The Project Management Institute, (PMI), has changed the Project Management Professional credential renewal process as of March 1, 2011. They have simplified the process by reducing the number of credit earning categories from 18 to 6. A new credit leveling guideline now applies. This seeks to give PMP credential holders one credit for each qualifying hour of activity. There are a couple of exceptions but category "D" holds to this guideline.

The new PDU credit earning division "Giving back to the project management profession", is a grouping of various categories from the old program. It also is expanded to included some new credit earning activities. These are mainly in areas that involve creating materials on the Internet.

Category "D" gives one PDU credit for each hour spent creating new knowledge for a topic related to project management. PMP credential holders can write an article for various types of industry journals, write a project management book or serve as an instructor or speaker on a project management topic. These activities are similar to those accepted by the older PDU credit program. The new category "D", however, specifies that each hour of activity earns one PDU. The old program allowed certain activities to earn more or less than this figure. For example, an author might have spent hundreds of hours writing a project management textbook. He could only claim 25 PDU credits for the whole activity. Similarly, an article might be written in an hour or two which would be worth 15 credits. Now the number of credits reflects the amount of time spent to create the materials.

Of particular note to PMP credential holders is the inclusion of Web 2.0 and other Internet features in the category "D" list of credit earning activities. The PMI now recognizes that writing an article for an electronic newsletter is worthy of PDU credit. Other similar activities include the writing of articles for blogs, presenting in a webinar, creating a podcast or serving as a moderator on a panel. The time spent to develop the new material and any time spent delivering it are valid for PDU credit.

PMP credential holders must keep in mind that all PDU credit earning activities in the "Giving back to the profession" division are limited to a maximum of 45 per three year cycle. This ensures that all individuals devote at least 25% of their time to continuing education activities that earn at least 15 credits. The combination of the two divisions is left to the PMP credential holder to determine as any combination is accepted so long as at least 15 credits are earned via continuing education.

As time goes on, PMP credential holders will find the best mix of PDU credit earning activities for them. Perhaps they will earn 15 credits through full or parttime employment as a project manager. 30 more credits are available through self study activities such as reading texts or viewing webinars. 15 credits can be earned through article writing activities. There is great flexibility built into the PMP renewal process now. By adhering to the new categories, and documenting all PDU earning activities, the credential holder will be able to easily meet the requirements necessary to renew their credential on or before the three month anniversary date.