Professional Responsibility

The Project Management Institute engaged the Columbia Assessment Service (CAS) to study the PMP examination process. This resulted in changes to the PMP examination. In fact, the exam was revised considerably as a result of the work that was done.

CAS began by analyzing the responsibilities of project management professionals (PMPs). Then it specified a plan for the testing of PMPs, wrote and rewrote questions for the exam, and determined the passing score for the test. The Project Management Professional (PMP) Role Delineation Study was published in 2000 to address the responsibilities of a PMP and the plan for the test. Since the PMP examination is very important to all of us who are certified as project manager professionals, it is also important that the examination be one that tests what actually happens in project management. The test questions must be fair and accurate and draw information from every aspect of project management.

Those who participated in the studies and interviews that were part of the process were not bound to the topics covered in the Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. For this reason the advisers found that it was necessary to add a sixth domain to the examination. So in addition to questions on initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing, the exam now contains questions on professional responsibility. These questions will account for 29 questions out of the 200 questions on the exam. This may seem like a lot, but when you consider that there are a lot of questions that are common to all of the domains—such as communications techniques, communicating effectively, coaching, mentoring, personal strengths and weaknesses, instructional methods and tools, stakeholders' interests, competing needs and objectives, conflict resolution techniques, and generating alternatives—it is difficult to relate a specific question on the examination to a particular domain or process area.

In the area of professional responsibility, tasks are defined, along with specific knowledge areas and skills that are required for each task. The examination questions are based on this material. The number of questions for each topic is based on surveys regarding the importance of each task within the project management community.

The following tasks are the basis for the questions that will be on the PMP examination. They are from the Project Management Professional (PMP) Role Delineation Study, published by the Project Management Institute.

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