Friday, October 16, 2020

Seven Steps to Achieve the PMI-ACP Certification

Takeaway: You will learn how to get certified as an Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP®) from Project Management Institute (PMI®). In the market, there are a lot of myths running and learn how to do it exactly.

In this post, I’ll keep the steps simple. This will help you to know and absorb quickly. 

If you want to have a detailed discussion on how to proceed with the exam, then you may want to watch the recorded global webinar. 

Long back, I had written on how to get PMI-PMP certified in seven simple steps. Many PMPs have gone through those steps, joined my courses or sessions and have cleared the PMP exam. This post is in similar lines, though it’s for the PMI-ACP certification exam. 

Now, let’s start right-away with the minimal steps for being a PMI-ACP.


Step – 1: Prerequisites

Minimum 12 months of unique non overlapping "General Project Experience", in which you have spent 2,000 hours in project teams. This experience should have been accumulated in the last five years. 


Minimum 8 months or 1,500 hours of unique non overlapping "Agile Experience", where you have worked in Agile methodologies. This experience should have been accumulated in the last three years. 

For details, please visit: 

Please note that by "General Project Experience", it doesn’t mean you should be a Project Manager or a Product Manager or a Portfolio Manager or Program Manager. If you are an Engineer, Lead Engineer, or a Team Lead/Project Lead/Module Lead etc. and you have done general project work, you are eligible. Similar is the case for Agile experience.  

Step – 2: Membership

Once you are sure of prerequisites, then go ahead. If not, please be careful. PMI does not tolerate any kind of malpractice. 

If sure, it is better to get a PMI membership. To have that, you have to pay an amount to PMI. Have an account at and pay the amount.

Note: You may NOT be a member, but still can get PMI certified. However, if you are a member, then the overall cost is somewhat less and you also get the benefit of various journals and magazines from PMI. 

Step – 3: 21 Contract Hour Program

You need to have 21 contact hour programs to take the test in addition to the criteria in Step – 1. This is in addition to the General Project Experience, Agile Experience and is termed as Agile Management Education. And this is mandatory. 

Step – 1 and Step – 3 are with respect to professionals with a Secondary degree or global equivalent.

Step – 4: Experience Validation

PMI validates your claim of experience and hence requires you to put the experience in detail at their website. You have to prove that you have 2000 hours of General Project Experience and 800 hours of Agile experience. 

Note: If you are a Project Management Professional (PMP), or Program Management Professional (PGMP), then you won’t need to show this project management experience, because PMI has already validated this experience.  

If it is found to be fake (they will have the contact details of your previous company, managers etc.), your application will be rejected. And PMI strictly follows it. 

Step – 5: After the Validation

After your experience is validated (normally within two weeks), you will be invited to take the exam. PMI randomly selects applications for validation. If you are not selected, you will be informed about the application being approved. 

For the final exam you have to pay the exam fee. 

After paying, you will have an ID, which will be required to schedule via PearsonVUE. You can schedule in advance at a PearsonVUE center near to your locality. (

Ideally, you should take the exam after 6/8 weeks of getting the contact program. One normally loses motivation. ACP is relatively easier compared to the PMP exam. However, this exam’s standard is much higher compared to various ‘Master’/ ‘Expert’ certifications that you would be seeing in the market, which are done with little or no effort!  

Step – 6: At the Exam

You have to take a print out of the invitation for the exam and valid government issued identity proof. The exam is of 3 hours with 120 multiple choice questions. 

You can take the ACP exam in both online proctored mode or traditional-center based

Note: Do NOT consider the PMBOK guide as your reference for the ACP exam. In fact, I would suggest that you don’t read it at all! There is a list of books and the Agile Practice Guide from PMI, which will be your references. 

You may want to read a number of PMI-ACP success stories in the below link:
PMI-ACP Success Stories 

You will be notified on your pass or failure at the exam center itself by PMI. It will be reflected on your computer screen. You can take a print out of your certificate. 

The final certificate will reach your snail mail address afterward.

Step – 7: If you fail

You can go for another attempt and you have to pay an additional fee. You can give three attempts including the first one in one year. The one-year timeline is set from the day your application is approved. 


As noted earlier, after going through the steps, if you want to know a detailed discussion on this topic, you can follow the below link for webinar. In the global webinar, conducted by MPUG, I’ve also answered a number of questions related to which credential to go for, how to prepare etc.

Global Webinar: Want To Be A PMI-ACP? The Primary Steps to Take


[1] Book: I Want To Be An ACP, The Plain and Simple Way, Second Edition, by Satya Narayan Dash

[2] PMI-ACP Handbook and PMI-ACP Exam Content Outline (ECO), by Project Management Institute (PMI)

No comments:

Post a Comment

Sign- or Log-in and put your name while asking queries in comments. Any comment is welcome - comments, review or criticism. But off-topic, abusive, defamatory comments will be moderated or may be removed.