New Exam Contents Added to PMI-ACP Exam (from July 2015)

New Exam Contents Added to PMI-ACP Exam

The PMI-ACP® is changing from 15 July 2015. From this very day, the PMI-ACP® exam will be based on the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus. The new PMI-ACP® Exam is by no means a ‘revolutionary’ change. In fact, according to my PMI-ACP® experience and many of others, the exam syllabus of the PMI-ACP® Exam has been shifting gradually over the past few years (e.g. more emphasis has been put on Kanban and Lean – this is reflected in the new additions of the PMI-ACP® official reference book list for 2015 PMI-ACP® Exam).

The following lists a number of new tasks / items that have been added to the PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus in Jul 2015 to help PMI-ACP® aspirants who read my PMI-ACP® study notes to have a more complete coverage of the PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus:

  • Managing with Agile KPIs
    • Agile KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) are metrics tied to the strategic objectives of the project that are used to assess the current state of the project (e.g. whether the project progresses as expected). Below are some typical Agile KPIs:
      • Velocity (completed story point in 1 iteration)
      • Value Delivery
      • Defect Rate:  the amount of defects detected per iteration
      • Throughput: the amount of tasks completed in a given period of time
      • Cycle Time: the time between introduction and completion of a task (a measure of Throughput)
      • WIP: Work in progress (as used in Kanban)
      • Lead Time = WIP / Throughput
    • Agile KPIs will also raise alarm when issues / problems are forming
  • Intraspectives
    • a “retrospective-like meeting” during the iteration to get up-to-date information of the current situation of the project
  • Developmental mastery models
    • Tuckman’s Group Development Model
      • how a team develops
        • Forming – the first time the team come together to learn about each other
        • Storming – team members work individually, maybe with conflicts and confrontation
        • Norming – team members try to work together towards the goal
        • Performing – the team perform as one, is highly efficient
        • Adjourning – dismiss of the team
    • Dreyfus Model of Skill Acquisition
      1. Novice – adherence rigidly to rules / plans
      2. Advanced beginner – make limited decisions based on the situation
      3. Competent – can plan and cope with multiple tasks
      4. Proficient – have holistic view of situation and can prioritize tasks
      5. Expert – transcends reliance on rules, guidelines, and maxims, can analyse new situations
    • Shu Ha Ri
      • a way of thinking about learning techniques and methodologies for software development originates from Japanese martial arts Aikido:
        1. Shu – the beginning stage in which the student follows rules closely
        2. Ha – the student tries to learn the underlying principles and theory and try to break the rules
        3. Ri – the final stage in which the person transcends all rules and finds their own way of doing things
  • Participatory decision models
    • Divergent vs Convergent
      • when presented with a new issue / problem, team members are encouraged to express different views without judgement (divergent)
      • the ideas are then categorized and summarized to try to reach a consensus (convergent)
    • Shared collaboration
      • team members work together to reach a final decision rather than dictated by the leader / manager
  • Agile hybrid models
    • When transitioning to Agile from waterfall, many organisations cannot make the switch cold turkey. They would try to make use of a hybrid Agile-waterfall approach by adopting portion of Agile and portion of traditional project management approaches.
  • Control limits
    • Control limits are a tool used in empirical process control by setting natural process limits on process control chart to inspect whether the process is under control (usually considers 3 standard deviations from the mean as normal).
  • The Five WHYs
    • A technique to help identifying the root causes of a problem by asking and answering “whys” for 5 times.
  • Pre-mortem (rule setting, failure analysis)
    • Pre-mortem is a meeting asking participants to brainstorm what can go wrong with the project and then focus on action plans to mitigate the faults.
    • also known as “futurespective”
  • Fishbone diagram analysis
    • A chart resembling the shape of fishbones that is used to help identifying the causes of a problem (e.g. used in brainstorming)
  • Minimal viable product (MVP)
    • The minimal product (with just essential features and no more) that allows can be shipped to early adopters see and learn from the feedback instantly. The concept is somewhat similar to Minimally Marketable Feature (MMF) in which MVP is the first shippable product with the first set of MMF.
  • Kaizen
    • The practice of continuous improvement as introduced by Masaaki Imai.

As you can see, the new 2015 PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus is in fact an update of the previous version. Most of the above items have in fact been included in many of the current PMI-ACP® Exam resources (like practice exams, textbooks and exam prep courses) as these are mainstream Agile concepts these days. Don’t worry if you plan to take the PMI-ACP® Exam after 15 July 2015 as most of the Agile knowledge to be tested on the exam is still very similar to the current version. Wish PMI-ACP® aspirants to achieve PMI-ACP® success in the new 2015 PMI-ACP® Exam!

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Edward Chung

Edward Chung aspires to become a full-stack web developer and project manager. In the quest to become a more competent professional, Edward studied for and passed the PMP Certification, ITIL v3 Foundation Certification, PMI-ACP Certification and Zend PHP Certification. Edward shares his certification experience and resources here in the hope of helping others who are pursuing these certification exams to achieve exam success.

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1 Response

  1. bc says:

    This is very useful, thanks for outlining all this as well as everything else related to the PMI-ACP!