PMI-ACP® Exam was first launched as a certification for Agile project management practitioners on 31st January, 2012. Agile knowhow and the Agile body of knowledge has come a long way since then. In order to better and more properly align the ACP® certification with the new-look requirements of the Agile profession, PMI® has revised the exam syllabus of the PMI-ACP® certification examination that will be effective in its new version as a pilot run from 15 July 2015, for 3 months.

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Why A New PMI-ACP® Exam?

As many Project Management hopefuls would be aware, PMI® has undertaken a Role Delineation Study to survey Agile practitioners from across the globe to determine how Agile professionals and organizations are specifying their job descriptions and responsibilities.

Based on this study, the new findings are accommodated in the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus with an attempt to put the exam’s content on a par with real world practices. This recent update to the PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus will sustain the value of the PMI-ACP® Certification and make sure that the holders learn the relevant skills to successfully practice Agile as per the present scenario.

The Changes In The PMI-ACP® Exam- What’s New?

A new domain of practice has been included by PMI®, which is called “Agile Principles and Mindset”. Because of this new domain, the total number of tasks to be tested has gone up from 56 to 62. The domains on which the allocation of questions depends now include:

  • Domain I. Agile Principles and Mindset 16%
  • Domain II. Value-driven Delivery 20%
  • Domain III. Stakeholder Engagement 17%
  • Domain IV. Team Performance 16%
  • Domain V. Adaptive Planning 12%
  • Domain VI. Problem Detection and Resolution 10%
  • Domain VII. Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People) 9%

Also, new Tools and Techniques / Knowledge and Skill are added, including the following items:

  • Managing with agile KPIs- retrospectives, introspectives
  • Developmental mastery models (for example, Tuckman, Dreyfus, Shu Ha Ri)
  • Participatory decision models (for example, convergent, shared collaboration)
  • Agile hybrid models
  • Control limits, the Five WHYs, pre-mortem (rule setting, failure analysis), fishbone diagram analysis
  • Minimal viable product (MVP)

Since most of these areas are part of the mainstream Agile body of knowledge, they are already included in the most current PMI-ACP® exam reference books and courses.
All the changes are documented in the new PMI-ACP® Exam Content Outline.
Also, the list of reference books for the PMI-ACP® exam has also been updated online, with the addition of several new books and the removal of a few.

Overall, there are 12 reference books for the new PMI-ACP® Exam -1 more than for the old exam:

  • Agile Estimating and Planning by Mike Cohn
  • Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products by Jim Highsmith
  • Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber
  • Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game by Alistair Cockburn
  • Coaching Agile Teams: A Companion for ScrumMasters, Agile Coaches, and Project Managers in Transition by Lyssa Adkins
  • [NEW] Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile, Extreme by Robert K. Wysocki
  • [NEW] Exploring Scrum: The Fundamentals by Dan Rawsthorne and Doug Shimp
  • [NEW] Kanban In Action by Marcus Hammarberg, Joakim Sunden
  • [NEW] Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for your Technology Business by David J. Anderson
  • Lean-Agile Software Development: Achieving Enterprise Agility by Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, James R. Trott
  • The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility by Michele Sliger, Stacia Broderick
  • User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development by Mike Cohn

It is interesting to note that there is now a greater emphasis on “Kanban” and “Scrum”, along with the additional reference books on these titles. This trend was also noticeable in the knowledge areas of the exam questions of PMI-ACP® Exam candidates over the past year as an increasing number of questions have begun to appear on Kanban, Lean, and Scrum.

PMI- ACP® Eligibility Criteria- Any Changes?

Note: The latest update in the PMI-ACP® Exam does not affect the PMI-ACP® Exam eligibility requirements.

To appear for the PMI-ACP® Exam, an Agile practitioner will need to have:

  • a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree, etc.) or above
  • at least 2,000 hours (gained in at least 12 months) of general project experience (Agile or not, waived for PMP® holders); and
  • at least 1,500 hours (gained in at least 8 months within the last 3 years) of Agile project experience; and
  • 21 contact hours of project management training or education in Agile methodologies

Once the Agile practitioner qualifies, he or she has to fill in an online application form on the PMI® website to apply for the PMI-ACP® Certification. PMI® will review the submitted application to verify if the seeker fits to take up the exam. Such Audits on the PMI-ACP® applications may be done on a random basis.

Important Dates- When can one appear for the PMI-ACP® Exam?

15 July – 14 October 2015: PMI-ACP® candidates can take up the new version of PMI-ACP® exam. However, the exam result and scores won’t be out immediately, even if they appear for the computer-based exam. This is because PMI® takes time to assess the suitability of the exam questions and adjust the passing rate. Results can be expected by 22 October 2015.

From 15 October 2015: From here on, PMI-ACP® candidates will receive the exam score immediately for the new PMI-ACP® exam.

About the Author

Hemant DeshpandeHemant Deshpande

Hemant Deshpande, PMP has more than 17 years of experience working for various global MNC's. He has more than 10 years of experience in managing large transformation programs for Fortune 500 clients across verticals such as Banking, Finance, Insurance, Healthcare, Telecom and others. During his career he has worked across the geographies - North America, Europe, Middle East, and Asia Pacific. Hemant is an internationally Certified Executive Coach (CCA/ICF Approved) working with corporate leaders. He also provides Management Consulting and Training services. He is passionate about writing and regularly blogs and writes content for top websites. His motto in life - Making a positive difference.

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