Thursday, May 07, 2015

Changing PMI-ACP Exam in 2015: What is New and What Has Changed? (Part – 1)

The PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner(ACP) exam is changing in 2015. 

I was a Role Delineation Study (RDS) reviewer for PMI-ACP in October 2014. There were quite a few questions covering a bunch of Agile practices. As per PMI, they have contacted number of agilists in multiple countries and have taken their feedback to develop the new syllabus. 

Good to see that PMI is continuously taking on its Agile Certification Program. In my view, it is one of the best in the market. Though, it is an entry level certification for agilists, it tests quite thoroughly on one’s Agile knowledge, skills, applicability and understanding.

Note: My comparison will be with respect to PMI-ACP Handbook and PMI-ACP Exam Content Outline (ECO) which I had used in giving the exam in year 2013. The recent handbook has been published in April, 2015. 

My earlier experience on PMI-ACP examination has been outlined below. 

In this post, I’ll cover the changes at the below levels.
  1. Exam eligibility criteria
  2. Exam Blueprint
  3. PMI-ACP Exam Information
  4. Exam Cost
  5. Post Certification PDU Requirements

1. Exam eligibility criteria:
It remains unchanged. It has been outlined below for your reference. 

Of course, after it you have to give the PMI-ACP exam conducted by Prometric.

2. Exam Blueprint: 
Overall, at a higher level, it is not complete overhaul. But, when you dig deeper, it has certain changes and they have added the percentage based segregation in the domain areas.

There are 7 domain areas in place of earlier 6. The new one is – “Agile Principles and Mindset”.  Rest 6 are – “Value-driven Delivery”, “Stakeholder Engagement”, “Team Performance”, “Adaptive Planning”, “Problem Detection and Resolution” and “Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People)”. Addition of Agile Principles and Mindset is a good one, as it is the fundamental part of Agile driven practices. 

The PMI-ACP handbook (available April, 2015) clearly says the exam blueprint is 50% for Tools and Techniques (T&T) and 50% for Knowledge and Skills (K&S).

Tools and Techniques, Knowledge and Skills - In PMI-ACP Exam
Update July 2016: In the revise PMI-ACP handbook as of 20th June, 2016, the percentage of questions is NO longer divided between T&T, K&S, but among the 7 domains as noted below. 

However there also has been a segregation on the 7 domains, earlier mentioned. This is new as compared to the earlier one.  Earlier, it was mentioned that the domains (and its tasks) while not being used for PMI-ACP, they are important and they are the basis of educational and training programs. 

In this NEW exam of PMI-ACP, domains (and its tasks) are clearly part of the exam as per the new ECO. The segregation is as follows:

7 domains in PMI-ACP Exam
Highest weightage has been given to Value Driven Delivery, which as a reviewer I had given the highest ranking as well. Even today, products are being built, where many features are not being used by the customers. Value the customer is getting is and should be the KEY in building products.

Now, by this time you would be asking: Which one will used – the earlier one of 50% each for Tools & Techniques and Knowledge & Skills or this new one of domains? Both! Both – Domains/Sub-domains/Task along with Knowledge & Skills and Tools and Techniques - will be used. Primary reference will be to Domains/Tasks and secondary reference will be to T&T and K&S

3. PMI-ACP Exam Information:
This also remains unchanged as compared to earlier one.

4. Exam Cost:
The exam cost remains unchanged, i.e., for the Computer Based Tests (CBT) it will be $435 USD for members (€ 365) or $495 USD (€ 415) for non-members. 

5. Post Certification PDU Requirements:
It also remains unchanged, i.e., 30 Professional Development Units (PDUs) in a 3 year cycle. However, the internal PDU details are changing and they will be applicable from December 2015 onwards. 

In the next post, of this series, we will see what has actually changed internally in the domains/sub-domains, Tools & Techniques, and Knowledge & Skills. There have been significant amount of changes/movements in the mentioned areas and as much as possible, I'll explain what has actually gone in.

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