I'm a PMP ... but do I qualify to sit for the exam?
The PMI-ACP® is the fastest growing certification in PMI history! But the big question is, "Do YOU have the 1,500 hours of Agile experience needed to sit for the exam?!"
At GR8PM we have helped thousands of students determine if they meet the qualifications and requirements for sitting for the PMI-ACP® exam. We have found that over 98% of PMP®s assume, incorrectly, that they do not qualify to sit for the exam. This brief discussion will show you how to understand and apply PMI®'s standards correctly so you can evaluate your eligibility accurately.
I don’t have 1,500 agile experience hours… do I?
Let’s start with the requirement that is the biggest mental roadblock for most PMP®s. The required 1,500 hours of Agile experience. You may be interpreting the experience requirements much more strictly than PMI does. Consider this example from your own experience as an analogy. When you sat for the PMP® exam, you documented 4,500 hours of experience. But you - and the vast majority of other PMP® candidates - were not using the terminology from the Project Management Institute, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge, (PMBOK® Guide), during those 4,500 hours!
The same is true for Agile. You have not been using the terminology or the “purist” version of Agile-by-the-book. But if your projects were succeeding you were intuitively using at least some agile practices, and those practice hours are the experience you need to document.
The PMI-ACP® and WIIFM (What's In It For Me!?!)
As you are aware, getting that next promotion and raise, or that next job, often hinges on demonstrating command of the most desirable skills in today’s hyper-competitive workplace. A quick look at PM job postings on major employment websites like Monster or CareerBuilder confirms that Agile Project Management is in high demand among employers today. Acquiring the PMI-ACP® certification helps you demonstrate that you have real expertise in Agile Project Management, and that opens doors to career opportunity!
Research shows many organizations are expanding Agile usage to help their operating results. That means that many more opportunities will be emerging for PMs who are properly prepared to respond. Agile has been proven in many arenas and continues to expand into new sectors, industries, and companies. Will you be one of those who benefit from the next “big thing” or will you choose to be left behind?
What the Exam Tests
First off, you need to be very clear about one thing: exactly what the PMI-ACP® exam tests is under constant development.
The Project Management Institute (PMI) follows industry best practice standards for all their exams. For the PMP® credential and the other certifications, the content of the exams can be traced back to the current edition of the PMBOK® Guide. Unfortunately, there is no similar, authoritative guide for the Agile frameworks or body of knowledge.
For the PMI-ACP® exam PMI® announced a list of 11 books, written by various luminaries from the Agile sphere as the basis. That body of work covers 3,888 pages. Mastering all that content is daunting enough, but because those 11 authors have differing and sometimes opposing, opinions about Agile it makes it immensely more challenging to prepare for the exam.
A Passing Grade
Once again, you need to know that exactly what a passing grade will be has not been published. Based on industry standard practices the exam will be designed to that only sixty-one (61%) percent of test takers will achieve a passing score. That means you need proper, thorough preparation to face an exam withe 120 multiple-choice questions and a prescribed three (3) hour time period.
Question Allocation on the Exam
PMI has published that during the exam you can expect to find:
- Knowledge and Skills will be covered in fifty (50%) percent of the questions and will be drawn from forty-three (43) identified Knowledge Areas.
- Tools and Techniques will account for the other fifty (50%) percent of the questions and will be drawn from fifty (50) different components.
When you apply for the PMI-ACP® exam you will go through a multi-step application process. Those steps include:
- PMI-ACP® Application information - Provide a Contact Address, E-mail, Phone, Your Name (as it should appear on the Certificate when you pass!) and Attained Education information (You must be at least a High School graduate.).
- Project Management Experience information - You must provide the Project Title, Start Date, End Date, Your Project Role and the Primary Industry. You must then detail for whom you managed the project and their Job Title, Organization Name, Organization Address, Organization Phone. Followed by Contact Relationship, Contact E-mail and Contact Phone plus the number of Agile Experience Hours and Summarize the Project.
- General Project Management Experience information - Document the required 2,000 hours of general project management experience (If you are already a PMP® this is waived or pre-approved.).
- Agile Project Experience information - Document the minimum of 1,500 hours, within 3 years of the application date, showing a minimum of 8 months of experience, excluding gaps between projects and overlapping experiences like two projects during the same time period.
- Agile Project Management Education information - Document a minimum of 21 contact hours of formal training or instruction in agile project management that has been completed at the time of the application (There is no time limit on how long ago the instruction took place.). For recording education, the application requires the Course Title, Institution Name, Start Date, End Date, and Qualifying Hours.