If you are a business professional in charge of small or medium projects, an excellent option to advance your career is the CompTIA Project+ certification. Such an accomplishment on your resume indicates to potential employers that you have the necessary ability and knowledge to manage a project in its entirety, including resource management, communication, and documentation. Additionally, it shows you are qualified to assist and support larger projects. In order to take the exam, you must have accumulated at least one year of experience in project management. This article will delineate exactly what you need to study to be successful in earning the Project+ certification.

CompTIA Project+ Exam Overview

The CompTIA Project+ exam is a multiple-choice test with a 95-question maximum. You’ll have 90 minutes to complete the test. Here’s the topic breakdown:

  1. Project Basics: 36%
  2. Project Constraints: 17%
  3. Communication and Change Management: 26%
  4. Project Tools and Documentation: 21%

1.0 Project Basics

In this section, you will need to be able to summarize the various parts of a project. It must be temporary and unique with a clear purpose. Identify how the project will start, and what the project will look like when it’s finished. Additionally, you should be prepared to present the project as part of a program and a portfolio.

The roles and responsibilities of the project sponsor, project manager, project coordinator, stakeholder, scheduler, project team, and project management office must be classified.

  • Sponsor/champion: Makes a business case, maintains the authority of approval for funding and requirements, ameliorates roadblocks.
  • Project manager: Manages the team, budget, risk, quality assurance, and provides artifacts
  • Project coordinator: Supports the project manager, documents proceedings and provides administrative support, performs quality checks and scheduling
  • Stakeholder: has a vested interest in the success of the project, provides a set of requirements for the project and offers expertise
  • Scheduler: creates the project schedule, communicates any changes to the timeline, reports adherence to the schedule
  • Project team: contributes deliverables and expertise
  • Project management office: sets organizational standard practice and deliverables, governs the project, establishes key parameters and performance indicators, coordinates resources, and provides tools

You will be asked to compare the standard phases present in projects.

  • Initiation: Project charter, business case, high-level risks and scope definition
  • Planning: schedule, work breakdown, resources, detailed risks and requirements; communication, procurement, and change management plans; budget
  • Execution: deliverables
  • Monitor and control: risk log, performance reporting and measurement, quality assurance, change control, budget
  • Closing: training, transition/integration, sign-off of project, project document archive creation, resource release, contract closure

Several questions will require you to delineate cost control basics.

  • Total project cost
  • Expenditure tracking and reporting
  • Burn rate
  • Planned budget vs. actual budget

You will need to identify common organizational structures for projects.

  • Functional: project manager lacks authority, resources are reported to functional manager
  • Matrix: shared authority between project and functional managers, functional area resources are assigned to project, varied authority for project manager
  • Projectized: full authority of project manager, to whom resources report

For a given scenario project, you will develop and execute a schedule.

  • Create a work breakdown
  • Schedule activities: Determine tasks, their start/finish, and duration; Identify milestones; Set predecessors and dependencies; Sequence and prioritize tasks; Create critical pathway; Resource allocation; Determine baseline; Delineate quality and governance gates (client, management, and legislative sign-off)

Be prepared to identify Agile methodology basics.

  • Adapt to changing requirements
  • Establish a backlog
  • Gather requirements continuously
  • Sprint planning
  • Burndown charts
  • Provide continuous feedback
  • Daily SCRUM meetings
  • SCRUM retrospective
  • Self-organized and self-directed teams

Provide explanations for the importance of human and physical resources, as well as personnel management.

  • Concepts of resource management: Shared vs. dedicated resources; Resource allocation, shortage, and overallocation; Low quality and benched resources; Interproject dependencies, resource contention
  • Personnel management: Team- and trust-building; Team selection; Variation of skill sets; In-house vs. remote personnel; Personnel replacement/removal; Communication challenges
  • Conflict resolution techniques: Smoothing vs. Forcing; Compromising and negotiating; Confronting vs. avoiding

2.0 Project Constraints

For an example scenario, predict how influences and constraint variables will impact the project.

  • Common constraints: budget, scope, resources, scheduling, deliverables, requirements, quality, environment
  • Influences: changes, creep of scope, reprioritization of constraints and the interaction between them, stakeholders and managers

Be prepared to describe the importance of risk strategies/activities.

  • Strategies: accept, transfer, avoid, mitigate, and exploit
  • Activities: identify, quantify, plan, review, respond, register, prioritize, communicate

3.0 Communication and Change Management

You will need to select the appropriate communication method for a particular scenario.

  • Meetings: Project start, In-person vs. virtual, Impromptu vs. scheduled, Project closure)
  • Email and fax
  • Printed media distribution
  • Instant messaging and text message
  • Video and voice conferencing
  • Social media

Describe the difference between a myriad of factors that influence methods of communication.

  • Language barriers and cultural differences
  • Inter- and intra-organizational differences
  • Time zone separation
  • Personal preferences
  • Building rapport and relationships
  • Altering method based on content
  • Criticality factors
  • Stakeholder-specific communication requirements: Communication frequency, type, and style; Report detail; Confidentiality constraints

Explain the common triggers and rationale for, and the target audience of, communication.

  • Audits
  • Project planning and change
  • Updates to the risk register
  • Milestones
  • Schedule changes
  • Task start and end
  • Changes to project stakeholders
  • Gate reviews
  • Resource changes
  • Incident response
  • Business continuity response

You will be given a project scenario and asked to delineate the process of change control

  • Change control process: Identify, document, and evaluate impact; Change justification (regression plan); Identify who has the authority to approve a project change; Implement and validate the change; Update and audit documents; Communication
  • Types of common project change: Timeline; Requirements; Funding; Quality; Scope; Resource; Risk event

Discuss organizational changes.

  • Acquisitions/mergers
  • Demergers/splits
  • Process changes
  • Internal restructuring
  • Relocation
  • Outsourcing

4.0 Project Tools and Documentation

You will be asked to differentiate project management tools.

  • Project scheduling software
  • Charts: Process diagram; Histogram; Fishbone; Pareto chart; Gantt Chart; Scatter Chart; Run Chart
  • Dashboard
  • Knowledge management tool: Intranet/internet sites; Wiki pages; Collaboration tools; Vendor knowledge tools
  • Performance measurement tools: Key performance parameters and indicators; Balanced scorecard
  • SWOT analysis
  • RACI (Responsible, Accountable, Consulted, Informed (RACI) Matrix

Be prepared to analyze document centered around a scenario project.

  • Charter
  • Organizational chart
  • Scope statement
  • Project schedule
  • Communication plan
  • Project management plan
  • Issues log
  • Dashboard information/status report
  • Action items
  • Meeting agenda/minutes

Describe the purpose of common vendor-centric or partner documents.

  • Requests: Information; Proposal; Quote
  • Mutually binding documents: Contracts; Non-disclosure agreement; Cease and Desist; Letter of Intent; Memorandum of Understanding; Statement of Work; Purchase Order; Service Level Agreement; Warranty

In addition to these topics of study, be sure to review the acronyms that you will encounter on the CompTIA Project+ exam. You can find the list on the CompTIA Project+ Certification Exam Objectives. Utilize this list and this article as a study guide to ensure you are well-prepared to advance your career with a CompTIA Project+ certification.