Saturday, May 16, 2015

Changing PMI-ACP Exam in 2015: What is New and What Has Changed? (Part – 2)

[NEW: ACP Exam Prep Book Available - "I Want To Be An ACP" (Link)]

In past few years, a trend has been visible: Scrum is the most used one; Kanban is being used more now; however, organizations mostly follow their way of Agile implementation. The last one is interesting! Few follow Agile or Scrum or Kanban practices by the book per se, rather it is mostly customized as per the need of the organization. 

For the new PMI-ACP exam, the reference book list has changed and quite a few new book have been added – especially for Kanban – perhaps matching the trends in the Agile world. Also the new syllabus for PMI-ACP tries balance them in its changes with respect to Tools and Techniques as well as Knowledge and Skills. 

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. 
My Experience – PMI ACP Examination

In this post, I’ll cover the syllabus changes in the below areas:
  1. Changes in Domains (Sub-domains) and Tasks
  2. Changes in Tools and Techniques
  3. Changes in Knowledge and Skills
  4. Reference Books
  5. Important Exam Dates
1. Changes in Domains and Tasks
The new domain added is "Agile Principles and Mindset". It is the first domain. It has been made the first domain. Addition of this domain takes the number of domain to 7. Earlier it was 6. 

This domain talks of, in PMI’s words, “Explore, embrace, and apply agile principles and mindset within the context of the project team and organization.”

The first domain does not have any sub-domains, rather has 9 tasks. Overall these are the changes.

2. Changes in Tools and Techniques
The number of Tools and Techniques remain the same. However, there have certain modifications - like "Soft Skills Negotiation" is now called "Interpersonal Skills"; "Value Stream Analysis" has been replaced with "Process Improvement". The brief description with the new T&T are in the below table.

3. Changes in Knowledge and Skills
There were 43 knowledge and skills in the earlier ECO for PMI-ACP. In the new one, there have been 33 knowledge and skills. 

Here a lot has been changed. Putting the differences for each K&S is beyond the scope of this blog. However, at a high level these are the changes:

Some of the new Additions are:
  • Agile Discovery
  • Developmental mastery models like Tuckman, Dreyfus, Shu Ha Ri
  • Agile Hybrid Models
  • Managing Agile with KPIs
Some changes have gone into certain existing K&S, like:
  • Training is now added to "Coaching and mentoring withing teams"
  • "Continuous process improvement" is now rather called "Continuous improvement"
  • Value based analysis is replaced "Value based analysis and decomposition" and so on
Certain K&S have remained unchanged.

4. Reference Book List:
Now there are 12 reference books compared earlier 11 ones. There have been addition/removal of certain ones - especially few new ones w.r.t Kanban has been added.  The reference list is available here - Link

It is equally important to know - as noted by PMI, by no means the above ones are inclusive of all resources needed for the PMI-ACP exam. Rather the exam is a competency based certification with an integrated set of knowledge, skills and abilities, acquired via real world and learning experiences.

5. Important Exam Dates:
For PMI-ACP certification aspirants, below are the two important dates.
  • Last Date to sit in the exam with the previous edition: 14th July, 2015
  • New edition (based on new RDS) to be applicable: From 15th July, 2015
For more details on dates and pilot exam, you can refer PMI:

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