To register for and take the exam, you must meet certain criteria. These criteria take into account your experience, formal education, and training hours. The experience qualifications for PgMP® Certification are:
A. Minimum Education Requirements
• A completed Bachelor’s degree or high school diploma (or equivalent) – If your Bachelor’s degree is not complete, you fit into the high school diploma criteria.
B. Project Management experience
• Minimum years/hours of project-related experience required to qualify for the exam
C. Program management experience
• Minimum years/hours of program-related experience required to qualify for the exam – For each program you list, that program must include at least two projects that correspond to one another, have mutual strategic goals, and share a budget under the program.
If your educational background consists of a high school diploma or Associate’s Degree, the requirements for project management experience and program management experience are:
A. 6,000 hours of Project Management experience
B. 7 years (10,500 hours) of Program Management experience within the last 15 years
If your educational background consists of a bachelor degree or higher, the requirements for project management experience and program management experience are:
A. 6,000 hours of Project Management experience
B. 4 years (6,000 hours) within the last 15 years
*PMI will reduce this hour requirement to 4,500 hours if you earned your Bachelor’s degree (or equivalent) from a university accredited by the PMI Global Accreditation Center for Project Management.
**PMI accepts professional experience hours that fall within the last 15 years. Experience on a project or program that began before the 15 year cutoff is acceptable; however, only those hours that fall within the last 15 years may be counted toward the minimum hour requirement. (A rule of thumb: 2000 hours is equal to one year of experience. You cannot “double-dip” your hours. For example, if you worked as a Project Manager during a given year, and you also worked on a project for a charitable (or other type) group, you cannot claim both sets of hours as your experience.
What Type of Experience Counts?Your experience can include a multitude of activities that cut across various functions, organizations, and disciplines. You will have had responsibility for coordinating several projects that share common goals and strategies related to the organizational and business plans of the company. Those programs and projects may be global in range, crossing regional and cultural boundaries. Your communication activities will have been conducted at a multitude of levels with a multitude of interested parties, including project managers, team members, and stakeholders, even those outside the company.
You will have experience at program inception, defining it and initiating its projects. Your efforts will have been toward program acceptance and success, ensuring that all parties are informed, that the program and its projects continue to fall in line with business objectives. You will have had experience establishing resource needs and marshalling them across various projects according to requirements and timelines.
Your leadership skills will have given you the means to make decisions that keep the program and its projects on track, on time, on budget, adjusting it as needed, and with the continued support of senior management, sponsors, and stakeholders. You can negotiate and resolve conflicts. You can accomplish strategic objectives. You can bring benefits to the overall organization.
How Does My Experience Count Towards Hours Needed?
The answer lies in the type of work that generated this experience. A specific job title doesn’t disqualify or qualify hours toward the experience needed.
Activities that you have led or directed across multiple related projects are acceptable as long as you demonstrate experience in each of the six domains. This is the type of experience that will work toward your hours and months of program management experience. You don’t necessarily need to have held the title of Program Manager. You also will have had experience managing projects apart from your program management experience. For the experience to be applicable, the key requirement is activities that you have “led or directed.”
PgMP® Credential Online ApplicationUsing the online application can significantly reduce the time it takes to complete the PgMP® application, compared to the paper application. It also lets you work on it at your convenience. Online registration does not require that you complete the application in a single session. You can save an incomplete application, log off, and return later to continue. If you plan to join the membership of PMI, we suggest that you complete your membership before you start the application. Having your membership will initiate the discount that you receive in the exam as a PMI member. Be aware that it is not a requirement to join the membership of PMI or any local chapter to take the PgMP Examination.
Completing the PgMP® Credential Process
The ApplicationThe PgMP® application is rather extreme in detail compared to the PMP® or CAPM® credential applications.
The PgMP® application, among other things, will require you to complete information about the following:
A. Your education background (bachelor degree or high school diploma)
B. Projects you have managed
C. Programs you have managed
D. Essay information regarding certain criteria on programs you select
PMI Application ReviewUpon completing your application, assuming you are not audited, PMI has a Program Management Expert review your application to ensure that your experience is indeed program management experience and not simply experience managing large projects. If the expert does not approve your program management experience, a second expert reviews it. If the second expert fails to approve, the application process stops. If you experience is indeed approved by this second expert, your application goes to a third expert to break the tie. After your experience has been approved, you receive notice to schedule your exam.
The ExamThe exam itself is four hours and has 170 multiple choice questions. The questions should cover program management and potentially project management as well. As a general rule, the questions should be considered more complex than PMP Exam-style questions because of the expanded scope of the PgMP® credential. Based on the number of questions and the time frame for the exam, plan to devote about 85 seconds to each question. Some questions will likely be answered more quickly; some may take longer than the 85 seconds. But if you take longer than 85 seconds, the exam will not advance to the next question. The key is to finish (and pass) the exam before running out of time.
Multi-Rater AssessmentThe Multi-Rater Assessment starts when you successfully complete the PgMP® exam. This is a 74 question assessment that is sent to the people listed on your application who should be able to competently review your program management skills. The raters (including yourself) have 21 days to complete the assessment. Once this is complete, assuming you pass the assessment, you are a PgMP®. To this point, PMI has not released the pass/fail score for the exam or assessment.
AuditPMI randomly audits online applications. There are no triggers for these audits; they are truly random. If you are selected for audit, PMI sends you hyperlinks to experience validation documents to be completed for the audit. Print them and present them to individuals who can validate your work experience. These people are to complete the forms, seal them, and sign the seal as instructed. PMI also requests photocopies of any training certificates and diplomas or transcripts. Typically this process is completed within seven to ten days upon PMI’s receipt of the requested documentation.
Exam EnvironmentHere are general suggestions that can help you be more successful. The best plan for exam success is to know the content thoroughly, as well as the environment in which the test is given. We do not list short cuts or cheat sheet type concepts. Instead, we focus on getting you more comfortable with the exam environment and what it will demand of you.
We devote attention to the exam environment because you need to focus on the reason you are there – the PgMP Examination – not on a room that is too cold, too warm, too noisy, or distracting in other ways. Also, we describe noise, which is disinformation that can confuse you on the exam.
Preparing for Exam DayThere are some special considerations you should address when preparing for your exam. When you go to the exam center, you must take a number of items. There are also some that we recommend. If you encounter any variance from what Crosswind or PMI describes about what to expect at the test center, don’t get stressed out: just as for the “Manager on Duty” (MOD) who should be able to clarify anything. For example, when I showed up to take my PgMP Exam (I was already a PMP), the test center tried to give me the PMP exam again. The MOD fixed the problem.
A. Studying and Scheduling
• Schedule your exam for a time when you are most alert. Try not to schedule your exam to follow a day's work.
• A good night's sleep the night before the exam and eating well a few days before hand will help greatly.
• Cramming the day before is not a bad idea, as it can help you detect any final subject areas that need last minute study.
• The tables, charts, and other items that we suggest you memorize are "musts" for success. Know them cold and be able to recreate them on your scratch paper in the test room.
• Practice tests help you become familiar with the environment as well as the question layout and timing.
• When taking practice tests, focus on the speed at which you complete the questions. On average, you have 72 seconds per question. While there are no additional points for completing more quickly than anyone else, being practiced enough to set a good pace can give you an advantage, especially when you hit "the wall" on the exam. Your mind will be accustomed to processing questions at a pace that is above normal.
• Take the exam tutorial. It can help give you a better understanding of all your options in the environment.
C. What to Take: REQUIRED
• Your eligibility letter with the authorization number on it.
• A photo ID and two other forms of ID (credit card, etc.) Verify that the names on the IDs and the letter are identical. For example, Anthony and Tony could cause problems.
D. What to Take: RECOMMENDED
• Dress in layers so you can be comfortable in the room environment whether it be cold, warm, or unstable. A t-shirt with a sweater is a good combination.
• Earphones are usually provided, but consider taking some in case they aren‘t. They will shut out the noise around you.
• Although you may take food and drink with you, you must leave them in the provided locker.
• You may take the locker key, plus the provided calculator, pencils and paper into the test room.
Alignment with the PgMP® Exam Specification (Objectives for Each Process Area)
A. Defining the Program (14%)
• Perform a program assessment by defining the program objectives, requirements and establishing a high-level road map in order to ensure program alignment with enterprise strategic plan or mission
• Support business analysis functions by identifying marketplace needs for a potential program offering in order to ensure program viability through researching, market analysis, and high-level cost-benefit analysis
• Develop a benefits realization plan by estimating the costs and benefits (ROI) of the program in order to establish the program feasibility and obtain funding
• Perform a preliminary stakeholder analysis through RFP, contract, experience, and input from other sources in order to assess the stakeholder’s position relative to the program
• Establish alliances with other departments and organizations by recognizing dependencies in order to assess potential partnerships and commitment to the program
• Evaluate the organization’s capability by consulting with the groups involved with delivery in order to validate the program priority and alignment to the strategic objectives
• Request authorization to proceed by presenting the program assessment for approval to the governance authorities in order to initiate the program
B. Initiating the Program (12%)
• Define the program mission statement by assembling the stakeholder’s concerns and expectations in order to establish program direction and set a baseline for any further action
• Translate strategic objectives into high-level project scope statements by negotiating with stakeholders in order to create a program scope statement
• Develop a high-level milestone plan using goals and objectives of the program, applicable historical information, and other available resources in order to align program with expectations of sponsors and stakeholders
• Develop an accountability matrix by identifying and assigning program roles and responsibilities in order to build the core team and to differentiate between the program and project resources
• Establish project management standards within the program (governance, tools, finance, and reporting) using industry best practices and enterprise standards in order to drive efficiency and consistency among projects
• Define meaningful success measurement criteria by analyzing stakeholder expectations and requirements across the constituent projects in order to accurately control program performance
• Obtain senior management approval for the program by presenting the program charter with its high-level costs and benefits for the organization in order to receive authorization to proceed to the next phases
• Conduct program kick-offs with stakeholders by holding a series of meetings in order to familiarize the organization with the program
C. Planning the Program (20%)
• Develop a detailed program scope statement by incorporating program vision, objectives, out-of-scope items, schedule, financial milestones, and legal/regulator/safety concerns in order to aid in overall planning
• Develop program scope definition using Work Breakdown Structure in order to determine the program deliverables and tasks
• Establish the program management plan and baseline by integrating the plans for the constituent projects and creating the plans for the supporting program functions including management of scope, schedule, finance, benefits, quality, resource, procurement, risk response, change, and communications in order to effectively forecast, monitor, and identify variances during program execution
• Optimize the program plan by reviewing and leveling resource requirements (e.g. materials equipment, facilities, finance, and/or human capital) in order to gain efficiencies and synergies among projects
• Define the project management information system (PMIS) by selecting tools and processes to share knowledge, intellectual property and documentation across constituent projects in order to maximize synergies and savings
• Develop the transition plan by defining exit criteria, policies, and processes to ensure that all administrative, commercial, and contractual obligations are met upon program completion
D. Executing the Program (25%)
• Consolidate project/program data (documented issues, status reviews, risks, financial reports, resources, etc.) using predefined reporting tools and methods to monitor program performance
• Charter constituent projects by assigning project managers and allocating appropriate resources in order to meet program objectives
• Motivate the team using appropriate tools and techniques in order to increase commitment to the program objectives
• Establish program consistency by deploying uniform standards, resources, infrastructure, tools and processes in order to enable informed program decision making
• Capture program status and data by ensuring the population of the program management information system in order to maintain accurate and current program information for the use of stakeholders
• Execute the appropriate program plans (quality, risk, communication, staffing, etc.) by using the tools identified in the planning phase and by auditing the results of the use of these tools in order to ensure the program outcomes meet the stakeholder expectations and standards
• Approve closure of constituent projects upon completion through appropriate processes and procedures in order to obtain acceptance
E. Controlling the Program (21%)
• Analyze variances of costs, schedules, quality and risks by comparing actual values to planned values from the program plan, trends, and extrapolation in order to identify necessary corrective actions
• Identify potential corrective actions by forecasting program outcomes using simulations, what-if scenarios, and causal analysis in order to incorporate corrective actions into the program management plan
• Manage change in accordance with the change management plan to control scope, quality, schedule, cost, and contracts
• Address program level issues by identifying and selecting a course of action, taking into account the program constraints and objectives in order to enable continued program progress
F. Closing the Program (8%)
• Complete a performance analysis report by gathering final values and comparing to planned values for quality, cost, schedule and resource data in order to determine program performance
• Manage program completion by executing the transition plan (initiate benefits realization measurement, release resources and acknowledge individual performance, perform administrative closure, obtain acceptance, and transfer ongoing activities to the functional organization) in order to close out the program
• Conduct the stakeholder post-review meeting by presenting the program performance report in order to obtain feedback and capture lessons learned
• Report lessons learned via appropriate methodologies to support future program or organizational improvement