What is an ATP?
The Project Management Institute (PMI) has announced the discontinuation of the Registered Education Provider (REP) programme on 31 December 2019.
The REP programme is to be replaced by the Approved Training Provider (ATP) programme. We have successfully obtained the ATP status, continuing our proud tradition of being officially affiliated with PMI over the past decade, whether it is via the REP or ATP programmes.
Why pick an Approved Training Provider (ATP)?
Endorsement from PMI
Access to PMI approved Training Materials
When preparing for the PMI-ACP exam, one is confronted with two nagging concerns. The first revolves around the width of scope of questions that would appear as agility covers a very wide area. The second hovers on the extent to which one is expected to know the details of agility as this can vary considerable from one aspect to another. To make matters worse, a readily available textbook that one can refer to which delineates the scope and depth of the PMI ACP requirements is hard to come by.
When I had to prepare for the PMI-ACP examination myself, I set myself up not to pass the exam but to ace it. I relentlessly sought for materials to help me master the concepts. I desperately searched for questions I could attempt which provides ideas on what will be asked. I eagerly surveyed countless webpages seeking guidance on how much I needed to know to ace the exam. Unfortunately, I found nothing that came close to providing me with the answers I sought.
After registering for exam, I gave myself 3 weeks to prepare for it. Within that three weeks I kept asking myself how I can “master” the subject. When I finally set my eyes on the questions during the exam and after securing above target for 6 out of 7 domains tested, it finally dawned on me that the answer was very simple. Just think agile.
Developing an agile mindset
What is needed to ace the exam is to start developing an agile mindset and learning to think from the customers perspective, analyzing what adds most value to the customer as well as to the project success and then deciding what is doable given the existing constraints. As long as you keep this in mind and train yourself to “think agile”, you will be able to eliminate options that are not in line with agile principles as well as agile concepts and zoom into the correct answer. This is done by linking domains to agile principles and intelligently assessing exam questions presented.
Linking the Domains and Agile Principles
The PMI ACP is based on 7 domains with each domain corresponding with a series of best practices or tasks that relate to those domains. Be very familiar with what these are. In agile many key principles and values are described. You should know this very well and be able to relate these principles to the best practices listed within the Domains provided. What I did was link the principles to the tasks within the Domains so that I understood why these tasks are proposed within the domain. Once you mastered this, look up some good questions.
Learning from selecting the wrong options
What you need to do, to ace in the PMI ACP exam, is to get a set of tough situational based questions that require an agile practitioner to decide based on a situation faced. This could be declining velocities of the iteration, poor estimation of story points, distractions from stakeholders, final products not meeting specifications, product owner’s unavailability to support team etc. The options provided should be based on agile principles and concepts but the extent they relate to the situation presented may vary.
I went through around 1,500 questions in that three weeks focusing my mind on seeking options that augured well with the confines of agile practices. Whenever I discovered that my answers were wrong, I relooked at he answers provided to find out what I missed in terms of deciphering the “agility component” within that option. This provided me with the “aha” moment I desperately sought.
Format of questions in the PMI ACP exam
The questions in the exam were brief and to the point. Very direct and focused on application of agile principles and values within common practices associated with agile. The options provided were very close. To distinguish between the correct and wrong option required an ability to understand the intent of the question and to analyze the options against agile principles and best practices.
Understanding intent of questions
Understanding the intent comes from internalizing the key principles of agile and imbibing the core values agile espouses. These principles apply in many different contexts. For example, the principle of collaboration and focusing on developing a working software that adds value to the client may be tested in one question that seeks a response on how to deal with a situation where a member of the development team faces a specific problem that could impact the delivery of a functionality.
Selecting the right option
The option selected should be one that imbibes most of the principles and values in agile that relates to the situation presented. For example, for the question I discussed earlier, the option selected should be one that indicates that efforts to inculcate collaborative efforts are undertaken and the primary end result is that the iteration is concluded in accordance with the conditions of satisfaction required by the client. That option that demonstrates application to a variety of principles, values as well as prescribed practices within the arena of agility is the most likely response.
In short, internalize agile principles and values by studying and thinking through about how they apply in practice under different situations. Familiarize yourself with agile practices, roles and responsibilities of the key players involved, including the agile coach and master the domains as well as what is needed to be done in each domain.
After that has been done, attempt many questions and develop a firm grasps of why you selected the wrong answer and, in the process, train your mind to “think agile” helps. You should gradually be better at identifying the principles and concepts that relate to the situations presented and decide on which option is most relevant to the situation presented.
If you need any further advice on how to ace the PMI ACP exam, please feel free to contact us at here
Wishing you all the best!
Dr Rumesh Kumar
DBA MBA PMP PMI-ACP
What you need and how you do it?
Whenever the need to convince someone arises, the need for justification always arises as well. Justification means providing a reason for proposing something new or different. It could be a new approach you want to adopt or when seeking funding for projects that involve considerable need for adaptation to changing requirements.
This is when it becomes imperative for the Product Owner to justify the deployment of a project undertaken based on a scrum-based framework. All stakeholders involved, including clients have to understand that scrum adopts a “Value Driven Delivery” concept unlike traditional projects. Scrum, unlike traditional projects is designed to drive value throughout the project, not only achieve value at the end of the project.
In this regard, for scrum-based projects, business justification occurs on a continuous basis; at the beginning, at established intervals throughout the project lifecycle and whenever a risk or issue presents itself. This justification process takes place prior to the initiation of a project and is consistently validated throughout the lifecycle.
Here at Sharma Management International, we believe that this business justification should entail three steps:
By ensuring that these steps are undertaken without fail, business justification for scrum projects increases confidence levels of the ability for scrum projects to provide value driven delivery.
Business Justification can be learnt at a deeper level by joining our online Scrum Master Certification course on 14 – 15 July 2020. Click here to find out more.
Dr Rumesh Kumar,
PMP, SMC, CST
As we emerge from the COVID pandemic, complex problems are bound to emerge. Such complex problems require adoption of agile practices for innovative solutions to emerge. It requires a different way to manage a business. There are many ways to apply agile principles in practice. One common way is to use a methodology called Scrum.
Scrum solves complex problems faced and enables development of innovative ideas for improvement. These ideas come about through collaborative interaction among key stakeholders that is facilitated by a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master provides an enjoyable and a streamlined atmosphere for the development team, which in turn improves the product and fosters innovation. Such a role is fast replacing the role of a traditional Project Manager.
Scrum Masters are in high demand due to the limited number of people working in the field. For instance, in 2017, the role of a Scrum Master was ranked 10th among the most promising jobs in the world
Let’s explore why you should consider playing the role of a Scrum Master.
1. Become more valuable to the Company
Scrum decreases time to market, which means there are high returns on every investment the company makes. Since you are guiding the development process, your services become even more indispensable to the organization. For example, regular feedback through sprint reviews directly from stakeholders, including customers, enables project correction earlier which is less costly and time-consuming than later in the process.
2. Contribute towards developing “cool” products
The joy of developing products which simplify complex problems for the end users is unparalleled, and so is the recognition that comes with it.
As a Scrum Master you can contribute to delivering customer centric products and have the satisfaction of knowing that your team was pivotal to the success of the project. Moreover, it makes everyone, the company, the team, and the customers happy.
3. Be in a position of higher visibility
As a Scrum Master, you oversee every aspect of a project. This kind of visibility makes it easier to identify issues during the development phase and resolve them quickly. A complete control of the project comes with the responsibility for its failings.
Thus, encouraging you to take full accountability to reduce the risks of developing a project, which in turn makes you—as a Scrum Master—more visible to the company.
4. Drive exciting innovation
A scrum team delivers high value products to clients. To do this, they need to provide an enjoyable and conducive work environment for the members. This helps the team to focus on being self-organized, encouraging others to come up with innovative and creative ideas and increase efficiency.
As a Scrum Master, you are involved in time scaling and providing accurate details of the project requirements—deciding the flexibility of the development and guiding innovative measures to achieve the target. You are essentially driving innovation for the team to do better every time, all the time
5. Build a Promising Career Path for your future