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Program Management Professional (PgMP) Credential

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Volume 2 | Issue 5 | May 2008

Daniel Vitek, MBA, PMP

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is the leading membership association for the project management profession. For almost 40 years, PMI has advanced the careers of project management practitioners by setting professional standards, conducting research, and providing access to a wealth of information and resources.

On October 1, 2007 PMI added a new credential certification, the Program Management Professional (PgMP). The PgMP offers PMI's first credential designed to test the ability to demonstrate both project and program management skills. This newest credential is specifically developed to acknowledge the qualifications of the professional who leads the coordinated management of multiple projects, and ensures the success of an overall program, instead of just one specific project.

Candidates who earn the PgMP credential are internationally recognized as professionals with the knowledge, skill, and experience to make and implement important decisions, and accomplish the strategic objectives, that enhance business results.

A certified PgMP oversees programs, defines projects, and assigns project managers. This newly developed credential is only for professionals who demonstrate advanced experience, knowledge, and performance, with the ability to achieve organizational objectives through defining and overseeing projects and resources.

Professional credentials, in general, accelerate business results by certifying the knowledge and experience of the professional’s that contribute to project success. PMI has supported this through certifications credentials, most notably the Project Management Professional (PMP) credential, and now the PgMP. To qualify for eligibility to even pursue PgMP certification credential a candidate must, within the last 15 years, have:

With a High School Diploma, Associate's degree, or equivalent:

  • 4 Years (6,000 hours) of project management experience along with 7 years (10,500 hours) of program management experience

With a Bachelor's degree, equivalent, or higher:

  • 4 Years (6,000 hours) of project management experience along with 4 years (6,000 hours) of program management experience
  • If the Bachelor's degree or equivalent is obtained from a PMI accredited university, the individual receives 1,500 hours toward the program management experience requirement

Specific Program Management Experience is also required in the six program management domains:

Domain I - Defining the program

  • Perform program assessment
  • Preliminary stakeholder analysis
  • Support business analysis functions
  • Develop benefits realization plan
  • Establish alliances with other departments and organizations
  • Evaluate organizational capabilities
  • Request authorization to proceed

Domain II - Initiating the program

  • Define the program's mission statement
  • Translate strategic objectives
  • Develop high-level milestones
  • Develop accountability matrix
  • Establish project management standards
  • Define measurement criteria for success
  • Obtain senior management approval
  • Conduct program kick-off

Domain III - Planning the program

  • Develop the program's scope statement, scope definition, management plan, and transition plan
  • Optimize the program plan
  • Level resource requirements
  • Define the project management information system
  • Optimize the overall program

Domain IV - Executing the program

  • Charter constituent projects
  • Motivate the team
  • Capture program status
  • Consolidate program/project data
  • Allocate resources
  • Establish program consistency
  • Execute the program plan
  • Approve closure of constituent projects

Domain V - Closing the program

  • Complete performance analysis
  • Manage program completion
  • Conduct stakeholder post-review and meetings
  • Report lessons learned

In addition to the before mentioned prerequisites required to even be considered eligible for the PgMP credential, to be considered certified the following criteria must also be satisfied:

  1.  Candidates must meet required educational and project experience
  2.  Candidates must apply and their education and work experience will be reviewed by PMI staff and a panel of program managers
  3.  Candidates must pass a four hour multiple-choice exam measuring their ability to apply knowledge, skills, and techniques used in program management
  4.  Candidates must pass a competency assessment where a group of people will rate the individuals work competence

The actual PgMP examination is a 170 question multiple-choice test on the Program Management Professional Examination Specification and the Program Management Standard from PMI. The exam fee is $1500 for PMI members and $1800 for non-members. The exam is divided into the different program domains in approximately the following proportions:

  • 14% - Defining the program
  • 12% - Initiation the program
  • 20% - Planning the program
  • 25% - Executing the program
  • 21% - Controlling the program
  • 08% - Closing the program

The overall timeline for working through the entire PgMP certification process is approximately:

  • Application submission - 90 days to complete
  • Application Review - 5 business days
  • Application Audit (if rejected) - 5 business days
  • Application Panel Review - 10 business days
  • Examination - Must be passed within 1 year from the date of eligibility notification
  • Multi-Rater Assessment - Must be completed within 3 calendar weeks from the date of passing the examination

Portions of the content of this newsletter were paraphrased from a PgMP presentation conducted by Eric Norman during the April 2008 meeting of the CDC PMCoP.

For more information and tools related to the topic(s) covered in this newsletter, the CDC Unified Process, or the Project Management Community of Practice please visit the CDC Unified Process website at

Please also visit the CDC Unified Process Newsletter Archive located at for access to many additional newsletters, articles, and management related topics and information.


The CDC UP offers a short overview presentation to any CDC FTE or Non-FTE group. Presentations are often performed at your location, on a day of the week convenient for your group, and typically take place over lunch structured as one hour lunch-and-learn style meeting.

Contact the CDC Unified Process at or visit to arrange a short overview presentation for your group.


The CDC Unified Process Project Management Newsletter is authored by Daniel Vitek, MBA, PMP and published by the Office of Surveillance, Epidemiology, and Laboratory Services.

For questions about the CDC Unified Process, comments regarding this newsletter, suggestions for future newsletter topics, or to subscribe to the CDC Unified Process Project Management Newsletter please contact the CDC Unified Process or visit



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