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Get Ready! All You Wanted to Know About New PMP 2021 Changes

The PMP Exam is considered as one of the most prestigious exams when it comes to project management. Individuals who have completed this exam are highly sought after by companies to fill in their managerial positions. 


Recently, the Project Management Institute (PMI), who conducts these exams, announced that the PMP Exam’s course work would be changing from 1st January 2021. However, due to COVID-19, the revise date has been moved back by six months. 


In this article, we will discuss the reason for the change and what changes students who are planning to undertake this exam can expect. 

An Introduction To The PMP Exam


Before we delve into the changes, let’s first understand what this exam is all about. The Project Management Professional is an internationally recognized professional designation that is offered by the PMI. As of August 2019, there are 932,720 active PMP certified individuals and 300 chartered chapters across 218 countries and territories worldwide.


To ensure that the course work is up-to-date and relevant, the PMI conducts a study of the current roles and responsibilities of project managers and makes changes to the exam every 3-5 years. 


Before this, the PMI changed the PMP exam in 2015, wherein more than 25% of the exam content changed. After that, in June 2019, the PMI released the new PMP Exam content outline, which you can access here

Important Dates Relevant To The Change 


If you’re currently studying or planning to pursue the exam, here are the three most important dates that you should keep in mind. 


  • 30th June 2019 – PMI published the new PMP Exam Content Outline
  • 31st December 2020 – Last day to take the current version of the PMP Exam
  • 2nd January 2021 – First day to take the new version of the PMP Exam


The PMP Exam Change: Domain Level 


In a crux, the current PMP exam is conducted based on five domains of performance, however, from 2nd January 2021 onward, the exam will be conducted based on three domains. Mentioned below is a comparison of the old and new domains: 


Domain Current Domains 

(2015 – 2020)

New Domains 

(2021 onward)

Domain I Initiating  People 
Domain II Planning Process 
Domain III Executing  Business Environment 
Domain IV Monitoring & Controlling
Domain V Closing 


The PMP Exam Change: Exam Content Outline


Following the traditional PMBOK Guide, each domain consists of a particular set of tasks. Essentially, the PMP Exam content outline provides a basic but extremely important description of the types of questions that will be asked in the exam. Mentioned below, we’ve provided an in-depth summary of the tasks below: 




This domain comprises 42% of the new exam and has 14 related tasks. The questions emphasize on executing effective leadership of the team. According to the latest outline, the tasks are: 


  • Conflict Management 
  • Team Leadership 
  • Team Performance Support 
  • Team Members Empowerment 
  • Train Team Members & Stakeholders 
  • Teambuilding 
  • Identify & Remove Blockers For The Team 
  • Negotiate Project Spefications 
  • Stakeholder & Team Members Collaboration 
  • Build An Understanding Among The Team 
  • Providing Support To Virtual Teams 
  • Creating Ground Rules For The Team 
  • Mentor Stakeholders & Team Members 
  • Apply Emotional Intelligence To Promote Team Performance 




This domain takes up 50% of the new PMP exam and comprises 17 relevant tasks. The questions are focused on the more technical aspects of project management. Based on the latest outline of the PMP exam, the tasks under this domain are: 


  • Effectively manage a project depending on the urgency and priority 
  • Communications management
  • Assess and manage risks
  • Stakeholders engagement 
  • Management and planning of budget and resources 
  • Management and planning of a schedule 
  • Management and planning of quality of the products and deliverables
  • Management and planning scope of work 
  • Project planning activities integration 
  • Account for and manage changes in the project 
  • Management and planning of procurement 
  • Project artifacts management 
  • Determine appropriate project methodology/methods and practices
  • Establish a project’s governance structure
  • Identify and management issues in the project 
  • Implement knowledge transfer process for effective project continuity 
  • Management and planning of project closure


Business Environment


The Business Environment domain accounts for 8% of the new PMP exam and only has four tasks. The domain focuses on the importance of organizational strategy. According to the latest outline, here are the tasks of this domain:


  • Management and planning of effective project compliance 
  • Evaluation and delivery of benefits and value of the project 
  • Evaluation and address environmental changes and its impact on the scope of work 
  • Provide organizational change support 


Impact On The Project Management Body of Knowledge 


The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) is an extensive study material that helps students prepare for this exam. Despite the extensive changes in the exam, the PMBOK is not releasing a new version, as the new content is evenly distributed between the traditional PMBOK, combined with agile and hybrid approaches. 


According to the PMI, the Sixth Edition of the PMBOK guide, published in 2017, is self-sufficient in preparing for the latest exam and covers detailed agile practices. For further preparation, students can access the Agile Practice Guide.  

Additionally, the PMI has provided a list of books you can refer to while preparing for this exam, which you can access here.


Speaking of PMBOK versions, the guide is usually updated every 4 years. Hence, the 7th edition is likely to be released in 2021. The co-lead for the 7th edition of the PMBOK guide states that the new guide will be “a radical departure from all previous editions aligned with the PMI’s new digital transformation strategy”.


The Need For Change 


There’s no doubt that the roles and responsibilities of the project manager have evolved over time. Hence, companies expect their managers to possess the skills to accomplish new tasks flawlessly. 


The new exam has taken into consideration the impact of emerging trends, hence, it combines traditional predictive PMBOK approaches with the latest in-demand agile and hybrid approaches. This ensures that individuals who successfully pass this exam are a complete package for companies’ managerial needs and are ready to take on challenges that managers face in this era. 


Combining the three updated domains in the new exam version will ensure that the individual is ready for the ever-evolving field of project management. 


Of course, the PMP certification exam will be much harder now, and preparation is crucial now more than ever. 



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