Friday, July 31, 2015

Get Ready For A New PMP Exam Coming in November 2015 - Not Really, It's Yet Another RDS Update.

Most folks studying for the Project Management Professional (PMP) exam are unaware of the framework that lives just below the surface of the exam. This same framework of domains and tasks exists in many other types of situation/scenario-based certification exams.

By considering the very recent changes and trends in the PM profession, the Project Management Institute (PMI) likes to keep their exams current. They respin the exam every few years. It’s easy to do the respin when the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK), that is the basis for the exam, changes every four to five years (the next PMBOK update will occur in 2017). But what happens in between (like now)? The PMI calls this respin a Role Delineation Study (RDS) change. Without changing the underlying PMBOK edition-base of the PMP exam, they keep the exam current. In a nutshell, it’s nothing more than changing the mix of the scenarios. The changed domains and tasks are actually part of the scenarios.

As I mentioned, the scenarios in the exam relate to a specific task-based situation that a PM could run into in the real world. Those scenarios outline something going on in one or more of the five Process Groups (PGs); Initiating, Planning, Executing, Monitoring & Controlling, and Closing. These are the domains of the exam.

Each of the many exam scenarios, requires you to figure-out what needs to happen to answer the questions that come after the scenario. That ‘what needs to happen’ part is/are the task(s) associated with the specific domain in the scenario’s premise. There is a science involved in each of those scenarios. For example, the set of activities involved in something like:
Participate in the development of the project charter by compiling and analyzing gathered information in order to ensure that project stakeholders are in agreement on its elements.
is considered a specific task that an exam aspirant should know how to accomplish.
Each domain contains many tasks. All of those tasks are put together to build the scenarios and the questions in the exam.

They also changed the domain mix (the number of scenarios/questions from each domain) by a single percentage point; taking from Executing and adding to Closing.

So that’s all there is to it. They just take tasks that any exam aspirant should know anyway and mix them up a little differently. See for the actual list of the changes. There is no significantly new knowledge. They make it sound like there is, but when you really look at the ‘cross-cutting knowledge and skills’ required for the new tasks, there is really nothing new that you will be questioned on. Those skill are listed in the PMI page cited just above here. Once you read it you’ll agree there is nothing you will not already know. The Fifth Edition of the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge will remain the base of the PMP exam for another couple years.

The revised exam transitions in November 2015. If you were to compare a pre-RDS exam and a post-RDS exam, you would not be able to find the differences. So, don’t sweat that cut-over date.

Just keep on studying and good luck on your exam.
Dana Safford