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GAQM Certified Project Director - Blogs Sample Questions

In schedule monitoring and controlling, you want to review each activity total float and free float to determine if they have changed since the previous update.  Changes to total float indicate which of the following?

Correct Answer:
a threat of achieving project completion or specific milestones
in project management, the concepts of total float and free float are critical for understanding how changes in the project schedule can impact overall project delivery and specific milestones. here's an expanded explanation of how changes to total float indicate a threat to achieving project completion or specific milestones:

**understanding floats in project management**: total float, also known as slack, is the amount of time that an activity in a project schedule can be delayed without causing a delay to the project completion date. free float, on the other hand, refers to the amount of time that a schedule activity can be delayed without delaying the early start date of any immediately following activities.

**significance of changes in total float**: when monitoring and controlling the project schedule, noticing changes in the total float of activities is crucial. an increase in the total float might suggest that the project has more leeway in terms of time, possibly due to the completion of tasks ahead of schedule or a change in project scope. conversely, a decrease in total float is indicative of reduced flexibility in the schedule. this reduction could be due to delays or extending the duration of earlier tasks, which compresses the time available for later tasks. a decreased total float signals a heightened risk that the project will not meet its scheduled completion or reach critical milestones on time.

**implications of total float changes**: a reduction in total float can serve as an early warning of potential project delays. project managers must assess the cause of this change and determine whether corrective actions are necessary to bring the project back on track. this might involve reallocating resources, adjusting task sequences, or revising task durations. failing to address these changes can lead to missed deadlines and could impact project success.

**role of free float**: while total float affects the project completion date, free float impacts the scheduling of successive activities. a decrease in free float means that subsequent activities have less buffer time to absorb delays, which can increase the pressure on the project team to meet tight deadlines. this can lead to rushed work and can compromise quality.

**managing external dependencies**: both total and free floats can be influenced by external dependencies and constraints, such as the availability of critical resources or fixed dates imposed by clients or stakeholders. project managers need to account for these factors in their schedule planning and monitoring activities.

**conclusion**: regularly reviewing changes in total and free floats during schedule monitoring and controlling allows project managers to proactively manage risks associated with project timing and resource allocation. by understanding and reacting to these changes, managers can better ensure that the project progresses towards its goals within the stipulated time frame, thereby safeguarding the achievement of crucial project milestones and overall completion.

Betty believes she has completed the Manage Supply and Demand process.  She shows you the completed portfolio reports.  You point out to her that she is not completely finished.  What is she missing?

Correct Answer:
portfolio updates and portfolio management plan updates
the question revolves around the completion of the manage supply and demand process in a portfolio management setting. betty, who is managing a portfolio, believes she has finished the process after showing the completed portfolio reports. however, it is pointed out that she is not entirely finished as she has overlooked updating the portfolio itself and the portfolio management plan.

to understand why these updates are essential, it’s important to grasp what each component entails: 1. **portfolio updates**: this involves revising the current status and contents of the portfolio to reflect any changes that have occurred during the manage supply and demand process. it ensures that the portfolio remains aligned with strategic objectives and that resource allocations are correctly represented. it might include updating project statuses, adjusting resource allocations, or revising strategic priorities based on new information. 2. **portfolio management plan updates**: the portfolio management plan is a dynamic document that outlines how the portfolio will be managed. as changes occur within the portfolio or in the external environment (such as market conditions, resource availability, or organizational priorities), the management plan needs to be updated to reflect new strategies, processes, and governance frameworks. this ensures that management approaches are consistent with current conditions and objectives.

in portfolio management, it is critical to ensure that both the portfolio and its management plan are continuously updated to reflect the true state of affairs and management intentions. this alignment is crucial for effective decision making and maintaining the portfolio’s alignment with organizational strategy.

the completion of the manage supply and demand process is not just about producing and reviewing reports. it encompasses updating essential documents and systems that inform and direct ongoing and future portfolio activities. by updating the portfolio and its management plan, betty will ensure that the portfolio governance is proactive and responsive to changes, thereby enhancing decision-making and strategic alignment.

therefore, the correct answer to the question is “portfolio updates and portfolio management plan updates.” this answer highlights the need for continuous refinement and alignment of portfolio management practices with the current and projected states of portfolio components and organizational strategies. betty's mistake was assuming that the completion of reports signified the end of the process, whereas the reality of portfolio management is that it is an ongoing, adaptive process that requires constant updates to documentation and strategic plans.