PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) formally recognizes your knowledge of agile principles and your skill with agile techniques. Show your peers, employers, and stakeholders that your agile knowledge runs deep. I am listing below the PMI-ACP exam hot topics where most of the exam questions come from:
- Agile Principles. There are 12 agile principles outlined in The Agile Manifesto in addition to the 4 agile values. These 12 principles for agile software development help establish the tenets of the agile mindset. They are not a set of rules for practicing agile, but a handful of principles to help instill agile thinking. In the PMI-ACP exam, there will be 8-10 questions testing your understanding of these principles and values, and their application in real life scenarios.
- Scrum Framework. Scrum is a framework that helps teams work together. Much like a rugby team (where it gets its name) training for the big game, scrum encourages teams to learn through experiences, self-organize while working on a problem, and reflect on their wins and losses to continuously improve. For the PMI-ACP exam, you should be aware of the Scrum roles, events, and artifacts. Expect 4-6 questions about these topics.
- Self-organizing team concept. At the simplest level, a self-organizing team is one that does not depend on or wait for a manager to assign work. Instead, these teams find their own work and manage the associated responsibilities and timelines. Of course, there’s more to self-organizing teams than simply finding and completing work. Self-organizing teams also take on the responsibility of choosing the most effective and efficient way to complete their work and regularly look for ways to improve through experimentation. Expect few scenario-based questions in the PMI-ACP exam that their answer will rely on this concept.
- Release and iteration planning. Release Management is the part of the software management process that deals with development, testing, deployment and support of software releases to the end user. In the new era of continuous delivery (CD), organizations have become increasingly lean and agile while managing this process. Release management is always managing, planning, scheduling, and controlling software delivery throughout the release lifecycle. Iterative Development is a way of breaking down the software development of a large application into smaller chunks. In iterative development, feature code is designed, developed and tested in repeated cycles.
- User story and story points. A story point is a metric used in agile project management and development to estimate the difficulty of implementing a given user story, which is an abstract measure of effort required to implement it. In simple terms, a story point is a number that tells the team about the difficulty level of the story. Difficulty could be related to complexities, risks, and efforts involved. Story point estimation, a kind of relative estimation, is typically performed at the Product Backlog Grooming Sessions and the Product Backlog is evaluated by the team who responsible for the actual development and testing work.
- Planning Poker. Planning Poker is an agile estimating and planning technique that is consensus based. To start a poker planning session, the product owner or customer reads an agile user story or describes a feature to the estimators. Each estimator is holding a deck of Planning Poker cards with values like 0, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40 and 100, which is the sequence we recommend. The values represent the number of story points, ideal days, or other units in which the team estimates. Expect 2-3 questions in the PMI-ACP exam about this technique.
- Velocity. Velocity in agile is an important metric that helps the team improve efficiency by determining how much it can achieve over time. After every iteration, the team adds up effort estimates associated with user stories that were completed. In project management, this helps in determining how long it will take to complete the project. In essence, velocity in agile offers agile teams a way of calculating how fast they’re getting work done, and as a result, how many sprints will be required to get a project to a certain degree, and overall, create significant change. Expect 2-3 math questions in the PMI-ACP exam about this concept.
- Retrospectives. Iteration Retrospectives are the structured reflective practice to learn and improve based on what has already been done. The purpose of retrospection is to examine the process the team uses, to build team commitment, and to transfer knowledge to the next iteration and possibly to other teams. Retrospections must be done at the end of every iteration. A briefer version, the after action review can be done at any time, whenever there is value for the team to stop and learn from what has been done and change while it still helps work.
- Daily standups. Stand-ups are one of the fundamental parts of agile development, and it’s often the most misunderstood. Let’s be real: stand-ups by themselves don’t make your team agile. They aren’t about inflating egos or justifying job descriptions. They aren’t a time to plan; Sprint planning is for planning. They also aren’t the only time to mention blockers. If you’re stuck, ask for help! This meeting’s flavor is unique to each team, but at Atlassian we use three simple questions to generate structure: What did I work on yesterday? What am I working on today? What issues are blocking me?
- Burn down charts. A burndown chart is a graphic representation of how quickly the team is working through a customer’s user stories, an agile tool that is used to capture a description of a feature from an end-user perspective. The burndown chart shows the total effort against the amount of work for each iteration. The quantity of work remaining is shown on a vertical axis, while the time that has passed since beginning the project is placed horizontally on the chart, which shows the past and the future. The burndown chart is displayed so everyone on the team can see it and is updated regularly to keep it accurate.
- Value stream mapping. Value stream mapping is a common practice in the Agile space because it allows leaders and stakeholders to see where the flow of value delivery is slowing down and exposes opportunities to create better alignment across teams. However, it’s one of those practices commonly exercised after everyone is acutely aware that flow is slow or stagnant. Then it becomes a tool to help diagnose a problem (which is usually when Agile coaches are called in).
- Agile tools and techniques. Agile methods and tools lend themselves most appropriately to systems and projects in which accurate estimates, stable plans, and predictions are often difficult to attain in the early project stages. Agile development favors an adaptive, iterative and evolutionary development approach. For the PMI-ACP exam, you will encounter not less than 15-20 questions about the commonly used agile tools and techniques. You will have at least one question about each of the following techniques: MoSCoW, 5-Whys, control charts, agile chartering, Cycle time, WIP, Variance and trend analysis, and risk adjusted backlog.
- Information radiators. “Information radiator” is the generic term for any of a number of handwritten, drawn, printed or electronic displays which a team places in a highly visible location, so that all team members as well as passers-by can see the latest information at a glance: count of automated tests, velocity, incident reports, continuous integration status, and so on. Expect 2-3 questions in the PMI-ACP exam about these tools.
- Osmotic communication. “Osmotic communication means that information flows into the background hearing of members of the team, so that they pick up relevant information by osmosis. This is normally accomplished by seating them in the same room. Establish team core hours for facilitated discussions and working sessions
Practing high quality PMI-ACP exam questions is essential for your preperation. We have developed an article in this blog listing few high quality PMI ACP mock exams which you can access from the link here.
Good Luck in your Journey!