Is it time already? The PMP is changing, again!

For those not familiar with PMP”, this refers to the Project Management Professional certification, one of the Project Management Institute (PMI) certifications.


If you are online and members of Facebook or LinkedIn groups relattted to project management you probably have noticed numerous posts recently on the PMP exam changing, again. Every time the PMBOK® Guide is updated the PMP exam changes; the last change was two years ago. Further, every time there is a change to the PM delineation study the exam changes as well. The last time this happened was four years ago.

Well, it is time again. I believe first of November the new exam will go live.

Change is often good if there is substantial advancement in the domain of project management. The last change in 2013 was due to the change from the 4th to the 5th edition of the guide and many providers and those who benefit from the PMP business made it sounds like the difference was enormous. They said things like “there is a new knowledge area”, or “five more processes”, and even things like “there are about 60 or more new pages”. In reality, the changes were mostly cosmetics because the topics of the new knowledge area and processes were already there in the previous edition but not as dedicated processes or knowledge area.

With the new upcoming change, should you worry? Should you care?

The following are blasts from the past to attempt to prove to you – not to worry!


The following data is PMI officially published data (all data is up to the end of August 2011)[1]

  1. The number of those holding the PMP Certification in the world is: 466,163
  2. The number of PMP earning their certificates between 1 July 2010 and 30 June 2011 (12 months’ period) is: 48,273
  3. The average monthly number of new PMP in the 12 months period in previous note is: 4,023
  4. The number of PMP in July 2011 jumped from the average of 4,023 to 13,869
  5. The number of PMP in August 2011 (last month) also jumped from the average of 4,023 to 14,295
  6. In summary, in two months we have had close to 30,000 PMP about 60% of the full year before!

Certifications Growth_2011

PMI Membership, Number of PMP and All PMI Certificate Holders Statistics

Why the Change

Apparently no one knows the exact answer. However, what we know is:

  1. The PMP exam changed at the end of August 2011
  2. Historically we know when there is an exam change the number of PMP candidates jump
  3. Usually, the increase is due to the situation that people and professionals who has been considering or studying for the PMP and delaying the exam, they make the push before the change since a change brings uncertainty.


The same trend repeated last summer[2]; when the exam changed due to the changes in the PMBOK from the 4th to the 5th edition!

  • From April 2012 to April 2013 the monthly average was about 4000 (same as in history)
  • The last four months before the exam change the monthly average jumped to ~ 14000
  • Just in July 2013 there were ~ 30,000 new PMP

In other words, it is clear from the graphics here that every time an exam is changed, there is a significant jump in the number of PMP candidates and new PMPs.

PMI Certifications

The Next Change

This time, all of the information we have received, read, and researched is that the new change is almost no change. Maybe we can even dare to say – negligible; at least per what we have seen so far.

Once again, should you worry? Should you care? About passing the PMP yes but about the change NO. Go on with your life, enjoy your work, summer, vacation, or whatever else that pleases you. If the PMP is a goal, go after it now or later. If it is not a goal, then do not bother.

Until next article – wish you success in all your endeavors!


This initial version of this article was originally published in September 2012. It is updated and republished in May 2015.


[1] All the information and numbers provided here are listed at the time of the data

[2] Mean summer of 2013

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About Mounir Ajam

A Project Management thought leader, who believes that project management touches all people, in all aspects of life; personal and professional.Initiated and led the formation of SUKAD Corp to develop the Uruk PPM Platform.An advocate of real-world, practical and applied project management.Champion of adaptive project management, tailored methods, and organizational project management.Available anywhere in the world to advise executives and organizations on the strategic value of project management. Ready to help organizations build and sustain the Project Management Function and the capacity to lead projects successfully.