PMP Exam Changes 2019

Why is the PMP exam changing?

Every four to five years the Project Management Institute (PMI) updates its PMP Exam Content Outline, which is the definition of what’s allowed on the PMP exam. It’s an update to this document that’s driving PMP exam changes.

PMP exam changes

PMI also updates its flagship publication, The Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) every four years.  But that last occurred at the end of 2018, so it won’t be changing just yet.

When do the PMP Exam changes take effect?

The last day to take the exam under the existing Exam Content Outline will be December 15th, 2019.

(September 1st, 2019 update: PMI has delayed the implementation of these changes until July 1st, 2020.) (March 18th, 2020 update: PMI has delayed the implementation of these changes until 2nd January 2021.)

What is changing?


After the PMP exam changes, about half of the questions will represent predictive project management approaches, and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches. (Currently the focus is mostly predictive.)


Currently, questions on the exam are categorized into five domains, with a fixed percentage of questions being asked for each domain.  In the new Exam Content Outline there are just three domains, with questions allocated as follows:

  • People:  42%
  • Process:  50%
  • Business Environment:  8%


Both versions of the Exam Content Outline describe tasks for each domain, delineating the topics that can be tested on the exam.  Historically these tasks have changed incrementally with each new Outline version, but this time there has been a complete rewrite.  (Read the new version here.)  None of the tasks in the new Exam Content Outline are completely new concepts, but the inclusion and wording of some tasks suggests a potential shift in emphasis in some areas.

What does this mean for PMP exam candidates?

  • Nothing is changing until December.  So if you are already preparing to take the test, you should proceed as planned and just make sure you pass before December.
  • If you are not going to test before December, you might want to wait until Q1 2020, when the new exam will have been around for a while.

Does this mean the PMP exam will be completely different?

No. However, the degree to which it will be changing is not yet clear.

Does this mean PMP bootcamps and training courses will be changing?

It depends. Remember that there is no standard curriculum for PMP training – every course is different, based on the experience and expertise of the training provider.  And the fact that the percentage of questions is changing, doesn’t by itself, impact what you need to learn.  

At Key Consulting we’ve already been providing agile instruction as part of our PMP courses since last year, so while our emphasis may change a little, at this point we’re not expecting we will have to make wholesale changes. 

About Kevin Archbold

Kevin Archbold, PMP, PMI-SP, has over 30 years of project management experience with large and small organizations in a variety of industries, including automotive, nuclear, telecommunications, trucking, IT, recruiting, mining, construction, and government. Kevin has presented at local and national levels within the Project Management Institute (PMI), is the winner of a local chapter PMI Project of the Year Award, and is the current president of a PMI Chapter.

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