Monday, November 20, 2017

How to become an Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

Preparing for the PMI-ACP exam
I just became a Certified Agile Practitioner (PMI-ACP), as of July 31, 2017 there are about 17,000 PMI-ACP holders, and proudly am now one of them.
In relation to the traditional waterfall school (PMP), Agile is a new school of project management that is greatly influenced by the Japanese school of quality, low tech/high touch approach, and I also heard somewhere it was inspired by rugby, it is built over four main principles:
  1. Focus on Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  2. Focus on Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  3. Focus on Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  4. Focus on Responding to change over following a plan.
requirements & registering for the exam (
  • you need 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams. A current PMP (or PgMP) will satisfy this requirement
  • 1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies. This requirement is in addition to the 2,000 hours of general project experience. You can use this template for hour calculation (link). Examples on how to fill project descriptions (example 1, example 2, example 3)
  • 21 contact hours of training in agile practices:
    • if you prefer onsite training, these guys are based in Amman, Jordan and they hold training Agile training sessions periodically (Process and Smith)
    • For me, I took my training online while sitting on my recliner sofa through Cape Project Management and it was a great value for my money (link). (Update: you can also take the course on Udemy )
  • Cost 435$: (for PMI members, membership costs: $129)
preparing for the exam
I used this book to prepare for the exam (PMI-ACP Exam Prep Book by Mike Griffiths), it including a free access to some sample questions
I took me from oct/2016 until jul/2017 to finish reading the book on a part-time effort. Then for the second time it took me from aug/2017 until nov/2017.
Free sample questions (resources 1, resource 2)

strategy for the exam
Although the passing score is not announced, I read somewhere it is about 70%, which is slightly higher than that of PMP. But don't worry, some questions looked really trivial to me (e.g. any question that says the scrum master should instruct/delegate one person).
For this exam you have 3 hours to solve 120 questions, so I was aiming for 40 questions per 50 minutes. I tried to take a break for every 40 questions (5-10 minutes), close your eyes and take a deep breath in this short break. Make yourself very comfortable, I took off my shoes during the exam period. I finished my exam 30 minutes earlier.

special thanks:
to my friend Hamzah Yamzash who has been encouraging me to go for this certificate
to Guinea Bissau: a peaceful country in west Africa. The ACP Prep Book traveled with me to a handful of countries, on of which is Guinea Bissau. Later while preparing for the exam I used to listen to some very nice music of a band from Guinea Bissau, the band's name is Super Mama Djombo, check them out!
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