Monday, June 24, 2013

PMI-ACP exam - Lesson's Learnt and my experience

07 June 2014 : Today I passed my ACP exam.My dream come true. After my PMP certification, always wanted to do something related to Project Management to improve my skills.So finally decided to take up PMI-ACP exam.

Whoever has done PMP earlier would feel that PMI-ACP exam a easy one. It's easy to study as almost all the topics are what we practically follow in any Agile project. In PMP, discussion was always on ideal scenario's but here it's all practical scenario's which makes it easy to understand.

I completed answering all questions in 1 hour and next 1 hour, I revisited all the questions and then came out. So 2 hours is enough to complete the exam.3 hrs is more than enough for the exam. =D

For the 21 hours requirement, I attended the sessions conducted by Bangalore PMI Chapter.After completion, I applied for the exam and got it approved immediately. 


As there were many books mentioned as study materials, I decided to purchase Mike Griffith book which is supposed to have almost all the topics.It's a very costly book more than 5000 Rs.But as I was not ready to go through all other books, decided to spend on this book.After the exam, I feel that this book is not enough to pass the exam.If you can read all the books mentioned by PMI, then  it's the best.Go through all the questions provided in the Mike Griffith book (for each chapter).

2)I bought Andy Crowe book as well as loved his book for my PMP preparation so expected the same this time too.You can go through the sample exams on his webpage (with the key).It is almost similar to the main exam. It gives a good feel of the exam and areas where u need to concentrate.Also the 2 sample full exams in the book too helps.


If you are a PMI member, then you will have access to the eReads where you can find this book -PMI-ACP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers & Explanations by Tim Bagnall and Christopher Scordo .This is free if you have PMI membership and is shared in eReads.This book has so much of information which is not found in Andy Crowe or Mike Griffith book. Also has lot and lots of questions for practice.


Join the group in Linkedin - PMI® Agile Certified Practitioner PMI-ACP Exam Prep Study Group. You will find lessons learnt and experiences of many people. Take your time to go through each one of them and note down the details so that you don't miss any important topics.It has helped me a lot.


From the group, I came across this page where we can find a good number of questions.You can use them for practice -


Read Scrum Primer which can be downloaded from


Read Lean Primer which can be downloaded from
Andy Crowe's book has a good section on this but its better to read some more as questions were mainly on the practical side of this. 


Few topics which is not covered in few books but was covered in exam -Empirical Process Control, Earned Value,Triangulation,Pareto Principle,Crystal development

9) Few major topics where I had questions - Retrospective, estimations, Risk based Spike, Iteration & Release planning, Velocity, Value based Analysis,Agile Games, Agile values & Principles (many questions),Osmotic Communication,Burn down chart,Collaboration (2 questions), Coordination,Risk adjusted backlog, Persona, Wireframe,Self Organizing team,Definition of Done,Ideal time,Minimal Marketable feature,Story Points,Agile ceremonies, Co location,Conflicts, Retrospective, Process Tailoring,XP set of values, XP roles,Progressive Elaboration, User Story format,Affinity Estimation,Cumulative flow diagram,NPV (No calculation), Epic,Parking lot,Value Stream Mapping,Story Maps,WIP,Servant Leadership, Stages of Team formation (Forming, Storming, Norming & Performing), Situational leadership model based on this,Planning Poker, Affinity Estimating,Deming cycle,Velocity, Optimum team size for Agile team

Overall I should say that it tests the key points which we might miss if we don't understand and read each section. But at the same time I got few questions which were direct and almost repeated from the question links which I mentioned above.There are no calculation questions.Had one graph question which was about spike, that was direct too.

If you can understand and go through all the above sample questions which I mentioned, then its easy to pass the exam.Just concentrate and understand each topics and you will surely come with the certification in hand. =D

Few of the definitions which was helpful for me- consolidated from different sources.

Triangulation (Estimate by Analogy)

When estimating by Triangulation, a team compares the use story they want to estimate with some previously estimate stories.They then decide if the user story is about the same size,smaller or bigger than other estimated stories.

Suppose a story is estimated at four story points.A second story at  two story points.When two stories are considered together, the programmers should agree that four point story is roughly twice the size of the two point story.

Pareto principle

80% of your results come from only 20% of your efforts.

Crystal Development

1) Building core Project team
2) Performing exploratory 360 assessment
3) Fine tuning methodologies
4) Building initial project plan

Daily stand up meetings 

Reported by team, for the team, while Project Manager is in attendance to remove obstacles,help the team communicate effectively, nudge the team to resolve conflicts and remind team to not to problem solve in the meeting.


At the macro level, you are concerned on project is on track.At micro daily level, team manages its dependencies,assumptions and start/finish dates.

Chain of Management

In agile, team is empowered to solve its own problems,yet urged to communicate those obstacles not in its power to resolve up the chain to management,some of whom are usually stakeholders in the project.

Iteration Review Meetings

Managers and stakeholders should always be invited to iteration review meetings

Agile Feedback Techniques

1) Prototyping
2) Simulation
3) Demonstration
4) Evaluation
5) Pair Programming
6) Unit Testing
7) Continuous Integration
8) Daily stand up meeting
9) Sprint Planning.

Empirical Process Control

The word empirical denotes information gained by means of observation, experience or experiment.It constitutes a continuous cycle of inspecting the process for correct operation and results and adapting the process as needed.It has 3 legs that hold the  every implementation - transparency, inspection and adaptation.

You can let me know if you need any further information. 
For the people at Bangalore, anyone is looking for study materials, I am ready to sell the textbooks =D


  1. Hi Smitha,

    Congratulation for clearing PMI ACP exam , and it is nice to know that you found our test ( useful.


    1. Thank you so much Saket. Yes it will help everyone who is going for the exams.

  2. Thanks.... For posting PMI ACP exam tips.... :-)

    Raja Raman
    Project Manager @TCS Chennai

    1. Thank you so much Raja Raman. Hope it will help you out.:)

  3. Thanks a lot for sharing your PMP Certificationlearning and experiences with your readers.

  4. Thanks for sharing the useful information about the PMI-ACP, Smitha. Just wanted to check...could you please help guide where can access the "PMI-ACP Exam Prep: Questions, Answers & Explanations by Tim Bagnall and Christopher Scordo"? I am an active PMI member but unable to find it free anywhere on their website. Thanks for advising. Rajat Gupta

    1. Hi Rajat,

      Thank you so much for reading through. Sadly PMI has removed the free eReads section from last year.So you won't be able to get the same free anymore.

  5. No worries. Thanks for your quick response – really appreciated!!!