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.


Most Popular PMI-ACP Certification Articles

Support website running for FREE, thanks!

If you find this post helpful and if you are thinking of buying from Amazon, please support the running cost of this website at no extra cost to you by searching and buying through the search box below. Thank you very much for your help!

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.

You may also like...

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *