PMI-ACP Certification FAQ

PMI-ACP FAQ

PMI-ACP Certification Exam

No.

Whether your PMI audit result is successful or not, PMI will not return the audit package to the PMP® / PMI-ACP® applicant. Therefore, only photocopies of the certificates are required by PMI instead of the original ones.

PMI will need to retain the audit package according to its internal auditing procedures.

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First and foremost, the PMP® or PMI-ACP® candidate is not able to proceed with the certification application and examination. The certification fee paid will be refunded (with the subtraction of the processing fee).

There may be some follow-up actions by the PMI depending on the cause of failure of the PMI audit:

  • if the audit fail is due to incomplete information (including the documents are sent to PMI in more than 1 package), no action may be taken by PMI, but the candidate will only be able to reapply to the certification 1 year later;
  • if the fail is due to fraudulent information, PMI may take disciplinary actions (including banning from application to PMI certification for life) to the candidate in question as PMI takes integrity very seriously.

Therefore, when submitting the PMP® application / PMI-ACP® application, always make sure you are entering truthful information. Honest is the best policy.

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If you decide NOT to proceed with the PMI Audit for whatever reasons, e.g. time clashes, supervisor disagreed with your claimed time, personal issues, etc., you need not do anything. PMI considers it an automatic audit fail if it does not receive your audit package within 90 days of the notice of PMI Audit.

Ultimately, PMI will refund the examination fee you have paid, minus the processing fee.

You will be able to apply again for the PMP® Certification / PMI-ACP® Certification one year after your original PMP® application / PMI-ACP® application submission date. But you should note that your application will be subject to a PMI Audit again.

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No.

As PMI-ACP® stands for “Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner”, the keyword here is “practitioner“. As long as you are a member of a team practicing Agile project management (there is no limitation on the Agile methodologies), you would fulfill one of the basic requirements for PMI-ACP®:

  • 2,000 hours working on project teams as a member or project leader within the last 5 years
  • 1500 more hours working on Agile project teams / with agile methodologies within the last 3 years
  • 21 Contact Hours of Agile project management / practices training

As you can see, again the keyword here is “working on“, you can be a developer, sponsor, product owner, business analysts, etc. as long as your projects make use of Agile methodologies.

If you happen to be a PMP®, the 1st requirement for the 2000 working hours will be automatically fulfilled as the number of hours of project management experience required to fulfill PMP® requirements is more.

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The short answer is “unknown”.

The Project Management Institute does not disclose the passing score nor how many questions a PMI-ACP® candidate need to answer correctly. The PMI-ACP® exam candidate does not even know their scores for the exams, the exam report just shows the proficiency level —there are 3 of them:

  • Proficient — performance better than the average Aspirants
  • Moderately Proficient — performance on par with average Aspirants
  • Below Proficient — performance worse than the average Aspirants

This is because the PMI-ACP® Exam is based on ‘sound psychometric analysis’ (which is a modern way of keeping the standards of those who pass the PMI-ACP® Exam). Also, since most of the PMI-ACP® Exams are administrated on computers, the question sets of individual candidates are different, hence the passing scores for individual exams will need to be adjusted to the overall difficulty of the set, i.e. NOT the same.

However, according to the trainers of PMI-ACP® Agile Certification aspirants, most of them would estimate that the passing score is around 70% (which, by the way, is a bit higher than the passing score of PMP® Exam). This may be because the PMI-ACP® Exam is generally considered a bit easier than the PMP® Exam (but this is just an educated guess only as no information has been disclosed by PMI).

Therefore when you are attempting PMI-ACP® sample exam questions, it is highly recommended to set a higher standard than 70% (e.g. 75% – 80%) for your mock exam performance so that you can walk into the PMI-ACP® Exam centre with better confidence of passing the exam in first attempt.

After having taken both PMP® and PMI-ACP® Exams with a pass in first attempt, I would say that the PMI-ACP® exam is easier than the PMP®. But there are more situational questions in the PMI-ACP® Exam as Aspirants are tested on the actual application of Agile knowledge rather than testing their memorization capability.

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I have both tackled the PMP® and the PMI-ACP® Exams administrated by PMI. My experience tells me that the PMI-ACP® Exam is not that hard or difficult if you have ample preparation for the test.

  • I passed with all Proficient in my PMI-ACP® Exam while I got 4 P and 1 MP for the PMP® Exam. So for Aspirants who have attempted PMP® Exam before, the good news is PMI-ACP® is a bit easier.
    • You have around 1.5 minute to answer each question — the time is more than enough for most candidates. Some candidates can even finish all the 120 questions within 1 hour and take an extra hour for re-reading the questions and checking the answers.
    • According to the feedback of many Aspirants who are PMP®s, the exam is considered to be moderately easy (in particular when compared to the PMP® Exam).
  • But if you have never attempted PMI Certification exams before, tackling the PMI-ACP® Exam would be a little bit trickier than other professional exams as PMI has its own way of doing exams:
    • The majority of PMI-ACP® Exam questions are situational — the format is somewhat like this: you have got a situational in which you need to decide which is the best course of action to follow from a choice of four, and two or even three of theses choices are logical actions but you need to choose “the best according to PMI”.
    • You have to follow strictly the check in and check out procedures of PMI exams and you need to get accustomed to the exam interface.
    • The exam covers a lot of different Agile favours, including Scrum, Lean, Kanban, Extreme programming, etc. that one need to understand in details.
    • Perhaps one of the most difficult part of the certification is to fulfil the experience requirement on traditional project management as Agile project management is very different from waterfall.

It would normally take around a total of 120 hours to prepare well for the exam (of course that depends on the Agile knowledge and experience one has — I have known someone who can pass with 1 week of study though).

  • You should select an Agile course that helps you to prepare for the PMI-ACP® Exam (I used the Agile PrepCast™). Though any Agile courses (e.g. ScrumMaster) with over 21 hours of course duration will satisfy the 21 Contact Hours requirement of the PMI-ACP® Certification, taking a course dedicated to the PMI-ACP® would help build the foundation of your exam prep as the exam tests you on broader Agile knowledge than specific Agile methodologies.
  • Read and study the “pseudo-official” PMI-ACP® Exam textbook – PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths – at least twice and finish all the sample exam questions there.
  • Practice more PMI-ACP® Exam sample questions (many are FREE).
  • You are also advised to write your own study notes for your last minute revision.

That said, with proper training and preparation, Aspirants would be able to pass the exam in first try. You may refer to my PMI-ACP® Exam experience here.

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PMI-ACP® stands for Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner while CSM stands for Certified Scrum Master.

CSM (Certified Scrum Master)

  • Certified Scrum Master is a popular Agile certification
  • Only about the Scrum (one of the Agile methodologies)
    • understand the fundamentals, terminology, practices and principles and roles of the Scrum methodology
  • For Scrum Master or Scrum Team Member in the IT / software industry
  • Requirements to get CSM
    1. NO experience prerequisite;
    2. need to attend a course on CSM;
    3. take and pass the CSM exam, which has only 25 questions AND almost everyone can pass it
  • Very easy to get CSM

PMI-ACP® (Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner)

  • Popularity is growing over the several years since its introduction in 2011/2
  • The certification syllabus is more extensive
    • The PMI-ACP® Exam tests on everything about Agile, from Agile Manifesto, different Agile methodologies and frameworks (Scrum, Kanban, XP, Lean, etc.) to Agile tools, techniques, skills, etc.
  • For everyone involved in Agile projects
    • e.g. project managers, product owners, Agile coaches and trainers, developers, testers, business analysts, etc.
  • Requirements to get PMI-ACP® certified:
    1. A minimum number of hours of general project experience and Agile project experience;
    2. 21 Contact Hours in Agile project education;
    3. pass the PMI-ACP® audit of your application (if being selected);
    4. take and pass the PMI-ACP® exam, which has 120 questions (lasts for 3 hours), it is not easy to pass the PMI-ACP® exam without over a hundred hours of hard work
  • Much more difficult to get PMI-ACP®

CSM vs PMI-ACP®

CSM is quite different from the PMI-ACP® certification. You may judge whether to get CSM or PMI-ACP® based on the comparison above.

If you work sole with Scrum and if your organization requires a certificate for your Scrum knowledge, then CSM is certification to go. However, if your team practice other Agile methodologies and if you would like to have an Agile certificate that’s rigorous and valuable, PMI-ACP® is your definite choice.

One word of caution is that since PMI-ACP® has just been around several years, quite a few HR practitioners may not be aware of its existence. You may need to explain the values of PMI-ACP® to them.

Further reading: The Whats and Whys of the PMI-ACP®

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For the PMP® Exam, the PMBOK® Guide (A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge) is believed to be the most popular study material / book. Many PMI-ACP® aspirants would ask is there a PMBOK® Guide equivalent for the PMI-ACP® Exam.

The answer is, unfortunately, NO. PMI does provide a list of PMI-ACP® Exam reference books (a total of 11 Agile books with over 3800 pages!) which, in total, is way thicker than the PMBOK® Guide. That’s why some project managers consider the PMI-ACP® Exam to be even more difficult than the PMP® exam.

Fortunately, there are some PMI-ACP® Exam prep books that have summarized all that are required for the PMI-ACP® Exam into a single book:

This is my recommended exam prep book for the PMI-ACP® Exam. I made use of this book during my exam study and considered it to be excellent in quality. The author Mike Griffiths is a renowned Agile trainer and practitioner who has help formulating the PMI-ACP® Exam structure and syllabus – who else could be more familiar with the PMI-ACP® Exam than this insider?

In the PMI-ACP® exam lessons learned I have read, almost 90% of the authors used this PMI-ACP® Exam prep book to help them prepare and pass the PMI-ACP® Exam.

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Head First PMP®

For those who are familiar with the PMP® Exam, or who are PMP® themselves, the PMP® Exam prep book “Head First PMP®” should be a popular choice for their PMP® exam. The Head First PMP® book is written using “the latest development in cognitive science” and is most suited visual learners. A lot of diagrams, charts, illustrations and games are included in the Head First PMP® book.

Head First PMI-ACP® Book?

For the PMI-ACP® Exam, one can’t help but wonder is there a PMI-ACP® Exam prep book called “Head First PMI-ACP®”. Since Agile embraces charts and diagrams, it seems the format of the Head First PMP® a perfect match for Head First PMI-ACP® or Head First Agile book…

Unfortunately, the answer is NO. The authors of the Head First PMP® do not write the Head First PMI-ACP® for PMI-APC aspirants.

Great News! Head First Agile will be available for Aspirants in 25 June 2017. Though Head First Agile is primarily about Agile concepts, it intends to have 100% coverage of the exam syllabus for PMI-ACP® exam — including end-of-chapter quizzes, exam tips and guide and a full-length PMI-ACP® practice mock exam.

The sad news is that PMI-ACP® aspirants have to wait several more months to get the book. Meanwhile, there are currently two other tried and tested PMI-ACP® Exam prep books on the market:

The links of the above PMI-ACP® Exam prep books go to the Amazon website where you can get a preview of the books. I did make use of these exam prep books for my PMI-ACP® Exam and they are really of superb quality. If you have the budget, do purchase these two books for your PMI-ACP® study and you will not regret it.

Further reading: Recommended PMI-ACP® Book: RMC PMI-ACP® Exam Prep by Mike Griffiths

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Sometimes, PMI-ACP® aspirants may encounter courses that gives both the contact hours and professional development units (PDU). What is the difference between Contact Hours and PDU?

Broadly speaking, Contact Hours and PDU both refers to the duration of Agile education received (i.e. 1 hour of Agile education will give you 1 Contact Hour / 1 PDU). The difference lies in when the Agile education is received:

  • Before PMI-ACP® certified, one will only be able to get Contact Hour. PMI-ACP® aspirants needs 21 Contact Hours of Agile project education to qualify for the PMI-ACP® Exam. The 21 Contact Hours should be finished before submitting the PMI-ACP® application.
  • After passing the PMI-ACP® exam, PMI-ACP® holders can begin getting PDU immediately (there is no need to wait for the arrival of the PMI-ACP® certificate). PMI-ACP® can gain 1 PDU for each hour spent on Agile related course, training, etc. PMI-ACP® holders need to accumulate at least 30 PDU in the 3-year re-certification cycle in order to be eligible for re-certification.

Though some Agile courses can give you both Contact Hours and PDU for PMI-ACP® Certification, you will only be able to get either Contact Hours or PDU from the Agile course you received.

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There are a number of Agile certifications around, the most popular ones are Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP®). These certifications differ in pre-requisite, exam content as well as exam difficulty.

Scrum is currently the most popular Agile framework in practice. Scrum Master is a role in the Scrum framework who advocates the adoption and practices of Scrum. In order to obtain the Certified Scrum Master (CSM), one need to attend a course to understand and learn the fundamentals, terminology, practices and principles of the roles of the Scrum Master or Scrum Team Member. There is no prerequisite for Agile project experience and the role you current practice on project. The final exam for CSM is a short 25 questions exam paper and the pass rate is 100%, meaning that if you have the money to attend the CSM training workshop, you are guaranteed the CSM certification.

By contrast, the PMI-ACP® is specifically designed for Project & Program Managers, Product Owners, Scrummasters, Scrum Product Owners, Agile Coaches, Agile Trainers, Sr. Developers, Business and IT Managers with extensive experience in multiple Agile methodologies (Scrum, kanban, XP, lean, DSDM, TDD, ATDD, etc.). General project experience is required in addition to Agile-specific experience and education. The exam is designed to test both the practitioner’s level of professionalism in Agile practices of project management and professional versatility in project management tools and techniques.

The PMI-ACP® is quite different from the CSM certification. Unlike CSM is for Scrum, PMI-ACP® is about general Agile principles. The contents of the exam seem to be more “entry level” but the requirements for the exam is quite high. Not everyone is eligible to take the PMI-ACP® exam to gain certification. There are some pre-requisites for the PMI-ACP® exam:

  1. Educational requirements
  2. Working experience requirements
    • a minimum of 2000 hours of general project experience from the past five years (exempted for PMP® certification holders)
    • a minimum of 1500 hours of Agile project experience from the past three years
  3. Pass the PMI-ACP® exam which includes 120 questions in 3 hours

In order to maintain the quality of the PMI-ACP® certification, PMI will carry out PMI audit for PMI-ACP® certification applicants. If selected, the applicant will need to provide documents and proofs of the education and working experiences.

After getting the PMI-ACP® certification, holders will need to obtain enough professional development units (PDU) within the 3-year re-certification cycle in order to re-new their PMI-ACP® certification status.

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No. Though it is often said that the PMI-ACP® Exam Prep Book by Mike Griffiths is almost the “official” study guide for the PMI-ACP® Exam, many PMI-ACP® candidates can pass the PMI-ACP® Exam without reading it. The book by Mike Griffiths is NOT a must read if you have already well prepared for the exam though it is highly recommended if you have just begun the PMI-ACP® journey and don’t know how to proceed with your exam prep or study.

My PMI-ACP® study notes are based on many important PMI-ACP® resources including some of the most important stuffs from the Mike Griffiths book: https://edward-designer.com/web/agile-communications/ If you cannot gain access to the PMI-ACP® book by Mike Griffiths before your exam, you are highly recommended to read my study notes to see if you have missed anything during your exam study.

You are also advised to take more PMI-ACP® practice exams during the last few weeks before the exam (I encountered some questions on the real PMI-ACP® exam that were very similar to the ones listed here):
https://edward-designer.com/web/free-pmi-acp-exam-questions/
( http://www.webexamiq.com/ is my recommended one if you don’t have enough time to attempt all).

Wish you PMI-ACP® success!

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Yes, the original Agile PrepCast™ covers almost all the topics of the new 2015 PMI-ACP® Exam and the team is planning to add the missing topics asap.

The team at Agile PrepCast™ has carried out detailed analysis of the old and new PMI-ACP® Exam outline and found that over 85% of the contents of the new PMI-ACP® Exam have already been covered by the original Agile PrepCast™. The missing contents (e.g. Hybrid models, Agile Mindset, and SAFE) will be covered once all the new video lessons are developed.

If you are planning to purchase the Agile PrepCast™ or you have purchased the Agile PrepCast™ recently, you will be able to get the new video lessons (including 9 new presentations and interviews) once they are released.

But as many PMI-ACP® trainers and consultants have expressed, the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus is actually very much similar to the existing one, the changes and updates can be considered as “minor”. The author of the best selling PMI-ACP® Exam book, Mike Griffiths, did not intend to get the 2nd edition published before the implementation of the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus as he considers that his book has already covered all the materials of the new PMI-ACP® Exam.

So, if you are planning to take the PMI-ACP® Exam based on the new PMI-ACP® Exam syllabus, you can still make use of all the current PMI-ACP® Exam prep materials (mock exams, text-books, PMI-ACP® Exam prep courses, etc.) for your PMI-ACP® success!

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Below is the step-by-step instruction on how to input the discount offer codes for GreyCampus online courses to get the discounted prices for the ITIL® Foundation, PMP® Certification, PMI-ACP® Certification and PRINCE2® Foundation Certification online courses. Many Certification Aspirants have asked me to show them how to apply the coupon codes as they cannot find the location to enter them. This step-by-step illustrated guide is made to help fellow Aspirants to enjoy the discounted course fee with ease.

Step 1: Go to go to GreyCampus online course website

Please go to the related GreyCampus pages through the webpage: the most updated GreyCampus discount offer codes

  • PMP® Certification Online Self Learning
  • ITIL® Foundation Certification Online Self Learning (Official ITIL® Exam included)
  • PRINCE2® Foundation Certification Online Self Learning (Official PRINCE2® Foundation Exam)

Step 2: Click the “Enroll” button to go to the payment page

On the course description page, there is a big red “Enroll” button to the right of the course introduction video just below the course price. After you have read all the related information of the course and decided to enroll in the course, just click the “Enroll” button to begin.

Click the "Enroll" button to go to the payment page

Click the “Enroll” button to go to the payment page

Step 3: Check the “I have an offer code” box

After clicking the “Enroll” button, you will be directed to the course order page. On the right there is the course title. Do check carefully if you have chosen the correct online training course. Don’t worry, the price there is the original list price of the training course before discount.

On the left hand side, just under your Name, Email and Phone, there is a checkbox beside the “I have an offer code” item. The input field for the GreyCampus coupon code is hidden behind this checkbox. Just move your mouse there and click the checkbox once. The Coupon Code input field will be visible.

Check the "I have an offer code" box

Check the “I have an offer code” box

Step 4: Input/Paste the Coupon Code/Offer Code there

After pasting (if you have not copied the GreyCampus coupon code, here is the page) or typing your coupon code, remember to click the red “Apply Now” button beside it. The price of the course remains unchanged even if you have pasted the Coupon Code. Many Certification Aspirants fail to click the “Apply Now” button and their Coupon Code and discount are not successfully applied.

Input/Paste the Coupon Code/Offer Code there

Input/Paste the Coupon Code/Offer Code there

Step 5: Check the updated price on the left before submitting the Credit Card payment info

If you have pasted / entered the correct GreyCampus Coupon Code, you will be able to read the green sentence “Your coupon code is applied”. To further ensure you are able to enjoy the course fee discount, check on the right hand column the pricing of your online course which should then have a discount automatically applied.

Check the updated price on the left before submitting the Credit Card payment info

Check the updated price on the left before submitting the Credit Card payment info

After you have ensured that the correct discounted course fee is listed on the right hand column of the order page, you can then enter your payment information including name, card number, expiry date and CVV. Then click the red button “Pay Now” to make the purchase.

Congratulations! You have just applied the GreyCampus offer code successfully. You should now be able to access the online training course (including the lecture videos, mock exams as well as many downloadable study resources) instantly.

Wish you Certification success!


FAQ on GreyCampus Coupon Codes

  • After pasting the coupon code and clicking the “Apply Now” button, a red sentence reads “The coupon code is invalid” show up. Now what?
    • Please check carefully if you have entered the correct coupon code (note: without spaces at the beginning and end of the coupon code). The best way to ensure the correctness of your coupon code is to copy directly from the coupon code page and paste it there.
    • Please check the validity period of the coupon code, in most cases, an invalid coupon code means that it is expired. Usually the validity period between the first and last day of a month. And the coupon code and discount percentage may vary from month to month.
    • Under the rare case of the GreyCampus website having some technical errors, please let me know so that I can communicate with GreyCampus to resolve the problem.
  • What to do if I have purchased the training course at the original list price instead of the discounted price?
    • I am sorry to learn that you cannot enjoy the discount successfully. But there is hope. GreyCampus online courses offer money back guarantee for several days depending on the types of course.
    • You can just write to GreyCampus to cancel your order first. And your payment will be refunded to you as soon as possible.
    • Then you can come back to the enrolment page to enrol again. Remember to follow the steps outlined above as close as possible and verify that the discount has already been applied to your order before hitting the “Pay Now” button.
  • Where to find the latest GreyCampus Coupon Codes?
    • As I have a working relationship with GreyCampus team, every time when a new coupon code is published, they will let me know at once. I will have the most current GreyCampus coupon code published at this page.
    • If the code for the online course you are looking for is not there, don’t worry, you can still try the coupon codes listed there to see if they are valid.
  • Will I get a better discount later?
    • May or may not. That depends on GreyCampus. However, I would highly suggest you to strike the iron while it is hot. If you have already make up your mind to go for the certification and if your budget allows, why not go ahead and purchase the online course at the current discount and begin your certification right away? Time is the most precious element for all of us.
    • Also, the certification cost may go up year by year owing to inflation and rising costs etc. The training costs may actually become more expensive later on.

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For the working experience verification forms, PMI requires the supervisors / managers to sign on the forms and put the forms in ‘sealed and signed envelopes‘. The following is the instruction on the PMI audit:

A manager, supervisor, or colleague who is intimately familiar with the experience on your application is required to review your Experience Record and then complete the Experience Verification Form. After they verify, they will put the completed Experience Verification Form and Experience Record in an envelope, sign his/her name over the sealed flap of the envelope, and return the envelope to you via in person or by mail. If one person is verifying multiple projects for the same company, they can fill out one form and initial or highlight on the Experience Record the projects that they are verifying. Faxed or scanned forms will not be accepted as the forms need to be placed in a sealed and signed envelope for security purposes. No substitutions will be accepted.

This paragraph essentially means the following:

  1. Download and print the experience verification forms
  2. Send the printed verification forms, each with an empty envelop, to your managers / supervisors named on your application form accordingly*
  3. Ask the managers / supervisors to write the details on the form and sign, put the signed form into the envelope, glue the flap and sign again across the flap (this makes the ‘sealed and signed envelope’)
  4. Ask them to return the ‘sealed envelop’ to you to be mailed to PMI together with other documentations

* If your manager / supervisor is responsible for more than one experience verification forms, he/she will need to enter the details and signs on one form only and write his/her initials on other forms without filling the details. He/She will then need to put all the experience verification forms into a single envelope and seal it with a signature as usual.

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Not a problem. You just need to write a short notice on the envelope that your manager / supervisor forgot to sign on the envelope for the PMI audit.

Though PMI asks you to request your manager / supervisor to seal and sign across the flap of the sealed envelop in order to properly accomplish the PMI audit, it is possible (or even likely) that your manager / supervisor mails / hands the envelope back to you without the signature on the flap. PMI understands that it might be difficult, if not possible, to return the envelope to get the signature again. It is acceptable to have the experience verification envelope without signature provided that you:

make a note on the back of the envelope in question that the signature was omitted

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If you are the manager for the organization, then you may ask your senior management, if possible, to sign your project management experience verification form for you. Other than senior management, you may ask

 a colleague, peer, client or sponsor who has intimate knowledge of the project [to] verify.

PMI does NOT require managers / supervisors to be the only persons to sign the experience verification forms. As long as the signee who are intimately familiar with the project you have submitted, it is okay for them to sign the form. PMI will accept the experience verification in such cases.

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July 9, 2014