MVP for PMI Agile Exam Flashcards

With the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) exam celebrating its first month in the wild, I am sure you are already seeing a lot of study aids and prep courses being offered.  Full disclosure, I do offer ACP prep courses and I also offer PMI Agile Exam flashcards.   Wait, did you read that correctly?  Yes, you did.  I want to ensure there is a source of relevant study material available to the masses so I created the PMI Agile Flashcards website and have an iPhone app (that needs to be submitted to Apple for approval). As a co-lead for the PMI ACP support team, we are tasked with creating a knowledge base of relevant information for the ACP exam.  Think of it as a Wikipedia for the PMI-ACP but within the PMI.org website.  Though that's all well and good, creating a glossary for both trainers and certification aspirants is not a study aid.  I still see the need for things like study guides and exam prep tools.  I think back when I was preparing for the PMP.  Reading the PMBOK Guide was a wealth of information but I needed something to put it into context.  It wasn't until I read Rita Mulcahey's book that it all made sense to me.  I also created a deck of flashcards for myself to help me prepare for the PMP exam.

Fast forward to today, for those of you who are looking for a study guide for the ACP, Mike Griffiths (the other PMI ACP support team co-lead) has just completed his ACP Exam prep book. I am releasing my Minimum Viable Product (MVP) for my PMI ACP Exam Flashcards. If that combination worked for me to prepare for the PMP, I hope it works for you for the ACP.

If you are wondering what I mean by MVP, I got the term from the Eric Ries book The Lean Startup.  I knew that I needed to get something out there now, get feedback from customers, and iterate the product.  The good news is, I know the questions and answers on the flashcards are relevant to the exam.  All I needed was to get something out there that people could use.


1. The first 75 flashcards loaded

I have loaded 75 flashcards into the database.  I know they are all relevant because I took (and passed) the ACP exam and because I have been involved during the certification development and am now involved to support it.  I've been involved in the Agile and PMI communities for a while now.  I want good quality prep materials made available to people. I don't want them to just pass the exam.  I want them to learn something.

2. All flashcards map to one of the six domains

  • Value Driven Delivery
  • Stakeholder Engagement
  • Boosting Team Performance Practices
  • Adaptive Planning
  • Problem Detection and Resolution
  • Continuous Improvement (Product, Process, People)

3. All flashcards map to the two areas you will be graded on

  • Tools and Techniques
  • Knowledge and Skills

4. 20 free flashcards to view without login

I figure you'll know if this product has value for you within 20 flashcards.  After that, you'll probably want to create a login so you can keep track of your progress.

Agile Exam Flashcards

5. 20 free flashcards with progress tracking with login

So, you created a free account.  You'll now be able to visualize your progress as you go.  By navigating to the progress screen, you'll be able to navigate back to cards that you got incorrect or skipped earlier.  Since you're still using a free account, you'll have access to 20 flashcards.

6. Access to all flashcards with paid account

This is where we wrap it all together.  The goal is to have a few hundred flashcards in the system.  You can get started now with the first 75.  As the database grows, random flashcards will appear as "unviewed".  Just check your status before you begin and you know where you stand.

What is next?

  • Add more flashcards
  • Make some changes in the User Interface to make it easier to navigate
  • Get feedback from customers
  • Refine the product or pivot
  • Get the iOS and Android versions completed

Note: A few of the links are Amazon affiliate links.

The Dark Side of Agile Exams

This morning I read a very interesting post over at the AgileScout website titled Agile exams fact check. Peter Saddington (AgileScout) voiced his concerns about a PMI-ACP exam prep website called AgileExams.com.  Concerns ranged from questionable pass rates (97%) to testimonials from people who appeared to not be  PMI-ACPs. Now, I believe in capitalism.  I believe in building products that have value and can help people.  So, this morning, I went onto the AgileExams website and took a practice exam.  Per my involvement with the PMI Agile Community of Practice, my involvement with the PMI-ACP exam, and someone who actually took the exam, in my opinion, these questions are not relevant to the exam.  I'm not saying they are not accurate.  They speak very specifically to content within the PMI recommended reading list.  But the exam is not written that way.

If Agile Exams commented on the Agile Scout blog, answering the questions of its readers, perhaps this would have faded into the background rather quickly.  Instead, I was cc'd on an email from Agile Exams Customer Service to Peter.  Rather than, reading "Peter, we hear you and the community and we'll make things right.  We'll be transparent. We'll iterate our product.  We'll be agile",

this is a snippet of what I read

Kindly remove the post or make serious revisions to it to reflect that you were wrong in your baseless attack. I warned you earlier that you were border-lining on defamation/libel. In fact, you aren't just throwing into question the integrity of agileexams.com but also the integrity of Ravi, who does not deserve this negative attention at all! If I do not see satisfactory updates on your site, legal means will be considered.

I just saw Jesse Fewell also posted something about AgileExams.  I'm also getting emails from people I know and respect in the Agile community asking questions.  Curious to see how this plays out.

The Agile Scout blog post now has 29 comments and counting.


Image Source: Pictofigo

My PMI-ACP Exam Experience

Because I wanted to ensure people taking my class were learning things that are actually on the PMI-ACP exam, I thought it necessary to actually take the test.  Sure, I was an independent reviewer of the PMI-ACP content but I was not part of the team who wrote the exam.  Let me just say, I think those who wrote the exam did us all proud.  I know it sounds sick but I really enjoyed taking this exam. It wasn't too hard or easy.  For a v1.0 exam, it's pretty darn good.  If you've been leveraging Agile for several years, I think you could pass it (in its current form).  Let me caveat that by saying you'd have to be properly leveraging Lean, XP, and Scrum for several years.  In all seriousness, there are people who still think cowboy coding or having no formal process or documentation makes them "agile".  This exam pays its respects to the values and principles of agile practices and to those who wrote the Agile Manifesto just 10 years ago. Now, considering every exam will be different, you can't take my testing experience as gospel to prepare.  But, you can focus your attention in certain areas.  I'm pretty certain I won't upset anyone with this blog post.  I'm not exposing any super-secret strategy to game the exam.  I remember taking the PMP and getting frustrated because I felt like the goal was to trick me, not test me.  Thankfully, the PMI-ACP is not crafted like the PMP.  It's written in a tone an everyday Agilist will understand.

Here is my bullet list for public consumption.  The rest I will reserve for my PMI-ACP classes. (shameless plug)

  • Know the Agile Manifesto Values and Principles.  Understand them.  Don't just memorize them.
  • Have an end-to-end understanding of Scrum.
  • Know and understand the key roles of Scrum.
  • Know and understand the artifacts of Scrum.
  • Understand what are and why we use big visible charts or information radiators.
  • Be able to read a burndown chart and offer a few scenarios that would explain its appearance.
  • Understand all of the Scrum meetings.  Who is there? Why? What happens and when?
  • Understand Scrum from a ScrumMaster perspective.
  • Understand Scrum from a Product Owner perspective.
  • Understand Scrum from an empowered Team perspective.
  • Know and understand the XP (eXtreme Programming) roles and who does what.
  • Understand Test Driven Development. Know how it works and why it's valuable.
  • Understand Continuous Integration. Know how it works and why it's valuable.
  • Understand the Lean Software Development Principles
  • Know what Lean Portfolio Management is and how your organization could benefit from it.
  • Understand what Value Stream Mapping is and how to do it
  • Understand the basics of Kanban
  • Understand what WIP is and why it works.
  • Know what Osmotic Communications is.
  • Understand what makes a Servant Leader and what they do.
  • Understand Velocity and it's usefulness.
  • Understand Risk Burn Down Charts
  • Know about Risk Audit Meetings
  • Know Agile Estimation techniques
  • Understand the Definition of "Done"
  • Know how to write and identify good User Stories.
  • Know what Personas are and how to use them.
  • Understand why and when you would use AgileEVM (don't worry about how!)
Remember, you have 3 hours to answer 120 questions.

Good luck!


Agile Flashcards

To celebrate the 10 year anniversary of the signing of the The Manifesto for Agile Software Development and the upcoming launch of the PMI-ACPsm Agile certification, I have been working behind the scenes on a new mobile learning tool.  After realizing how congested the PMP market was, I decided to leverage what I learned from PM Prep Flashcards and apply the code toward agile learning.

So, are you going to take the PMI-ACPsm certification exam? Would you like to be notified as soon as we're done with a simple learning tool that you can use on your iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad to prepare for the exam?

Get on the list!

PMP® is a registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. PMI-ACPsm is a service mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.