PMI Postpones New PMP Exam Again

March 20, 2020.  PMI announced this week that it is extending the period of validity of the current PMP exam to December 31, 2020, and postponing implementation of the new PMP exam until January 2, 2021.

The current PMP exam is based largely on the 6th Edition of the PMBOK, which in turn is based largely on the Predictive project management methodology that many of us have been practicing for decades.  This involves the 5 classic Process Groups (Initiation, Planning, Execution, Monitoring and Controlling, and Closing); and 10 Knowledge Areas.

The new PMP exam is based in part on the 6th Edition of the PMBOK but in about equal part on Agile/Adaptive project management methodology that is commonly used for IT projects.  The Agile methodology was "codified" in the 2001 Agile Manifesto, and involves self-directed teams, a product manager and scrum master, depending on which type of Agile is being used.

There is, perhaps, a 50% overlap between the two methodologies, which means that 50% is new, regardless of which "camp" you are in.

The content of the new PMP exam will be 8% Business, 42% People and 50% Processes, with half of the Process questions Predictive-based and half Agile-based.  This is a dramatic change, with about 50% new content, which leads to two obvious conclusions for anyone intending to sit for the PMP exam:

  • If you are a Predictive practitioner, take the PMP exam before December 31, 2020.  After that date, the exam will be much harder for you.
  • If you an Agile practitioner, take the exam after January 2, 2021.

If you are interested in sitting for the PMP exam, there are instructor-led and on-line classes in a variety of formats (weekly classes, 5-day boot camp, at your workplace, online or at, for example, USI) for current and new exams.  But, if this credential is part of your career plan and you are a Predictive practitioner, this is about your last chance.  After December 31, you will have to learn a new language and new methodology, which may not be a bad thing. Acting now may be a better option for some of us.