Practice Guide came bundled with the PMBOK® Guide – Sixth Edition, but the amount of focus agile receives was more than expected.

In July 2019, PMI released an Exam Content Crossover Map to explain precisely how the exam has changed relative to the previous exam:

Impact of PMP Exam Content Change

While these changes may not seem significant from a student’s perspective, they have a significant impact on a training provider’s ability to assist you in passing the exam on your first attempt. Several questions you should ask a training provider prior to scheduling training if you anticipate taking your exam after the exam change in December 2019:

  • Has your courseware been updated to align with the June 2019 Exam Content Outline?
  • Will the training course cover agile with significant depth to ensure you will be able to answer the agile related changes?
  • Are your practice exams representative of the new exam?
    • Are the questions drawn from the three domains in the amounts prescribed by the exam content outline?
    • Are fifty percent of the questions agile and fifty percent predictive?
    • Are the questions an appropriate level of difficulty to accurately represent what the actual exam will be like?
  • What training materials or supplementals are provided and when were they last updated?
  • If there are any Videos-on-Demand (VOD), have they been updated to reflect the new tasks and enablers listed in the ECO?

How Project Management Academy Will Prepare You for the updated PMP Exam Content Outline

The content team at Project Management Academy® prepared a detailed analysis and began development of revised courseware within one week of the Exam Content Outline release. We are on track to have all of our courseware, videos, practice exams, question banks, training materials, and supplementals updated by September 2019. If you would like to take your exam before the December 2019 change, we are tentatively planning to continue the current courseware through November. For those of you planning to take the exam after the change, we will begin offering our new courseware in late October or early November.

In the coming months we will release a delta video to explain the differences between the exams, which are significant and difficult to explain in a single article. We will also be developing a series of bridge PDU courses in conjunction with our courseware update to ensure if you are already updated you can still benefit by staying knowledgeable about current trends and best practices in project management.

At Project Management Academy we take great pride in our content and courseware. We are confident you will have a second-to-none training experience which will more than adequately prepare you for your exam. We are so confident about this experience we offer a pass guarantee, where if you attend a training course in its entirety and do not pass your exam in three attempts within 120 days of course completion, we will refund your tuition.

We will work with you to ensure you are prepared to pass your exam, regardless of when you end up taking it. Students enrolled in one of our courses receive six months access to our online portal. If you take a course prior to the exam change and find yourself having to take the new exam for whatever reason, you will have access to all materials you would need to ensure your exam success.


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