The PMI-ACP is not difficult but it does throw up some strange questions as the PMI try to relate the traditional PMP material to the Agile methodologies. Many of the analysis techniques like earned value are difficult to related to software development in a waterfall environment and applying them to agile seems like an unnecessary overhead we have no BAC. The good news is that it is all due to change.
The current exam focuses on Scrum , Lean, Agile Concepts (the manifesto) Kanban and XP and then mixes them up to create situation questions relating to general management or Project management (servant leader, Emotional intelligence etc.)
Mike Griffiths book is still the best general book, though I don’t think it gives Lean the coverage that is needed for the ACP Exam. Be careful with the online PMI-ACP exam question available online as many of them are absolute rubbish, frustratingly written in an unknown dialect of English with confusing or completely incorrect answers.
The Velocitech website is probably the best set of exams out there and Andy Crowe’s book is a good reference book with exam questions for the ACP exam but it is not a complete guide.
I do suggest that you research Mike Coen (Scrum) and Mary Poppendieck (Lean) material. Their publication, webinars and blogs are a good source. Ken Schwaber book the “the art of doing twice as much in half the time” is worth a read for motivation though not particularly useful ACP
The books if you have the time are;
- User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development – Mike Cohn
- Agile Software Development with Scrum – Ken Schwaber & Mike Beedle
- Extreme Programming Explained – Kent Beck
- Agile Estimating and Planning – Mike Cohn
- Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit – Mary & Tom Poppendieck
- The Art of Agile Development – James Shore;
The Project Management Institute suggests a number of others on their website. These have changed from the previous exam with 4 new books added and 4 removed. 2 are on Kanban alone.
The exam time is 3 hours with most of my student competing it in 1.5 hour and many in less than an hour. The question are not as tricky as the PMP exam, correct answers are more obvious and less where the answer required is the ‘‘best’ or ‘first’. Moving from agile concepts will catch you out, one minute we are taking about the customer, the next it’s a product owner and the next question may be from the point of view of a Project Manager.
The course is a good course to get yourself up to speed as a traditional project manager, a middle manager or perhaps as a product owner. For developers or budding Scrum Masters It may not provide the level of detail and doesn’t deliver the ‘fun’ experience that agile encourages.
The course is changing with a different approach. It looks to me like it will concentrate more on the approach and mind-set and less on the specific concepts. I suggest that it will aligned with the directions that the PMI have for the skills of a combination of technical, leadership, and strategic and business management expertise
The new PMI-ACP exam will see a number of changes (PMP Exam Content Outline,) summarised below
There are sever domains of Agile practices
- Agile Principles and Mindset
- Value-driven Delivery
- Stakeholder Engagement
- Team Performance
- Adaptive Planning
- Problem Detection and Resolution
- Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People)
The distribution of questions on the PMI-ACP exam paper are now based on the domains
- Agile Principles and Mindset – 16%
- Value-driven Delivery – 20%
- Stakeholder Engagement – 17%
- Team Performance – 16%
- Adaptive Planning – 12%
- Problem Detection and Resolution – 10%
- Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People) – 9%
New Tools and Technique / Knowledge and Skills are added while many are removed from the new PMI-ACP exam syllabus. New items added including:
- Developmental mastery models (for example, Tuckman, Dreyfus, Shu Ha Ri)
- Participatory decision models (for example, convergent, shared collaboration)
- Agile hybrid models
- Managing with agile KPIs
- the Five WHYs
- retrospectives, intraspectives
- control limits
- pre-mortem (rule setting, failure analysis)
- fishbone diagram analysis
- minimal viable product (MVP)
Althris Training have worked with our partners to redevelop our course material for the new ACP exam. To keep you posted and get more updates on both drop me an email