3 Views of the PMP Exam Scope

Banner showing 3 Ways to Navigate Content

PM Illustrated is a website for visual learners preparing for their PMP® exam. It provides three ways to view and explore the new PMP® Exam Content Outline. 

1) Based on the Exam Content Outline

Launch Panel View 1

This view presents each task in the three exam domains (People, Process, Business Environment) numerically, as defined in PMI’s Exam Content Outline (ECO) document. The ECO is the blueprint for what is covered in the PMP® exam. These are all the topics we need to master to pass the exam.


  • Neat and tidy – covers each domain group entirely before moving on to the next one.


  • Non-linear – It starts with “Manage Conflict” before “Build a Team” or “Collaborate with Stakeholders.”

2) Based on Work Groups

Launch Panel View 2

This view divides the tasks into logical groups for significant project activities such as Building a Team and Starting the Project. It is the sequence PMI uses for its ATP training materials.


  • Tidy – Grouping related activities create coverage and closure before moving to the next group.


  • Arbitrary – The sequencing is odd for some. For instance, can we effectively build a team before understanding the business need or scope? 

3) Based on a Somewhat Sequential view of a project

Launch Panel View 3

This view presents a more timeline-oriented view of the topics. Starting with understanding the scope and determining the approach to use, then collaborating with stakeholders, building a team, and doing the work, etc.


  • Logical – This is an easy-to-follow process that aligns with our worldview of what we need to do to execute a project successfully.


  • Constrained – While the Business Environment tasks such as “Deliver Benefits” might generally occur later in the lifecycle, these topics also cover understanding the business need and compliance requirements we need to know upfront.

So which view is Best?

“All models are wrong, but some are useful”
George Box
George Box

There is no perfect way to group or sequence all the tasks required to execute a project. Many are revisited multiple times throughout the project life cycle.

When studying for the exam, we need to know about them all. So as long as we cover all the topics and understand that they overlap and interconnect, the sequence  or groupings do not really matter. We can choose a view that makes sense for us, explore the topics and check our understanding as we go.

PM Illustrated provides multiple ways to navigate the content in the new PMP® exam. Choose your own adventure through the topics and earn electronic badges to track your progress. Check out the home page here: PM Illustrated.   

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