PMI-PgMP Tutorial

This is the introductory lesson of the PgMP tutorial (part of the PMI-PgMP® Certification Training.)

This lesson will introduce you to the prerequisites, application, and the credentialing process of PMI and PgMP.

Let us explore the objectives of this lesson in the next section.


After completing this lesson, you will be able to:

  • Describe PMI-PgMP®and PMI®

  • Define program

  • Explain program management

  • Relate portfolio management, program management, and project management

  • Discuss strategy and business value

  • Identify the role of a program manager

  • List the skills of project and program managers

  • Identify the reasons for taking up the PgMP

  • List the prerequisites for the PMI-PgMP®exam

  • Outline the PgMP® credentialing process

  • Explain the tasks, knowledge, and skills related to program strategy alignment, program benefits management, program stakeholder engagement, program governance, and program lifecycle management.

Now let us discuss PMI-PgMP and PMI in the next section.

What are PMI-PgMP® and PMI

PMI-PgMP® stands for Program Management Professional. It is the name of the certificate awarded to those who pass all the evaluation stages of the PgMP.

As is evident from the name, this tutorial is for those who are interested in program management as a career.

PgMP qualification on a resume would be very helpful to move up the career ladder, and take up senior and executive level positions within organizations, while working on strategic programs. PgMP is not restricted to a specific domain.

A program manager working in any industry, be it Manufacturing, Retail, Defense, or Information Technology, can apply to become a PgMP.

Now let us look at PMI.

PMI stands for Project Management Institute. It is a non-profit organization that conducts the PgMP Examination.

PMI is based in the USA and has local chapters across the globe. So, if you are based in Singapore, you can look for a PMI chapter in Singapore. Such local chapters conduct regular knowledge sharing and networking sessions for people who are interested in project management.

What is a Project

Before discussing programs, let us recall what a project is. This is important because the project is the building block for a program as well as a portfolio, and indeed any organizational task that results in a change in the status quo.

PMI defines a project as a “temporary endeavor undertaken to create a unique product, service, or result.” Based on this definition, we can make out that a project has two key characteristics.

Firstly, it’s temporary in nature. Please note that temporarily does not mean short in duration.

A project can go on for several years.

For example, creating a new “Indigenous Missile Defense System” for a country can be a project that can span several years. However, there is always a definitely planned start and end date for a project. It cannot go on indefinitely.

Secondly, the project is supposed to produce a unique output. The output could be a product, service, or a result. There can be many common activities between two projects, but the outcome of each project should be unique in some way or the other.

Let us look at the definition of a program in the next section.

Interested in our PMI-PgMP Course? Check out our course preview here!

What is a Program

A program is a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities that are managed in a coordinated way, to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.

There are several important things to remember about this definition.

  • The projects in a program are related to each other.

  • They must be managed in a coordinated manner.

  • The coordinated management of the projects must confer benefits not available from managing them individually.

Remember – every large project with subprojects does not automatically become a program. It becomes a program only if there is a conscious effort to coordinate the management and deliver additional benefits.

In the subsequent sections, we are going to look at how these additional benefits result.

Let us continue to discuss the components of a program in the next section.

What is a Program (contd.)

A large program may be potentially broken into smaller sub-programs.

A subprogram is a program that is managed within a larger program.

Now, the “components” within a program may include work elements of the program, the projects within a program, and also the “other work” that is managed within the program. The other work could be activities outside the projects, within a program.

For example, operation elements, training, management activities, etc.

It is important to differentiate project work from regular operational work.

For example, your office receptionist does the same work every day of picking any incoming call and directing the call to the right person in the office. This is ongoing, repetitive work and can be classified as “Operation.”.

Operations – unlike projects, are neither temporary nor unique. Although projects and operations are distinct and do not overlap, programs may contain operations as part of the “other work.”.

We will find out what program management is in the following section.

Definition of Program Management

The standard for program management defines program management as “the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a program to meet the program requirements and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually”.

In simpler terms, program management is a process of managing multiple associated projects to enhance the performance and accomplish the goals of an organization.  

These related projects, along with the subtasks and linked activities, are grouped and aligned as a program, to gain maximum benefits and profits for the organization.

Any program will have projects, but it is not mandatory for a project to be an integral part of a program. It is essential to obtain and apply the required skill sets, knowledge, toolsets and the strategies to be adopted to meet the requirements of a program and this is achieved by applying the program management techniques.

Let us continue to discuss program management in the next section.

Key Focus of Program Management

The common outcome and potential aspects are the key elements which define the link between associated projects in a program.

On the other hand, effort management is deemed to be the function of the project rather than the program, if the projects of a program are linked based on common resource sharing techniques, technology or shared client.

The key focus of program management is to identify the interdependencies of the linked projects and ascertain an optimal approach to manage them.

The key factors that influence the interdependencies between projects of a program include:

  • Conflict management and extensive resource sharing techniques among the related projects

  • Settling any consequences of changed management in a shared and structured organization

  • Aligning the strategic directions that affect the objectives of the program’s projects and avoiding any future conflicts

Let us discuss an example of program management in the next section.

Example of Program Management

Let’s consider an example of program management.

The Quality Management department of an organization which ensures quality products are delivered to the customers can be considered a typical example of program management as it involves various integrated functions (projects) such as planning, scrutinizing, implementation and evaluation.

Acquiring a company and integrating it with an existing organization is also an example of program management as it involves personnel management, many training sessions, implementing marketing strategies, dealing with different clients and so on.

Let us identify the ground rules of program management in the next section.

Ground Rules

As the name implies, Ground Rules are the set of rules that determine the behavioral pattern that the team members must adhere to, in a project. Ground rules enable the team members to realize their responsibilities and perform their duties correctly.

Some ground rules are given below.

  • The team members report to the Project Manager, and he is the prime contact person for all project related issues.

  • All members of the team should be conversant with the project plan and scope, and they should perform all tasks within the scope of the project plan. Deviations will not be accepted unless it is approved by the Project Manager.

  • Members should attend all meetings or conference calls, and in the event of being absent, they should inform the project manager.

  • The Project Manager must approve any planned vacations of the members to determine that there is no deviation in the work pattern.

  • The team members should be aware of target dates for scheduled delivery and in the event of encountering any alterations; it should be informed to the other members and Project Manager.

  • When meetings are conducted, it is essential to document all the key decisions, minutes of the meeting, and client suggestions.

  • The Project Manager is responsible for final delivery of the product or the hand-off to the customer.

In the next section of the PgMP tutorial, we’ll discuss key features of a project.

Key Features of Project

Now that we have learned about programs and projects let us now understand the key features of a project.

Some of the features of projects are:

  • Uniqueness

  • Impermanence

  • Product Delivery

Uniqueness: All projects are unique even though they share the same client environment, toolsets, or techniques.

Impermanence: Projects are always subject to commence and end on particular dates, and so they are considered to be a temporary feature.

Product Delivery: Any project is commenced with the objective of delivering a product, a service or an outcome on a scheduled date to the client.

A tool that aids in coordinating the various aspects of the project to accomplish the goals of designing that project is called a project management tool.

The Project Management model is designed to commence, design, implement and deliver the project in a successful manner.

The next section deals with portfolios.

What is a Portfolio

Now, we are going to introduce a new term – portfolios.

A portfolio is a collection of projects, programs, sub-portfolios, and operations, grouped to achieve strategic business objectives. The components within a portfolio may or may not be “related.”

Let us look further into this definition.

Obviously, even a project, operation, or program is able to deliver strategic benefits. However, projects deliver a specific product, service, or results that flow into a program or a portfolio.

A program aligns with portfolios, and hence, strategy by harmonizing components to realize benefits.

For example, a portfolio may be based on geography, such as “North American business” or “Asia Pacific business.”. Or, it may be based on business lines, such as “passenger car business” or “commercial vehicles business.”.

A portfolio aligns with the organizational strategies by:

  • Selecting the right components, and

  • Providing the necessary organizational resources.

This is because the organization determines the investments in various components, based on where it sees the maximum benefit going forward. A portfolio then commits the organization’s resources to the components to realize those benefits.

We will understand the hierarchical view of portfolios, programs, and projects in the next section.

Hierarchical View: Portfolios, Programs, and Projects

The image below illustrates the organizational strategy by a top-level portfolio.

This may be broken down (or, realized through) several components. These components may be sub-portfolios, programs, or projects. Within the sub-portfolios or programs, there may be other components too.

Remember, the “other work” in a program may refer to operational elements. As long as it contributes to the strategic benefit, and is aligned with the overall strategy of the organization – any piece of work can be eligible to be included in a program or a portfolio.

Let us discuss the relationship between portfolios, programs, and projects in the next section.

The relationship between Project, Program and Portfolio Management

Let us look in detail the relationship that exists between project management, program management, and portfolio management.

Project management, program management, and portfolio management share in common a number of features such as:

  • Design

  • Alterations or Deviations

  • Scope

  • Supervision

  • Check Points

  • Success Rate


In projects, an extensive plan that incorporates all the detailed information about the project is designed by the Project Manager and adhered to. In programs, the overall design is laid down by the Program Manager.

Additionally, he creates sub design plans to accomplish the desired output. Meanwhile, the process planning and communication relevant for aggregating the portfolio are designed by the Portfolio Manager.

Alterations or Deviations  

In projects, it is always expected that some change might occur during the development phase and the Manager should be able to manage and control such changes so as to minimize major deviations from the original plan.

The task of a Program Manager, in comparison, is more complicated as he needs to be vigilant about changes from inside and outside the program and should be able to manage it.

Finally, it is the primary duty of the Portfolio Manager to check for any deviations in internal and external portfolios continuously.

Let us move on to scope.


A set of objectives characterizes all projects, and the scope is ascertained in a detailed manner throughout the lifecycle of the project.

Programs are designed to produce large scope and provide substantial benefits. And the scope of portfolios is subject to change with the strategic objectives of the organization.


Moving on to supervision, the Project Manager deals with the team members to assure the project objectives are accomplished.

In programs, the Program Manager manages the Project Managers and staff of the programs to provide a larger vision and overall leadership.

Finally, the project managers, program managers, and sub-portfolio staffs report to the Portfolio Manager.


The Project Manager supervises and controls the production of products, results, or service that the project was initiated for.

The Program manager checks and controls the components of the programs to assure that the objectives, budget, timeframes for deadlines are met in the desired manner.

For portfolios, it is the duty of the Portfolio Manager to monitor the results of performance, aggregate resource allocation, apply any strategic changes, and perform risk management of the portfolio.

Success rate

The success of the project relies on the customer satisfaction, budget compliance, the quality of output, and timeliness. The success of a program relies on attaining the demands and benefits for which it was designed.

Benefit realization of the portfolio and aggregate investment performances are the key factors constituting the success of a Portfolio.

We will look into strategy and business value in the next section.

Definitions of Strategy and Business Value

We have been using the terms “strategy” and “business value” for a while now. These two words should be topmost in your mind as a program manager. However, let us understand what they mean.

A strategy is a long-term plan of action to achieve a goal or a desired result. The key thing to remember is that when we discuss strategy, we are looking at the long-term – and not immediate concerns.

A business value is defined as the sum total of the value of the entire business. It may comprise some tangible elements (such as assets) as well as some intangible elements (such as goodwill, or technical expertise).

The whole purpose of any strategic plan should be to somehow add to the business value. Adding to business value is a critical element of the organizational strategy, which is the mission and vision.

Let us continue to discuss the vision and mission statements in the next section.

Definitions of Vision and Mission

A strategy is often expressed in terms of the vision and mission statements.

What is Vision?

It describes the desired end state. It is typically a one-liner that tells you what the goal is. “To be the leading company in healthcare services” could be an example of vision.

A mission is more like a narrative which indicates the sense of purpose for an organization and answers the question – why do we exist?

Examples of the mission could be “We believe in serving our customers, providing rewarding careers for employees, maximizing the returns to our shareholders, contributing to society, innovating at all levels,” etc.

Just as an organization has a vision and mission, a program should also articulate a vision and mission.

Let us continue to discuss the strategic objectives in the next section.

Strategic Objectives

Strategic objectives are defined by the organization to:

  • Plan the activities of the organization to accomplish the goals in a perfect manner

  • Efficiently and effectively use the resources

  • Attain maximum profitability

  • Increase the business value

The term business value denotes the entire value of a business concern, which includes all tangible and intangible assets.

With program, project and portfolio management techniques adopted effectively, the organization will possess the ability to clearly define its strategic objectives and the means to increase its business value.

Let us discuss strategic conditions in the next section.

Strategic Conditions

The projects are commenced with the intention of attaining the strategic objectives of the organization. The projects are formulated based on some strategic conditions.

Let us now look at some strategic conditions and business scenarios pertinent to them.

Social Demand: A private organization aiming to create a project to provide potable water systems, sanitation, and education to people affected by infectious diseases is an example of catering to social demand.

Market Requirement: A project commenced by a Car company to build fuel-efficient cars to overcome the barriers of gasoline shortage shows a case where the market requirement is considered important.

Business Demand: A new project commenced by a training company to create new courseware to increase its income might consider business demand as a strategic objective.

Advancement in Technology: A project authorized by a computer company to manufacture compact, cheaper and faster laptops based on the advancements in the field of electronics is keeping up with technological advancement.

Customer Request: A new project launched by an electrical utility to build a new substation to support and serve a new industrial park might be operating under the strategic condition of customer demand.

Environmental Conditions: A new project authorized by a public company to reduce pollution by creating electric car sharing service might consider environmental factors as strategic to its functioning.

We will move on to the role of a program manager in the next section.

Role of Program Manager

A program manager works within the five program management performance domains. Now, let us look at the role of a program manager.

Some of the key roles are that a program manager:

  • Interacting with each project manager

  • Ensuring each component team completes work, and integrates to deliver program end product, service, result or benefits

  • Checking that the projects are organized, executed in a consistent manner, and fulfilled within established standards

  • Addressing issues systematically and effectively during the program

Let us continue to discuss the responsibilities of a program manager in the next section.

Responsibilities of a Program Manager

Program Managers have greater responsibilities in the organization when compared to other people because they deal with multiple projects, and are liable for any consequences of developing in the entire program.

There are multiple projects pertaining to a single program, and it is the prime duty of the Program Manager to supervise the activities of all the projects and contribute to the success of the program.

The Program Manager works in developing the organization’s standards and aims at effectively and efficiently incorporating these standards into the program.

Some of the key factors that highlight the role of Program Managers are as follows:

Span of Control: The Program Manager deals with many projects associated with a program. Hence, he checks the compliance to standard procedures by all the team members of the related projects of an entire program.

People Management: The primary task of a program manager is to deal with clients and people possessing higher leadership degrees in the organization.

Decision Making: The program managers are involved in making strategic decisions which aid in providing benefits to the organization.

Budget and Finance Management Skill Sets: The Program Manager should be conversant with finance management as he is involved in estimating the cost for the program as well as the capital budgets involved in executing the program.

Allocation of Resources: The Program Manager is involved in allocation and optimization of resources across all related projects of a program.

Let us discuss the role of a program manager in prioritization in the next section.

Prioritization of Program Managers

Project Managers must focus on prioritizing the projects based on the methods of implementation and time management principles.

The numerous tasks involved in developing the project should be prioritized at the initial stages itself so that the team members can focus on executing each task in a sequential manner.  

Some of the criteria that aid in prioritizing projects are:

  • Project Complications

  • Factors of Risk Management

  • Project Benefits accrued to the Organization

The prioritization matrix tool is used by project managers to classify the dense set of details of the project into a simple, performable order of execution. All standards are prioritized and weighed before the actual implementation takes place.

Let us look at the advantage of using the prioritization matrix in the next section.

Advantages of Using Prioritization Matrix

The following are the advantages of using the prioritization matrix.

  • It aids in making decisions about the key issues pertinent to the project.

  • It measures and provides a numerical order for execution of the prioritized tasks.

  • It helps in understanding unclear or complex issues by evaluating the various options.

  • It assists in creating a platform for conversing the significant aspects of the project.

Let us discuss the skills of project and program managers in the following section.

Skills of Project and Program Managers

Let us understand how the roles and desired skills of project managers and program managers differ from each other.

It is very important for you to internalize this because many of the scenario based questions will have a set of actions as options.

Some of the actions are appropriate if you are working at a project manager level, whereas others are more suitable at the program manager level. You need to look out for program manager actions. Both project and program managers need to have very good communication skills.

A project manager will need to have an eye for detail and an ability to exercise control. A program manager will need to focus more on the big picture.

The program manager will need to delegate and influence the details at the project level, and will lead by the philosophy of “trust and verify.”

A project manager will have a mix of technology skills, subject matter or domain expertise, and project management skills.

A program manager will need to possess a strong mixture of analytical skills, project/program management skills (to ensure that the work gets done), and a lot of general management skills.

General management skills here refer to skills like finance, sales, marketing, etc. These are the skills that are needed to understand the organizational perspective.

The project manager needs to be seen as “reliable,” that is, one who would be able to deliver the project at all costs.

The program manager, on the other hand, needs to be seen as “flexible,” that is one who would rapidly adjust to changing circumstances and will have the ability to retain focus on the desired benefits rather than specific deliverables in the face of change.

Let us continue to discuss the skills of project managers and program managers in the next section as well.

Skills of Project and Program Managers (contd.)

The main responsibility of a Project Manager is to accomplish the demands of the project and the team members.  

Since multiple related projects form a program, the Project Manager serves as a link between the team and the strategy.

Project Managers should possess skill sets such as:

Knowledge: The Project Manager should possess adequate knowledge about project management principles such as analyzing, planning, implementation, vendor management, risk management, effective cost management techniques, team handling capabilities, and project control.

Performance: The Project Manager must apply the project management principles in an apt manner and work for the success of the project in meeting deadlines, promptly delivering products/services, satisfying customers and so on. Project managers should possess interpersonal skills that will help them analyze and interact effectively.

Some of the interpersonal skills of the project managers are listed below:

Ability to motivate team members: A project manager should motivate his team members to effectively contribute to the success of the project and in turn maximize profits for the organization.

Leadership Qualities: He should guide the team in the correct path and avoid any deviations from the project plan.

Communication: He should be able to convey his thoughts in a clear and concise manner. Time Management: He should adhere to the project plan, and promptly deliver products/services to clients or customers.

Coaching: He should train his team members to make maximum utilization of the tools and techniques and successfully complete the project.

Decision Making: Any important decisions affecting the project are all handled by the project manager. The decision taken by him are duly complied by the team members.

About the PMBOK® Guide

PMBOK Guide stands for A guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge. It is a book that PMI releases at least once in four years. PMBOK acts as a textbook for the PMP exam, and it is reference material for the PgMP exam.

PMBOK guide can also be considered as a framework and set of guidelines for the project management profession.

The Standard for Program management, third edition, is the equivalent of PMBOK guide for program management, and it is an important reference for the PgMP exam. This provides a framework and set of guidelines for the program management profession.

Let us discuss the reasons for taking this PgMP course in the next section.

Prerequisites for the PMI-PgMP® Exam

The PgMP is an “experience” based, as well as “knowledge” based certification. This means you need to meet certain prerequisites to be able to apply for it. The prerequisites depend on a person’s formal education.

As shown in the table below, a bachelor’s degree holder needs to have at least four years or 6000 hours of project management experience, and at least four years or 6000 hours of program management experience.


College/University Education

Project Management Experience

Program Management Experience


Four-year degree (Bachelor’s, global equivalent, or higher degree)

Minimum four years (6,000 hours) of unique, non-overlapping professional project management experience

Minimum four years (6,000 hours) of unique, non-overlapping professional program management experience


Secondary diploma (high school diploma, associate’s degree, or global equivalent)

Minimum four years (6,000 hours) of unique, non-overlapping professional project management experience

Minimum seven years (10,500 hours) of unique, non-overlapping professional program management experience

For someone whose highest formal education is a high school degree, four years or 6000 hours of project management experience and 7 years or 10500 hours of Program management experience is needed.

All this (project and program management) experience must have been accrued over the last 15 consecutive years. Details on PgMP can be obtained from the PgMP handbook that is available here.

In the next section, we will discuss some important information to keep in mind while filling out the application.

Guidelines for Filling the PgMP Application

Let us look into a few guidelines for submitting the PgMP application.

The first guideline related to the application for membership is that you need to be careful while entering the information about the project and program management experience.

For every project and program, you need to cite a primary contact as a reference.

The primary contact may need to provide evidence during the audit process and answer a questionnaire. It is a good idea to contact all the people who are being cited as a reference before submitting the application. This is to ensure that they are willing to follow this procedure.

For the program management experience, each program included in the application must have at least two corresponding projects described underneath it. You will need to provide the name of the projects and their project managers, who will also automatically get enlisted as references.

Next, you will need to enter the number of hours spent working on each of the five program management domains, viz. strategic program alignment, program benefits management, program stakeholder engagement, program governance, and program lifecycle management.

Questions on these domains also need to be answered, describing how you achieved specific results in each domain of a program. The responses to these questions should be concise and specific.

Focus on specifically what you have done and how it relates to the domain. It is a good idea to first go through the standard for program management before answering these questions.

There are situations where a PgMP application has gone back and forth with PMI three or more times. So if it is possible, please get your application reviewed by a current PgMP.

The next section will give us an overview of the PgMP ® credentialing process.

PgMP® Credentialing Process Overview

The image below depicts the three steps of the credentialing process.

PMI® Audit Review

All PgMP applications are subject to a process of audit, although the selection of an application for audit is random. You will receive instructions describing what you need to do to fulfill the audit requirements. All you need to do is to follow all the instructions that will be clearly given to you on email.

You are normally given 3 months to submit the audit responses. If you need more time, you need to call PMI and ask for an extension before the time period expires. Once the audit submissions are received and reviewed successfully at PMI, the panel review, i.e., Evaluation 1, will begin.

Submissions that are incomplete will result in failure of the audit.

Evaluation 1: Panel Interview

The first evaluation step is the panel review.

A panel will assess your experience based on the submitted application. The identity of the applicant is hidden from the reviewers. The process can take up to four weeks to complete but usually takes shorter than that.

The two things to be kept in mind are to: follow the guidelines while filling up the application; and make sure your responses to program management experience questions align with PMI’s notion of program management work.

The second step in the evaluation process is the examination.

Evaluation 2: Examination

This exam consists of 170 questions. Out of this, 20 questions are not scored and are test questions for future tests. However, the participants will not be aware of which questions are not scored and hence, will have to attempt all questions.

PMI includes these questions to see how many test takers are getting them right. Based on this, they might decide to include these questions in a future exam. It’s like a survey conducted by PMI.

All questions are in multiple choice format with 4 choices, out of which only one is correct. Each question carries one point. Please note that there is no negative marking, i.e., you don’t get penalized for a wrong answer. So you should attempt all questions even if it is a guess.

If you are not sure about a question, you can “Mark it for Review” and revisit that question at the end of the exam, if you have spare time.

PMI grades students on each of the five program management domains and based on this grading, they declare a PMI-PgMP® pass or fail.

The number of grades one has to score to pass the PMI-PgMP® exam is not made public by PMI. The grading used is “Below Proficient,” “Proficient,” and “Moderately Proficient” in each of the four project risk management domains.

The duration of the exam is 4 hours. The information on the exam, syllabus, and other details from the PgMP examination content outline document can be found on the PMI website.

In the next section, we will look into the different domains and the percentage of questions in each domain.

PgMP Credentialing Process Overview (contd.)

At this point, let us look into the examination syllabus.

The table below gives an indication of the percentage of questions that can be expected in the exam from each of the five program management performance domains.

Program Management Domain/Subdomain

Percentage of Questions

Domain 1 –Program Strategy Alignment (11 tasks)


Domain 2 –Program Life Cycle Management (35 tasks)


Initiating (6 tasks)


Planning (9 tasks)


Executing (9 tasks)


Controlling (6 tasks)


Closing (5 tasks)


Domain 3 –Program Benefits Management (8 tasks)


Domain 4 –Program Stakeholder Engagement (7 tasks)


Domain 5 –Program Governance (11 tasks)




As you can see, the program life-cycle accounts for the largest share of questions (i.e., 44 percent) and within the life-cycle, questions are split up according to the initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing processes.

A question will not contain information on which domain or process group it belongs to. So you have to figure this out during the exam.

Let us move on to the timeline of the PgMP credential process.

Timeline of the PgMP® Credential Process

This flowchart below specifies the process and timeline to help you plan the PgMP journey.

Let us walk through it, starting at the top.

Once you start filling an application, it remains open for you to complete and submit it within 90 days.

After the application is submitted, it goes through a cursory completeness review. The timeline given by the PMI for the completion of the review is 10 working days, but it usually takes less time than that.

After the application clears the review, the candidate is required to submit a payment. The exam cannot be scheduled till payment of credential fees is submitted.

Once the payment is remitted, a panel reviews the application in depth. The panel review can take up to four weeks during which the panel may ask questions, and you will need to respond to them.

After clearing the review, the audit process is triggered. If the application is selected, you have up to 90 days to respond to audit requirements and submit the required evidence.

After submitting all the material, PMI takes up to 5 working days to review and respond. Once the audit is cleared, you will receive confirmation about being eligible to schedule the exam. This eligibility is valid for 1 year from the date that the application was approved.

After clearing the exam, you get certified, and the 3-year renewal cycle starts. You have three years from the date of certification to obtain and report PDUs toward credential maintenance.

Remember that this cycle may be amended to align with the renewal cycle of your other certifications if you choose to do so.

In the next section, we will look into some details of the PMI-PgMP examination.

PMI-PgMP® Exam Syllabus

In the following sections, we are going to discuss the detailed list of topics that you need to know as a program manager, to be able to tackle the questions in the PgMP exam. This list comes from a role delineation study performed by the PMI.

The details of these topics can be found in the document called PgMP Examination Content Outline, which should be available for you to download from the PMI website. This list can be used as a checklist in your preparation for the PgMP exam.

Check the items that you feel are covered and work on the items that are remaining. This is an exhaustive and elaborate list, and the process of preparation is also lengthy.

The five program management domains, namely, program strategy alignment, program benefits management, program stakeholder engagement, program governance, and program lifecycle management need to be understood.

One chapter is dedicated per domain to help you with this. If you look at the examination content outline, there are 72 tasks and 126 knowledge areas and skills that are distributed across all these five domains. Within the program life cycle, there are 5 subdomains. They are: initiating, planning, executing, controlling, and closing.

Let us understand the tasks of program strategy alignment in the next section.

Program Strategy Alignment - Tasks

The first domain for program management is program strategy alignment. In this domain, the tasks that a program manager is expected to perform are the following:

Task 1

The first task is to perform an initial program assessment by defining the program objectives, requirements, and risks in order to ensure program alignment with the strategic plan of the organization.

Task 2

The second task is to establish a high-level roadmap with milestones and preliminary estimates. This can be used to obtain initial validation and approval from the executive sponsor.

Task 3

The third task is to define a high-level roadmap or framework to set up a baseline for definition, planning, and execution.

Task 4

The fourth task is to define the program mission statement by evaluating the stakeholder concerns and expectations.

Task 5

The next task is to evaluate the organization’s capability by consulting with its leaders.

Task 6

The sixth task is to identify organizational benefits for the program (or candidate program) using various methods such as market analysis, cost-benefit analysis, etc.

Task 7  

The seventh task is to estimate the high level financial and non-financial benefits in order to obtain and maintain financial authorization.  

Task 8

The next task is to evaluate program objectives relative to the regulatory, legal, social, cultural, and other considerations.

Task 9

The ninth task is to obtain organizational leadership approval by preparing and presenting the program charter.

Task 10

The tenth task is to identify and evaluate integration opportunities and needs, to align and integrate the benefits within the program.

Task 11

The final task is to exploit strategic opportunities for change to maximize the benefits to the organization.

Let us move on to the knowledge and skills required for program strategy alignment.

Program Strategy Alignment - Knowledge and Skills

To be successful in completing the tasks related to program strategy alignment, the program manager must possess or acquire some knowledge and skills.

These are:

  • Business strategy and objectives

  • Economic forecasting

  • Feasibility analysis

  • Financial measurement and management techniques

  • Funding models and processes

  • Intellectual property laws and guidelines

  • Legal and regulatory requirements

  • Marketing

While we are going to cover many of these in the course material going forward, you need to make sure, before appearing for the exam, that you are familiar with these topics and will be able to hold forth whenever a question related to this topic comes up.

In the following section, we will look at the tasks of program lifecycle management.

Program Life Cycle Management Tasks

The tasks involved in the program life cycle management domain are:

Initiating the Program

Let us look at the tasks within the subdomains of the program lifecycle management domain. Click each subdomain to know its tasks.

Task 1

First, develop a program charter using inputs from all stakeholders to initiate the program.

Task 2

Second, translate strategic objectives into high-level program scope statements by negotiating with the stakeholders, and develop a program scope description.

Task 3

Third, develop a high-level milestone plan using various sources of information, and tools and techniques, including historical information, goals, and objectives.

Task 4

Fourth, develop an accountability matrix by assigning, and identifying program roles and responsibilities in order to build the core program team.

Task 5

Fifth, define standard measurement criteria for the success of all constituent projects.

Task 6

Finally, conduct program kickoff with key stakeholders by holding meetings to familiarize everybody with the program and get their buy-in.

Planning the Program

Task 7

The seventh task in program life cycle is to develop a detailed program scope statement by incorporating the program vision, mission, and all other objectives.

Task 8

The eighth task is to develop program WBS to decompose the program scope.

Task 9

The ninth task is to establish the program management plan and schedule by integrating the component level plans and creating plans for the supporting functions of the program.

Task 10

The tenth task is to optimize the program management plan in order to gain efficiencies and synergies among constituent projects.

Task 11

The next task is to define the project management information system by selecting tools and processes and to share knowledge and information across the program.  

Task 12

The twelfth task is to identify and manage unresolved project level issues by establishing a monitoring and escalation mechanism, and selecting a course of action.

Task 13

The thirteenth task is to develop the transition/integration/closure plan by defining exit criteria.

Task 14

The fourteenth task is to develop key performance indicators by using techniques such as balanced scorecards.

Task 15

The last task under the planning subdomain is to monitor key human resources for program and project roles to improve team motivation.

Executing the program

Task 16

The next task in the program life cycle domain is to charter and initiate constituent projects by appointing project managers and assigning appropriate resources to the projects.

Task 17

Next, establish consistency by deploying standard tools, resources, infrastructure, etc., to enable informed program level decision making.

Task 18

Then establish the communication feedback process to capture lessons learned.

Task 19

The next task is to lead human resource functions by training, coaching, mentoring, rewarding, and recognizing the team.

Task 20

This is followed by a review of project managers’ performance in executing the projects, according to the project and program management plans.

Task 21

Next, execute the appropriate program management plans to achieve the outcomes and benefits laid down in the plans.

Task 22

Consolidating project and program data using the various tools and techniques, and reporting to the stakeholders is the next task under this subdomain.

Task 23

Then evaluate the program’s status in order to monitor and control the program.  

Task 24

Finally, approve the closure of constituent projects upon completion of the defined deliverables.

Controlling the program

Task 25

The twenty-fifth task in the program life cycle is to analyze variances and trends in costs, schedule, quality, and risks, in order to identify opportunities for corrective actions.

Task 26

The next task is to update program plans by incorporating appropriate corrective and preventive actions.

Task 27

The twenty-seventh task is to manage program level issues by identifying, selecting, and following an appropriate course of action.

Task 28

The next task is to manage changes in accordance with the change management plan to systematically handle changes in the program.

Task 29

The next task is to conduct impact assessments for program changes and evolve alternatives.

Task 30

The last task of controlling the program subdomain is to manage risk in accordance with the risk management plan.

Closing the program

Task 31

To complete a program performance report, the first task is to compare the final values to the planned values.

Task 32

Then, the next task is to obtain stakeholder approval for closure.

Task 33

This is followed by the task to execute the transition and close-out all program and constituent project plans, for meeting program objectives and long-term sustenance of benefits.

Task 34

The next task is to conduct the post-review meeting to obtain feedback and capture lessons learned.

Task 35

The last task in this subdomain is to report lessons learned and best practices and capture them in the knowledge repository.

In the next section, we will learn about the different knowledge areas and skills required in program lifecycle management.

Program Life Cycle Management - Knowledge and Skills

In this section, you will find listed several knowledge areas and skills that are required for the program manager to be successful in managing the program across the life cycle. It is clear that to make the transition from a project to program level; there are a lot of knowledge areas and skills that the program manager needs to imbibe.

Some of these might overlap with the project domain, for example benchmarking, or quality metrics. Then there are others that are either unique to program management or have to be elevated to a different level in program management.

For example, The program manager needs to be more knowledgeable in terms of financial management, not just cost management.

Program managers may also need to become familiar with specialized disciplines like logistics management, because programs may also have operational elements to them.

Let us look into the different tasks under program benefits management in the next section.

Program Benefits Management - Tasks

Program Benefits management is the third domain we are going to discuss.

The tasks involved in benefits management are as follows:

Task 1

The first task is to develop the benefits realization plan and its measurement criteria. This is done to set the baselines and enable communication with the stakeholders about the benefits.

Task 2

The next task is to identify and capture synergies and efficiencies identified throughout the program life cycle in order to update the benefits realization plan.

Task 3

The third task is to develop a sustainment plan to ensure that the benefits can be realized over a period of time.

Task 4

The next task is to monitor the metrics in order to take corrective and potential corrective actions.

Task 5

The fifth task is to verify that the closing, transition, and integration of constituent projects and program meet or exceed the benefit realization criteria.

Task 6

The next task is to maintain a benefit register and record program progress towards attainment of the benefits.

Task 7

The seventh task is to analyze and update the benefits realization and sustainment plans for risks to the realization of benefits and update the stakeholders.  

Task 8

Finally, the program manager develops a transition plan for operations to guarantee sustenance of benefits. Let us find out the knowledge and skills required for program benefits management.

Program Benefits Management - Knowledge and Skills

The following are the knowledge areas and skills required for program benefits management:

  • Benefits optimization to ensure strategies are employed to deliver maximum benefits

  • Business value measurement to be able to quantify and articulate the business benefits delivered

  • Decision tree analysis to be able to make decisions that maximize the benefits and reduce the threats to benefits realization

  • Maintenance and sustainment of program benefits post-delivery

  • Performance and quality metrics to be able to quantify the factors that contribute to the benefits

  • Program transition strategies to be able to smoothly transition to the recipient organizations.

The next section deals with the tasks under program stakeholder engagement.

Program Stakeholder Engagement - Tasks

Now, let us look at the tasks for the program stakeholder engagement domain.

They are the following:

Task 1

First, identify stakeholders and create a stakeholder matrix, in order to document their position relative to the program.

Task 2

Second, perform stakeholder analysis through various techniques, to help the creation of the stakeholder management plan.

Task 3

Third, negotiate the support of stakeholders while setting clear expectations about performance.

Task 4

Fourth, generate and maintain visibility for the program, and confirm stakeholder support.

Task 5

Fifth, define and maintain communication adapted to different stakeholders, in order to ensure their continued support to the program.

Task 6

Sixth, evaluate risks identified by stakeholders and incorporate them in the risk management plan as necessary.

Task 7

Lastly, develop and foster relationships with stakeholders, in order to enhance communications and improve their support for the program.

Moving on, we will find out the different knowledge and skills required to perform program stakeholder engagement activities.

Program Stakeholder Engagement - Knowledge and Skills

The following knowledge areas and skills are necessary for the program manager to perform stakeholder engagement activities:

Customer relationship management, because the program manager manages the relationship with the customer more than a project manager.

Customer satisfaction measurement, because the program manager needs to set up a system to calibrate and take action on customer satisfaction.

Expectation management, because the program manager needs to set correct expectations about the program performance with the stakeholders.

Public relations, because the program manager is highly visible, and a representative of the program.

Training methodologies are required because the program manager manages the training and development activities across the program.

In the next section, we will look into the different tasks in program governance.

Program Governance - Tasks

Now, let us look at the tasks related to program governance.

Task 1

The first task is to develop program and project management standards and structure to drive efficiency, consistency, and program results.

Task 2

Next, select a governance model structure, including policies, procedures, and standards.  

Task 3

The third task is to obtain authorizations and approvals through forums, such as phase gate reviews to secure and maintain organizational backing for the program.  

Task 4

Next, evaluate key performance indicators, in order to monitor program benefits throughout the life-cycle.

Task 5

The fifth task is to develop and/or utilize the program management information system to manage program information, and ensure the right kind of communication is provided to the right audience.

Task 6

Next, regularly evaluate new and existing risks that impact strategic objectives, to update risk management plans and ensure the organization is comfortable with the prevailing risk level on the program.

Task 7

The seventh task is to establish escalation policies and procedures, to ensure issues and risks are handled at the appropriate level in the organization.

Task 8

The eighth task is to develop and/or contribute to an information repository, to ensure the program’s knowledge and experience are archived.

Task 9

Next, identify and apply lessons learned to support future development and organizational learning.

Task 10

The tenth task is to monitor the business environment, program functionality requirement, and benefits realization.

Task 11

Finally, develop and support the program integration management plan.

Moving on, let us discuss the knowledge and skills required for program governance.

Program Governance - Knowledge and Skills

The knowledge and skills necessary to ensure program governance are:

  • Archiving tools and techniques - To ensure the knowledge is captured in the right way

  • Business/organization objectives - to ensure that the program understands, and is aligned with organizational goals

  • Closeout plans, procedures, techniques, and policies

  • Composition and responsibilities of the program management office (PMO) which supports the program

  • Financial closure processes - To ensure that the financial performance is monitored and measured before the final statements are prepared;

  • Go/no-go decision criteria

  • Governance models - to be able to select the most appropriate model for the organization

  • Governance processes and procedures

  • Metrics definition and measurement techniques

  • Performance analysis and reporting techniques

  • Phase gate reviews - To provide visibility into the program, and ensure the right level or organizational oversight

  • Program and project change requests

  • Statistical analysis

Let us now check your understanding of the topics covered in this lesson.

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Lessons Covered in this PgMP Tutorial

There are nine lessons covered in this tutorial. Take a look at the lesson names that are listed below

Lesson No

Chapter Name

What You’ll Learn

Lesson 1

Program Management Performance Domains Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the five program management performance domains.

  • Observe the key focus areas and activities within the five domains at a high level.

  • Understand how these five domains interact with each other.

  • Discuss the distinctions between program and project as well as between program and portfolio levels.

Lesson 2

Program Strategy Alignment Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Define strategy

  • Understand how the strategy of an organization is expressed

  • List the tasks involved in strategic program management

  • Differentiate tactical approach and strategic approach

  • Discuss the processes, artifacts, and activities required to align a program with the strategy of an organization

Lesson 3

Program Benefits Management Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand how the life cycle of the program overlaps with the benefits management activities

  • Discuss the five primary activities within benefits management

  • Explain how to identify the benefits that will be delivered by the program

  • Classify the responsibilities during the benefits analysis and planning and the benefits delivery activities

  • Identify the tasks to ensure the transition of benefits to the receiving organization

Lesson 4

Program Stakeholder Engagement Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Understand stakeholder engagement

  • Explain the three stages involved in stakeholder engagement

  • Learn how to identify stakeholders in a program

  • Understand how to plan engagement of the stakeholders

  • Acquire the skills to engage stakeholders throughout the program actively

Lesson 5

Program Governance Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain what program governance is

  • Elucidate the concept of the program governance board

  • Discuss the constitution and responsibilities of the program governance board

  • Describe how the board interacts with other aspects of program management

  • Describe the specific roles individuals play in the context of governance

  • Explain how program manager’s authority is impacted by the overall organization structure

Lesson 6

Program Life Cycle Management Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Order the phases of the program lifecycle

  • Describe program definition

  • Explain program formulation and preparation

  • List the steps involved in program benefits delivery

  • Relate program transition and program closeout of the program closure phase

  • Map the processes to the life cycle

Lesson 7

Program Management Supporting Processes: Program Definition Phase Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the three primary processes under integration management as a part of the program definition phase

  • Describe program scope planning

  • Explain the process of designing a schedule plan

  • List the processes involved in budget estimation

  • Name the elements of a quality management plan

  • Describe resource planning

  • Describe program risk management planning

  • Explain communications and procurement planning

Lesson 8

Program Management Supporting Processes: Program Benefits Delivery Phase Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Describe the activities in program delivery management and program performance monitoring and control

  • Describe the scope control and schedule control processes

  • Explain component cost estimation and program cost budgeting

  • List the tasks in program quality assurance

  • Explain resource prioritization

  • Discuss risk identification, analysis, monitoring, and control

  • List the common information distribution methods

Lesson 9

Program Management Supporting Processes: Program Closure Phase Tutorial

In this chapter, you’ll be able to:

  • Explain the integration management closure processes.

  • Explain the financial management closure processes.

  • Explain the procurement management closure processes.


Let us quickly review what we have learned in this Lesson.

  • PMI-PgMP® stands for Program Management Professional. It is the name of the certificate awarded to those who pass all the evaluation stages of PgMP®.

  • A program is a group of related projects, subprograms, and program activities that are managed in a coordinated way to obtain benefits not available from managing them individually.

  • Program management is the application of knowledge, skills, and tools and techniques to a program to meet the program requirements, and to obtain benefits and control not available by managing projects individually.

  • A portfolio refers to projects, programs, sub-portfolios, and operations grouped together to achieve strategic business objectives.

  • A strategy is a long-term plan of action to achieve a goal.

  • Business value refers to the entire value of the business, which is the total sum of tangible and intangible elements.

  • The program manager plays a crucial role in ensuring program success.

  • PgMP® is an “experience” based as well as “knowledge” based certification. This means you need to meet certain prerequisites in order to be able to apply for it.

  • The three steps of evaluation that you will have to complete are panel review, examination, and audit.

  • The five program management domains are program strategy alignment, program benefits management, program stakeholder engagement, program governance, and program lifecycle management. There are 72 tasks and 126 knowledge areas and skills that are distributed across all these five domains.


With this, we have come to the end of this lesson. In the next lesson, we will look into the program management performance domains.

  • Disclaimer
  • PMP, PMI, PMBOK, CAPM, PgMP, PfMP, ACP, PBA, RMP, SP, and OPM3 are registered marks of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

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