Expert Judgment

Concerning My PMI-ACP Exam Experiences

Posted in Agile, Project Management by dnzrn on September 15, 2011

Today I attended the PMI-Agile Exam. Since it is the first day of the examination in the whole world, it is my privilege to write about this experience that I may call the first encounter of mankind with PMI-ACP.

As most of you may be aware of there has been discussions about the examination contents, in many Agile, Scrum, Lean and PMP mail lists and LinkedIn Groups. Some people think the examination would be an abomination and PMI’s structural approach to Project Management may bruise the spirit of Agile. Others see PMI-ACP as a noble attempt to gather many Agile Methodologies and define a broad Agile Practitioner Body Of Knowledge  (APBOK (?) ), and finally put a formal definition to what Agile is. There is one think in common for all. Nobody knew what the exam would be like. Until today…

Ladies and Gentlemen, my fellow PMP’s and Agile comrades, I present you my experiences and suggestions regarding the exam:

Smart Questions

Most of the questions were prepared smartly. You should read carefully. Make sure you understand what the question really asks.

Unclear Concepts Handled Well

Some Agile concepts have conflicting definitions in the reference books. Questions related to these kinds of concepts had guiding choices as answers. Read all the choices before you select the answer. Some might be “more correct” !

Very Important Points

  • Characteristics of Stories
  • Roles in Scrum & XP
  • Scrum Processes (Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Sprint Review, Retrospectives)
  • Estimation (Roles, Game, Different Levels of Estimation)
  • Agile Risk Management
  • Adopting New Agile Principles
  • Velocity, Burndown, EVM
Completion Takes 1,5 Ideal Hours

The duration of the exam is 3 hours + 15 minutes of surveys. However question texts are not long, not boring, easily understandable, so it takes approximately 1,5 ideal hours to complete, and control marked questions.

Reference Books

Most of the books were used in preparing questions. Read Cohn’s book, “User Stories Applied” cover to cover. Warden & Shore’s book, “Art of Agile Development” is important. Adkyns’ “Coaching Agile Teams” is where most of the soft skills related questions come from.  At least read the chapter summaries and comparison of Agile and PMBOK processes from “Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility“.

It was really hard to read and understand Highsmith’s “Creating Innovative Products“. I was affraid of the eccentric process definitions and Complex Adaptive System references in the book. Fortunately for me, there were not many questions from Highsmith.

Shocking Surprise at the End !!!

As experienced exam takers, we expect the Pass/Fail result at the end of the exam session. Instead I got a note stating that the exam result will be available in December (!) because it is a pilot exam. This raises the concerns that PMI not having confidence in its ability to  ask accurate questions.

Last notes… Don’t sweat it. Exam is well prepared. (Well done PMI Agile COP). Please don’t ask me further about the questions, because of my obvious information disclosure obligations. Trust in your own knowledge and experience!
I wish you all the best of  luck !