Portfolio management professional (PMI-PfMP) certification recognizes advanced experience, skill and performance necessary to manage and align a portfolio of projects and programs to realize organizational strategy and objectives. Show your peers, employers, and stakeholders that your portfolio management knowledge runs deep. I am listing below the PMI-PfMP exam hot topics where most of the exam questions come from:
- Inputs, tools, techniques, and outputs (ITTO). ITTO stands for Input, Tools and Techniques, and Output. Almost all PfMP aspirants are scared of ITTO-based questions, and they try to find the easiest way to solve them. This is a never-ending process because there is no shortcut to solving these types of questions. In your PfMP exam, expect more than 15 questions describing a process, and asking you about documents you need to start this process (inputs), or what can facilitate the process (tools and techniques), or what are the expected results of the process (outputs). You should understand and memorize the ITTO’s for the 16 processes.
- Weighted Ranking and Scoring Techniques. Weighted ranking and scoring techniques are used for ranking and scoring portfolio components within each category based on values assigned. Portfolio components are ranked according to preestablished criteria. In the PfMP exam, expect 5 questions about this technique, it will usually come in the form of table, and asking you about the correct components priority. Expect questions about single-criterian, multiple criteria, and scoring models.
- Composite Index. It is a statistical tool that groups together many different indexes in order to create a representation of overall portfolio performance. Typically, the elements of a composite index are combined in a standardized way so that large amounts of data can be presented easily. This topic is not covered in the standard, however, you should expect 2 math questions about it.
- Portfolio Efficient Frontier. It gives the decision makers the analytical tool to optimize portfolios given the resource constraints. The portfolio, is referred to as “efficient” if it has the best possible expected level of return for its level of risk (usually proxied by the standard deviation of the portfolio’s return). Diversification may allow for the same portfolio expected return with reduced risk. It should be noted that efficient frontiers are not static, and organizations should monitor cost-benefit ratios on a continual basis. In the PfMP exam, expect 4 questions about this tool. It might come in a text format, or as a graph with various portfolios and asking about the best portfolio to select.
- Probability impact assessment. Risk probabilities and impacts are rated according to the definitions given in the portfolio risk management plan. In the PfMP exam, expect 2 questions with tables. The table will have four threats and opportunities, with probability and impact of each, and asking you about which risk should be addressed.
- Portfolio Management Plan. The portfolio management plan provides portfolio oversight with the format and planned criteria for developing, maintaining, and controlling the portfolio and its components. The plan documents the intended approach to managing the portfolio and its components in order to meet the organization strategy and objectives. In the PfMP exam, expect 10 questions targeting your knowledge of this plan components, and specially the governance model and oversight.
- Gap Analysis. A gap analysis is performed to compare the current portfolio mix and components with the new strategic direction and the “to-be” organizational vision. This is essential to properly manage strategic change. This analysis determines the gaps and changes needed in the portfolio mix in order that components may be added, changed, or terminated. In the PfMP exam, expect 3 questions asking about this technique and how it can be applied.
- Project Management Information System (PMIS). A portfolio management information system (PMIS) is a tool, manual or automated, for information collection and distribution to support the portfolio management processes. The PMIS may include costs, performance metrics, risk information, and other information needed to manage and control portfolio performance. In the PfMP exam, expect 5 questions asking about this tool and how it can be used, specially in reporting.
- Governance Model. The governance model defines the way the organizational assets and resources are planned to be managed within the portfolio according to the specific environment of the organization. It establishes and tailors the decision-making rights and authorities, responsibilities, rules, and protocols needed to manage progress based on portfolio risk towards the achievement of their organizational strategy and objectives. This is accomplished through controls set up as gate reviews for each stage of a project. In the PfMP exam, expect 8 questions asking about this model and its components, and how it can be used with governing bodies.
- Portfolio risk register. Portfolio risks are documented in a risk register. The development of the risk register begins with develop portfolio risk management Plan. The risk register ultimately contains the outcomes of the manage portfolio risks process. The information in the risk register will subsequently be used and updated by portfolio management and portfolio risk management processes. In the PfMP exam, expect 6 questions asking about the components of this register, and the updates occurred in it after managing risks, and how it can be used as a reporting tool for governing bodies.
- Risk attitude. Risk Attitude is at high level and shows the natural inclination or basic nature of organizations if they are willing to take risk or not. It represent a response chosen by stakeholders which is driven by their perception of a specific situation. In the PfMP exam, expect 2 questions the risk attitude, and how can you classify a stakeholder as risk taker or risk averse based on three points estimate.
- Common techniques. Tools and techniques like trend analysis, variance analysis, scenario analysis, quantitative analysis, and capability and capacity analysis will appear frequently in the exam. In the PfMP exam, expect 10 questions about the mentioned tools and techniques, they will be simple if you understand the techniques and the purpose of their use.
- Prioritization Analysis. The portfolio strategic plan should contain a prioritization model or approach that guides the ongoing decisions as to which portfolio components should be added, terminated, or changed. Expect 3 questions in the PfMP exam about this technique.
Before you go for the real PfMP exam, I highly recommend you practice high quality questions, in this article, I am listing some of the high quality PfMP mock exams in the market.
Good luck in your journey