What’s In The Program Management Professional (PgMP®) Examination Content Outline? (Part 1)

The Program Management Professional (PgMP®) examination is the stepping stone to earning a professional credential for program managers. This article offers an overview of the PgMP® exam content outline to help you have a clearer look at what you are expected on the exam.

The exam contains a total of 170 questions with 150 scorable ones distributed in the domains shown in the following table and the remaining 20 pretest questions which will not count in the candidates’ scores. 

Domain/Subdomain % of Exam
I. Strategic Program Management (11 tasks) 15%
II. Program Life Cycle (35 tasks) 44%
       - Initiating (6 tasks) 6%
       - Planning (9 tasks) 11%
       - Executing (9 tasks) 14%
       - Controlling (6 tasks) 10%
       - Closing (5 tasks) 3%
III. Benefits management (8 tasks) 11%
IV. Stakeholder Management (7 tasks) 16%
V. Governance (11 tasks) 14%


As can be seen from the table above, there are 5 domains of practice in the revised PgMP® delineation instead of the six lifecycle domains in the PMP® model. The new framework offers a clear, concise, comprehensive, and contemporary description of program management practice and aligns with the essential aspects of the program manager’s job. Those domains can be elaborated as follows:

- Domain 1: Strategic Management. Identifying opportunities and benefits that achieve the organization’s strategic objectives through program implementation

- Domain 2: Program Life Cycle. Activities related to:
• Initiating. Defining the program and constituent projects, and obtaining agreement from stakeholders
• Planning. Defining program scope and developing the program, including all constituent projects, and all activities that occur within the program
• Executing. Performing work necessary to achieve the program’s objectives and deliver the program’s benefits
• Controlling. Monitoring progress, updating program plans as required, managing change and risk
• Closing. Finalizing all program activities, including all constituent projects, executing transition plan, archiving, obtaining approvals, and reporting

- Domain 3: Benefits Management. Defining, creating, maximizing, and sustaining the benefits provided by programs

- Domain 4: Stakeholder Management. Capturing stakeholder needs and expectations, gaining and maintaining stakeholder support, and mitigating/channeling opposition

- Domain 5: Governance. Establishing processes and procedures for maintaining proactive program management oversight and decision-making support for applicable policies and practices throughout the entire program life cycle.

*Source: ©2011 Project Management Institute, Inc. All rights reserved. PMI PgMP® Examination Content Outline – April 2011

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