Friday, January 15, 2021

PMI-ACP Success Story: Agile is Essential for Delivering Customer Value and ROI – Early and Continuously

By John P S Oliver, ACP, PMP, PBA, RMP


Being in the financial services industry which is highly regulated, my organization started to increasingly embrace the agile way of approach in its projects to achieve customer satisfaction and realize benefits early. Being a functional owner with a high focus on improving process efficiencies and effectiveness, we started following the agile approach for the implementation of various improvement initiatives like automation of manual processes, improving compliance etc.

While I had touched upon agile practices during my preparation for PMP® certification, with the continued emphasis on agile approach for our projects, I believed that gaining a deeper knowledge and practice of the agile values, principles and approaches will help me in my quest to become a successful agile practitioner and hence I decided to pursue the PMI-ACP® certification.

First Preparation

Once I decided to pursue the PMI-ACP certification, I reached out to Satya Sir for his inputs on getting the mandatory 21 hours of training in agile practices. Satya Sir advised me to go through the PMI®’s Agile Practice Guide which was one of the primary reference books for the PMI-ACP certification exam. I also came to know about his recently updated book: I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition.

I started my preparation for the PMI-ACP certification with reading PMI’s Agile Practice Guide. I completed reading the Agile Practice Guide and enrolled with a service provider for an online course of PMI-ACP training. 

Once I completed the online course and received the mandatory PDUs, I submitted my application for PMI-ACP certification.

Upon receiving approval from PMI, I reached out to Satya Sir and decided to use his book “I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition” for my certification exam preparation.

Own Study

I started my preparation for the exam with creating a plan to complete one chapter with the corresponding chapter end questions from Satya Sir’s book: I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition.

I had applied for 2 weeks of leave and dedicated 8 hours a day for preparation.

The only books I referred were Satya Sir’s book, I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition, PMI’s Agile Practice Guide and PMI-ACP exam content outline.

For the sample questions, Satya Sir’s book has 3 complete full set questions in addition to the chapter end questions. I also used the sample questions that came with the online training course that I enrolled for the mandatory PDUs.

I completed the chapters of Satya Sir’s book twice (Initial reading and Revision) and completed the 3 complete full set of questions once.

Book Review - I Want To Be An ACP

The reason for going with Satya Sir’s book - I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition as the primary reference book was the confidence due to the fact that I had already used his books and study materials in my preparation for PMP® and RMP® certifications and they were instrumental in passing the exams.

My PMP exam experience:
PMP Live Lessons Was Instrumental in Getting My PMP Credential

My RMP exam experience:
Risk Management - Essential for Professional and Personal Success 

The book encompasses knowledge from all the reference books listed by PMI for ACP certification. In fact, in my opinion, this book is a one stop reference book for the PMI-ACP certification exam.

The book follows the pattern of the PMI-ACP exam content outline (ECO), aligned with PMI's Agile Practice Guide and so is easy to follow and cross reference. 

The vision and revision tips in the book helped me to immediately refer relevant topics for revision. The chapter end questions helped me to gauge my understanding of the topics. I used them to revise the portions in relation to the questions where I went wrong.

The 3 complete full set of questions were of high quality and the explanations for the answers helped me immensely in understanding the reasoning behind the correct choice. I was able to improve my performance with each mock exam.

ACP Exam Experience

I completed the initial reading of Satya Sir’s book completely with the chapter end questions and scheduled my exam for 7-January-2021, 8:00 AM slot at the Pearson Vue centre, Chennai. I used the remaining days to complete the revision and the mock exams.

I reached the centre by 7:30 AM on the exam date and completed the formalities. I started my exam at around 8 AM. As I progressed through the exam, I noticed that I was taking more time for each question compared to the time taken in mock exams and hence kept a track of the remaining time. I completed the exam without any break and with 6 minutes to spare. I submitted my responses and competed the survey. I was happy to see the congratulatory message on successfully obtaining the PMI-ACP certification.

Types of Questions Faced

  • The majority of the questions were situational in nature.
  • Very few graphical questions.
  • Very few mathematical questions. 
  • More questions on Value Driven Delivery, Agile Principles and Mindset and Stakeholder Engagement domains.

Suggestions for ACP Aspirants


  • Plan and schedule the exam well in advance.
  • Prepare a realistic schedule and follow it.
  • Prepare a short list of reference books and use them for your preparation.
    (Ideally not more than 2 if you go for Satya Sir’s book)
  • Schedule enough time for taking up mock questions and revision.


  • Do not use more than 2 or 3 study resources as you can spend the extra time available on attempting more mock questions.
  • Do not attempt questions before you completely study the resources at least once.
  • Don’t panic during the exam if you do not know the answer for a particular question, Mark it for review and proceed with the next one – You can always come back to the marked question later.


I would like to thank the Almighty for his blessings, my reporting manager for approving my leaves for preparation and Satya Sir for his book: I Want To Be An ACP, Second Edition.

Brief Profile:

Name: John P S Oliver

Current Role: Supply Chain Manager

Experience: 23+ years of experience in ITES operations and project management across BFSI, Healthcare, Telecom and Retail verticals.

Book Available for ACP Exam Prep:

Book Excerpts:

PMI-ACP Success Stories:

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