[PMI-ACP Change] Will PMI-ACP be Discontinued after PMBOK Guide 6th Edition has been published?

Will PMI-ACP be Discontinued after PMBOK Guide 6th Edition has been published?

One of the major change in the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition is the inclusion of a chapter on Agile project management entitled Approaches for Agile, Iterative and Adaptive Environments. Both PMP® and PMI-ACP® Aspirants may wonder whether the PMP® Exam and the PMI-ACP® Exam will be merged to a single Certification instead of two following the publication of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition in the 3rd quarter of 2017 and the update of the new PMP® Exam in 2018.

As I have no crystal ball to predict the future, I cannot give a definite answer. But there are clues showing that the PMI-ACP® Certification will NOT be discontinued in the short term (these few years). Read on to understand why.

What about Agile has been added to PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition?

PMI has given a few outline of the changes of the PMBOK® Guide 6th Edition in terms of Agile project management:

New to the Sixth Edition, each knowledge area will contain a section entitled Approaches for Agile, Iterative and Adaptive Environments, describing how these practices integrate in project settings.

Detail on agile and other adaptive and iterative approaches will also be included in an appendix.

Yes, the new PMBOK® Guide will feature a section on Agile practices, but the details of Agile / adaptive / iterative approaches will only be included in the appendix, not the main body text. This shows that PMP® Certification Aspirants are expected to have awareness and understanding of the fact that Agile is gaining in importance in the world of project management but detailed knowledge about Agile and implementation is NOT yet required for the PMP® Exam (i.e. the PMP® Certification will still be largely based on traditional, waterfall project management and the details about Agile may probably be left to the PMI-ACP® Certification).

This could possibly mean that the PMI-ACP® Certification would not be discontinued.

PMI will publish a New Practice Guide on Agile

For the PMP® Certification, PMI has published the PMBOK® Guide as a core reference for all PMP® Certification Aspirants as up to 90% of what are tested in the actual PMP® Exam is largely based on the PMBOK® Guide. But for PMI-ACP® Aspirants, the long-waited ACPBOK / AgileBOK / APMBOK® Guide (whatever it is called) is still not available. However, according to the announcement of PMI:

We (PMI) also have plans to create a new practice guide on agile.

It seems that the guide for PMI-ACP® Certification will be coming. And as this guide is not included in the PMBOK® Guide 6, it is highly likely that PMI still treat traditional project management and agile in different certification.

Again, this could possibly mean that the PMI-ACP® Certification would not be discontinued.

Most Importantly: How will PMP® and PMI-ACP® Aspirants be Affected?

Project practitioners working in traditional / waterfall project management will still be highly advised to attempt the PMP® Exam while those working in software / IT field where projects are largely based on Agile methodologies are recommended to achieve PMI-ACP® certified. Both the PMP® and PMI-ACP® Certifications are expected to stay and remain relevant.

Irrespective of any changes in the syllabus of the PMP® / PMI-ACP® Certifications, Aspirants can be rest assured that the 35 Contact Hours of project management education for PMP® and 21 Contact Hours of Agile project management education for PMI-ACP® earned before will still be valid for the Certification Exam application.

Wish you PMP® and PMI-ACP® success!

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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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