Hi guys, long time no see.
I have been busy with work, so I just got a chance to sit down and write about my learning journey to achieve PMI-ACP certification. Relax and enjoy the reading 😊
What is PMI-ACP?
Let’s start at the very beginning. What is PMI-ACP? PMI- ACP opening is Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner. This certification by the Project Management Institute gives you a global professional recognition of your knowledge of agile principles, tools and techniques. The learning and exam, however, mostly focuses on Scrum, Kanban, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD).
Who is it for?
- For project managers that are using agile methodologies at their organizations
- For project managers who are not yet using agile, but are thinking of adopting it in their companies
- For agile leads/scrum masters with project management background coaching the teams in agile ways of working
Structure and passing score
The exam includes the questions from these agile project management domains:
- Domain I Agile Principles and Mindset (16% of exam questions)
- Domain II Value-driven Delivery (20% of exam questions)
- Domain III Stakeholder Engagement (17% of exam questions)
- Domain IV Team Performance (16% of exam questions)
- Domain V Adaptive Planning (12% of exam questions)
- Domain VI Problem Detection and Resolution (10% of exam questions)
The Project Management Institute does not disclose the passing score nor how many questions a PMI-ACP® candidate need to answer correctly. The PMI-ACP® exam candidate does not even know their scores for the exams, the exam report just shows the proficiency level —there are 3 of them:
- Above Target — performance better than the average Aspirants
- Target — performance on par with average Aspirants
- Below Target — performance worse than the average Aspirants Passing score according to the PMI-ACP trainers is around 70%.
|Exam Type||Member Status||US Price|
|Computer-based testing (CBT)||Member||$435|
|Computer-based testing (CBT)||Non-member||$495|
|Paper-based testing (PBT)||Member||$385|
|Paper-based testing (PBT)||Non-member||$445|
- Experience in traditional projects (2000 hours – waived if PMP® certified)
- Experience working with agile projects (1500 hours)
- 21 hours of contact hours of agile education (I have a master’s in project management where I’ve studied agile as well, so that’s how I fulfilled this requirement)
- Fill the online application form and schedule the exam timeslot
- Study for the exam and take mock exams
- Pass the exam (you can now pass it online as well, no need to go to the test centre)
First, in general, any professional certification is an advantage to your resume and help you to stand out among all those candidates. PMI-ACP will help you to stand out from all other agile project managers out there, simply because you have the proof of knowledge of agile techniques and principles recognized by a reputable organization such as Project Management Institute.
Also, there are the statistics available, claiming that salary of a certified agile project manager is higher than the one without any certifications. For me, one of the essential benefits was the fact that the learning process is often focused on practical knowledge.
Most of the questions of the final exam are situational helping you to sharpen your agile intuition and choose the ‘best possible answer’.
Another important aspect is the certification includes a wide range of agile data, so you have to learn a lot and almost everything about agile project management, which is invaluable in the long run. Scrum certification only covers scrum in specific details; however, PMI-ACP will give you a broader knowledge of all the agile methodologies.
How did I prepare for it?
I am a self-learner, so I did not take any group training. Instead, I searched for an excellent online PMI-ACP preparation course. Ericsson provides its employees with Pluralsight and Coursera licences, so I thought I could finally get a fair use of them. I found this course at Pluralsight by Chuck Cobb. It’s the collection of studies combined as a PMI-ACP preparation path. It’s a bit long, but it is extensive and gives you a gradual learning experience covering all the topics that are going to be at the final exam. Also, this course has practice exams with 180 questions provided by Kaplan.
I will be honest. I didn’t read any books; instead, I started doing tests starting from the 3rd or 4th course in the PMI-ACP path. Each time I got the answer wrong, I investigated it, read about the topic, and learned from my mistakes.
Another useful source was a blog by Edward Designer, especially his study notes and test links. The study notes summarize books/learning materials.
However, it doesn’t mean that you’re not supposed to read books for the exam; there are several that are a must for any agile project manager. I may have had an advantage to pass without reading any books as I’ve studied agile at the university when I was doing my master’s degree in project management, and, also I have PSM I and PSPO I certifications from Scrum.org.
- This course won’t give you 21 contact hours, but it is highly recommended for people who already fulfil the requirement and now need to refresh memory and get fully prepared. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) ® learning path by Chuck Cobb on Pluralsight
- Edward Designer blog PMI-ACP study notes
- Read Agile Manifesto 2-3 times
- PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths – I didn’t use the book, but lots of sources recommend it. I think for people who are new to agile, this can be very helpful.
- Read PMI-ACP exam handbook.
- To get 21 contact hours, this course can be beneficial. PMI authorizes it. I’ve used the mock-up tests of the same training centre which proven to be effective, so that’s why I am recommending their course as well (although I haven’t tried it)
These mock-up tests by PM Exam Simulator were a deal-breaker. 480 mock exam questions helped me a lot. Highly recommended. Try it out until you’re consistently getting at least 80-85% each time you take the mock-up exam.
The tests below are free:
- 20 PMI-ACP® exam questions - my score 70%
- 20 PMI-ACP® exam questions by Mike Griffiths, one of the PMI-ACP® Steering Committee Member – my score 85%
- 30 PMI-ACP® exam questions - my score 78%
- 50 PMI-ACP® exam questions - my score 80%
The exam was easier than the mock-up tests, so I had no trouble of getting Above Target result in all of the domains.
If you have any questions or comments to my blog post, feel free to contact me, I will try to respond as soon as possible.
Thank you for spending time for this reading,
I’ll be back soon with part 2 of ‘Cross-functional teams creation’ blog post. It is going to be fun!