Friday, May 4, 2012

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®) Certificate

This post is for Project Management Institute (PMI)’s Agile Certified Practitioner(PMI-ACP) Certificate. Exam for this certificate is meant to test skills of agile practitioners. Pre-requisite for appearing in the exam includes having prior experience in general project management (2000+ hours) and agile specific project management (1500+ hours). Folks having prior PMP® or PgMP® automatically satisfy general project management experience and hence need not elaborate the experience while filling the form. Also pre-requisite requires having 21 contract hours earned in agile practice, which could include imparting or participating in agile training [Certified Scrum Master (CSM®), In-house agile training, Coaching Client, etc.]

My experience of the exam includes following tips
1. This exam tests knowledge on tools, techniques, processes, artifacts, etc. of those practicing agile. It includes knowledge on Scrum, XP, Kanban & Lean including each of the terminologies, ceremonies/meetings, roles, etc. associated with them

2. Its important to be familiar with agile specific principles and keywords including
  • Agile Manifesto
  • Agile Twelve Principles
  • Adaptive Leadership, 
  • Affinity Estimating,
  • Agile Scaling Model
  • Agile Leadership
  • Agile Triangle
  • Agile Earned Value Management (EVM)
  • Definition of Done
  • Burn Down Charts
  • Burn Up Charts
  • Chartering in Agile
  • Collaboration
  • Collocated or Distributed Teams
  • Conflict Types or Levels of Conflict
  • Continuous Integration
  • Cumulative Flow Diagrams
  • Customer Valued Prioritization
  • Emotional Intelligence
  • Empirical Process Control
  • Escaped Defects
  • Exploratory Testing
  • Extreme Programming (XP) including roles, principles, TDD, CI, Pair Programming, etc.
  • Fractional Assignments
  • Information Radiator
  • Internal Rate of Return (IRR)
  • INVEST Model
  • Iteration and Release Planning
  • Lean including process, value, five why's, etc.
  • Kanban including process, principles, task boards, etc.
  • Kano Model
  • Osmotic Communication (Open space or collocation advantage) 
  • Pareto Principle
  • Payback Period
  • Relative Sizing 
  • Refactoring
  • Retrospections
  • Risk Burn Down Charts
  • Risk Exposure
  • Scrum Ceremonies/Meetings (Release Planning, Sprint/Iteration Planning, Daily Scrum Meetings, Sprint Review, Sprint Retrospection)
  • Servant Leadership
  • Signal Card
  • Story points (how to calculate them) 
  • Use Cases
  • Technical Debt 
  • Triangulation
  • User Stories
  • Value Stream Mapping
  • Velocity
3. I have been practicing Agile for 6 years and have digested most of the recommended reference books by PMI for this certification. Having said that when I tried answering the sample questions, was not getting more than 60%. That's when I realized that there are some gaps between practical and standard defined under PMI. After doing some googling, found AgileExams having some good set of questions and brought package of $49 for 9 months. 

4. Have to confess that going through this certification process was definitely beneficial for me as there are lot of things that I learned, which helped me improve upon certain processes that I follow. For example, how to control daily scrum meetings to not exceed more then 15 minutes, how earned value (Cost, Schedule) should be calculated for agile projects, getting familiar with keywords like osmotic communication, triangulation, servant leader, mapping agile values to my current projects, etc. 

5. I spent ~10 hours practicing the exams (short & long) and scheduled the exam in a prometric center, which luckily for me turned out to be less than a mile from my home and was having an opening slot within a day.

6. Allocated exam time is 3 Hours and consists of 120 questions. When I started the exam, I did answer the first question and then instead of 'marking' (middle button), pressed 'review' button (right bottom). It opened the review screen and I missed a beat, phew!!! :). I then went back to the exam screen and being little more attentive this time. After answering initial 2 -3 questions, found my rhythm & confidence and finished the exam within 40 minutes, marking ~10 questions. Took a break for using the restroom and finished reviewing the marked questions in next 5 minutes. I then spent some 1-2 minutes answering survey question about the prometric center and then it came on my screen something like " Congratulations on passing the PMI-ACP® examination"