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Episode 405.1: The PMP Exam is Changing in 2018 (Free)

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Simona and Cornelius
Simona Fallavollita and Cornelius Fichtner

The exam for the Project Management Professional (PMP)® certification is driven by current practices in the profession. Because project management is evolving, so is the PMP exam. As a result of the release of the A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition in September 2017, the PMP exam will change on 26 March 2018. This is to ensure that exam content is consistent with the guide.

This interview with Simona Fallavollita (LinkedIn Profile) was recorded at the magnificient Project Management Institute (PMI)® Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois. We discuss the how, what, why and when of the changes that are coming to the PMP exam.

Although the PMP is not a test of the PMBOK® Guide, it is one of the primary references for the exam. This means that students preparing to take the exam after the change can expect to see lexicon changes and terminology used within the exam as well as harmonization of process groups, tools, and techniques. Students planning to take the exam after the change are advised to use PMP Training materials that are updated to the new guide.

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Simona Fallavollita: In this episode of the Project Management Podcast™, you will learn when, how and why the PMP Exam is changing in 2018.

Podcast Interview

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to the Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner. We are coming to you live from the magnificent 2017 PMI Global Conference in Chicago. And with me right now is Simona Fallavollita. Good morning, Simona. How are you doing?

Simona Fallavollita: Very well. Thank you for having me here, Cornelius.

Cornelius: Thank you for joining us today. How is the conference going for you so far?

Simona: It’s been wonderful. A great opportunity to meet with lots of practitioners, experience new educational sessions. So overall, ‘been great!

Cornelius: How do you think the energy is at this conference compared to last year?

Simona: I think it’s been a great better job. I think everyone’s been excited about new things changing at PMI, definitely more Agile influence coming in with PMI so definitely a buzz about the conference.

Cornelius: Right.   

Simona: Always good to see.

Cornelius: One thing that I noticed this year is—I’m a baby boomer so I’m on the older generation. There seems to be a lot of younger presenters and younger attendees here. We’re not just talking generation line. I’m talking millennials in their early 20’s.

Simona: How wonderful, right?

Cornelius: Yeah. It’s fantastic

Simona: It’s very exciting to see the younger generation embracing Project Management and getting into the profession.

Cornelius: Yeah. So, please do remind us. What is your role within PMI®?

Simona: I am the Product Manager for the PMP certification as well as our CCR Program.

Cornelius: Okay. How does that relate to the changes that are coming to the PMP Exam in early 2018?

Simona: So as the Product Manager, I oversee the general commercialization of the PMP product and one of the key responsibilities is ensuring that the PMP remains relevant to the profession and reflective of what’s happening in current Project Management world and practices that are going on.  

Cornelius: So you’re more involved with the Role Delineation Study then on that side.

Simona: Yes. I am a little bit more involved with the role delineation side but when it comes to updates to the PMBOK® Guide, I help to ensure that those are infused into the current version of the PMP Exam.

Cornelius: Ok. That’s what’s happening right now. The PMBOK® Guide was updated and that’s where the changes are coming from.

Simona: Correct. Recently we released the new version of the PMBOK® Guide  — the 6th edition. So with that, with the release of the new version, what we do is we go through a process to try to harmonize some of the changes made within the PMBOK® Guide to the PMP Exam.

Cornelius: Ok. When exactly is the exam changing?  

Simona: The PMP Exam will be changing March 26, 2018 so everything before that point we’ll refer to the PMP and the 5th edition of the PMBOK® Guide. As of March 26, and after, the PMP will be reference to the 6th edition of the PMBOK® Guide

Cornelius: OK. And let’s quickly talk about these two documents that we mentioned – the PMBOK® Guide and also the Role Delineation Study. Where do these fit in into the picture for the PMP Exam?

Simona: Sure that’s a great question and often one that is misunderstood. The Role Delineation Study and the exam content outline is really the blueprint for the PMP Exam. We go through an extensive research study—the Role Delineation Study—to really define the role of a project manager, what their responsibilities are, the tasks they’ll conduct as a project manager and it defines what will be on the actual exam itself. In contrast, the PMBOK® Guide is one of the references we utilize to develop exam questions for the PMP Exam so it’s only one of the references we use—we use many references to help validate the questions on the PMP Exam so the PMP Exam is not a test of the PMBOK® Guide but we certainly use it because we know the valuable resource that contains common practices—best practices in Project Management.

Cornelius: OK. So, in other words, the exam content outline says you will be tested about planning on your PMP Exam and in many cases questions on the PMP Exam are the correct answers maybe found in the PMBOK® Guide.

Simona: Correct. The exam content outline is always a source of truth in regards to the topics and concepts that will be on the PMP Exam. Some of those might be referenced in the PMBOK® Guide, some of them may not but certainly all the concepts and all the material that was in the PMBOK® Guide won’t necessarily appear within the PMP Exam.      

Cornelius: Is this some sort of a grace period for those students who use the PMBOK® Guide 5th edition right now and who, for some reason, fail to take the test before the 26th of March?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

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