PMI-ACP Knowledge And Skills: Level 1


PMI-ACP Knowledge And Skills: Level 1

[PMI-ACP® Exam Study Notes] Level 1 PMI-ACP® Knowledge And Skills group is one of the three Knowledge and Skills groups for the PMI-ACP® exam. The “Knowledge And Skills” accounts for a total of 50% of all the questions to be found on the exam paper. According to the PMI-ACP® exam content outline, Level 1 Knowledge and Skills includes 18 knowledge / skills.

PMI-ACP® Exam Importance: around 40 questions (~33% of all questions)

PMI-ACP® Exam : Level 1 Knowledge And Skills

  • 18 knowledge / skills (Level 1) for the PMI-ACP® Exam with around 1-2 questions on each knowledge / skills (in alphabetical order):
    • Active Listening
      • pay full attention and provide feedback while listening
      • observe any body gesture / language
      • ask for verification / clarification of what you have heard to prevent mis-understanding / conflicts
      • when we practice active listening, the listening skills will progress through:
        1. internal listening – interpret what has listened through our own lens, miss the real message
        2. focused listening – empathize with the speaker, understand their message correctly
        3. global listening – in addition to focused listening, also pick up on subtle physical and environmental indicators (non-verbal messages)
    • Agile Manifesto values and principles
      • Agile Manifesto
        1. Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
        2. Working software over comprehensive documentation
        3. Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
        4. Responding to change over following a plan
      • Twelve Agile Principles
        1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
        2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
        3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
        4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project.
        5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
        6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
        7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
        8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
        9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
        10. Simplicity – the art of maximizing the amount of work not done – is essential.
        11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
        12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.
    • Assessing and incorporating community and stakeholder values
      • work with stakeholders from the very beginning
      • balance the (conflicting) requirements of different parties
      • community can be interest groups, community of practice (CoP), the society as a whole, etc.
    • Brainstorming techniques
      • skills to collect and generate new ideas usually in release and iterative planning
        • Quite writing – generate ideas individually through writing
        • Round-robin – everyone take terms to suggest ideas
        • Free-for-all – shout out ideas
      • never say “no” rule
      • some members may require coaching and mentoring in order to perform well in brainstorming sessions
    • Building empowered teams
      • empowered teams are:
        • self-organizing: the team is in the best position to organize project works; team members also get recognition for their expertise through delegation of responsibility
        • self-directing: the team can make their own decisions
      • empowered team is more productive and efficient
      • mutual accountability and collective project ownership promote empowerment
      • contributing factors: co-location, face-to-face communication, a high level of trust from organization
    • Coaching and mentoring within teams
      • coaching
        • help achieving (personal / organization) goals
        • on both personal and whole-team levels
          • whole-team coaching peaks at the beginning and end of iterations
          • personal coaching peaks at the midpoint of the iterations
      • mentoring – pass on skills, knowledge and experience
      • ideally, Agile team members are highly motivated and skilled; however, in reality, coaching and mentoring are needed to help building the perfect team (esp. during the early phrase)
      • skills to coaching and mentoring:
        • ask them questions to help finding the solutions – don’t push to an answer
        • guarantee safety and confidence
        • partner with the functional / line manager
        • have an genuine desire to help others
    • Communication management
      • ensure timely and appropriate generation, collection, distribution, storage, retrieval, and ultimate disposition of project information
      • internal (within the team) and external communication
      • make use of information radiators and face-to-face communication (with whiteboard) to promote communication
      • paper-based communication is least effective
    • Feedback techniques for product
      • includes: wireframe, prototypes, spikes, simulation, demonstration of finished product
      • get feedback as early as possible
      • Prototypes, Simulations, Demonstrations
        • many requirements cannot be described verbally or in words clearly
        • customers often only know their true requirements once they see and use the product (IKIWISI – I’ll Know It When I See It)
        • prototypes, simulations and demonstrations are used to collect requirements and gather feedback
          • to confirm common understanding of the requirements on the developer and customer sides
          • to gather new / adjusted functionality (owing to IKIWISI)
        • the cost of change will be smaller when simulations and demonstrations are carried out frequently
    • Incremental delivery
      • deliver the most valuable features first and fast to realize values, e.g. in software development, aim to have features gone into product asap to reap competitive advantages
      • to break down complex features into minimally shippable features
      • incremental delivery also helps to confirm values and gain support of the project will all stakeholders
    • Knowledge sharing
      • knowledge sharing / transfer is a key component of Agile project management
        • knowledge should be shared across the team, customer, community and organization
      • encouraged through co-location, pair programming, retrospectives and reviews, cross training, reward structure (not just for individual performance but team), etc.
        • measure up (base the reward on one level up) is a good way to encourage knowledge sharing, teamwork and collaboration, e.g. velocity of the team rather than individual member
    • Leadership tools and techniques
      • “Management is getting people to do what needs to be done. Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done.”

      • servant leadership
      • modeling desired behavior – be a role model of honesty, forward-looking, competent, inspiring
      • communicate and re-communicate project vision
      • enabling others to act – empowered and trust, transparency, information sharing, make use of inclusive tools (e.g. Kanban board)
      • being willing to challenge the status quo – cherish innovations and encourage others to speak up
    • Prioritization
      • changes are welcome but should be introduced after the iteration
      • changes need to be prioritized by customer and team according to:
        • Risk-based prioritization
        • ROI-based prioritization
        • Value-based prioritization
        • Cycle Time / Time-to-market
        • Team Velocity
        • Complexity and the need of Spike
    • Problem-solving strategies, tools and techniques
      • let the team to solve problems collectively
      • brainstorming, simulation, expert judgement, root cause analysis, etc.
      • steps in problem solving
        1. gather data – including metrics, what’s happened and emotional states
        2. generate insights – brainstorming, 5 whys, fishbone, prioritize with dots, identify themes
        3. decide what to do
          • short subjects – e.g. start doing, do more of, do less of, stop doing
          • SMART goals – specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, timely
    • Project and quality standards for Agile projects
      • quality is built-in for Agile projects as the product should be “fit for purpose”
        • stakeholder involvement
        • daily stand-ups and retrospectives
        • automated testing
      • quality planning, quality assurance (emphasis on process / prevention) and quality control (emphasis on product)
        • formal written guideline on quality standards may be required
    • Stakeholder management
      • stakeholders includes anyone that will be impacted / have an impact on the project (i.e. including sponsor, vendors, final customer, etc.) but excluding the project team in Agile projects
        • in traditional project management, stakeholders include the project team
      • stakeholder management tasks involve:
        • identify stakeholders that are relevant to the project success
        • encourage / invite stakeholder involvement
        • mangage stakeholder interests actively
        • discuss frequently the end results with stakeholders for expectation management
        • show stakeholders project progress and capabilities with demos / presentations for engagement
        • discuss estimates and projections openly (even in case of bad news)
      • may need to educate stakeholders about Agile project management processes and benefits
      • maintain a good relationship with all stakeholders and provide updated information to stakeholders
      • short iteration cycles allow stakeholders to be closely and frequently engaged
      • invite stakeholders to retrospectives and planning meetings
    • Team motivation
      • Agile teams are highly motivated through self-managing and self-organizing with a high level of trust from organization
      • align the goal of all team members through understanding what motivate individual members
        • motivators and de-motivators are different for different people
        • salary raise is not an effective motivator
      • rewards are better for the whole team instead of individuals to promote mutual accountability
    • Time, budget, and cost estimation
      • steps involved in Agile estimation:
        1. determine the unit (e.g. story points / ideal time)
        2. calculate / estimate the efforts
        3. convert efforts into work schedule (by considering the resources availability, holidays and dependency)
        4. calculate the cost estimate (labour costs, equipment, other costs)
      • labour costs usually take up the lion’s share
      • planning pokers, wide band Delphi, affinity estimation
    • Value-based decomposition and prioritization
      • value-based decomposition and prioritization is the process of gathering high level-requirements, ranking the priorities by values and, during development, decompose the requirements into detailed, smaller tasks (or iteration goal requirements) and prioritized again by value (progressive elaboration)
        • decomposition is the breaking down of user stories into manageable tasks to be completed in each iteration
        • the team work with the customer to determine prioritization
        • the most valuable tasks are to be performed first

Summary: PMI-ACP® Exam Level 1 Knowledge And Skills

This PMI-ACP® Exam Study notes covers 18 knowledge and skills from the Level 1 group of Knowledge and Skills for the PMI-ACP® exam syllabus. This group is very important for the PMI-ACP® exam as it accounts for 33% of all the exam questions.

 

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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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