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That was 2021: A Good Year for Project Management

That was 2021: A Good Year for Project Management

2021 has been a good year for Project Management. Not a GREAT year. But there was a lot to celebrate. Let’s review my highlights from 2021.

And, without a doubt, one organization dominated. 2021 was very much PMI’s year. The Project management Institute took two very significant steps forward.

But what about us… me? OnlinePMCourses had a great year. I may make a modest impact on the Project Management world as a whole but, without a doubt, I am making more of a difference on individual Project Managers each year. And that, above all else, is what I am here for.

That was 2021: A Good Year for Project Management

We’ll Look at…

2021 for the Big Players

Most of the big players in global Project Management trod water this year. They didn’t have a bad year and all made steady progress. In the UK, APM continued to gain chartered members, publish interesting books, organize great events, and promote wellbeing and diversity. IPMA, IAPM, and Axelos made less of an impact still, but moved forward slowly and steadily. There’s no big news I feel will be worth your time here.

It was the Project Management Institute (PMI) that made all the running this year. Like the others, there were plenty of events and publications to enjoy. And, by coincidence, both PMI and APM both announced this year that their leaders are stepping down.

But, PMI chalked up two very significant moments – one more than the other.

The PMI’s New PMP Examination

First chronologically, and the lesser in long-term significance, was the launch of the new Project management Professional examination. This followed two false starts and is working off a syllabus that PMI published in July 2019. But, on 2 January 2021, candidates sat the new PMP examination for real.

Why is this so significant? For two reasons, in my view:

  1. It places predictive and agile project management on a near-equal footing in achieving PMI’s highest professional certification.
  2. It made a greater separation between the PMP syllabus and the PMI’s Project Management Body of Knowledge (the PMBOK Guide) than ever before

Predictive and Agile

The new exam syllabus tells candidates the exam will be 50% Predictive PM, and 50% Agile and Hybrid. So, this isn’t quite parity for predictive and adaptive PM. But it is close. And that’s a big deal. It says something important about the PMI’s commitment to adaptive PM. And it does so at the risk of alienating the Construction PM community who have very little use for adaptive approaches.

Shift away from the PMBOK Guide

The PMBOK Guide has never been a syllabus for the PMP exam. But it had always been the primary source, with an expectation that candidates will be very familiar with it. Now the PMI lists 10 references for the PMP exam. The structure and breadth of the syllabus in the Examination Content Outline (ECO) is radically different to (and version of) the PMBOK Guide. This is good. The new ECO is far broader than its predecessor and I think the exam syllabus will better equip Project managers to do their jobs.

We reviewed the new PMP exam in full: 2021 PMP Exam: For Candidates – All the Facts You Need to Know

And I discussed it in detail with PMI Authorized Trainer, Markus Kopko: New PMP Certification Exam: Discussion with Markus Kopko | Video

Response from Training Providers

While PMP exam training providers scrabbled to respond to the new syllabus, we moved quickly. We were not faced by the big decision of whether to:

  • Offer a PMI accredited training course as a PMI Authorized Training Provider (ATP)
    This has the benefit of offering some certainty to candidates, but creates a straight jacket that requires the ATP to use a precise syllabus and set of materials provided the PMI. Many don’t like these and their commercial implications.
  • Provide their own PMP training course
    This allows them to develop their own syllabus and materials – that are often as good as or better than those of the PMI

We recommend PMP courses via two providers. One for each route:

  • GreyCampus is an Authorized Training Provider and uses PMI-provided training materials.
  • PM PrepCast opted out of the ATP scheme and drew on their vast experience and success record to create their own content

Our Response

I am not qualified to offer formal PMP preparation training. But, I do have a lot of relevant experience and knowledge. We created our PMP Study Guide.

PMP Study Guide - PMP Exam Prep Resource Kit

Our PMP Study guide is an examination preparation resource kit. It is stuffed with content to help you:

  • plan your study and preparation
  • learn from others’ experiences
  • know what to expect
  • select what other resources to buy
  • study specific content items – we have content covering the whole syllabus.

This is a low-cost, must-have resource for any PMP candidate. Learn more about it by clicking this link.

The PMI’s New Project Management Body of Knowledge

The big event of the year came in the summer when PMI published the 7th Edition of its Project Management Body of Knowledge, the PMBOK Guide. This is updated every four or so years.

I covered this in detail in:

To cut a long story very short, this 7th edition is a huge departure from the editions 1 to 6 that came before. And it marks a shift in PMI’s whole approach to its body of knowledge. And, as you’ll see in my analysis, I believe the changes are both significant and welcome.

The PMBOK and the PMP

When PMBOK 7 came out in the summer of 2021, PMI was clear that the PMP exam would still reference the former 6th edition. For the first time, two editions of the PMBOK Gide would co-exist. Indeed, early on, PMI was clearly saying that the content of PMBOK 7 would not feature in the PMP exam.

In the autumn of 2021, this changed. Now, PMI says:

The exam is based on the PMP certification exam content outline (ECO), not the (PMBOK® Guide) or other reference books. A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – 7th Edition will now be a reference to inform the development of the exam items. However, before any validated exam item is added to the exam, there is a very rigorous and thorough review and field test cycle. This process takes multiple months.

PMI Website: [Retrieved 22 Nov 2021]

The last couple of sentences mean that it is likely that it will be sometime in Quarter 1 of 2022 that we will start to see questions in the PMP exam that reflect content from PMBOK 7.

2021 for OnlinePMCourses

This has felt like a big (but not huge) year for OnlinePMCourses. at the start of the year, we launched:

  1. The PMP Study Guide (see above)
  2. A monthly LiveStream on YouTube (on the first Tuesday of each month)

In addition, I have continued to provide you with:

The Monthly Livestream

I started the Livestream with a ‘Not a Livestream’ trial, and have gradually figured out how to do it, building attendance figures to around 30 people on the stream, live and some with well over 600 views in total. In the November stream, I ran a competition, giving away over $600 worth of prizes.

I plan to continue these throughout 2022.

2021 Stats

YouTube Channel

In November 2021, I crossed 3 million views on the OnlinePMCourses YouTube channel, with the most popular video nearing 200,000 views. There are now 400 videos on the channel, which has (at the end of 2021) around 45,000 subscribers.

During 2021, viewers watched 100,000 hours of my content, with over 1.6 million views. And 21,0000 of them subscribed to the channel.

Among my most popular videos from this year are:

I also started a series of (now 18, I think) interviews/discussions with other project managers. My favorite so far: my conversation with Andy Kaufman about dealing with difficult stakeholders.

Sister YouTube Channel

I also published over 100 videos on our sister channel, Management Courses. We now have complete and ongoing courses on:

The links take you to the courses on our new Management Courses website.


Aside from promotional emails, I send around 50 emails every year, on Thursday lunchtimes UK time. I’ve been doing this since we launched in March 2016, so expect issue 300 in early Q1 of 2022. They typically go out to around 5,000 subscribers.


I am very proud of the quality of the content I publish on this website every Monday. I write most of them myself. But, among nearly 50 of my own, we have had guest articles this year from:

This year, the Top 7 most popular articles have been:

  1. 2021 PMP Exam: For Candidates – All the Facts You Need to Know
  2. Project Document Management: How to Organize and Manage Project Information
  3. How to Get Your Next Lessons Learned Meeting Right
  4. How the Stage Gate Process Will Make You a Better Project Manager
  5. Ultimate Project Handover Guide: What You Need to Know
  6. Scope Management Plan: Everything You Need to Know
  7. The Top 20 Stakeholder Analysis Techniques All PMs Should Know

2021 Events

This year, I have done precisely 2 real-world, in-person, Project Management training events. That’s 2 more than in 2020! However, I have trained hundreds of people and spoken at numerous virtual events. Most memorable were those for Boston University and the IPMA Young Crew.

And I am excited that I have had my first three invitations to speak at PMI US Chapter events in early 2022 (I spoke at a European PMI conference in 2020).

I am hoping for a rich and varied calendar of public and private speaking and training events in 2022. If you want to book me – or just discuss topics and terms – email me.

One Last Shout-out!

I’m a scientist. And I have been fascinated by space exploration since I was a small kid. So, I have to acknowledge all the fantastic project achievements by space agencies in Europe, Japan, Russia, China, India, and the US, in 2021. But, let’s face it, NASA’s Perseverance Rover, with its sky crane landing and drone helicopter is a fabulous achievement.

But now it’s time to turn all our Project Management attention to Mother Earth

Let’s hope 2022 is a year when we can make good on the first round of COP 26 promises AND see some more ambitious targets agreed to at COP 27 in Egypt.

I wish all my community a happy, healthy, and professionally rewarding 2022!

About the Author Mike Clayton

Dr Mike Clayton is one of the most successful and in-demand project management trainers in the UK. He is author of 14 best-selling books, including four about project management. He is also a prolific blogger and contributor to and Project, the journal of the Association for Project Management. Between 1990 and 2002, Mike was a successful project manager, leading large project teams and delivering complex projects. In 2016, Mike launched OnlinePMCourses.

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