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Ace the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam Painlessly

Taking the PMI® exams is a step in the right direction. You become knowledgeable in the agile methodology. Although the Agile approach is mostly used in software development, the practices are applicable in any field.

Unlike PMP®, PMI-ACP® certification lacks one definitive guide for learners to reference. As a substitute, PMI provides eleven reference materials. Aspirants may lack the time or patience to comb through about 4000 pages of the availed study materials. But there are other study options such as through Agile Precast videos and exam prep guides, authored by experts. Irrespective of the method of study, on exam day, be ready.

The PMI-ACP exam contains an assortment of questions. Some straightforward, others tricky –because they seem to have more than one correct answer. This post provides helpful pointers and tips to help you pass. Assume they apply to scenarios or projects, you will encounter in the exam.

Agile Manifesto Values and Principles

Above all, remember that the exam centers on agile values and principles. If you encounter, a complicated question, go for the option that closely matches the manifesto (agile values and principles).

For instance; agile practices result in reduced risk, enhanced visibility, and adaptability in projects. In Agile projects, the return on investment (ROI) comes earlier than in traditional projects. Although agile methodologies are applicable in various projects, the exam will likely center on software development.


Ideally, teams should not have more than 12 members. In cases of significant teams, they are split into smaller ones, which undertake the project jointly, by coordinating work between them. Team members should have an assortment of skills to handle different tasks. It allows the team to complete jobs independently, without outside help. Multifaceted teams are better than those with members, proficient in one area.

While the team members wear different hats, the delivery team must have the following people: Scrum master/manager/coach, software developers, quality assurance officer, business analyst and the project owner.

A project owner may be one person who acts alone or supported by other individuals. The role of the project owner is to specify things to be done within the project (Scrum Product Backlog). The objectives may be in technical aspects or expressed as user stories. While the client decides what is to be built, the team decides how to create.

Teams are self-sufficient, self-organized, internally governed, and self-driven. Once they make commitments, they have no option but to deliver.

PMI-ACP emphasizes collaboration and servant leadership over the command-and-control style. In addition, the team has to align to a shared vision, values, goals, success measures, and work agreements. Using exercises like “design the product box,” the team ensures that everyone shares the vision.

Collectively, they come up with their definition of “done.” The team will agree on when features of the projects, user stories, and tasks, can be considered “done.” Finally, the team evaluates risks to minimize them, early.

Agile Estimation

What should you know about estimates? The best are those done by experts, using techniques such as affinity estimating, Delphi, and planning poker. These estimates are relative and lack units. Being relative makes them more predictable than estimating the hours.

Aggregate estimates are superior to individual forecasts. In the initial iteration, a contingency factor or buffer is added. The contingency factor reduces as the project proceeds, and the team has performed work. Contingency also reduces once the team shows velocity. Agile estimates for team velocity are stated in factor and ranges.

Understand User Stories

First, user stories follow the format: “As a , I want to get < Business Benefit>.” They should be of one to three days and fit in one sprint or iteration. User stories are thus Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Expectable, Small and, Testable (INVEST).

User stories have enough information, including suitable criteria for the team to form and confirm user stories.


Agile methodologies favor face-to-face communication and co-location. In addition to increasing osmotic relationships, this communication is superior to email, phone calls, and video calls.

To enhance communication teams will use storyboards, release boards, defect walls, burn down charts, flip charts, continuous integration views, and burn up charts.

Other Things to Note

The team delivers the product incrementally and also iteratively. Participants realize earlier on that they don’t have all the facts about the solution.

Agile projects have a fixed duration and budget determine by taking constraints such as cost, time and scope into consideration. Despite change being present, the priorities of iteration remain constant. In software projects, the working products are frequently delivered.

Tips for Exam Points

Note that the exam emphasizes Agile Manifesto values and principles. Questions are asked from the team’s perspective and examples come from software-based project scenarios.

Instead of iteration, the exam may use terms like sprint and timebox. In terms of agile methods, the exam leans heavily on Scrum, Lean, Kanban and XP practices. However, it does not test your knowledge of specific roles but on the agile approach.

Anyone can take the exam because it focuses on agile practices. If you are part of any project, you can sit for the exam. Finally, assume that the projects are internal –and you are set for the exam.


The best way to prepare remains going over sample questions. Not only do you gain insight into the problems but also helps you evaluate the study progress. Also, you will not be anxious because you are familiar with various formats.

Keep in mind: The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner Exam is not as simple. Once you know this, you are better poised to prepare adequately. Read over these quick tips before the exam day. In summary, nothing is impossible. Just study beforehand and think positive thoughts.