Skip to main content

Use Coupon Code "Jul24PDU" for 20% off AI for Project Managers.

Offer valid until 2024-July-31

Category: Earning PDUs for your Project Management Professional (PMP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)®

How to Earn PMP PDUs for The PMI Talent Triangle

As a project manager, you’ll know that your professional learning doesn’t stop after you pass the PMP® exam. Every day is a learning day on some projects!

The skills you need to deliver successful projects also evolve over time, depending on the industry you are in and the type of work you are doing. If you asked your colleagues, or your peers at a PMI® Chapter event, what makes a good project manager, you would hear as many responses as people asked. Being a successful project manager means developing a vast range of skills, competencies and behaviors.

How do you do that? And more importantly, what skills exactly are we talking about? The PMI Talent Triangle™ answers both those questions by providing a framework for your ongoing professional development. The PMI Triangle covers three distinct areas and in this article, we’ll explain how it works, and how you can map your PDUs to the Talent Triangle.  

How to Earn PMP PDUs for the PMI Talent Triangle - The Complete Guide to Identifying the Right PDUs You Need to Earn.

What is the PMI Talent Triangle™?

The PMI Talent Triangle is at the center for the Continuing Certification Requirements System (CCRS). The Continuing Certification Requirements Handbook sets out the guidelines and policies for earning PDUs.

Therefore, if you want to earn PMI PDUs and continue your certification with PMI, you need to understand the Talent Triangle.

PMI created the Talent Triangle after consulting with many project managers and industry experts from around the world about what makes an excellent project manager. The Triangle reflects the broad skills and requirements for acting as a professional project manager. It represents the ideal skill set for someone in the role of project manager.

The Talent Triangle reflects the fact that project management isn’t simply about the ‘hard’ skills of technical disciplines like scheduling or project financial management. To be successful as a project manager, you need to be able to draw on a wide range of business management and leadership skills, and that’s what the Triangle is all about.

The Talent Triangle comprises three components:

  1. Ways of Working: This element focuses on various methodologies, practices, and frameworks to manage projects effectively. Project managers should be able to choose and adapt the most suitable approach for a given project, including traditional, agile, hybrid, and other emerging methodologies.
  2. Power Skills: These are the essential soft skills that enable project managers to work effectively with teams, stakeholders, and clients. Power skills include communication, emotional intelligence, negotiation, problem-solving, decision-making, and more.
  3. Business Acumen: This component emphasizes the importance of understanding the business environment, strategy, and market dynamics where projects are executed. Project managers need to recognize how their projects contribute to the overall business objectives and align their work with the organization's strategic goals. Business acumen skills include financial management, risk management, and knowledge of legal and regulatory requirements.

Next, let’s look at the three sides of the Talent Triangle in detail.

Ways of Working

PMI describes Ways of Working like this:

It’s clear that there is more than one way that work gets done today. We encourage mastering as many ways of working as possible — so you can apply the right technique at the right time, delivering winning results.

Ways of working help you carry out your role and do the specific tasks that relate to managing projects effectively using different methodologies, practices, and frameworks. For example, these include selecting and adapting the most suitable approach for a given project, such as traditional, agile, or hybrid methodologies. As a project manager, you know how to identify the project's needs, analyze its requirements, and choose the appropriate method, monitoring your progress and adjusting your approach as the situation evolves. That is a part of the domain expertise required to deliver a project.

Many short courses in project management focus on helping you understand the ways of working required to excel as a project manager and will let you pick up Ways of Working PDU credits. Another way to pick up Ways of Working PDUs is to take a PMP PDU online course: that is, a course specifically aimed at helping you develop your ways of working once you have become a certified PMP.

Other examples of ways of working include understanding and applying project management frameworks, utilizing various tools and techniques, and effectively combining and tailoring methodologies to fit a project's unique needs. Without knowledge of these skills, you will not be able to manage a project successfully.

Power Skills

PMI describes Power Skills like this:

These interpersonal skills include collaborative leadership, communication, an innovative mindset, for-purpose orientation, and empathy. Ensuring teams have these skills allows them to maintain influence with a variety of stakeholders—a critical component for making change.

Power skills are required because, as a project manager, you have to work effectively with teams, stakeholders, and clients. Often, these individuals will have different backgrounds and perspectives. Additionally, they may not even report to you directly.

Power skills are about connecting, understanding, and motivating others so that they align with the project's vision and can carry out their work effectively. There are many aspects to power skills, and as a project manager, you will apply the appropriate skills for the situation you are in.

Power skills include communication, emotional intelligence, negotiation, problem-solving, decision-making, and more. You can see how these skills are important in helping you successfully drive the work forward with an engaged project team. You can earn Power Skills PDUs for any professional development that helps you build those skills.

Business Acumen

PMI describes Business Acumen like this:

Professionals at all levels need to be able to cultivate effective decision-making and understand how their projects align with the big picture of broader organizational strategy and global trends.

In other words, this side of the Talent Triangle relates to business-oriented skills. These are skills that managers across multiple disciplines find valuable to ensure they are delivering the best results for their company.

PMI Talent Triangle PDUs in this category would include:

  • Training on legal and regulatory compliance including health and safety
  • Attending a webinar on customer satisfaction
  • Attending a seminar on developing business acumen skills
  • Planning and delivering a workshop on strategic planning for your colleagues.

Business acumen skills are important to project managers because, without knowledge of these skills, you will struggle to align your project with the business strategy. You will also find it harder to talk to the senior leadership team in your company, as they have developed skills in this area and want to hear about project challenges and successes in terms that link to the wider business context.

Project managers who possess strong business acumen can make a significant positive difference in their organizations.

Important note for those who have multiple certifications

PDUs earned in the categories of Power Skills as well as Business Acumen automatically count toward ALL your certifications. But Ways of Working PDUs only count toward your specific certification.

There is an exception for "specialized PDUs" (for example, for Agile training). These will count towards both your PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® and also your PMP certification. The same goes for “specialized” PDUs in scheduling. However, it doesn’t work the other way round – “generic” topics can never count towards your specialist certifications.

How to Determine Where Your PDU/Course Falls on the Talent Triangle

While the Talent Triangle describes skills and competencies, you can also think of it as a “PDU Triangle”. You need to gain PDUs that fit into each side of the Triangle.

When you report your PDUs, you have to specify how they relate to the Talent Triangle. Therefore it’s important to know where your PDU or training course falls on the Talent Triangle.

The easiest way is to consider the content covered during the session and align it that way.

Note: You will need to evidence your professional development if you are selected for a PMP renewal PDU audit. Make sure that you keep copies of all the PDU certificates and notes from your PDU learning.

The panels below cover types of topics and the side of the Triangle that PMI considers they fall into.

Ways of Working

  • Agile and Hyper Agile practices
  • Hybrid
  • Design thinking
  • Data gathering and modeling
  • Transformation
  • Earned value management
  • Governance
  • Lifecycle management
  • Performance management
  • Requirements management and traceability
  • Risk management
  • Schedule management
  • Scope management
  • Time, budget, and cost estimation

Power Skills

  • Leadership
  • Brainstorming
  • Coaching and mentoring
  • Conflict management
  • Emotional intelligence
  • Influencing
  • Interpersonal skills
  • Active listening
  • Communication
  • Adaptability
  • Negotiation
  • Problem solving
  • Teamwork and team building

Business Acumen

  • Benefits management and realization
  • Business acumen
  • Business models and structures
  • Competitive analysis
  • Customer relationship and satisfaction
  • Industry knowledge and standards
  • Legal and regulatory compliance
  • Market awareness and conditions
  • Operational functions e.g. finance, marketing
  • Strategic planning, analysis, and alignment

For example, if you attended a two-hour seminar that covered the latest updates in your industry with regards to regulatory compliance, plus information on how to make use of that and communicate the information effectively to your team, ensuring they knew how to put the regulations into practice, you could claim PDUs in both Business Acumen and Power Skills.

The split would be based on the time each topic got during the seminar. If it was an hour on the industry changes and an hour on supporting your team to adopt the changes, you would claim 1 PDU in each category.

Overall, you will need 60 PDUs for PMP renewal, which equates to 60 hours of professional development split across the Talent Triangle areas.


Plan on earning your minimum Power Skills PDUs and Business Acumen PDUs first. For most of us it’s easy to earn Ways of Working PDUs, as there are a lot of sources to gain these from. The other two categories are harder, so focus your efforts on those and get them out of the way first.

PMI Talent Triangle

The PMI Talent Triangle Explained

Why is it Important to Know How PDUs Fit on the Talent Triangle?

It’s important to know where PDUs fit on the Talent Triangle for two reasons.

First, you need to earn a minimum of 8 PDUs for each side of the Triangle, and a minimum of 35 PDUs across all sides.

Second, if you want to become a rounded project professional who makes a difference to your business, then you need to develop rounded skills. The Talent Triangle helps you do that by making sure you undergo broad professional development across a range of topic areas.

How The Talent Triangle has Changed PDU Reporting

The introduction of the Talent Triangle has changed how PMI certified project managers can track and monitor their professional development.

One positive effect is that you can now earn PDUs from a much wider range of interesting and relevant topics. For a PMP, the Triangle’s focus on broad professional development means that you can make use of training from a wider range of providers too.

There is also a positive effect on the way you can earn PDUs. PMI now allows you to claim PDUs from learning across a broader range of delivery mechanisms. It’s no longer just in-person courses – now you can claim PDUs for learning carried out by online webinars and online PMP PDU courses. Not only are these permitted, but they are positively encouraged as they have their own categories in the PDU reporting system.

Key Takeaways

  • The PMI Talent Triangle is a way to categorize project management professional development.
  • You need to earn PMP PDUs across all three sides of the Triangle.
  • Download the CCRS handbook and review the Talent Triangle to take your next steps to earning your PDUs.

© 2015-2023 OSP International LLC. All rights reserved. This copyrighted article may not be reproduced without express written consent of OSP International LLC.
Training for Project Management Professional (PMP)®, PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®, and Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®

Copyright © 2008 - 2023 OSP International LLC.
PMI, PMBOK, PMP, PgMP, PfMP, CAPM, PMI-SP, PMI-RMP, PMI-ACP, and PMI-PBA are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Our Privacy Notice:

Like the Article?

Share it with other project managers...