A Short History of PMI® , the PMBOK® Guide, and the PMP® Exam

by Mark Tolbert

PMI , PMP and PMBOK are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

The first credential for PMI® was the Project Management Professional (PMP)®, and the first certifications were awarded in 1984.

1969 – Birth of PMI® – First Meeting is held in Atlanta, GA.

1984 – First PMP® Exams are administered

1987 – March – “Project Management Body of Knowledge” is released – not hardcopy – sections A through H, 5-6 pages in each section.

1994 – August – New exposure draft of the “PMBOK® Guide” is released – 64 pages. There are eight Knowledge Areas. (Integration Management is not included until the 1996 First edition.) Test is a six hour exam of 320 questions! (There are 40 questions for each of the eight Knowledge Areas. Each question has five multiple-choice answers.)

1996 – PMBOK® Guide, First Edition is released – 176 Pages. Nine Knowledge Areas and 37 processes.

2000 – PMBOK® Guide, 2000 Edition is released. (Second Edition) – 211 Pages, Nine Knowledge Areas and 39 processes. December 2004, – PMBOK® Guide, Third Edition is released. 390 pages; 44 Processes; 592 ITTO. August 2005 – Test changes to be based on Third Edition, and test becomes much more difficult! (PMI lowers the passing score to 61% to accommodate the increased difficulty of the exam.)

2007 – PMBOK® Guide earns the ANSI/ISO/IEC

December 2008, – PMBOK® Guide, Fourth Edition is released. 467 pages; 42 Processes; 517 ITTO. August 2009 – Test changes to be based on Fourth Edition.

August 31, 2011 – 30% of the questions are changed to conform to the latest 2011 RDS (Role Delineation Study) December 2012, – PMBOK® Guide, Fifth Edition is released. 589 pages; 47 Processes; 619 ITTO! August 2013 – Test changes to be based on Fifth Edition.

January 11, 2016 – Test changes to conform to the latest 2015 RDS (Role Delineation Study)

September 6, 2017 – PMBOK® Guide, Sixth Edition is released. 756 pages; 49 Processes; 662 ITTO (1,418 if you count all the bullets!) – Test changed to be based on Sixth Edition in April 2018.

November 11, 2019 - PMI® announces the PMP® Exam will change on July 1, 2020 to be based on the most current RDS, and that 50% of the questions will be based on Agile and Hybrid concepts. Later, in March of 2020, because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the test change date is moved to January 2, 2021.

January 2020 - PMI® releases the exposure draft of Version Seven of the PMBOK® Guide. It appears that Version Seven will mark the greatest departure and change in the PMBOK® Guide in its entire history! It appears that the entire "project framework" of 10 Knowledge Areas and 5 Process Groups will be replaced by a new framework of “Project Delivery Principles” and a “Value Delivery System.” PMI® says Version Seven will be formally released in Q4 of 2020. If they follow their normal schedule, the test will then change six months later.

There are a number of practice standards that also support the PMBOK® Guide. These include practice standards for the WBS, Risk, Configuration Management, Scheduling, Agile, and Earned Value. The PMBOK® Guide and these practice standards can be downloaded for free from pmi.org for PMI members.