PMP®️ domain information & overview [updated 2021]

Greg Belding
April 20, 2021 by
Greg Belding

What is the PMP certification?

The Project Management Professional (PMP) certification is a project management certification offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI). This certification was ranked by CIO Magazine as the top project management certification on the market today. Professionals carrying this certification are projected to earn 25% more than project management professionals who do not have this certification, and the certification will verify that the holder has the knowledge and skills to warrant this higher income.

The PMP certification demonstrates to hiring organizations that the certification holder has mastery over the three key approaches to the value delivery spectrum of project management:

  • Predictive, or waterfall
  • Agile
  • Hybrid

Content that spans the three approaches to the value delivery spectrum will be included throughout all three domains of knowledge on the PMP certification exam.

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Enroll in a PMP Boot Camp and earn one of the industry’s most respected certifications — guaranteed.

What has changed since the last PMP certification?

Change is a constant for certification exams; every certification has a process that updates its domains of knowledge to keep up with changing technology. The PMP has undergone a significant evolution. The certification exam used to be based upon five domains of knowledge. The new 2021 edition now has three domains of knowledge. These domains and their respective exam content weights are: 

  • People: Focuses on the soft skills that project management professionals need to effectively manage a team (42%).
  • Process: Focuses on the technical aspects of project management (50%).
  • Business environment: Focuses on how projects and organizational strategy are connected (8%).

Like previous certification exam editions, the 2021 certification exam outline is divided up into tasks. Tasks are defined as the underlying responsibilities within each domain. Below we will examine each domain and its respective tasks.

Domain I - people (42%)

  • Task 1 – Manage conflict
  • Task 2 – Lead a team
  • Task 3 – Support team performance
  • Task 4 – Empower team members and stakeholders
  • Task 5 – Ensure team members and stakeholders are adequately trained
  • Task 6 – Build a team
  • Task 7 – Address and remove impediments, obstacles and blockers for the team
  • Task 8 – Negotiate project agreements
  • Task 9 – Collaborate with stakeholders
  • Task 10 – Build a shared understanding
  • Task 11 – Engage and support virtual teams
  • Task 12 – Define team ground rules
  • Task 13 – Mentor relevant stakeholders
  •  Task 14 – Promote team performance through the application of emotional intelligence

Domain II – process (50%)

  • Task 1 – Execute project with the urgency required to deliver business value
  • Task 2 – Manage communications
  • Task 3 – Assess and manage risks
  • Task 4 – Engage stakeholders
  • Task 5 – Plan and manage budget resources
  • Task 6 – Plan and manage schedule
  • Task 7 – Plan and manage the quality of products and deliverables
  • Task 8 – Plan and manage scope
  • Task 9 – Integrate project planning activities
  • Task 10 – Manage project changes
  • Task 11 – Plan and manage procurement
  • Task 12 – Manage project artifacts
  • Task 13 – Determine appropriate project methodology/methods and practices
  • Task 14 – Establish a project governance structure
  • Task 15 – Manage project issues
  • Task 16 – Ensure knowledge transfer for project continuity
  • Task 17 – Plan and manage project/phase closure or transitions

Domain III – business environment (8%)

  • Task 1 – Plan and manage project compliance
  • Task 2 – Evaluate and deliver project benefits and value
  • Task 3 – Evaluate and address external business environment changes for impact on scope
  • Task 4 – Support organizational change

PMP exam details

Below are the rest of the important details you will need to know for the PMP certification exam.

How long is the exam?

This can mean two different things: how many questions will be on the certification exam and how long you get to take the exam. In previous exam editions, there were 200 questions. Currently (as of the 2021 exam edition) there are 180 questions. Despite this difference in the number of questions, the same number of questions will be scored as in previous editions.

You have 230 minutes to complete the exam.

What is the exam format?

The PMP certification exam is presented as a combination approach with several different types of questions:

  • Multiple-choice
  • Multiple-response
  • Hotspot
  • Matching
  • Fill-in-the-blank (limited)

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Earn your PMP, guaranteed!

Enroll in a PMP Boot Camp and earn one of the industry’s most respected certifications — guaranteed.

Receive PMP certification to progress in your project management career

The PMP certification is one of the top project management certifications on the market today and the most recognizable. The certification exam has had a major overhaul for the 2021 exam edition and now has three domains of knowledge. These changes mark more than just the addition of new, relevant exam material, but also a general shift towards how project management relates to the organization as a whole.


Project Management Professional (PMP) Examination Content Outline. PMI

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.