Monday, April 01, 2019

PMI-ACP Success Story: Learning By Doing Will Make You Successful

By Priya A.M., PMI-ACP

A couple of years back, my organization transitioned from traditional model to agile model. In particular, many concepts from Scrum framework started being used. It made me think and I decided to dive deep into various Agile approaches. I searched for various possible certifications and finally opted PMI-ACP since it’s a globally recognized one and will help me to become a skilled agile professional.

ACP Coaching Experience
I attended 3-day contact hours session (21 hours) conducted by Satya Narayan Dash. The session was incredible. His way of teaching is so commendable that I can still recollect the tips and tricks, examples, quotes etc. It helped a lot to recall exam topics and formulas later. 

On final day, there was an evaluation by Satya and based on marks scored, we all came to know how much time we may need to take up the certification examination. I scored least in the class (52%) and Satya told me that I may need another 8 months for my preparation. On final day, Satya also gave an overview of all reference books and their pros and cons and also how to get the essence of all reference books in a single book etc.

Own Study
I thought to go with a slow pace. I used to spend minimum 1 hour daily during my commute to office for reading books. There were days where I read 20 plus pages in a single traffic signal. Thanks to Bangalore traffic :-). I used to make notes on important points because I was not sure whether I will read same book again. I referred few books noted below and also used books my organization’s library and other sources.

  • I Want To Be An ACP, by Satya Narayan Dash
  • PMI- ACP Exam Prep, by Mike Griffiths
  • Coaching Agile Teams, by Lyssa Adkins
  • Agile Retrospectives Making Good Teams Great, by Esther Derby & Diana Larsen
  • PMI-ACP Exam Prep from

I read first two books twice. After 8 months, I became a member of PMI.  Next, I thought of doing some hands-on agile practices. Hence, I conducted 3 retrospectives within our offshore team during this period. I used different retrospective tools each time. It was an amazing experience. My team really enjoyed the retrospectives since it was entirely different from boring post mortem meetings. This encouraged me to experiment more. 

In March 2018, PMI added one more book as a reference – Agile Practice Guide. I read it once. It was just a repetition of what I’ve already covered.

After few months, I submitted application form and scheduled for the exam. Before the exam, I took 5 days off from work and revised what I already covered. I practiced as many online exam questions possible. The day before the exam, I revised only the exam content outline (ECO) tasks, which helped me immensely to answer situational questions in final exam.       

Book Review - I Want To Be An ACP
I purchased ACP Exam Prep Book - "I Want To Be An ACP" by Satya without any second thought. Later on, during my studies it helped me to recall entire classroom sessions. It contains videos on important topics, ACP formula gold cards, tips and tricks, mock questions from each exam domains and 3 full length exam question sets and answers. 

Also, the book has important points that one should take care - before, after and during the exam. After purchase of the book, many updates were added to the book and they were all free of cost. 

ACP Exam Experience
I reached exam centre before 2 hours spend first 1 hour revising ECO and then reported the prometric staff. They guided me inside and after check-in process, they shared scratch papers, 2 pencils and 1 calculator. There were many people waiting for different exams. The exam room was crowded. Hence, I used head set. 

After going through the exam’s beginning tutorial, I immediately started attempting the exam questions. My strategy was to complete minimum 40 questions per hour. Most of the questions were situational and for few questions I didn’t have any idea at all. There were a few generic situational question, too. I didn’t get question to apply formula. 

After every 1 hour removed headset and relaxed for few seconds – because the exam’s time duration is 3-hours and it’s physically exhausting. I had 10 minutes for my final review. I reviewed few questions and submitted 3 minutes before in restlessness. I might have make some mistakes in a hurry. 

I closed my eyes and reopened after few seconds. Congratulation screen appeared in the monitor. I felt proud of myself. I got an overall score of “Above Target”.  

Suggestions for ACP Aspirants
  • Try to do hands-on by applying agile practices. This will help you to crack situational questions.  
  • Never try to memorize exam topics. It won’t help you in exam and in the long run.

This certification encourages me to continue as an Agile Practitioner in my professional life. I believe we can apply agile practices for continuous improvement in all areas including personal life. 

Brief Profile
Priya A.M, Working as a Senior Consultant in an MNC. 

Book for ACP Exam Prep:

PMI-ACP Success Stories:

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