PMP Domain #1: People [updated 2021]

Greg Belding
May 12, 2021 by
Greg Belding

One of the most recognizable project manager certifications, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification has undergone some changes to its domains of knowledge. The number of domains has changed, and the names of these domains have all changed as well. What does this all mean for the 2021 version of the PMP? 

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Enroll in a PMP Boot Camp and earn one of the industry’s most respected certifications and enjoy exam insurance.

Changes to the PMP exam content outline

Hosted by PMI, a new edition of the PMP certification exam was released in January 2021. Below is a comparison of the 2021 PMP exam outline with the previous PMP exam version:

Domain Previous exam version 2021 exam version

Domain #1 Initiating People (42%)

Domain #2 Planning Process (50%)

Domain #3 Executing Business environment (8%)

Domain #4 Monitoring & controlling

Domain #5 Closing

As you can see, the new exam content outline is made up of three domains whereas previous exam versions had five domains. This presentation of exam content was chosen as a result of research and studies conducted by PMI and subject matter experts to make the content easier to understand. This does not mean the exam will be easier, by any means; this new PMP exam version is more difficult than previous exam versions.

What does domain #1 of the PMP focus on?

From leading teams of project participants to building the teams themselves, and even ensuring the project team members have the training they need to be as effective as can be, the people portion of project management is near paramount. Below are the task statements for domain #1, People, as well as a high-level view of what you will need to know for each.

Domain #1 – People task statements

Task 1 – manage conflict

As you can imagine, managing conflict is crucial for project management. PMP candidates will need to be able to interpret the source of the conflict and what stage it is at and analyze the context in which the conflict is in. Candidates will also need to evaluate and recommend conflict resolution solutions.

Task 2 – lead a team

As team leadership comes with project management, being able to lead a team is of the utmost importance. Candidates will need to know how to set a clear vision/mission, value servant leadership, support diversity and inclusion and determine the appropriate leadership style. Leading a team also includes knowing how to inspire, motivate and influence both team members and stakeholders and how to analyze team member influence.

Task 3 – support team performance

Project management is not just about leadership; project managers need to be able to support team performance as well. Being able to appraise team member performance vis-à-vis key performance indicators, support team member growth and development as well as verify performance improvements is key for candidates to be able to explain.

Task 4 – empower team members and stakeholders

Team member/stakeholder empowerment is another area candidates need to know. Whether organizing teams around team strengths, evaluating task accountability of the team or supporting task accountability, project managers are vital for team empowerment.

Task 5 – ensure team members/stakeholders are adequately trained

Candidates will need to explain how to determine required competencies and elements of training, allocate resources for training, determine training options based on needs and measure training outcomes.

Task 6 – build a team

Candidates need to know how to appraise stakeholder skills, deduce project resource requirements and how to continuously assess and refresh team skills to meet project needs. Candidates will also need to know how to explain how to maintain team and knowledge transfer.

Task 7 – address and remove impediments, obstacles and blockers for the team

You will need to know how to determine and prioritize critical impediments, obstacles and blockers for the team. Candidates also need to know how to use a network to implement solutions and reassess continually to make sure impediments, obstacles and blockers are being addressed.

Task 8 – negotiate project agreements

PMP candidates will need to know how to analyze the bound of the negotiations for agreements and assess priorities and determine ultimate objectives, how to verify that project objectives are being met, participate in agreement negotiations and determine negotiation strategy.

Task 9 – collaborate with stakeholders

Collaboration with stakeholders is key for project managers because the buck stops with them. Candidates need to know how to evaluate engagement needs with stakeholders and optimize alignment between stakeholder and project needs. Building trust with stakeholders to accomplish project objectives will also be covered.

Task 10 – build shared understanding

Understanding amongst team members is the glue that holds projects together. Candidates need to know how to identify root causes of misunderstandings, support the outcome of agreements and investigate potential misunderstandings.

Task 11 – engage and support virtual teams

Candidates will need to examine virtual team member needs, implement options for engagement and continually evaluate the effectiveness of virtual team member engagement.

Task 12 – define team ground rules

PMP candidates will need to explain how to communicate organizational principles with team members and stakeholders, manage and rectify ground-rule violations and establish an environment that fosters adherence to the ground rules.

Task 13 – mentor relevant stakeholders

This task statement requires knowing how to allocate time to mentoring as well as how to recognize and act on mentoring opportunities.

Task 14 – promote team performance through the application of emotional intelligence

Candidates will need to know how to assess behavior through the use of personality indicators. How to analyze personality indicators as well as how to adjust the emotional needs of stakeholders will also be covered.

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Enroll in a PMP Boot Camp and earn one of the industry’s most respected certifications and enjoy exam insurance.

Preparing for the new PMP exam

The 2021 version of the PMP exam content outline has had major changes in terms of exam content organization. The domains it will cover are now People, Process and Business environment. The People portion covers many facets of project management and will put your project management soft skills to the proverbial test (pun intended).



 Project Management Professional (PMP) Examination Content Outline,

The PMP Exam is Changing on 2 January 2021. PM PrepCast

Greg Belding
Greg Belding

Greg is a Veteran IT Professional working in the Healthcare field. He enjoys Information Security, creating Information Defensive Strategy, and writing – both as a Cybersecurity Blogger as well as for fun.