PMI-ACP Knowledge And Skills: Level 3


PMI-ACP Knowledge And Skills: Level 3

[PMI-ACP® Exam Study Notes] Level 3 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 3 Knowledge and Skills includes 13 knowledge / skills.

PMI-ACP® Exam Importance: around 6 questions (~5% of all questions)

PMI-ACP® Exam : Level 3 Knowledge And Skills

  • 13 knowledge / skills (Level 3) for the PMI-ACP® Exam with around 0-1 questions on each knowledge / skills (in alphabetical order):
    • Agile contracting methods
      • Agile projects are with fixed time and resources but variable scope / features
      • Agile contract types:
        • DSDM Contract – focuses on “fitness for business purpose”, the deliverables will need to pass tests
        • Money for Nothing and Change for Free – basically a time and material contract that includes early termination options (e.g. when >20% of remaining work) and provides flexibility for changes (provided the client works with the team for every iterations)
        • Graduated Fixed Price Contact – both sides share risks and rewards, e.g. finish early will result in high hourly rate
        • Fixed Price Work Packages – break down the SOW into work packages and estimate the recent work packages with fixed prices first
        • Customized Contracts – mix the above types of contracts to strike a balance between risks, costs, flexibility and quality on both sides
      • Works best when both sides want a successful collaboration and future businesses, a higher level of trust is required
      • Payment may be released for each incremental delivery / iteration after passing the acceptance tests / demo
    • Agile project accounting principles
      • need to understand the accounting policies of the organization
      • estimate range
        • estimates are presented in ranges to express the level of confidence
        • the range will become narrower upon the progress of the project (as the velocity becomes more stable)
      • used in Earned value management (EVM) for Agile projects
    • Applying new Agile practices
      • it is often advisable to make use of tried and tested Agile practices
      • however new Agile practices are coming up to deal with new challenges:
        • behavior-driven development – outside-in, pull-based, multiple-stakeholder testing
        • lean start-up – low-cost way to test out proposals
        • real options –  calculation-based for decision timing and options
    • Compliance (organization)
      • Agile = barely sufficient documentation
      • Compliance = demonstration of conformance to established standard with documentation
      • a balance has to be struck
    • Failure modes and alternatives
      • five failure modes (basic reasons for failure to achieve excellence) according to Alistair Cockburn:
        • making mistakes : that’s human nature
        • preferring to fail conservatively : revert to ‘safe’ (even not optimal) methods
        • inventing rather than researching : not to do research on the best available options but reinvent the wheels
        • being creatures of habits : difficult to adopt new approaches
        • being inconsistent : not follow processes consistently
      • four success modes:
        • being good at looking around
        • being able to learn
        • being malleable
        • taking pride in work
      • alternatives (solutions) to failure modes:
        • start with something concrete and tangible / copying and altering
        • watching and listening / gather feedback continuous
        • personality-matched work assignments
        • countering with discipline and tolerance
        • retain talent / supporting concentration and communication / rewards that preserve joy : reward systems that appeal for the long-term / combining rewards : combine different reward systems to build a supportive environment
        • frequent feedback
    • Globalization, culture, and team diversity
      • respect is the key
      • understand cultural and personal differences, e.g. mind the use of language “what went wrong” vs “what can be improved”
      • every team needs to go through the following stages: forming > storming > norming > performing > adjourning (Tuckman’s stages of group development)
      • it helps to hold a face-to-face kickoff meeting and proceed through the first iteration colocated in the same office for dispersed teams
      • pair programming and coding standards in XP can also minimize diversity in coding habits
    • Agile games
      • includes collaborative and innovation games, examples:
        • remember the future : imagine it is the future after a successful release, what would have been completed to bring the success (to solicit requirements)
        • prune the product tree : create a tree (trunk and branches) image, ask team to fill up the trunk and branches with core/additional features (for brainstorming)
        • speedboat / sailboat : draw a boat (representing a user story) on water surface, brainstorm what would anchor (threats) / accelerate (opportunities) the boat (to gather risks)
        • buy a feature : customers are given a fixed amount of money to purchase a pool of differently priced features (for prioritization)
        • bang-for-the-buck : put features / backlogs on a chart with money vs value (to optimize value delivery)
    • Principles of systems thinking (e.g. complex adaptive, chaos)
      • Systems thinking is a method to understand how things (parts) influence / interact with each another as a whole (system)
        • for diagnosing organizational issues, understanding organizational dynamics and creating change
        • Complexity of projects may range from simple, low complexity to complex and anarchy / chaos depending on whether the requirement are agreed and technology is certain or not.
        • before modifying the Agile processes, we should be thinking in terms of the systems rather than in silo
    • Regulatory compliance
      • Agile advocates barely sufficient documentation which may not meet the requirements for regulatory compliance
      • extra documentation, tracking, features may be required which may not provide “values” but are of high priorities
    • Variance and trend analysis
      • variance is the measure of how far apart things are (how much the data vary from one another)
        • e.g. the distribution of data points, small variance indicates the data tend to be close to the mean (expected value)
      • trend analysis provides insights into the future which is more important for problem detection
        • though measurements are lagging, they will provide insights should trends be spotted
      • variance and trend analysis is important for controlling (problem detection) and continuous improvement, e.g the process to ensure quality
      • Control limits for Agile projects
        • by plotting the time to delivery / velocity / escaped defects / etc. as a control chart
        • if some data fall outside the upper / lower control limits, a root cause analysis should be performed to rectify the issue
          • common cause – systematic issue, need to be dealt with through trend analysis
          • special cause – happens once only due to special reasons
        • another example is the WIP limit in Kanban boards
    • Variations in Agile methods and approaches
      • Agile advocates adaptation, even for the different Agile methods, frameworks or approaches
      • the best approach is the most suitable approach
    • Vendor management
      • if practicing Agile, this requirement should be explicitly outlined in the request for proposal (RFP)
      • special types of contracts should be used (refer to Agile contracting methods) for performance management
      • need to balance the scope of work, efforts and risks before deciding whether to proceed with Agile project management or traditional project management

Summary: PMI-ACP® Exam Level 3 Knowledge And Skills

This PMI-ACP® Exam Study notes covers 13 knowledge and skills from the Level 3 group of Knowledge and Skills for the PMI-ACP® exam syllabus. This group is not important for the PMI-ACP® exam as it accounts for just 5% of all the exam questions and the topics discussed here are more advanced and involved. You may wish to spend more time on other more important topics (e.g. Level 1 Knowledge and Skills) for the 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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