Monday, May 20, 2019

30 NEW PMI-ACP Free Questions and Answers (Part - 1)

These questions are based on feedback from many successful PMI-ACPs and my understanding of various Agile concepts. Some of the questions references the latest list of guide/books for the exam. The questions are primarily from the new book -  I Want To Be An ACP, 2nd edition. 

Questions in the PMI-ACP exam are mostly situational and you should sound understanding on agile principle, values, practices as well as real-world experience to try out the questions. 

In this series, there are 15 questions, which you can try. I believe it will help you in your PMI-ACP exam preparation.



Question – 1: You are working in a large industrial project to develop intelligent military devices. There are multiple Scrum teams working together. Your team is running daily meetings for every sprint. However, there is also need for representatives from each Scrum team to meet 2 to 3 times a week and synchronize the work for the Sprints completed. What team method or scaling method is MOST suitable for your project?
A Lean and Kanban.
B Scrum of Scrums.
C Large Scale Scrum.
D Extreme Programming.

Question – 2: You are working in a software development project which is following follow-the-sun model, where work is handed off at the end of every day from one development site to another due time-zone gaps. The entire team is following Scrumban method. Team members of one site had asked to have the burn down chart and velocity histogram is to be available to all. What should you do?
A Inform the team that it's not possible as the team members are geographically separated.
B Bring up the chart and histogram in the next retrospective meeting.
C Put an electronic information radiator with these charts within the fishbowl window.
D Assign a person to generate the chart and histogram and share with the site members.

Question – 3: An agile practitioner is leading a critical project to build a deep learning neural system. Several prototypes have been developed by team, but the top management is not satisfied with the results. In one meeting, the leader lost his cool and yelled at the team members for building useless prototypes, which are unable to satisfy management. Which one of the agile principles did the leader forget?
A Welcome changing requirement, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer's competitive advantage. 
B Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
C Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
D At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

Question – 4: Large scale scrum (or LeSS) is a scaling approach which uses Scrum, but with a large of number of teams at a larger scale. Which one of the following LeSS practices are similar to team based method of Scrum?
A Overall retrospective.
B Cross-team coordination.
C Cross-functional team.
D Overall Sprint Review.

Question – 5: You are negotiating for a contract with a prospective client. In the project high requirements churn is expected. Your organization has the domain expertise, but you are worried about the scope change and the client is also telling the price is fixed. However, the client agrees that if any higher priority feature is to be added in a future iteration, then the lower priority item has to be removed from the release plan. What should you do?
A Don't pursue this contract as scope is changeable, but prices is fixed.
B Ask for a premature clause for the contract closure, i.e., an early cancellation approach
C Propose a fixed price with allowed scope change contract
D Go for team augmentation approach with the client 

Question – 6: In a product backlog, there are 4 features shown below with cost of delay and duration. How should the product owner prioritize these features?

A Feature D will be of the highest priority.
B Feature C will be of the lowest priority.
C Both Feature A and Feature B will be of same priority.
D Feature B will be of the highest priority followed by Feature D. 

Question – 7: Your team is working on an e-ticket reservation for booking flights and following a Kanban approach to development. The team has a board which has been divided into various workflow states such as Backlog, Selected, Develop, Deploy, and Live. What is the PRIMARY purpose of this board?
A To find the defects in the system and throughput.
B To self-organize and find out the bottlenecks in their workflow states.
C To create an expedite lane for high priority customer features.
D To visualize how features flow through a process and determine right work in progress limit. 

Question – 8: A product owner (PO) is prioritizing a list of capabilities, features, and stories considering various factors. While doing so, the PO notices that two items in the backlog can be completely eliminated altogether because these operation tasks are not needed. What factors did the PO consider for prioritization?
A Financial Value.
B Value and Risk.
C Cost of development.
D Knowledge gained. 

Question – 9: Your organization is building an Agile PMO as a center of excellence and help the agile practitioners engaged in various projects. Which one of the followings cannot be a service provided by the Agile PMO?
A Facilitate organizational learning.
B Create and maintain the product backlog of the teams.
C Ensure that teams’ work fits into the overall organizational strategic vision.
D Inform on compliance and amplify the teams’ external needs regarding compliance. 

Question – 10: You are working as an agile practitioner for a network hosting services project. A new stakeholder in a release planning meeting is unsure about this project and wants to know who benefits from this project and how they benefit. What should you do?
A Share the benefits management plan with the stakeholder.
B Request the stakeholder to participate in the iteration planning meeting.
C Send the project charter of the project to the stakeholder.
D Use the team charter to explain the benefit details. 

Question – 11: Your team is working on a smartphone project and has created a number of user stories which will be implemented over multiple iterations. Your sponsor wants to ensure that all possible scenarios addressed and have stories you would be likely to miss otherwise. He gives an example of how about the smart phone being used in very cold climate. What should you do NEXT?
A Use the 20:20 vision collaboration games.
B Specify requirements in form of executable customer tests.
C Consider using low fidelity prototypes. 
D Build extreme characters to get such type of users.

Question – 12: Your team is rebuilding an existing product for a client organization. Your client does not remember all the usages, pitfalls or lacunae in the product and hence asked you to actively participate with them while using the product. These will uncover the hidden requirements and hence build a better version of the product. Which innovation game will be MOST effective for this purpose?
A Me and My Shadow.
B Start Your Day.
C The Apprentice.
D Remember the Future.

Question – 13: A project team has been building a mobile commerce application product. The earlier version of the product didn't work in the market because of one particular reason - lack of customer empathy. The client organization informed that the earlier product built by individuals with good domain knowledge, but no real on-the-field experiences of users working on the product. If you were the leader of the project, what would you do?
A Build an exhaustive product backlog with fine-grained requirements.
B Involve the users in the iteration planning meeting.
C Use innovation game of "The Apprentice" to have customer empathy.
D Ensure active stakeholder participation.

Question – 14: Your team is following Scrum framework for product development. Currently, you are documenting the roles and responsibilities for all the roles of your team including development team members, product owner and scrum master. You are using RASCI matrix for this purpose. Which one of the following roles will fall under "S" category?
A Development team members.
B Product Owner (PO).
C Scrum Master (SM). 
D Business owner and external stakeholders. 

Question – 15: You are the project manager for a mono-rail project in an organization, which has been following XP practices. Your sponsor wants to spread knowledge gained during the execution of the project and thinks knowingly keep one member at a reduced load, but keeping the overall team load will help in knowledge spread. This way you can also free-up a team member. Which XP practice will help you the MOST in this aspect?
A Slack.
B Team continuity.
C Pair programming. 
D Shrinking team.

The question set is available in the embedded document below. 

For all answers with detailed explanation, subscribe to this site and send a mail (from your GMail id) to

Wednesday, May 15, 2019

Book Excerpt: I Want To Be An ACP, 2nd Edition - Agile Principles and Mindset

This post is in continuation of the earlier post on the availability of new PMI-ACP Exam Prep book: 
Book for PMI-ACP Exam Prep: I Want To Be An ACP, 2nd Edition 

The excerpt is from Chapter – 2: Agile Principles and Mindset. 


Agile Principles and Mindset is a new domain since the PMI-ACP examination changed in 2015. Note the wordings in the domain’s name: it is about principles and also mindset. Principles are like natural laws such as gravity, daily sunrise. They don’t change. Rather, practices underlying the principles change, e.g., waking up before sunrise or after sunrise. 
Next is mindset, which informs about a way of thinking, an established set of beliefs and attitude. For example, it may be your belief that waking up early makes your day’s work better. It may be true for you, your group or community, but may not necessarily hold good for another person or another group’s way of thinking and working. 

As mentioned in the earlier quote, you as an Agile Practitioner, should strive to be agile, i.e., follow the values, principles for Agile development and develop the needed mindset for it. 

In fact, an agile mindset is defined by the 4 agile values, guided by 12 agile principles and enabled by many practices such as servant leadership, iterative and incremental development etc. This is represented in the below diagram [9].

We will see about these 4 agile values and 12 agile principles shortly. These values and principles are described in the “agile manifesto”. Also, we will discuss various agile practices, as we proceed. Don’t get confused between the values such as human values like honesty, trustworthiness, integrity with agile values. Rather, here values mean certain core beliefs which agile practitioners came up with in 2001 after continuous practice. These values are basically “a set of understanding”. Combining them, you can say:
  • Agile Mindset: A way of thinking and behaving by the 4 values and 12 principles of agile manifesto.
  • Agile Values: A set of 4 core beliefs or understanding as documented in the agile manifesto.
  • Agile Principles: A set of 12 principles for agile delivery, which are also documented in the agile manifesto.
  • Agile Practices: A number of practices that agile practitioner use while doing agile delivery. 

The key concept behind this domain as per the ECO is this:
“Understand and apply the agile principles and mindsets within the project team and organization.”

This domain has no sub-domains. It consists of 9 individual tasks. 

What exactly are the tasks in this domain? The tasks, in simplified terms, are:
  1. Advocate for agile values and principles and develop an agile mindset.
  2. Ensure understanding of agile values and principles as well agile practices and terminologies.
  3. Support agile related change at the organization and system level.
  4. Practice visualization with information radiators.
  5. Ensure a safe and trusting environment.
  6. Enhance creativity by experimentation
  7. Share knowledge by collaboration and co-operation.
  8. Encourage emergent leadership, self-organization and empowerment.
  9. Practice servant leadership.

Following notations have been used in this chapter. 

2.1. Mapping with T&T and K&S
As earlier noted in “Introduction” chapter, every domain is sitting on top of a number of tools and techniques (T&T) as well as knowledge and skills (K&S). This domain does that too. It doesn’t have any subdomains, but has 9 tasks, which are sitting on multiple T&Ts and K&Ss. 

In this chapter, we will discuss the following T&T and K&S related to this domain. 

2.2. The Agile Approach
Many people confuse what the word “Agile” actually means, i.e., is it an approach or framework or methodology or practice or tool/technique? PMI’s Agile Practice guide uses the team “Agile Approach”, which is an umbrella term that covers a variety of agile frameworks and methods, e.g., Scrum, Kanban, Lean etc. Any framework or method that follows agile values and principles will fall under this umbrella term of “Agile Approach”.

To understand agile approach, we need to first understand what are project life cycles (and projects) are. Because, at the end of the day, agile approaches will be used in the project life cycle. 

2.2.1 Project Life Cycles
Projects are undertaken by an organization to create products or services or even results. The Project Management Institute (PMI) in the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK) guide defines project as below [9]. 

“A project is a temporary endeavor to create a unique product or service or result”.

There are many life cycles to project as per PMI’s Agile Practice Guide [9]. After all, a project will go through a set of stages to deliver a product. PMI defines a project life cycle as below. 

"The process through which a product is imagined, created, and put into use."

Every project will have a life cycle associated with it. At the end of a project’s life cycle, a product will be created.  There are four types of life cycles defined.
  • Predictive Life Cycle
  • Iterative Life Cycle
  • Incremental Life Cycle
  • Adaptive Life Cycle Predictive Life Cycle
This life cycle is also known as “Plan Driven,” “Fully Plan Driven,” or as the “Waterfall Model.” The later term has been used in the last century mostly to refer to software development. The scope is known early in the life cycle, and you know exactly what the time needed and cost requirements are to deliver. In summary, this life cycle is used when the product to be delivered is well-understood.

In many projects; however, requirements and scope are rarely known in detail before the project begins. As details and finalized scope is not known in advance, you can’t have the time and cost known in detail either. And so, this leads to another life cycle – the iterative life cycle. Iterative Life Cycle
Here, you deliver in iterations by progressively refining the product every step of the way. The concept of progressive elaboration fits in here. Progressive elaboration is basically an iterative process of increasing the level of detail as greater amounts of information becomes available.

Both the product containing unclear requirements and the plan having unclear estimates are progressively elaborated. The product is developed over a series of iterations – hence the name iterative. The detailed scope for the current iteration is only known at the beginning of the iteration. You incorporate the feedback from previous iterations into the subsequent iterations. Incremental Life Cycle
In some projects, there can be complexities with respect to technology or the platform being used. Now, this is different from low agreement or lack of clarity on requirements. This is the case where the customer wants to have the deliverables quickly. 

Also, many times, it’s not important how well-refined your product is or how beautifully it’s done. Rather, the focus is on speed of delivery. In such cases, you can use the incremental life cycle.  Here, the delivery that you give to the customer can be immediately used and/or the product increment is potentially shippable Adaptive/Agile Life Cycle
Our next cycle is the adaptive life cycle. It is also known as the Agile life cycle. Agile development is both iterative and incremental (or I&I), i.e., the work item is refined at the end of every iteration (iterative) and also delivered at the end of every iteration (incremental). 
. . .
. . .


This section is further explained in the book with: 
  • What are the characteristics of these life cycles?
  • How uncertainties and complexities are considered via Stacey's diagram?
  • How agile makes a paradigm shift in management thinking?
  • Why agile delivers value early (single release vs multi-release economics)?
  • What are empiricism, empirical process and empirical process control?

It is further followed by Agile Values and Principles, Agile Project Management (APM), APM Framework, Information Radiators, Leadership types and styles in Agile, Various team based methods in Agile such as Scrum, XP, Kanban, DSDM, FDD, ASD etc and various scaling approaches such as Lean, SAFe, LeSS, DA, ES etc. Some of these can be seen from the partial index of the book.

Book Available for ACP Exam Prep:

Thursday, May 09, 2019

PMP Live Lessons Success Story: Stay Focused and Prepare Consistently to Succeed

By Shivakumar Viswanathan, PMP

I wanted to take a moment to express my gratitude for Satya’s help and support in helping me pass the PMP® exam and gain my PMI® credentials. I kept studying on and off for a while but took an in-depth dive into the studies about 6-7 week before the PMP exam. 

Like Satya says – “It’s not a candy certification that would be handed over to all and sundry”. Indeed, it requires serious preparation and here is my experience with the process. 

Primary study materials
These were the three primary materials I used during the last 6-7 weeks.

Preparation Process
My primary course prep material was the "PMP Live Lessons" videos and the PMBOK guide. Anyone reading this might think, “Oh No! One more guy writing about the PMBOK guide. I can’t read that big 976-page tome!” Well, I’ll get to the PMBOK guide in a minute. 

The big plus point of the Live Lessons videos was that it felt like being in a private class with Satya - very informal, yet focused. I had done perhaps one full round earlier. 

In the last one month before the exam, I would have done perhaps 2-3 more full rounds of the Live Lessons. One round was going across the knowledge areas (KA) one by one and each of the processes in those KAs. The other round was going down vertically - down the process groups (PG). So, if I start with Initiating PG, I would watch the videos for Develop Project charter and then Identify Stakeholder processes. Next, I move on to Planning and go through the videos for the 24 processes and then move on to Executing, M&C and Closing. 

In a nutshell, if you take the 49-process table, one round of studying was horizontal row-wise and another round was vertical-column wise. I actually would have done 2 rounds vertical column-wise and 1 round of horizontal row-wise studying in the last 6-7 weeks. I also did additional rounds of the process flow videos that Satya was constantly updating and informing us via emails. Without trying to commit anything particularly to memory, I re-watched the process and document flow videos multiple times. I think that was crucial to get a good feel for what was happening among the PGs and KAs. 

I then went through the practice questions and the explanations. The PMBOK Guide is vast. It will bog you down because it’s heavy and dull. I’ll read a few chapters and give-up after reading. 

Hence, in the last 6-7 weeks I used the new approach while I was using with the PMP Live Lessons. I would, after finishing the videos for Initiating group, read the 2 processes under Initiating group in PMBOK guide. Likewise, for every process group, I would read the lessons under that group, straddling the various knowledge areas in that process group. An additional advantage of this method was that it helped in slowly grasping commonalities among processes within the Process group under the 10 KAs. With this approach, I found I was able to rapidly go through the PMBOK guide without feeling the full weight of the 976 pages to complete.

PMP Live Lessons Review
I found the lessons and practice exams at the end of the PMP Live Lessons chapters very useful to gauge two things: 
  • Understanding of the subject
  • Approach to answering the multiple-choice questions

To get the feel for the actual computer based simulation, I used simulator of Prepcast. But in terms of content, the “PMP Live Lessons” course is miles and miles ahead of other prep materials in the market. The sheer depth and breadth of the course coverage is by far the best I have seen. Even the Prepcast exam simulator comes with its own video lessons in the form of Podcasts. While it’s professionally produced, it would pale in comparison with the vastly superior content of Live Lessons.

I practised writing the 49 processes and list of mathematical formulae many times. I would take an A4 sized paper and write it. I practised writing the formulae for EVM, PERT estimations etc. many times.

It is also very important to know why a particular choice is wrong. In the exam, you may face a question with all 4 choices being correct. In that case, you are expected to choose the best among the 4. Understanding why a seemingly correct answer is to be discarded was helpful. 

Final Exam
I reached the Prometric center an hour before my slotted time. I started the exam and spent the first 5 minutes to write the 49-process table. I didn’t want to utilize any more time by writing a list of formulae. 

Exam Strategy and Approach to Questions
I’ve followed these steps during my exam.
  • I paced myself with a target of about 50 questions per 1-hour block. 
  • As noted earlier, I had written down the 49 processes to refer during the exams, which came in very handy. There were many questions which would ask to choose an answer which can be arrived at by merely referring to the table at hand.
  • For all 200 questions, I would first read the 2nd half of the write-up, which had the actual question. Next, I would quickly run through 4 choices and read the full question again. 
  • For some questions, elimination of 1 or 2 choices can be arrived at quickly. That itself raises the probability of getting the answer right. 
  • I had practised reading the question part with an emphasis on critical words during the simulation. 
  • For example: 
    • “…which project DOCUMENT should the Project manager refer?” or 
    • “…the project manager to do all of the following EXCEPT…”
      Reading the emphasized words loudly (in the mind!) helped. 

I took a 3-minute break during the exam, came back and continued at the previous pace and completed the exam. 

The message “Congratulations on passing the PMP exam….” was a massive relief coming at the end of studying for an average of 6-8 hours a day for the previous 6-7 weeks. 

I was able to score Above Target on 4 of the 5 process groups and On Target for the Closing group.

Thanks to Satya, and his really superb training material, PMP Live Lessons, I am now a certified Project Management Professional (PMP). I would highly recommend this material to any aspiring PMP candidate. 

I also want to thank Satya for responding to all my emails and clarifying questions. Every single email of my mine has been responded within 24 hours. That speaks of his professionalism and concern for his students. So, a big thanks to him again and again.

Brief Profile:
Shivakumar Viswanathan
I am based out of Toronto, Canada and in a transitional phase to move into full-fledged project management consulting.

    Book  for PMP exam:
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    Saturday, May 04, 2019

    Book for PMI-ACP Exam Prep: I Want To Be An ACP, 2nd Edition

    I am pleased to announce the public availability of the book for Project Management Institute's (PMI®) Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP®) certification examination.

    "I WANT TO BE An ACP - The plain and simple way to be a PMI-ACP"

    Over two years have passed since the first edition release of this book. There are many professionals, who have referred this book to clear the PMI-ACP exam. 

    Since 2017, when the first edition of the book came, many new agile practices have been into the mainstream. Various scaling approaches such as Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Scrum of Scrums (SoS), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS) have gained ground. The Project Management Institute (PMI) has come up with a new Agile practice guide. This book incorporates them all.

    Also, new project management tools are coming up supporting Agile development or existing project management tools have added Agile features. Hence, this book uses many examples using Microsoft Project Agile and Atlassian Jira Agile. 

    This new book also carries forward all the unique concepts of the earlier one – yogic tips, yogic revisions, videos in certain critical areas, formula gold cards etc. 

    Thanks to all of you, who not only achieved success in the PMI-ACP exam, but also had the gratitude to write and share their learning. Many successful PMI-ACPs have referred this book and some have written their success stories. This book incorporates all their feedback.

    PMI-ACP Success Stories

    I believe the new edition of the book will guide you in your quest to be a PMI-ACP.

    Overall Content of the Book: "I Want To Be An ACP"
    • Number of Chapters: 10
    • Number of Pages: 646
      • Without questions: 466
    • Total Number of Questions: 454
    • Full-Length Question Sets: 3 (Each question set has 120 questions)
    • Number of Chapter-end Questions: 94 

    Other details, including price are available at:

    Top Features of the Book: "I Want To Be An ACP"
    The top nine features of the book are noted below

    (1) Fully compliant with Exam Content Outline (ECO) for PMI-ACP Examination.
    The book is written by keeping all domains, tasks, tools and techniques, knowledge and skills of the ECO in mind. Each and every task in the ECO has been thought through to prepare the content.

    (2) Covers all 12 reference books, including the Agile Practice Guide.
    In total there are 12 recommended books, all of which have been used in writing this book. These books are recommended for your PMI-ACP Exam.

    (3) Includes many Scaling concepts in Agile development. 
    Examples: Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), Large Scale Scrum (LeSS), Scrum of Scrums (SoS), Displined Agile (DA), Enterprise Scrum (ES). Includes new team based agile methods, e.g., Scrumban.

    (4) Many examples with real world tools such as MS Project Agile, Atlassian Jira Agile.
    Examples used: Product Backlog, Release Plan, Task Board, Velocity Chart, Burndown Chart etc.

    (5) 450+ questions with many situational questions. 
    There are many situational practice questions at the end of various chapters. The full-length question sets also contain a number of situational questions.

    (6) Videos in many areas which are not easy to understand. 
    Examples: Agile Earned Value Management (Agile EVM), Conflict Management etc.

    (7) Additional required concepts referring over 60 books, articles.
    Examples: Cost of Delay Divided by Duration (CD3), Sashimi, Swarming, Mobbing, Definition of Ready (DoR) vs Definition of Done (DoD) vs Acceptance Criteria, Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Paint-drip skills, advanced Risk Management in Agile, Impact Mapping etc.
    These are applicable to both Product Owners and Agile Project Managers/Scrum Masters as well as Developers.

    (8) Many new charts and metrics are added. 100s of tips and diagrams.
    Examples: Product Burndown Chart, Feature Chart, Product Backlog refinement, Trend Analysis, Feedback loops, Learning Cycles etc.

    (9) Over 50 areas where Agile Practitioners face problems and what to do about it. 
    Example: Complex product architecture and problems in estimation; Deluge of defects during development; Product owner is not available on a full-time basis etc.

    Published Articles - Referring the Book

    To know the breakdown content of the book, please check the below index (partial one). The detailed index is part of the book. You can also send a mail to for detailed index.

    Index of the Book 
    The partial index of the book is shown below (Embedded Document). You can scroll in the embedded frame, to see the content.

    If you are want to buy or have any queries on  this book, please send a mail to

    Book Excerpts:

    PMI-ACP Success Stories:

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