Cert Up: Agile Certified Practitioner

This week, I took and passed the Agile Certified Practitioner’s examination at a Prometrics facility in London.

I had attended a pretty good bootcamp from Firebrand training back in November (it’s May) but due to the onerous requirements levied by PMI (an application to even take the exam followed by a “random” audit of said application) a substantial amount of knowledge rot occurred.

Luckily, I had implemented an Agile methodology (Scrum) on my main project a year ago, so the pace of memory atrophy was slowed.

My bootcamp instructor (hat-tip to Cameron Stewart) heartily recommended an exam prep book, PMI-ACP Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths.  I couldn’t find it at a reasonable price on Amazon.co.uk, but did on Amazon.com.  Still, I didn’t bother ordering it for another couple months, thinking it would only be a few weeks until exam time.

Preparation

My modus operandi for test preparations is to casually study, increasing in intensity as the exam approaches.  As such, I was still studying the morning of the exam, sitting at a Leon’s at King’s Cross eating my second breakfast.

A photo of the recommended Agile exam study guide, PMI-ACP Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths.

The recommended Agile exam study guide, PMI-ACP Exam Prep, and my stopping point before sitting for the exam

I made it into chapter 4, team performance, before realizing I had better get to the testing center.  Despite this, I was not overly concerned.  Chapter 1 reminded me the exam was more about having an agile mindset than it was memorizing rote facts, like port numbers.  I had been running a Scrum team for over a year at this point and, no matter how imperfect the implementation was or how many daily scrums I let slip by, the intent and lessons were there.

The language from the bootcamp was an arm’s length away and coming back to me, evoked by Exam Prep.  The book was helping, even if I skimmed over much of it or didn’t finish the last half.  The author was fairly clear on whether a topic was likely to be on the exam, or if it was merely background context.  Skip-able at your own discretion.

Into the Breach

120 questions in 3 hours — I was gunning the questions down at a steady, plodding pace.  I finished with about 25 minutes to spare to go back over the 20 questions I marked for review.  I changed 4 of those answers, let the remainder stand, and walked out with my PMI-ACP certification.

Relief!

The most fidelity you get with your marks are an overall pass/fail, and one of three results for each of the 7 domains: proficient, moderately proficient, and below proficient.  I scored 5 moderately proficients and 2 proficients.  One proficient was in a domain to which I had not reached the chapter.

Overall, I thought the exam was challenging but fair.  I liked Firebrand’s bootcamp, and I liked PMI-ACP Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths.  Agile is a solid anchor I can drop when chaos reigns around me.

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