PMP Eligibility Requirements Changed on April 17, 2012

by Josh

PMP Eligibility Requirements Change

There has been a change made to the PMP Handbook.  The handbook was last updated on April 17, 2012.

Dr. Paul Giammalvo alerted me to the change. I still have a communication from PMI I’m expecting back soon, but in the meantime I’ll share what changed with you and my initial thoughts.


I have had many spirited debates on the topic about what the PMP eligibility requirements truly mean. My interpretation has not been shared by all.

I have always interpreted the phrase “leading and directing project tasks” as managing projects. It’s true that this phrase is pretty wide open for interpretation though.

So here’s the change:

Changing From: “leading and directing project tasks”

Changing To: “leading and directing the project”

I *think* the new wording is closer to my interpretation, but who knows. It certainly seems to be saying plainly now that you must have been the project manager in order for the experience to count.

Here are screen shots from before and after the change:

Prior to April 17, 2012

After April 17, 2012


What Does This Mean?

I have no idea.

Hopefully when the PMI gets back to me I’ll have a better idea of what it really means.

Another thought Dr. Paul threw out was if this changes anything for people who already have their credentials.

I doubt it. Just as with any other standards change, it’s going to be tough to make thing retroactive. When a university upgrades their standards, it doesn’t mean that alumni must go back and complete the extra required course or else their degree is null and void.

What I Do Know

What I do know is this; if you stick with the interpretation I’ve always held, you can’t go wrong. Before you apply for the PMP exam, I recommend you have those hours of experience as the project manager, managing project teams to produce a product or outcome.

What other questions do you have? What are your thoughts on this change?




Leave a Comment

{ 85 comments… read them below or add one }

DrPDG April 26, 2012 at 9:42 am

My biggest concern in alerting people to this was not just the change in wording but the vagueness of what exactly is meant by “lead and direct”?

Does that mean the applicant was the project manager? Team Lead? Project controls manager? IF PMI wants to upgrade the requirements (which I support and applaud) then why not just say held the title of project manager and/or was responsible for the planning, execution, control and closing of the project”.

Frankly, I think PMI is being intentionally vague when they could have defined much more clearly whether an applicant had to have held the title andor fulfilled the responsibilities of a project manager.

To be fair, PMI also incorporates by reference, the PMP Exam Content Outline which looks to me very much like the beginnings of a competency based assessment.

So in order to make sense (well, sorta) you have to jump between the PMP Handbook and the PMP Exam Content Outline.

Bottom line- while it appears as though PMI has made a significant move to upgrade the PMP, IMPO, they sure went about doing it in a rather fuzzy manner.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Josh April 26, 2012 at 12:12 pm

I agree about the vagueness. I don’t think the title is applicable, I’ve seen too many different titles who are project managers or who’s main role is not project management but they do manage projects too.


Rick G April 26, 2012 at 9:49 am


This appears to be a logical change. If one has experience leading a “project task”, that does not equate to leading or managing the project. Leading or managing a “project task” is a limited experience that most likely will fall into only one or two of the process groups.


Josh April 26, 2012 at 12:19 pm

True Rick. I wish they could be more clear in the description though, I’m sure there’s still a little wiggle room there for interpretations being different.


Tina Weinborg April 26, 2012 at 9:52 am

I can see why the distinction is being made by PMI because there certainly is a difference between “managing a project” and “managing project tasks.” In my past experiences some larger organizations would employ Project Coordinators which did nothing but track deliverables and “mind the calendar.” They were also used for keeping minutes and distributing them to the project team. Another organization I worked for employed Project Expeditors that were responsible only for getting timely communication out to the team. I’m sure that there are other varying degrees of project roles out there but you’re right Josh — making certain you manage the project from beginning to end, from Initiation to Closure, and using the 42 PMI processes across your project portfolio, will assure that you meet PMI qualification guidelines.


Josh April 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm

True Tina. While those roles you described are valuable from the perspective of getting into project management, if you aren’t actually leading and directing a project it doesn’t really count (or shouldn’t, in my opinion).


Josh April 26, 2012 at 12:18 pm

That’s what the CAPM is for, project team members.


DrPDG May 1, 2012 at 5:07 am

Just to clarify, a long, long time ago, when the PMP was originally conceived, I was told by several old timers (including PMP #1, who I believe passed away recently) that the PMP was designed to measure whether people from functional departments had enough understanding of the terms and basic concepts to be able to be assigned to a team and not be totally lost.

Somewhere along the way, this small but important nuance was lost….. And now, people believe just because they know a little bit of terminology and can make a few simple calculations that they qualify as “professional” project managers?

Not on my dime, thank you!!

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Michael Stallfus April 26, 2012 at 11:59 am

This change could have great impact on PMP candidates. There is a big difference between “leading and directing tasks” and actually holding a PM title, if that is what “leading and directing the project” is supposed to mean. As a functional manager in a weak matrix, I spent much time doing the latter while not being a titled PM. AS a PMP certification trainer I have had many students that did PM type tasks and were not PMs. PMI will greatly reduce their potential member base if only PM are allowed the credential. Since PMI is a business, this does not make sense as a growth model.

If PMI is going to limit the PMP to only candidates that have already been PMs (in title) then they are going to have to start auditing the applications MUCH more strenuously.


Josh April 26, 2012 at 12:16 pm

The title doesn’t matter to me. Functional managers who are managing projects are still managing projects, and the time spent managing those projects counts.

On the value of the PMP, I’d rather see them raise the value of the certification by ensuring organizations of the quality of the certificate holders. I’ve ranted long and often about competency-based certification for PMI and that’s the only way they’ll truly get there. The PMP becomes less valuable all the time when people who have not managed projects are getting it. I think they should audit much more strenuously.


Michael Stallfus April 26, 2012 at 4:53 pm

If the title doesn’t matter (and I agree that it doesn’t) then you are back to the same problem of viable auditing. Many roles can “lead projects”. And I don’t think someone needs to have done ALL the activities and knowledge areas of the pmbok. As a PM for over 20 years there are processes in pmbok I have never been involved with, and glad of it. So how do we determine who has the experience to qualify? And competency based certification sounds good – what is this and how would PMI execute it?


Jeff April 26, 2012 at 8:02 pm

I’ll be interested to see the reply from PMI. Just got certified so this could be fun!


Harwinder April 30, 2012 at 1:49 am

I agree, the auditing process surely needs to be more rigorous. Looking at the kind of people who are getting certified these days (I’m referring to people I’ve met in real life), I’m really concerned.

While it’s a big business for PMI, they also need to guard against complacency. They cannot afford to let the value of certification degrade. In IT, developers see PMP as a way to step away from software development into leading/managing projects. And not just the candidates, look at the REPs. The standard of many of them is appalling.

The change in wording doesn’t mean much to me. If they had any real intention, they would have announced the changes loud and clear. I’m more interested to see firm steps being taken in the direction of a real competency based certification.


Landon May 31, 2013 at 2:16 pm

Thank you for saying this. I am currently trying to gain the experience necessary to take the PMI exam, and let me tell you – it is a struggle. It is extremely difficult to get a PM position (in title) unless you are ALREADY PMP certified!! It’s a fine catch 22. It makes breaking into the industry very difficult. However, I am right now managing a project for a marketing department – I am not titled as a PM, but am performing all the functions of one. If this experience doesn’t count towards my PM hours, I don’t see how I’ll ever make it. I mean, if you’re looking for someone to manage a project and one resume says “PMP” on it and the other doesn’t, who are *you* going to call? The guy who’s trying to “gain enough experience”? Not likely. There are enough PMPs walking around out there that it’s hard for a guy like me to compete for a titled PM position. So unless the PMI’s goal was to cap the # of PMPs in the world, the new requirement almost can’t refer to holding a titled position. It would take an epic strategic error on the part of the PMI to *accidentally* make it impossible to sell any more tests. I just don’t believe they would do that.


kangana April 26, 2012 at 10:10 pm

I actually womder the content of PMP certification, most of the Indian IT corporate managers behaves like PIMP after certification preperation. I beleive PIM should check for their mental ability to be a manager is also needed. Eliminate their certification based on the certification. They cant change peoples mindset but they can make the PMP can only be held by real eligible candidates


Leam Hall April 27, 2012 at 7:47 am

While I agree that there seems to be a lot of paper PMPs out there, this change could kill the PMP as a valid certification. It is a great idea to require a person to be the Project Manager for 4500 hours but it is next to impossible to get three years of work as a PM without the certification. Unless you’re doing your own at home projects like “Cook breakfast for two” and writing up a WBS for it. So the only future PMPs will be those that bloat their applications. Those of us who have led project tasks for years and have lots of very large enterprise level project management experience are out of luck if we’re not *the* project manager. At least it saves me $400 for the exam.


Landon May 31, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I’m working on a detailed project plan for:

“Circumvent PMI Experience Requirement”

Don’t worry, it’ll include all 5 processes for each phase of the life cycle.


Josh April 27, 2012 at 2:21 pm

From PMI:

The change in the updated version of the PMP handbook serves to be a clearer definition of the requirements for new applicants.  Any changes are meant to better assist prospective PMP holders with filling out their applications.  It in no way changes the requirements themselves.


Leam Hall April 27, 2012 at 3:01 pm

Okay, I’ve taken a deep breath now…

Josh, given the second sub-paragraph under the chart, I do not think your interpretation stands. It states that the application *should* have experience in all five process groups. By definition, an active PM *must* be involved in all five. So the applicant can be involved in lots of projects and work their way into the career field while accumulating hours. They may or may not have actual PM roles but they should understand the material on the exam and the guiding principles of the field before sitting for the test.

Further, Boot Camps may provide a valid resource for people who do not take tests well, or who have to overcome issues with the exam itself. There are people who are completely competent in the field but cannot pass a “standardized” test. However, I agree that a Boot Camp graduate with no project experience should not sit for the exam.

If my understanding is correct then it opens the door to mentoring and even the concept of a journeyman PM. I’ve certainly spent time picking the brains of my mentors and making myself learn things I need to know that I might not like otherwise. *cough* EVM *cough*

Anyway, those are my thoughts. I’m working on my CAPM now and will probably turn around and chase the PMP shortly thereafter. If PMI does not accept my hours then I’ll figure out a new track.


Michael Stallfus April 27, 2012 at 9:24 pm

Thanks for posting this. So PMI is saying in spite of what it said before, this is exactly what we meant all along and nothing has changed. This makes me think then that ANY of the PMP candidates i trained before are fully qualified for the exam even if they have not “led a project” because nothing has changed. If PMI accepted their qualifications then they should also now.

This makes my head hurt as much as the dissonance of a PMI-ACP…


Jeff April 28, 2012 at 10:40 am

Interesting. I can see that definition scaring some people away.


Chris Anderson April 30, 2012 at 2:04 am

Ostensibly, it seems to mean being *the* project manger, but then footnote denoted by the asterisk basically says the same thing as before.

The only challenge coming to mind is that how this is all verified. My references for each project, for example, I made sure were comfortable testifying to my specific PM tasks – they could personally know that I scheduled the project, or implemented quality assurance. If you asked them “did he lead *the* project?” that’s a bit muddy. There are typically many people running around with different titles – the customer, the business owner, functional managers, etc.


DrPDG May 1, 2012 at 5:13 am

[edited to avoid liability]

Paul, I don’t want to censor you, but I had to this time. I’ll email you with the content of your comment so you can post it elsewhere if you wish, but I know from experience that organizations will go after the owner of a website where accusations were made, even though I had nothing to do with it.

- Josh


Leza Brown, PMP May 2, 2012 at 12:50 pm

I have to ask, is the purpose of this post to discourage people from obtaining the PMP certification? Some of the comments come off as a little heavy handed to me.

In an effort to advance my professional career, I applied for the PMP certification in 2006 when I did not have the official title of Project Manager. Nevertheless, I have managed small projects in various capacities, including some personal and volunteer projects. My application was approved and I did successfully pass the exam on the first time.

Since obtaining my certification, I have successfully managed software implementation projects for some Fortune 500 companies and have proven myself to be one of the strongest in that role. My point is, I don’t think the purpose of the PMP certification is to prove yourself superior over others, but to prove that you have the core knowledge and competency to manage projects. Holding the credentials do not mean that you will be any better a managing projects, only that you have a strong foundation to enable you to do so. I personally see the value in extending the opportunity to anyone who shows the committment to obtain it.

Just my personal thoughts…


Tina Weinborg May 2, 2012 at 1:38 pm

Leza you certainly bring up some good points as do all of the other posts here. I can see a division among the readers here as would be expected. From my own personal experience I’ve seen resumes divided into the “PMP” and “non-PMP” piles when considering candidates for a PM position. Does that mean that one is more qualified than the other to do the job? Perhaps not but in my humble opinion it should. I thought that was the whole purpose of attaining a credential. It demonstrates your ability to grasp both basic and advanced concepts and nuances of your discipline that have been attained through education, experience, and training. I believe that the desire to “extend the opportunity to anyone who shows the commitment to obtain it” is fine and noble. However I have to ask — should the AMA open up the medical boards to anyone who wants to become a MD (or any other credentialed discipline)? Maybe the example is extreme but I’m just trying to make a point.

Would love to hear everyone’s thoughts.


Josh May 2, 2012 at 2:51 pm

An insightful comment Tina. I think Dr. Giammalvo might agree with you on your last example.

I think if we want a certification like this to truly be an indicator of what stage someone is at, it needs to be a stepped thing. IPMA has D, C, B, and A for different roles/levels. PMI’s analogous certifications would be the CAPM = D , PMP = C, nothing for B, and PgMP = A. (but of course the requirements and testing are different).

The bad thing in my opinion is that many companies see the PMP as either entry-level due to experience with PMPs who haven’t actually managed projects, or companies that see the PMP as an indicator of competency. Neither is true.


Leza Brown, PMP May 2, 2012 at 3:50 pm

Hi Tina,

I understand your position, however I think I may prefer to compare the PMP Certification to a Teaching Certification or maybe even a law degree vs. a medical licence. Project Managers do impact businesses immensly, but fortunately we don’t hold people’s lives in our hands. On the other hand, there are some truly horrific licensed doctors out there, so we see that regulation and standardization doesn’t ensure quality in any case. Regretably, as you mentioned, Project Managers are often not even considered for a position these days unless they have the PMP credentials. How do you get the required hours if you don’t have the PMP? Which comes first the chicken or the egg? – LOL!


DrPDG May 2, 2012 at 7:12 pm

Hi Tina (and Leaza)
First, I not an academic, but a practitioner, and I have been developing and running competency development courses in project management for 20+ years now, leading our clients to prepare not only to the PMI family of credentials, but also those of AACE, INCOSE and CMAA. So I have a pretty solid sense of the relative “difficulty” of the processes required by these organizations for potential applicants to qualify as well as a very good understanding of both the breadth and depth of the content each exam is testing against.

And in my professional opinion, I believe the PMP to be an over sold credential which is being inappropriately used by some HR people as a defacto license. I believe this to be wrong which is why I speak out against it.

I think the PMP is a great entry level credential for a person to move from a functional position to be assigned to work on a project team and not be lost, but as Tina noted, the rigors of the application process and the exam itself does not even come close to those of medicine, engineering or even some of the trades. This is a reality.

If anyone is interested to see where the various globally recognized credentials stand compared against the US Professional Engineer (PE) license and Malcolm Gladwell’s “10,000 hour” rule, you can download this research from our website-

The narrative explanation is the 13th bullet point down from the top and the Excel spreadsheet is the 14th bullet point down.

FWIW, GAPPS is also conducting a similar comparison of both the Standards AND the credentials-

In conclusion, my best and most sincere advice is “Caveat Emptor”……. Each person must do their own due diligence and decide for themselves which credentials offer the best value for the money/effort required to get them.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Josh May 2, 2012 at 2:41 pm

My only purpose for posting this was to point out the change in the handbook Leza, and try to figure out what it really means.


Leza Brown, PMP May 2, 2012 at 3:38 pm

No worries Josh. I believe your intentions were pure, I was just hoping to keep things on topic. If your website is geared to helping aspiring PMPs get their certification, they may get deterred after reading some of the comments.

Thank you for generating the conversation.


DrPDG May 2, 2012 at 7:21 pm

Leaza, there is a difference between “discouraging” or “deterring” people and professional practitioners speaking out and offering what we believe to be an honest and unbiased professional opinions.

I am recognized as a very effective teacher of project management competencies and a great mentor, but that means being candid and honest with our clients as to what not only the PMI credentials but the credentials of ANY organization purporting to represent those of us who practice the art and science of project management do and do NOT measure or validate.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


DrPDG May 3, 2012 at 12:45 am

Hi Josh, it is really sad when honest and sincere opinions, rendered by professionals in the field have to be censored for fear of being sued.

Perhaps a great topic for another thread but look at most professional codes of ethics/codes of conduct and what percentage of them are focused on protecting the consuming public (i.e. Hippcrate’s “do no harm”) and how many are focused more on controlling the actions or behaviors of members of the organization?

There are two researchers who offer a rather cynical (although IMPO an accurate) view of “professional organizations”. One is Andrew Abbott in his “Systems of Professions” who basically says professional organizations are locked in a perpetual “turf war” or “power struggle” for the hearts, minds, loyalty and money of practitioners, and the other is Eliot Freidson (1970), who argues that the “professions differ from trade unions only in their sanctimoniousness” (p. 360).

Either way, despite high sounding goals and objectives, the two primary drivers are (IMPO) money and power.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Leam Hall May 3, 2012 at 5:56 am

I would have to disagree, to a degree. There are several human motivations as Maslow points out. As you reach the levels of having food, shelter, and companionship, the biggest driver is significance. Some find significance in power, or money, or lots of other things. However, you can also find significance in doing agood job well and helping others. Sadly, I think there are not enough of those folks in charge.

Not only do we seek significance, but we tend to know somewhere is our true calling. The further we are from doing what we are created to do the more we need significance to soothe the mental disharmony. For me personally the planning and organizing functions of project management are what I was created to do. It is what I have been doing all my life and where I’ve gotten into trouble at work when I share a plan that will save money or make us more efficient, only to be remided that my place is doing “X” and nothing else.

Professional organizations can be good, but it takes more effort to be good and true to the profession than to be a mode of self-significance.


Leam Hall May 3, 2012 at 5:58 am

One day I will learn to type. Today does not seem to be that day…


DrPDG May 3, 2012 at 10:35 am

Hi Leam, to be clear, I wasn’t talking about the practitioners themselves, but the organizations which purport to represent them.

I have met MANY outstanding professionals through PMI, but I abhor what the organization has become since around 1996 or thereabouts. Once it got taken over by the professional organization managers instead of being run by the members, the organization changed from being a relatively benign organization to becoming (IMPO) a 20 milllion USD per year big business, conveniently masquerading as a 501(c)(3) not for profit.

When I took my PMP circa 1989 (#740) the exam was 7 hours long, consisted of 320 questions with 5 not 4 possible answers and you had to pass all 8 of the knowledge areas with a score of 70%. Since then, the exam has been “dumbed down” to only 175 questions, in 4 hours, with a passing score of 162/175 or 62%. So I found it very intriguing that it appears as though PMI may be raising the bar with this change.

Big question in my mind is whether they will take it to the next level and actually make the PMP a competency based credential? The latest PMP Exam Outline certainly looks to me like a competency framework.

BUT, that means they are going to have to do some sort of 360 degree workplace assessment. (On the idea of what they do for the PgMP, but requiring a more robust assessment than just “12 friends and a case of wine” method.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


Rick G May 2, 2012 at 1:01 pm

Leza, your observations are shared by others. Thanks for speaking up!


Leam May 2, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Hey Leza!

I know my comments are sometimes heavy handed and that’s something I’m working on. The PMI action could negatively impact me greatly and I felt my projected course of action was a good and valid one. While I don’t want to falsely discourage anyone from the certification my confidence in PMI is a bit shaken.



Leza Brown, PMP May 2, 2012 at 4:00 pm


I understand everyones confusion with PMI’s language and the worries that this could negatively impact some aspiring PMPs. This is not the first time PMI has provided ambiguous language in their materials and I’m sure it won’t be the last. I have had some struggles with this issue as an instructor teaching from the PMBOK. Nevertheless, based on what I have read thus far, I don’t think you will have any difficulties qualifying with your level of experience, even if you were not the Project Manager. I hope you continue on along your course and I wish you much success.


John November 29, 2012 at 9:39 am

To point out the obvious, this entire thread was derived from the PMI’s inability or intentional lack of communication in their requirements. Within any profession, communication is essential to the success of the project and/or operation. The question then is, are they vague on purpose or unintentionally. We would have to get them to explain that.
I would like to add though (my opinion) that the exam is third party verification of your knowledge and the requirements to take it are in place to prove you have a history and actual interest in the field as compared to an ability to read a book, comprehend it, and take an exam.
No, I am not PMP certified but working towards it. I believe there needs to be checks and balances but they shouldn’t be so restrictive that you need to be a designated PM to qualify.


Josh May 2, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Personally, I would contact PMI customer care on the phone to ask about your specific situation. On larger projects for instance, there can be several people who are responsible for their own separate teams. These people are all managing projects, even though they may be sub-projects within a larger one.

And on the other hand, you don’t need to have had the title “Project Manager” to have led the project. It doesn’t matter what your title was. Volunteering to organize an event for your organization or a group you belong to is managing a project. Many people with ‘Lead’ in their titles are also managing small or large projects throughout the year… it just depends on the specific activities and responsibility.


Rick G May 2, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Based on the PMI reference at, the PMP is a marketable and defined qualifier in a career emphasizing management practices/accountability. When pursuing that next “gig” as a PM, we still have to sell our skills with references, complimentary certifications/education, and (*gasp*) personality. At the end of the day, it has to come down to a deliverable your stakeholders see as “the best deliverable since the Egyptian Pyramids were built”.

(Stepping onto the virtual soapbox)
There is also the additional benefit of a community in the local, national, and international levels – PMI has built a community of international managers that are professional, ethical, and dynamically fill the various needs across the merging national economies we refer to as globalization. Seriously, there are not too many industries that can make that claim!

As PMPs (or soon to be), there is an inherent responsibility to be the best in the field – competition drives the market, and PMPs are one of the major assets in any market. If you can live with this fact, use the PMP as your “minimum standard and build yourself up from there.
(Stepping off the virtual soapbox)

The PMI phrasing we are discussing will have very little impact. Josh has a spreadsheet that may need to be modified slightly – but otherwise the proof of having the correct amount of hours across the board will still apply. Directing, leading, managing happens at all levels – that’s about all there is to it.

Best Regards….


Leam Hall May 3, 2012 at 8:16 pm

So here is a possibly dumb but related question. These two lines come from the page where you start to log your PM experience for the PMP.

“Project management experience dating back at least three years from application submittal date.”

“Project management experience not dating back further than eight years from the application submittal date.”

Do I read this correctly that the work I’ve done for the last three years can’t be put on my application?



Josh May 3, 2012 at 10:36 pm

That just means a minimum of 3 years, and only experience within the last 8 years can be used to meet the requirement.


DrPDG May 4, 2012 at 3:11 am

Leam, read it as “not LESS than 3 nor more than 6 years” and you should be fine……

Explained another way, you MUST have a MINIMUM of 3 years experience (5 without a 4 year degree) but you cannot count any hours that are MORE than 6 years old. (8 years if you don’t have a 4 year degree)

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Ariel May 6, 2012 at 8:46 pm


I liked your contributions in this discussion. Nice thinking, very open minded.


Janelle Edgar May 7, 2012 at 2:07 pm

How do you get 7,500 hours experience being a project manager, leading projects, without already having a PMP certification! Astounding change that I look forward to hearing more about.
Thank you for the alert.


DrPDG May 7, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Janelle, except in IT and Telecommunications, most people are project managers in responsibility if not job title BEFORE going for their PMP……

Only those two sectors seem to be requiring the PMP as a defacto license to practice….. (You can’t get a job unless you have your PMP)

But on the plus side, I do see a strong movement AWAY from exam based credentials (i.e. PMP) and more towards competency based credentialing (i.e. asapm/IPMA0

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Josh May 7, 2012 at 8:36 pm

My experience has been a bit different in both IT and telco, perhaps it’s a regional thing. I can think of many people I’ve worked with including myself who have worked ‘craft’ for years before going into project management, many times having done pieces of the role already in lead positions, etc. The PMP, for those who have it, came later and for most because of a company initiative to get their project managers PMP certified.

On the other hand, I don’t know of anyone who got a project management role because of a PMP and without any transferable experience from related roles. That’s my experience. And I can tell you if I had a candidate with a PMP certification and no experience managing projects, that would disqualify them in my eyes because I could know for a fact they didn’t meet the experience requirements.

This is why I teach methods of landing positions in project management that don’t require a certification. It’s not an option for someone new to the field to get a certification that requires experience or a demonstration of competency, if you don’t have said experience.


Leam Hall May 8, 2012 at 4:40 am

My experience has been that you have to have a PMP to get a job as a PM. So if you’re staying with your company you may get opportunities for career growth. If you work for such a place and need an IT guy, let me know. I like giving my employer what they pay for and more because it leads to growth for both of us.


Fahad May 12, 2012 at 11:29 am

I don’t think that one has to be a Project Manager to apply for the PMP Exam. If this is so, then how about the Project Engineer, Project Cost Control Engineer, Project Planner…etc.

Please update us when you get responce from the PMI.

I was not aware of this new update in the PMP Handbook.

Thanks for sharing this info.



Josh May 12, 2012 at 4:11 pm

I’ve already posted the response I received from PMI.

There are other applicable certifications for those other roles, from AACE, INCOSE, etc.

The PMP is for people who have and are managing projects, even if “project manager” is not their official title.


DrPDG May 13, 2012 at 3:11 am

I am just wrapping up a class of 25 people here in Jakarta who will be taking their PMP exam in the coming 2 weeks and so far, no one has been audited. We did send an email directly to PMI HQ and the Singapore office responded that absolutely nothing has changed.

While I find that statement preposterous, (how can you possibly equate “leading or directing project TASKS” to “leading and directing PROJECTS”?) that is what PMI is claiming, so at least for now, go with the flow……..

IF nothing else, this change in wording along with the latest PMP Exam Content specifications, is certainly LOOKING like PMI is moving the PMP more towards being a COMPETENCY based credential, which is good for the practice of project management, but not so sure how it will play out for those who already hold their PMP.

Will PMI “grandfather” you in or will you have to show your work outputs come next time to renew?

Either way, after 15+ years of “dumbing down” the PMP, it is about time PMI started to raise the bar…….

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


Jeff May 13, 2012 at 4:31 pm

How will the exam change? I did a quick Google search and couldn’t find a guiding document…but perhaps I’m just missing something.

I kinda like that EVP certification you pointed me to awhile back. Found INCOSE ASEP, as well, as I’m interested in Systems Engineer positions…


Josh May 14, 2012 at 9:52 pm

No changes to exam that I’m aware of, none of my research has indicated a change relative to this.


DrPDG May 15, 2012 at 8:52 am

Hi Folks,
FWIW, I have over 15 years of data based on the benchmark exams I created and use in our classes (3 benchmark exams of 200 questions each) and based on the results on those exams compared against the pass rate in our classes, I am reasonably confident that the PMP exam has NOT changed at all and the passing score remains 106/175 or 62%.

For those interested to convert your qualitative results into a numeric value which at least up until now has proven reliable (no false passes or false failings) you can download it here.

So far, we have had two people audited under the new wording and no one has been rejected even though I know for a fact that neither of them are “project managers” but more like team leaders and/or project control professionals.

Bottom line- I hate to say it, but it looks like what I consider to be “false and misleading” advertising on the part of PMI is getting worse, not better.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


DDog May 18, 2012 at 5:59 am

I agree…. A number of the so called PMPs that I have worked with recently cannot manage a project even if it is a very small one and cause more harm then good to the PMP cert. Some have stated that they were previously a administrative assistant… But that they met the requirements because they were in charge of everyday task…. – Paper PMP It is a money thing for PMI the more people they get certified, the more dues and fees they get.


B Sai Prasad May 17, 2012 at 11:11 pm

This simply means he should be a project manager and not a task manager. We sometimes meet people thinking just executing day-to-day work (like say filling the risk register, attending meeting, etc) is project management, but we know the truth. They are task managers


DDog May 18, 2012 at 5:53 am

I am hopeful that this new interpretation means that those who do not have the hours directing projects will not simply walk in and become another paper PMP. I left the PMI sometime ago because of this very loose requirement and have still seen a number of individuals create their own interpretation of this requirement. In fact I have seen everyone from a janitor to a administrative assistant go for their PMP because they could say that conducting the cleanup of a parking lot or scheduling the boss’s birthday party was in fact a project. – Thus the reason I separated myself from PMI… It has become a money thing and they allow paper PMPs to continue flooding the industry. Ruining what was considered a great certification. Hopefully this actually helps.


Jay Ger March 5, 2013 at 10:58 pm

I have been a career admin (Exec) Assistant in NYC and have worked with some very high profile CEO’s and the likes. It is sort of close minded to insinuate that a person who is an adminstrative professional doesn’t live up to what you consider “directing projects”. In fact, the 6 figures assistant does a lot and brings an insane amount of value to the table. Just saying….


admin March 14, 2013 at 6:25 pm

I agree. When I teach in the classroom I meet plenty of Exec Assistants who are running projects and doing an excellent job too!


Leam Hall May 18, 2012 at 6:24 am

(Note that there is some humor in the rancor. Coffee is still kicking in, please read this in a friendly jesting tone.)

The opposite is also true. If you interpret the new wording instead of just assuming you know what it means, then you eliminate those who have been coming up the PM ranks through mentoring and experience. The strictest interpretation will, I fear, elminate the PMP as a career option for a lot of intelligent and hard working people.

If you don’t think a janitor could be a project manager, go clean up after a Katrina type event. Administrative assistants can be wonders at project management, much better than academics who can do the formulas in their head but never get into real work.

If you want the PMP to be like a crusty old boys club where you can sit around and bemoan the state of things, feel free. The rest of us have decades of work left to do, familes to feed, and don’t care about your opinions. We manage projects in phases, tasks, and daily conversations and the PMP is an addition to our success, not an end all solution. If you old farts can’t tell when a PMP holder has any real expereince when you try to hire them, you need to learn some people skills.

In my opinion the PMP should be an entry point; you know the formulas and you’ve done some work applying them. The PMP shows you’re serious about building your craft; it’s the Bachelor’s degree in getting things done. Now the real work begins.



DrPDG May 18, 2012 at 9:39 am

Hi Leam,
There was a VERY heated debate on this topic about a month ago on Linked In and after ~700 postings (last time I bothered to look) even some of the die hard PMI/PMP stalwarts had to admit the credential was nothing more than an entry level credential.

I mean, who in their right mind would consider that any credential which can be earned after claiming 4500/7500 hours of UNVERIFIED work experience, then studying a book of sample questions or listening to a podcast for 35 hours, then taking a 4 hour, 200 question multiple choice exam of which only 175 questions actually count, then passing it with a score of 106/175 or ~62% has to be living in never-never land…… Either that or they have been drinking too much of PMI’s Kool Aid……

Having said that, it surely looks to me like PMI is taking their cash cow and making it into a competency based credential, much along the lines of what they did with the PgMP.

Now, I am surely no fan of PMI, but for the sake of those of us who consider ourselves to be truly professional practitioners, I think IF PMI really is moving the PMP to be a competency based, credential, I believe this to be a welcome change in the right direction.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Leam Hall May 18, 2012 at 10:20 am

Morning Dr PDG!

As you can probably tell, I am very biased towards the mentorship approach to learning. I feel that you can go to college or read a book to learn facts but the real education starts with application. Given the rising costs of college here in the US and diminishing ROI from a degree, books become a much better investment. But books have their limits for skill based growth and you have to have experience in the field to really be a professional.

We agree that boot camp graduates with no real experience are probably not professional project managers. We agree that PMI has let that trend grow and it is not desireable. I’m not sure where you stand on this but PMI seems to disagree with mentoring as a valid growth tool. If you have been doing the work for three or more years then why would you need their affirmation for what you can do?

I see two reasons for and individual to get a PMP; as an academic verification of your breadth of formulas or as a job search tool. For me it is the latter though I do want the breadth as well. If someone has a PMP it shows they have the concepts. However, if they can show a portfolio of well done projects then the PMP becomes less relevant. I’d like both but a strict interpretation of what PMI might mean can preclude that. Of course, given the surrounding sentences one can argue differently, which I don’t mind doing. :)

I want my PMP to be one thing I can show a prospective employer, not the only thing.



DrPDG May 18, 2012 at 8:06 pm

Hi Leam,
Are you on Linked In? If yes, wanna connect? We specialize in developing and facilitating experiential (project) based learning using blended learning methods. Our graduate level courses are half mentoring/half consulting, designed specifically for mid career path, adult learners. Our students select their own case studies and we guide/facilitate them in a journey of self directed learning leading to more advanced certifications.

While we use this approach for the PMP and the other PMI family of credentials, our real focus is on the much more technically demanding, but less effectively marketed AACE and INCOSE certifications.

If you are interested in connecting, here is my Linked In URL

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Jeff May 19, 2012 at 3:41 pm

Dr. Paul – What’s your take on the ASEP from INCOSE? I’m interested and don’t qualify above that level. Working on EVP, too, but I’ve networked to a point where Sys Eng positions may be on the horizon…I’ve read your research on it but looking for your opinion…Thanks!


Leam Hall May 19, 2012 at 5:33 pm

Jeff, I’ve also been a member of INCOSE, and will probably rejoin in the near term. My perception is that they are split into three groups; the academics, the old guard who “wrote the book”, and the masses in between that lean one way or another. The SE paradigm makes a lot of sense to me and I love doing things better. Check out Tom Gilb’s book “Competative Engineering” at


Jeff May 19, 2012 at 7:11 pm

Thanks, Leam, for the insight on INCOSE. Josh actually pointed me in their direction and I’m just looking for some more opinions on the matter, so yours is appreciated. He and I are both leaning in the same direction. I actually have an undergrad degree in AeroEng and took some engineering project management courses while there. I’m mostly a program manager now with project-management duties in higher ed but, in my networking while looking for a better job, a contact in the aerospace industry asked why I wasn’t looking at manager-level Systems Engineer positions at her company. I didn’t have a good answer. After looking through some of the job postings, however, I fit the mold. Well. In fact, as long as they have a small amount of patience for me to pick up some of the finer, technical points of the work (1-2 months of hard work on my end), I could do some of those jobs standing on my head, based on the descriptions. I have great “people skills” and can do EVM and big-picture stuff very easily. So, I’m just trying to add to my technical credibility. I’m pursuing the EVP at Dr. Paul’s behest and am also looking at INCOSE ASEP. I know the exam is the same as CSEP but I don’t have the experience to be a CSEP. My work is in coordination/integration and program/project management but I work in a services environment. I’ll take a look at that book, as well, so thanks for the tip! Any good ways to prepare for the INCOSE ASEP exam aside from just reading the manual?


DrPDG May 19, 2012 at 6:56 pm

Jeff, like the AACE certifications, INCOSE’s ASEP is much more technically oriented towards engineers-as-business(wo)men or engineers-as-managers.

For some interesting background information, back around 1989 – 1991, PMI was just about bankrupt. They didn’t even have enough money to pay their meager staff. (Barbara Pattinson et al) At that time AACE and PMI were in serious discussions about merging, but the powers that be in AACE wanted to claim project management as an engineering discipline, while PMI wanted to take a more open approach, positioning project management as a stand alone profession.

Obviously enough, due in large part to the popularity of the PMP, PMI has succeeded beyond even their own wildest expectations, while AACE has languished between 5000 and 7000 members.

But the good news, at least from my perspective, is people are growing unhappy with PMI’s gross over commercialization of everything they touch while at the same time, AACE and INCOSE are moving more towards open source sharing of the collective IP of their members, which is proving increasingly important. So while PMI continues to grow, AACE and INCOSE are starting to take market share and loyalty of those disaffected/unhappy with PMI.

My take on the professional association landscape………

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


Jeff May 19, 2012 at 7:15 pm

So, would you recommend pursuing INCOSE ASEP certification? You know my background, of course, and I’m looking to take a more technical turn in my career…


DrPDG May 19, 2012 at 7:48 pm

Yes, knowing your background, I would recommend you get BOTH your EVP and your ASEP…..

Although if you go into mining, you probably would be better off to get your CCE from AACE and break into the mining sector through a job in project controls…… There is SERIOUS money there and a lot of jobs…..

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


Jeff May 19, 2012 at 8:38 pm

The SysEng roles that I’ve looked at are actually quite heavy in controls (aerospace industry) and management and lighter on technical responsibilities, and I agree with your take that controls is a good career path. It fits my skills and talents well and I think I’d succeed. I need to find an entry point, though, and that probably means that my best bet is in aerospace/defense as a Systems Engineer based on my background in the aviation industry. So, this probably means that going into construction, energy, or mining is Step 2. So, something like a CCE is likely on my horizon but not the immediate horizon. It’s just a little too removed from what I do for it to carry credibility in the immediate future. EVP + ASEP sound great. I’ve started studying for the former but not the latter.

There are definitely a lot of jobs out there in controls. Many want existing Primavera experience in construction, energy, or mining. I know Project & Excel but not Primavera. Aerospace companies don’t seem to need that, though “familiarity” is mentioned at times. Probably another reason that an industry jump is two steps away.

Thank you for the insight!!!



Jeff May 19, 2012 at 3:40 pm

Probably the best answer yet on this topic!!!


PMP courses June 19, 2012 at 5:31 am

It is a very good article. There are lost of student wants to become project manager of a reputed IT companies and for this they want to join PMP certification courses. This is very helpful article for the students who have interest in PMP courses. Through this article student get information about the eligibility criteria for PMP.


Mark Robinson August 10, 2012 at 1:28 pm

Ah, if only PMI would retroactively apply this change as you read it. Probably “lose” 70% of the PMP folks from the past 5 years, then again PMI would also lose a ton of money. Fair trade?


Josh August 10, 2012 at 3:28 pm

One good thing is that I’ve been interpreting the requirements this way for years and publicizing it that way – even though I have gotten criticism from people who said I wasn’t interpreting the requirements correctly. I think it’s always been clear that the intent is that experience is gained while actively managing projects in a leadership role.


DrPDG August 10, 2012 at 7:46 pm

Hi Josh and other interested readers,
Since this change went into effect, about 25 of our clients have applied to PMI and taken their PMP exam and as far as I can see, there is absolutely no difference. Save for one or two, these people are NOT “project managers” but project team members. And not even all of them are managers…. A good majority of them are schedulers or cost estimators or other technical support people from the PMO…..

Sorry, but it just seems PMI is writing tough sounding words, not backed up by any discernible attempts to “toughen up” the requirements.

This is the reason I stopped supporting PMI as an organization. IMPO, little more than a marketing machine… and a cash cow….. Big credibility gap between what they say and what they do….

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


MarkR August 10, 2012 at 8:52 pm

I work at a major commercial aircraft designer/builder in the NW, and we have a lot of folks who have spent their entire careers as schedulers (very large and very complex projects, or pieces of those projects), know something about overall management of projects, have never had to write a project proposal, never created a real SOW, never written requirements, but still passed the PMI bar, took the test and proudly present themselves as PMP Project Managers. Interesting looks when you asked about their experience in risk analysis and mitigation planning.


DrPDG August 10, 2012 at 9:04 pm

Mark, I hear you!!!

As long as we practitioners allow PMI to continue this, they will do so. It is OUR life’s work, not the folks at PMI HQ. We are the ones who, by voting with our dues dollars, continue to support the organization. And until and unless we “vote with our feet” and stop paying dues and certification fees to PMI, (or any other organization for that matter) they will continue what, IMPO, I see as little more than a scam- a basic, entry level credential that tests for some PMI specific vocabulary, some fundamental concepts and a couple of formulae and are passing that off as “Globally recognized and demanded, the PMP® demonstrates that you have the experience, education and COMPETENCY to lead and direct projects.” (copied directly from, emphasis on competency is mine).

Until or unless we practitioners speak out against this and file complaints with our local consumer protection agencies, the 900 lb gorilla can make all the false and misleading claims they want, with little or no accountability.

And this is my professional opinion, as a life long practitioner, mentor/trainer and academic, and does not necessarily reflect the views of Josh or the PM Student.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Vishal Gera October 7, 2012 at 6:04 am

I have around 3.5+yrs of experience in IT industry as a software developer.Am i eligible for CAPM course?


Josh October 7, 2012 at 9:40 pm

See page 6 for eligibility requirements: (this is a re-direct to PMI’s website)

By your description, the answer is very likely yes. You are probably eligible.


Mark A. Brown March 25, 2013 at 9:44 pm

Does this mean that 4,500 hours had to occur within the 36 months? Or does it mean thay you have 4,500 hours and a minimum of 3 years experience? Can the 4,500 hours span 72 months?


DrPDG March 25, 2013 at 11:19 pm

No, You have a 3 year window to collect 4500 hours.

You must log a minimum of 3 years experience. IF you have 4500 hours, then stop.

If you do NOT then add a 4th year. IF you have 4500 hours, then stop.

If you do NOT then add a 5th year. IF you have 4500 hours, then stop.

If you do NOT then add a 6th year. IF you have 4500 hours, then stop.

If you do NOT have 4500 hours within the period between year 3 and year 6, then you do NOT qualify.

Dr. PDG, Jakarta, Indonesia


Josh Nankivel March 26, 2013 at 10:23 am

Mark, if you are asking about the PMP exam and not the CAPM, here’s the deal. See page 8 of the PMP Handbook:

I’m afraid Dr. Paul is mistaken. The 4500 hours of experience must be from the last 8 consecutive years. It’s March 2013 now, so if you were applying today that would mean you need 4500 hours of experience leading and directing projects after March 2005.

For example, if you did 1500 hours in 2006, 1500 hours in 2008, and 1500 hours in 2012 and managed projects for at least a full year each time – that meets the minimum experience requirements. (36 months duration + 4500 hrs logged specifically leading and directing projects)

The experience itself doesn’t have to be consecutive – they only use that word to make sure you aren’t claiming experience from a project you managed in 1972. Only the last 8 years count towards this.


DrPDG March 26, 2013 at 10:59 am

Josh, thanks for pointing out this change to me. First I have seen it. Having said that, I urge you to take another look, especially at the little boxes…

As I read it, it seems PMI has set the upper limit at 8 years for everyone? (Used to be 4500 hours between 3-6 years WITH a 4 year degree and 7500 hours between 5 and 8 years with less than a 4 year degree

As I read page 8, at the top, it says a MAXIMUM of 8 years, but in the more detailed explanation in the boxes it only says (paraphrased) 4500 hours over a MINIMUM of 3 years (w a 4 year degree) or 7500 hours over a minimum of 5 years with less than a 4 year degree.

As I interpret that, it seems as though PMI has set the UPPER limit of 8 years regardless of the degree, but for a person with a 4 year degree, the MINIMUM is 3 years AND 4500 hours and with less than a 4 year degree, the MINIMUM is 5 years and 7500 hours?

Am I misreading this?

Dr. PDG, Jakarta


admin March 31, 2013 at 7:48 pm

Hi Dr. PDG;
Josh is correct. The experience must be within the past 8 years.
It is unfortunate that the instructions are not more clear.
I often joke with people that completing the application is harder than the exam itself.
Of course this is not true, but the application can be confusing.
Thank you,
Margaret Meloni


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