Episode 236: How to Become PMI-ACP® Certified even after a Disappointing Class (Free)
This episode is sponsored by The Agile PrepCast for The PMI-ACP® Exam:
A little over a year ago I decided that I wanted to take a preparation course for the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam. I looked around and found a company that held a course in San Diego, which is about an hour away. I signed up and was sorely disappointed by the low quality training materials the class used. The only two good things about the class were the teacher who managed to keep it interesting despite the not so well designed curriculum and that I made a few new friends.
(Note: The company that provided this training to us took the negative feedback they received seriously and have updated & improved the training in the meantime.)
About a month ago one of these friends wrote and said that he had just passed his PMI-ACP exam. His name is Felix Rodgers, PMI-ACP (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/felix-rodgers/48/579/b) and I jumped at the opportunity to interview him about how he went from that classroom experience to actually passing the exam.
And this is what I liked about his experience: We often hear from certified project managers that they had also taken disappointing classes but still managed to pass their exam. But so far I have never had a chance to speak to someone in that situation. Turns out that for Felix it was hard work and lots of studying.
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. So you can look forward to an experience and tip filled interview on how to prepare for and pass your PMI-ACP Exam.
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 #236. This is The Project Management Podcast™ at www.pm-podcast.com and I am Cornelius Fichtner. Nice to have you with us.
A little over a year ago, I decided that I wanted to take a preparation course for the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Exam. I looked around and found a company that held a course in San Diego, which is about an hour’s drive away for me. I signed up and was sorely disappointed by the low quality training materials that the class used. The only two good things about the class were the teacher who managed to keep it interesting despite the not so well-designed curriculum and that I made a few new friends.
And by the way, I happen to have spoken to this teacher just this morning and he told me that this training class then actually hired him to improve their training materials and it seems that their feedback on the training material has now much improved.
Anyway about a month ago, one of these new friends that I made at the class wrote to me and said that he had just passed his PMI-ACP® exam. His name is Felix Rodgers, PMI-ACP and I jumped at the opportunity to interview him about how he went from that classroom experience to actually passing the exam.
And this is what I liked about his experience because we often hear from certified project managers that they had also taken a disappointing class but then they still managed to pass their exams. How did they do that? So far, I have never had a chance to speak with someone in that particular situation. And it turns out that for Felix it was hard work and lots of studying.
As you know, the rules of any PMI® exam 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. So you can look forward to an experience and tip-filled interview on how to prepare for and pass your PMI-ACP® Exam even if your classroom experience was not all that stellar.
And now, here’s another PMI-ACP® exam retrospective. Enjoy the interview.
Female voice: The Project Management Podcast’s feature Interview: Today with Felix Rodgers, Project Manager at Booz Allen Hamilton.
Cornelius Fichtner: Hello Felix and welcome to the Agile PrepCast!
Felix Rodgers: Thanks friend! How are you doing, Cornelius?
Cornelius Fichtner: I’m doing very well. So as always in these interviews, I’m starting out with congratulations. Congratulations on passing your PMI-ACP® exam.
Felix Rodgers: Thank you very much. It took a lot of effort. I mean a lot of studying but I am so excited to have it and be able to use these kinds of skills and techniques in my current job and in the other future endeavors. I’m really excited about my PMI-ACP® certification.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right and of course, we have to mention that you beat me because you and I, we originally met down in San Diego when we attended, was it a 3-day PMI-ACP® class? I think it was 2 or 3 days, right?
Felix Rodgers: It actually was. It was a 3-day class. I wasn’t sure how well I was going to take the class. It was 8 hours in the classroom and you go over the content. It was really interesting stuff. Even though the actual study guide wasn’t as up to par as we’d…remember you and I talked about not liking that.
Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah, yeah. The course itself, the content was well, it was blunt. It was rubbish.
Felix Rodgers: Exactly.
Cornelius Fichtner: It was absolute rubbish. The class was really, really bad.
Felix Rodgers: But the instructor was awesome. So yeah.
Cornelius Fichtner: The instructor was awesome, exactly.
Felix Rodgers: That’s why he helped to overlay some of the absence of the contents so when we have issues of content, he would be able to jump in with the story of some of his work experiences, some of these large companies and some of the projects he has worked on.
So all in all, it worked out very well. So at the end of the class, what I should have done is taken the ACP test then because I was ready to go and I was doing very well on my test exams. But over the course of the year and over the course of the last year, a lot has been going on so. But yeah, taken those courses, I do recommend those if a person is able to swing it but again it is really important to get a good teacher along with good content.
Cornelius Fichtner: Right. Okay. Before we get in to your experience, you told me just before we started this interview that you are starting up an Agile St. Louis group on LinkedIn for people who are interested in all kinds of Agile methodologies and I supposed it’s just called Agile St. Louis but people from outside St. Louis can join as well, right?
Felix Rodgers: Well absolutely, absolutely! A few coworkers and myself, we noticed that there’s a large contingency of people here in the mid-west that are really interested in this type of methodologies. Whether it’s networking, whether it’s working out solutions that issues people may be having at their current jobs or just getting together and propagating these techniques. We had a pretty nice turnout for our first meeting. We have a meeting coming up soon and we have a speaker. It’s really coming and going very, very nicely. And again, it started off with a small group of us and you can see over the course of time that people are really into this. I was kind of shocked by how many people were actually interested in that.
Again, when you go through this kind of stuff, you think it’s just you or just a few you’re going to work with. Then we see other people come and want that kind of experience. These sorts of network together. It was kind of awesome so I really enjoyed working with my coworkers who put this together.
Cornelius Fichtner: Alright, perfect! So it’s called Agile St. Louis. It’s on LinkedIn and we’re going to make sure that there is a link for our listeners so that they can easily find you.
Back to your PMI-ACP® exam experience. You already mentioned that you should have taken the exam immediately after you and I took that 3-day class. Is there anything else that if you have to do it again, you would do differently?
Felix Rodgers: Yeah. The totality of my experience had been with Scrum so it’s one of the frameworks for Agile that’s actually a part of the test. So I felt very comfortable with that portion of test. Now have there a lot with XP, I’ve done some TDD, test-driven development. But I was very weak with Lean and that was one of the things that going in, I know I didn’t have a lot experience with that so I bought some books and I did some reading. I wish I have given myself a little more time to go over all of the different concepts that may be on the test. And sure enough, the first few questions right out of the box, boom, Lean questions. So as you look at those questions, you start to worry. Am I going to have issues with this. It gotten aggressively better and again I felt very good going to the test. But spending a little bit more time going over the materials, taking test exams are always recommended.
Cornelius Fichtner: Excellent! Why did you, however, choose to become PMI‑ACP® certified? Was it just the next step in your career? Was this something specific that made you do it or that prompted you to do that?
Felix Rodgers: Yeah, it was the next step to my career actually. I left my previous company after 12 years and trying to figure out ‘What am I going to do when I grow up?’ Over the last 8 of those 12 years, we’ve been in Agile environment. So we’re doing a lot of Agile work and I felt that this was something I really have a lot of interest in.
So I looked out there for some certifications that I got my Scrum Master certification and the next extension of that is to take the next step up which is to get the Agile Certified Practitioner certification. For the work that I currently do, it has helped a lot. There’s a lot of information that you gain through your work experience and the reading and also just with the networking of working with other people that have these sorts of skills. It was something that was just next the evolution in what I needed to do.
Cornelius Fichtner: So let me get this right if I understood you correctly. You see instant applicable value in the real world by taking classes to prepare yourself and having PMI-ACP. This is not something theoretical for you. This is something practical that you’re actually applying at work?
Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.