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Episode 405.2: The PMI-ACP Exam is Changing in 2018 (Free)

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PMI Agile Cerfified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Training on your mobile device:
The Agile PrepCast for the PMI-ACP Exam

Alicia Burke
Alicia Burke, Global Product Manager PMI-ACP

The Agile Practice Guide was released together with A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK® Guide) – Sixth Edition in September 2017. As a result the Project Management Institute (PMI)® wil implement a "lexicon update" to the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® exam om 26 March 2018. This is to ensure that exam lexicon is consistent with the new guide.

This interview with Alicia Burke (LinkedIn Profile) was not recorded at the grand PMI Global Conference 2017 in Chicago, Illinois because we had scheduling conflicts. So we recorded it via Skype after the Conference. We discuss the how, what, why and when of the changes that are coming to the PMI-ACP exam.

Although the PMI-ACP is not a test of the Agile Practice Guide, it will become one of the references for the exam. This means that students preparing to take the exam after the change can expect to see lexicon changes and terminology used within the exam to be consistent with the guide. Students planning to take the exam after the change are advised to use PMI-ACP exam prep materials that are updated to the new guide.

Episode Transcript

Below are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

Podcast Introduction

Female Voice: In this episode of the Project Management Podcast, you will learn when, how and why the PMI-ACP® Exam is changing in 2018.

Cornelius Fichtner: Hello and welcome to The Project Management Podcast™ at I am Cornelius Fichtner. And I wish that I could say that we are coming to you live from the Grand 2017 PMI Global Conference in Chicago but schedules change and we could not do it there so Alicia and I are doing this interview over Skype.

Podcast Interview

Cornelius Fichtner: So with me on the line right now is Alicia Burke from PMI! Hello and welcome!

Alicia Burke: Hello! Thank you so much for having me.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, we are very glad to have you. We want to talk about the changing PMI-ACP® Exam but let’s first of all turn to you. What is your role within PMI?

Alicia Burke: Okay! Well I’m a Global Product Manager for our certification team. I work of with three of our certifications so I work with PMI-ACP of course. Also with the Program Management Professional (PgMP)® for Program Managers and PMI Professional in Business Analysis (PMI-PBA)® which is for business analysis.

I’m really overseeing the strategy of those products making sure that we continue to meet the needs of the practitioners, making sure that we are evolving overtime as the profession evolves and I work closely with our exam development team on the actual, you could say manufacturing of the products as we create the examination.

Cornelius Fichtner: So the actual question development and the way it will look in the exam room to the people taking the exam?

Alicia Burke: Yeah, a little bit of all of that. So it’s a really interesting opportunity. I love having so many different aspects of the process and the products that I get to work with.

Cornelius Fichtner: Alright! Well then, let’s jump into the PMI-ACP® Exam. On what date is the PMI-ACP® Exam changing?

Alicia Burke: It will be the 26th of March, 2018.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay.

Alicia Burke: So coming up with the end of the first quarter next year.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yeah and before we go any further, I think it’s good to take a step back to understand PMI processes and publications and how they affect the changing PMI-ACP® Exam. First of all, we have to talk about the PMI-ACP Role Delineation Study.

Alicia Burke: Yeah, this is something that all of our certification products go through every few years. So for PMI-ACP, we did a Role Delineation Study when the certification leading up into 2011 and we also did another study 2014 and to 2015 where we worked with a task force of Agile experts from different industries and different countries.

We talked about how has the role of the Agile team evolved. What should be expected to know when they are taking the PMI-ACP® Exam and based on that study and bringing in a lot of independent people to review it and make sure that we are in agreement, we then create a document called the Exam Content Outline and that’s free to the public. It’s on our website so you can see the content that’s going to be tested on each exam and for PMI-ACP, the one out there is dated December 2014. That one is going to continue to be used in March and next year. So we are not changing the actual content and the concepts that are being tested. Just some terminology and I’m sure we’ll talk a little bit more about that with your next few questions.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yes, exactly! Well let’s jump right into that. Since you mentioned it, but just one quick note that I think is important: The PMI-ACP Role Delineation Study that’s an internal document. So people don’t have to go looking for that. That’s PMI internal only. Whereas the Exam Content Outline, that’s external and in fact if you are taking the PMI-ACP® Exam, it is from my perspective mandatory reading.

Alicia Burke: Yes!

Cornelius Fichtner: Taking the PMI-ACP® Exam without reading this document is like, I don’t know, trying to play pool without understanding the rules of playing pool.

Alicia Burke: Yes exactly!

Cornelius Fichtner: Or going into yeah, or entering in American football field with a cricket outfit. It’s not going to work.

Alicia Burke: Yeah, you’d make it a lot harder for yourself if you aren’t aware of what’s supposed to be covered on the test. So I definitely recommend looking at that as you are studying.

Cornelius Fichtner: So let’s look at what will change in March. So will any of the prerequisites to become PMI-ACP® certified change?

Alicia Burke: No! Those will remain the same.

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. Will the number of the questions on the exam or the three-hour duration change?

Alicia Burke: No, no changes there either.

Cornelius Fichtner: Is the Exam Content Outline changing?

Alicia Burke: No, definitely not!

Cornelius Fichtner: So since the Exam Content Outline isn’t changing that also means you are not actually adding or removing any topics to or from the exam right, because the Exam Content Outline says this is what’s going to be on the exam?

Alicia Burke: Yup, that is correct! So…

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay so then what exactly is changing that will go into effect in March?

Alicia Burke: Yeah, this is what we call a lexicon update at PMI. So you’ll see this happen with other certifications as well. But if PMI releases a new standard or practice guide or a new addition of an existing one, we just want to make sure that the terminology we use is harmonized between that new publication and the exam questions. We don’t want to confuse people by referring to the same concept with different terms. So we’re really just having subject matter experts who are PMI-ACP® credential holders who have read the Agile Practice Guide and they are taking a look at all the exam questions and just making tweaks to vocabulary if they need to do that.

Cornelius Fichtner: Yes and just to know, make it absolutely clear the reason why you are doing that lexicon update is in September, A Guide to the Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)® Guide Sixth Edition was published together with the new Agile Practice Guide and the terminology used in the Agile Practice Guide is now going to be applied to the PMI-ACP® Exam.

Alicia Burke: Exactly! Exactly right, yeah!

Cornelius Fichtner: Okay. So while we’re talking about the Agile Practice Guide, let’s look at reference materials. I recently spoke to your colleagues, Simona Fallavollita about the changes that are coming to the Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam and specifically, we discussed that the PMBOK® Guide Sixth Edition is the primary reference for the future that Project Management Professional (PMP)® Exam candidates have to know. So they have to read the PMBOK® Guide because the PMP® Exam references the PMBOK® Guide, let’s review some possible PMI-ACP reference here. There is a list on the PMI website with 12 reference books. Is that list still valid?

Alicia Burke: Yes! That list is still valid but starting in March, we will add the Agile Practice Guide to the list. We’ll have 13 on the list for you.

Cornelius Fichtner: Good number!

Alicia Burke: Yes!

Cornelius Fichtner: Good, lucky number! There exactly! So how then would you say, what is a student to do: Read everything? Read parts of everything? With the PMBOK® Guide it’s relatively easy. You can pick up one book and study that. For the PMI-ACP® Exam, how does that work?

Above are the first few pages of the transcript. The complete PDF transcript is available to Premium subscribers only.

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Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner
Cornelius Fichtner, PMP, CSM, is the host and the author at The Project Management Podcast. He has welcomed hundreds of guests and project management experts to the podcast and has helped over 60,0000 students prepare for their PMP® Exam. He has authored dozens of articles on and PM World 360. He speaks at conferences around the world about project management, agile methodology, PMOs, and Project Business. Follow him on Twitter and connect with him on LinkedIn.

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