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The PMBOK® has changed and soon so will the PMP Exam

Paul Naybour Paul Naybour

Published: 15th February 2013

It seems to be a year for changing well-established exams but all for the greater good, I’m sure. At the end of 2012 a new edition (the 5th) of the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) Body of Knowledge (PMBOK®) was published. Just as most business areas change over time, so has project management and, consequently, the PMI’s global PM standard has been updated to keep pace with the change.
Some project processes have been removed, some added and others clarified as well as the addition of a whole new knowledge area; Stakeholder Management (not that it wasn’t recognised as being important in previous versions but it now has its very own knowledge area).
So the new version of the PMBOK Guide now includes 10 knowledge areas and 47 project processes. The role of the project management office (PMO) is also more significant in this new edition. There’s an overview of the Agile, Waterfall, and Adaptive approaches and there’s also  a table of all the earned value management formulas to help evaluate how well the project is performing now and predict how it is likely to end.
It’s good to know that this new edition has clarified sections that were not always as clear as they could have been in the previous version and it has also filled some of the gaps but what if you are in the middle of studying for any of the PMI’s qualifications? Well, the bad news is that the exam will be reviewed and changed, but the good news is that this won’t happen until the end of July 2013. That means there is still time to take the exam based on your current study materials and the 4th Edition of the PMBOK.
But don’t leave it too late to take the PMP exam as there could be a shortage of availability as the deadline gets closer and you won’t want to find that you have to cover new material from the 5th edition before you can sit the exam if you miss the deadline.
If you plan to start studying later in the year then you will need to ensure that you buy the 5th Edition of the PMBOK and that all of your study materials are based on this edition. That includes any e-learning modules, videos or podcasts that you are using as well as written documentation.
Whenever you decide to take the exam you can be reassured that whichever version of the PMBOK the exam was based on will have no effect on the status and validity of your PMP qualification. Just like the syllabus changes for school examinations but they still have the same value as those taken under an older syllabus so a PMP qualification based on the 4th edition of the PMBOK is just as valid as one taken based on the 5th edition. So don’t put off taking the exam if you are ready to do so before the end of July 2013.
A detailed list of all the changes in the 5th Edition of the PMBOK can be found on the PMI website but here is our checklist of the main changes:

  • New “Stakeholder Management”  knowledge area
  • Expanded definition of the Project Management Office (PMO)
  • The topic of Project life cycles has been expanded
  • New “Plan Scope Management” process
  • New “Plan Schedule Management” process
  • New “Plan Cost Management” process
  • New “Plan Stakeholder Management” process
  • New “Control Stakeholders Engagement” process

Parallel Project Training are in the process of updating all project management courses that use the PMBOK so stay tuned for updates or follow us on Twitter or Google+.

  1. prosper iredia ogbagha says:

    Dear michelle,
    With the new change from pmbok 4th edition to 5th edition, is the pass mark for the PMP exam still 61% or it has changed?
    Expecting to hear from you!

    • Paul Naybour says:

      As far as we know the pass mark is the same, but the PMI normally do some normalization test when the exam changes. They check that the same percentage of people are passing with the new exam as with the old one. So if the exam is easier then the pass mark will be adjusted up to compensate.

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