Episode 224: Lessons Learned from The PMI-ACP Exam (Part 1) (Free)
This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for The PMI-ACP Exam:
As we are recording this episode there are about 1,500 project managers around the world who have passed the PMI Agile-Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam. Last year around this time there were zero. This is because the PMI-ACP certification is the newest exam offered by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®.
In today’s episode we have our first interview for you, in which a successful PMI-ACP exam taker opens up to you and talks about what it was like for him. His name is Kevin Reilly and we’ve had him on the program earlier this year. (Disclaimer: Kevin Reilly works as a contractor for OSP International LLC, who produce both The PM Podcast and The Agile PrepCast).
As you know, the rules of all PMI exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam. But we can discuss his overall experience, general thoughts on the process and his recommendations to you.
And since Kevin has changed his career and is now a trainer himself, who teaches others as they are preparing for their exam, you can look forward to a great discussion and some excellent advice.
During the interview you will hear us make several references to The Agile PrepCast. So if you yourself are interested in becoming PMI-ACP certified, then sign up to The Agile PrepCast newsletter at www.pm-prepcast.com/agile and be among the first to prepare for your exam using our new sister podcast. We’re furiously working to get it finished.
Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to Episode #224. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Nice to have you with us.
As we are recording this episode here, there are about 1,500 project managers also around the world who have passed the PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner Exam. That’s the PMI-ACP Exam. Last year around this time, well there was zero. This is because the PMI-ACP certification is the newest exam offered by the Project Management Institute.
In today’s episode, we have our first interview for you in which a successful PMI-ACP exam taker opens up to us and talks about what it was like for him. His name is Kevin Reilly and we’ve had him on the program a couple of times earlier this year.
As you know the rules of all PMI exams are such that we are not allowed to discuss specific questions from the exam but we can discuss Kevin’s overall experience, his general thoughts on the process and his study recommendations to you. And since Kevin has also changed his career and is now a trainer himself who teaches others as they are preparing for their exams, you can look forward for a great discussion and some excellent advice.
During the interview, you will hear us make several references to the Agile PrepCast. So if you yourself are interested in becoming PMI-ACP certified then please do sign up to the Agile PrepCast newsletter at www.pm-prepcast.com/agile and be among the first to prepare for your exam using our new sister Podcast. We are furiously working to get it finished this year.
And now, enjoy Part 1 of the interview with Kevin.
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Kevin Reilly, PMP, Senior Project Management Training Consultant for KRPM Training Solutions.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Kevin and welcome to The Agile PrepCast™!
Kevin Reilly: Hi Cornelius. How are you doing today?
Cornelius Fichtner: I’m doing very well. Thank you very much. And you yourself, you must be excited.
Kevin Reilly: I’m very excited. I’m barking on a new phase of my career with the PMI-ACP, absolutely!
Cornelius Fichtner: Well, first of all, congratulations on passing the PMI-ACP exam. Great milestone for you!
Kevin Reilly: Yes, thank you very much. It really is.
Cornelius Fichtner: When exactly did you pass?
Kevin Reilly: Monday, October 22, 2012 at approximately 9:54 a.m. and 28 seconds.
Cornelius Fichtner: And 28 seconds. So that makes it what, about 5 to 6 days ago, no? A week?
Kevin Reilly: Yeah! About a week ago.
Cornelius Fichtner: About a week ago, okay! Wonderful! Well, congratulations!
Kevin Reilly: Thank you.
Cornelius Fichtner: Well, but before we move on, we have to put a big disclaimer here on top of this interview because you are not just any PMI-ACP Certified Project Manager, you are working together with me on developing the Agile PrepCast. You and I are working on this together and we actually do the presentations and the outlines and all the content that goes into this. So we wanted to get that out of the way so that people are aware that you are in fact one of the developers of this great training tool.
Kevin Reilly: Yes sir, absolutely and glad to be aboard on that effort.
Cornelius Fichtner: First things first with the interview here: If you had to do this again, if you had to take the PMI-ACP exam again, what would you do differently?
Kevin Reilly: Well, that’s an interesting question because part of my study plan was to do a PMI-ACP boot camp similar to what I did for the PMP exam prep. So I did this to prepare for the PMP exam. It worked out very well. However, I chose to do an interactive webinar for the PMI-ACP course as opposed to a live boot camp. And what that basically was 2 days with someone on the other end going through some material. It was very good but what I decided was in retrospect, I think that a live boot camp, in-class boot camp, would have been best as the final leg of my studying efforts right before I took the exam.
Cornelius Fichtner: This was still live, right, but it was over the web?
Kevin Reilly: Yes, correct. That’s not to say that web-based seminars such as webcasts, podcasts, et cetera that you can review at your own time are not valuable. But I think the combination of a live course and a webinar or a podcast-based course really is the best recipe for the PMI-ACP exam success.
Cornelius Fichtner: So in other words if you had to do it again, you wouldn’t do a web-based course. You would go into a classroom. You would have your students and the teacher in the classroom and you would also do something self-study podcast recording kind of combination.
Kevin Reilly: Yeah, that’s correct and the in-class, I’m going to use one of the Agile terms is osmotic communication. So what you get is you are able to pick up on conversations from other students and obviously from the instructor. And it really drives home a lot of the key points not just for the PMI-ACP exam prep but also for Agile Project Management in general.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right. Okay! So why PMI-ACP? Why did you choose to become PMI-ACP certified because let me see if I remember this right. You are PMP certified. You are a certified Scrum Master and you are a Certified Scrum Product Owner. And now, you are also adding PMI-ACP behind your name. I mean your titles pretty much have more letters in them than your whole name.
Kevin Reilly: Than the whole alphabet I think. As a traditional project manager over the last basically 10 to 12 years, I’m mainly been implementing projects using traditional or Waterfall-based project management principles and practices with mixed success.
So the reason why I started to go Agile is because projects have become a lot more complex and traditional project management principles really don’t allow for the rapid adaptation to constantly change in customer requirements. So that’s one of the key things in Agile Project Management. I began to realize that as a traditional project management practitioner, I need to diversify and embrace those Agile Project Management tools and techniques in order to successfully manage today’s complex projects. So the reason I became a CSM and a CSPO was to get that base down. So I am able to actually use those Agile practices and principles.
The reason I took the PMI-ACP is that Agile is becoming so big that the Project Management Institute has actually embraced a different framework other than the Waterfall, the PMI, the PMBOK Guide, 4th Edition, latest edition framework and they understand the importance of what Agile is going to give to us project managers moving forward in the future. So being certified by PMI as a PMI-ACP allows me to demonstrate that I am embracing these principles but also how important it is to the Project Management Institute.
Cornelius Fichtner: Did you look at any other Agile certifications, Scrum alliance, other certification bodies?
Kevin Reilly: Not really because as you know, Cornelius, I’m very much attached to Project Management Institute, PMI, involved in them and I think it’s a great organization and since I had my CSM, Certified Scrum Master, and Certified Scrum Product Owner certifications already, PMI-ACP was really the only one that I looked at and really the only one that I think that I needed.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right. What value do you see in having the certification other than what you have just said: ‘PMI has now certified me as embracing this framework’?