PMI-ACP Exam Preparation This week I added PMI-ACP® to my signature after passing my PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®) certification exam.

According to PMI, there were 5,999 active PMI-ACP credential holders worldwide as of June 30, 2014, and the certification is becoming increasingly popular as agile skills remain in high demand in the project management industry.

Applying for the PMI-ACP Exam

There are a few key requirements to be eligible for the exam. An applicant must have 2,000 hours working on project teams within the last five years, PLUS 1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies within the last three years. (For PMPs, the 2,000 project hours are waived as they would have already been documented in the PMP application.) In addition, applicants must have 21 hours of agile training in order to sit for the exam.

It had been years since I completed a PMI exam application, and I have to say the online process is much easier than it used to be. PMI is great about keeping you informed of where you are at in the process via email, and the online application interfaces are very clean and easy to use. The biggest challenge was keeping the descriptions of the projects within the character limit.

Preparing for the PMI-ACP Exam

PMI-ACP Exam Prep Training and ResourcesThe PMI-ACP exam is certainly not as difficult as the PMP exam, but that is a reflection of the contrasting purposes of the exams. The PMP exam is intended to test applicants on their understanding of how to apply project management practices. The ACP exam is intended to test knowledge of agile fundamentals.

Nevertheless, I would caution against dismissing it as easy. Some of the questions, to be sure, were not difficult. But like any well-designed objective exam, many questions required careful reading and a thorough understanding of the concept being tested. Understanding concepts well enough to recognize when they are referred to in multiple ways is essential.

As a rule, we recommend that certification applicants use multiple tools and resources to study for their exams, and the PMI-ACP exam is no exception. It is crucial to reinforce your knowledge and understanding of agile methodologies, roles, principles and values, artifacts, and practices by using a variety of study methods such as a PMI-ACP training course, study guide, and practice exams.

There is no body of knowledge to use for the PMI-ACP exam, such as the PMBOK Guide® for the PMP/CAPM, but there are a multitude of resources on the PMI website to explore, including papers and books on the topic. It certainly isn’t necessary to read all of them, but it is a good resource for future reference. I found the Watermark Learning PMI-ACP Prep course to be invaluable in helping me scale my study time and effort appropriately.

Below are a few key pointers from my recent success on the PMI-ACP exam.

– Attend the Watermark Learning PMI-ACP Prep Course.
– Take the practice exams that are included with the Watermark course.
– Be able to express in your own words agile values and principles.
– Read the questions carefully.
– Take your time.

So if your project experience includes working with agile methodologies and practices that reflect agile principles and incremental delivery, consider embarking on your own PMI-ACP journey.

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