New PMP® Exam 2021: The PMP® Exam Content Outline

PMI® released the new PMP exam content in January 2021, which is entirely different from the old exam format. The new PMP exam content concentrates on three domains: people, process, and business environment instead of only focusing on the process like the old one.

Do not be confused if you find that the new PMP exam content differs from the PMBOK® Guide because the exam is based on the PMP Exam Content Outline, not the PMBOK® Guide.

In this year’s update to the PMP® exam, PMI® conducted a Global Practice Analysis market research, which produced several trends in the profession previously unaddressed in the PMP® exam. These trends were used as inputs into the Job Task Analysis and ensured the validity and relevance of the PMP® examination. The Job Task Analysis guarantees that each examination validly measures all elements of the project management profession in terms of real settings. 

The research conducted through the Job Task Analysis validated that today’s project management practitioners work in various project environments and utilize different project approaches. Consequently, about half of the examination will represent predictive project management approaches, and the other half will represent agile or hybrid approaches. Predictive, agile, and hybrid approaches will be found throughout the three-domain areas listed below and are not isolated to any particular domain or task. 


The new PMP exam content comprises tasks in each domain. However, there is a new term “enablers” in the new PMP exam content. 

  • Domain: The high-level knowledge area that is essential to the practice of project management. 
  • Tasks: The underlying responsibilities of the project manager within each domain area. 
  • Enablers: Illustrative examples of the work associated with the task to help explain what the task contains. Below is an example of the new task structure and association with the enablers.
Domain I: People (42% questions appear on the PMP® exam)

Task 1: Manage conflict
• Interpret the source and stage of the conflict
• Analyze the context for the conflict
• Evaluate/recommend/reconcile the appropriate conflict resolution solution

Task 2: Lead a team
• Set a clear vision and mission
• Support diversity and inclusion (e.g., behavior types, thought process)
• Value servant leadership (e.g., relate the tenets of servant leadership to the team)
• Determine an appropriate leadership style (e.g., directive, collaborative)
• Inspire, motivate, and influence team members/stakeholders (e.g., team contract, social contract, reward system)
• Analyze team members and stakeholders’ influence
• Distinguish various options to lead various team members and stakeholders

Task 3: Support team performance
• Appraise team member performance against key performance indicators
• Support and recognize team member growth and development
• Determine appropriate feedback approach
• Verify performance improvements

Task 4: Empower team members and stakeholders
• Organize around team strengths
• Support team task accountability
• Evaluate demonstration of task accountability
• Determine and bestow level(s) of decision-making authority

Task 5: Ensure team members/stakeholders are adequately trained
• Determine required competencies and elements of training
• Determine training options based on training needs
• Allocate resources for training
• Measure training outcomes

Task 6: Build a team
• Appraise stakeholder skills
• Deduce project resource requirements
• Continuously assess and refresh team skills to meet project needs
• Maintain team and knowledge transfer

Task 7: Address and remove impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
• Determine critical impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
• Prioritize critical impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
• Use the network to implement solutions to remove impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team
• Re-assess continually to ensure impediments, obstacles, and blockers for the team are being addressed

Task 8: Negotiate project agreements
• Analyze the bounds of the negotiations for the agreement
• Assess priorities and determine ultimate objective(s)
• Verify objective(s) of the project agreement is met
• Participate in agreement negotiations
• Determine a negotiation strategy

Task 9: Collaborate with stakeholders
• Evaluate engagement needs for stakeholders
• Optimize alignment between stakeholder needs, expectations, and project objectives
• Build trust and influence stakeholders to accomplish project objectives

Task 10: Build a shared understanding
• Break down situation to identify the root cause of a misunderstanding
• Survey all necessary parties to reach consensus
• Support outcome of parties’ agreement
• Investigate potential misunderstandings

Task 11: Engage and support virtual teams
• Examine virtual team member needs (e.g., environment, geography, culture, global, etc.)
• Investigate alternatives (e.g., communication tools, colocation) for virtual team member engagement
• Implement options for virtual team member engagement
• Continually evaluate the effectiveness of virtual team member engagement

Task 12: Define team ground rules
• Communicate organizational principles with team and external stakeholders
• Establish an environment that fosters adherence to the ground rules
• Manage and rectify ground-rule violations

Task 13: Mentor relevant stakeholders
• Allocate the time for mentoring
• Recognize and act on mentoring opportunities

Task 14: Promote team performance through the application of emotional intelligence
• Assess behavior through the use of personality indicators
• Analyze personality indicators and adjust to the emotional needs of key project stakeholders

Domain II: Process (50% questions appear on the PMP® exam)

Task 1: Execute project with the urgency required to deliver business value
• Assess opportunities to deliver value incrementally
• Examine the business value throughout the project
• Support the team to subdivide project tasks as necessary to find the minimum viable product

Task 2: Manage communications
• Analyze communication needs of all stakeholders
• Determine communication methods, channels, frequency, and level of detail for all stakeholders
• Communicate project information and updates effectively
• Confirm communication is understood and feedback is received

Task 3: Assess and manage risks
• Determine risk management options
• Iteratively assess and prioritize risks

Task 4: Engage stakeholders
• Analyze stakeholders (e.g., power interest grid, influence, impact)
• Categorize stakeholders
• Engage stakeholders by category
• Develop, execute, and validate a strategy for stakeholder engagement

Task 5: Plan and manage budget and resources
• Estimate budgetary needs based on the scope of the project and lessons learned from past projects
• Anticipate future budget challenges
• Monitor budget variations and work with governance process to adjust as necessary
• Plan and manage resources

Task 6: Plan and manage schedule
• Estimate project tasks (milestones, dependencies, story points)
• Utilize benchmarks and historical data
• Prepare schedule based on the methodology
• Measure ongoing progress based on the methodology
• Modify schedule, as needed, based on the methodology
• Coordinate with other projects and other operations

Task 7: Plan and manage the quality of products/deliverables
• Determine quality standard required for project deliverables
• Recommend options for improvement based on quality gaps
• Continually survey project deliverable quality

Task 8: Plan and manage scope
• Determine and prioritize requirements
• Break down scope (e.g., WBS, backlog)
• Monitor and validate scope

Task 9: Integrate project planning activities
• Consolidate the project/phase plans
• Assess consolidated project plans for dependencies, gaps, and continued business value
• Analyze the data collected
• Collect and analyze data to make informed project decisions
• Determine critical information requirements

Task 10: Manage project changes
• Anticipate and embrace the need for change (e.g., follow change management practices)
• Determine strategy to handle change
• Execute change management strategy according to the methodology
• Determine a change response to move the project forward

Task 11: Plan and manage procurement
• Define resource requirements and needs
• Communicate resource requirements
• Manage suppliers/contracts
• Plan and manage procurement strategy
• Develop a delivery solution

Task 12: Manage project artifacts
• Determine the requirements (what, when, where, who, etc.) for managing the project artifacts
• Validate that the project information is kept up to date (i.e., version control) and accessible to all stakeholders
• Continually assess the effectiveness of the management of the project artifacts

Task 13: Determine appropriate project methodology/methods and practices
• Assess project needs, complexity, and magnitude
• Recommend project execution strategy (e.g., contracting, finance)
• Recommend a project methodology/approach (i.e., predictive, agile, hybrid)
• Use iterative, incremental practices throughout the project life cycle (e.g., lessons learned, stakeholder engagement, risk)

Task 14: Establish a project governance structure
• Determine appropriate governance for a project (e.g., replicate organizational governance)
• Define escalation paths and thresholds

Task 15: Manage project issues
• Recognize when a risk becomes an issue
• Attack the issue with the optimal action to achieve project success
• Collaborate with relevant stakeholders on the approach to resolve the issues

Task 16: Ensure knowledge transfer for project continuity
• Discuss project responsibilities within a team
• Outline expectations for working environment
• Confirm approach for knowledge transfers

Task 17: Plan and manage project/phase closure or transitions
• Determine criteria to successfully close the project or phase
• Validate readiness for transition (e.g., to operations team or next phase)
• Conclude activities to close out project or phase (e.g., final lessons learned, retrospective, procurement, financials, resources)

Domain III: Business Environment (8% questions appear on the PMP® exam)

Task 1: Plan and manage project compliance
• Confirm project compliance requirements (e.g., security, health and safety, regulatory compliance)
• Classify compliance categories
• Determine potential threats to compliance
• Use methods to support compliance
• Analyze the consequences of noncompliance
• Determine necessary approach and action to address compliance needs (e.g., risk, legal)
• Measure the extent to which the project is in compliance

Task 2: Evaluate and deliver project benefits and value
• Investigate that benefits are identified
• Document agreement on ownership for ongoing benefit realization
• Verify measurement system is in place to track benefits
• Evaluate delivery options to demonstrate the value
• Appraise stakeholders of value gain progress

Task 3: Evaluate and address external business environment changes for impact on scope
• Survey changes to external business environment (e.g., regulations, technology, geopolitical, market)
• Assess and prioritize impact on project scope/backlog based on changes in the external business environment
• Recommend options for scope/backlog changes (e.g., schedule, cost changes)
• Continually review external business environment for impacts on project scope/backlog

Task 4: Support organizational change
• Assess organizational culture
• Evaluate the impact of organizational change to project and determine required actions
• Evaluate the impact of the project on the organization and determine required actions

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