Communication Management: PMP Questions to Study

Communication Management PMP Questions to Study

Let’s start this post with a pop quiz – what is communication management?

Got your answer?

Did you say communication management is a knowledge area? If you answered no, you might want to spend some time revisiting the PMP Process Chart. The 47 processes and their groupings – by the 10 knowledge areas and 5 process groups – is critical to your success on the exam.

Communication management accounts for 3 processes of the 47, which include Plan Communications Management, Manage Communications, and Control Communications.

With that, let’s spend some time reviewing each process and the communication management questions to study for the exam.

Plan Communications Management

Plan communication management consists of activities that deal with – just what the name implies – planning your communication for the entire project. You plan who in your project needs to be communicated with, when, for what reason, and by what method.

Key inputs to planning your communication are the stakeholder registry – which tells you all the stakeholders associated with the project and an understanding of the organization’s environment. What do I mean when I say the organization’s environment?

Simply, what tools and technology exist for you to use and are their guiding principles about how you communicate? For example, at my current organization we use SharePoint as our project site and in a former position project meetings were only attended remotely. These are all factors you need to understand when planning how to communicate.

Types of Communication

You must consider the types of communication you can use. These include, formal written, informal written, formal verbal, and informal verbal. Can you guess when these types of communication might be necessary?

Would you inform your team of the communication management plan in an informal verbal message? No, because of the importance of the communication management plan, and the need for it to be documented, you would use formal written communication.

Take some time and think about different communication needs that come up and try and associate that with how you would communicate it to your team. Why you are considering this, remember one principle, if the information is important, it should be documented – thus making it some form of written communication.

Communication Model

As a communication professional, I have to admit I was jazzed about this portion of the exam. There are some exam questions that will simply ask you about how communication takes place. It is important that you understand a good model of communication – with a sender and receiver.

Communication is complex and requires that a sender encode a message – or create the message so it is clear and effective for the sender to understand – and the receiver must be able to decode the message – or break it down to make meaning. The communication is only successful if the meaning of the message is shared by both the sender and receiver.

Within this sending and receiving of messages you must understand that there are environmental factors that can disrupt your communication, or provide you with additional context to the communication. For example, we must think about the nonverbal communication as well as the environment we are communicating in.

What does this mean? Do you think your communication with a project member is successful when you have your entire conversation next to the busy-loud office copier, and when you ask, “Do you understand?” The project member says, “yes,” while shrugging his shoulders?

Is this an example of successful communication? If you only considered words sent, you might say yes. But, when you consider the nonverbal and environmental factors, my guess is your answer changed to no.

Methods of Communication

You must also plan how you will share information with others throughout the project. The PMBOK breaks the methods of communication up into, interactive communication, push communication, and pull communication.

Interactive communication is the communication you use that elicits feedback and inspires engagement. One very large type of interactive communication is meetings, which we will discuss more shortly.

Push communication is the communication you send out to stakeholders that does not require engagement. For example, you could push out – send out – weekly status reports to all stakeholders via email.

Pull communication is the communication you post and require stakeholders to access at their convenience. For example, you might post the schedule on a shared team site and require project members to access the information there.


Meetings will either make or break you as a project manager. No one likes to attend a meeting that has no point or does not add value. As a project manager, during the plan communication management phase you must think of meeting cadence and membership. Remember throughout the manage communications and control communications processes, you will be required to facilitate these meetings. Thoughtful planning now will only make it easier for you later.

Communication Channels

As the project manager, you have access to a trusty formula to help you determine the number of communication channels. Yes, I said formula for communication. This formula exists to help you understand the complexity of communication with a given number of project members:

n(n-1)/2 = number of communication channels

N represents the numbers of project members (or stakeholders) associated with the project. Remember the project manager is included here. To help you understand, solve this formula using 24, then complete it again with 25. Did the number of channels go up by 1? No, which showcases that even one additional project member makes project communication more complex.

This is only one of many important formulas on the PMP. Check out more about these formulas and test your knowledge by reading, PMP Formulas Questions to Study.

Manage Communications

The output from your plan communications management is the communication management plan. You will use this plan throughout your management of communications. This is a really important fact to remember, a lot of questions that address the manage and control processes of the exam will have answers that reference the plans you created. Project management is really about successful planning, so when a question asks how you should manage something, a good answer choice is anything that refers back to the plan.


Throughout the communications management process, the project manager should be providing reports to stakeholders. There are many types of reports from status reports, to forecast reports, to earned value reports. For the PMP exam, it is important to remember that all reporting is the responsibility of the project manager.

The key outputs to managing communication are the written reports created as well as updates to the communication management plan.

Control Communications

You, as the project manager, are responsible for controlling the communication that happens within and about your project. You should be clear on what communication is taking place in all areas of your project. Project members should know how to communicate with you to share issues and provide feedback.

If this sounds scary, don’t worry; you should be spending time while you are planning thinking about the structures that should be in place to ensure all of this activity is clear. Communication is complex, but ensuring the appropriate structures are in place will help.

Communication Management: PMP Questions to Study

1. You take over a project from another project manager. You would like to understand the meeting cadence and membership. Where will you find this information?
a. The human resource management plan
b. The meeting management plan
c. The communication management plan
d. The survey of the organization’s environment

2. A project has five stakeholders, when an additional project member gets added, how many communication channels exist?
a. 15
b. 14
c. 6
d. 20

3. Two project team members are having a conversation about requirements needed for a particular portion of the project. If a project manager wants to understand how the pair is really feeling; she should focus attention on
a. The messages being sent via words.
b. The nonverbal communication occurring.
c. The space they are communicating.
d. All of the above

4. A project manager is having trouble getting a project member to complete their tasks as assigned. What type of communication would the project manager want to use to address this problem initially?
a. Informal verbal
b. Formal verbal
c. Informal written
d. Formal written

5. You are just taken over a project that is ¾ of the way complete. You want to get a general understanding of the work completed. What type of report would help you find this information?
a. An earned value report
b. A communication report
c. A lessons learned report
d. A progress report

Communication Management: Answers

1. C. you would find the information in the communication management plan, as it outlines all communication activities for the project.
2. A. Remember the formula n(n-1)/2
3. D. Remember it is not just about the words used within the message. The way things are said and where they are said matter.
4. A. The key word here is initially. You would first want to talk to the project member to understand what is keeping them from completing his task. You should always document these issues, but communicating to the project member should start informally.
5. D. A progress report provides an overview of what has been accomplished.

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