PMI-ACP® Exam Prep

Course Title: AP-200 Agile Project Management ACP® Exam Prep

Description

Agile Project Management & PMI-ACP® Exam Prep is a three-day course designed for participants to learn the core agile values, principles, and practices of agile, learn how to initiate, plan, and execute agile projects, and cover all material required to pass the PMI-ACP® Exam. This course provides hands-on training focusing on providing experience with project chartering, story mapping, story writing, backlog building and prioritization, story sizing, release planning, sprint planning, simulated working sessions, metrics & reporting, and sprint retrospectives.  We cover techniques from Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP), DSDM, Kanban and other agile approaches addressed in the PMI-ACP® exam.

Target Participants

Project Managers (Scrum Masters), Product Owners, and Team members that are interested in learning how to initiate, plan, and execute agile projects, as well as, gaining the knowledge and skills required to pass the PMI-ACP® certification exam.

Course Objectives

  • Provide a high-level overview of the agile process, vocabulary, and practical techniques.
  • Understand the agile values, principles, and practices and how they can be applied on an agile project.
  • Get hands-on practice with agile techniques to prepare you to get started on an agile project.
  • Understand agile practices, principles and values in the broader context of product development and delivery.
  • Learn the key aspects of various agile frameworks and methods need to pass the PMI-ACP® certification exam.

Learning Objectives

  • Understand the practices, principles and values of agile as articulated in the agile manifesto.
  • Be able to lead and participate in a collaborative chartering session, develop an elevator pitch, and make the project tradeoffs explicit to stakeholders.
  • Be able to generate stories and build a product backlog.
  • Be able to create a product road map and release plan.
  • Be able to use relative sizing to estimate the product backlog.
  • Be able to plan a sprint.
  • Understand how to prioritize the product backlog to maximize business value.
  • Be able to lead the daily standup, sprint review and sprint retrospective.
  • Be able to understand and interpret a release burn up and burn down chart.
  • Understand the key concepts from Kanban, XP, DSDM and Scrum needed to pass the PMI-ACP® exam.

Topics

An PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP)® will be able to operate in seven domains:  Agile Principles and Mindset, Value Driven Delivery, Stakeholder Engagement, Team Performance, Adaptive Planning, Problem Detection & Resolution, and Continuous Improvement.

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This course is designed to provide the background knowledge and skills to meet the requirements and expectations for the PMI Agile Certificated Practitioner.  The requirements and expectations for each domain are describe below.

Domain I: Agile Principles and Mindset

Domain I Agile Principles and Mindset

  • Advocate for agile principles by modeling those principles and discussing agile values in order to develop a shared mindset across the team as well as between the customer and the team.
  • Help ensure that everyone has a common understanding of the values and principles of agile and a common knowledge around the agile practices and terminology being used in order to work effectively.
  • Support change at the system or organization level by educating the organization and influencing processes, behaviors and people in order to make the organization more effective and efficient.
  • Practice visualization by maintaining highly visible information radiators showing real progress and real team performance in order to enhance transparency and trust.
  • Contribute to a safe and trustful team environment by allowing everyone to experiment and make mistakes so that each can learn and continuously improve the way he or she works.
  • Enhance creativity by experimenting with new techniques and process ideas in order to discover more efficient and effective ways of working.
  • Encourage team members to share knowledge by collaborating and working together in order to lower risks around knowledge silos and reduce bottlenecks.
  • Encourage emergent leadership within the team by establishing a safe and respectful environment in which new approaches can be tried in order to make improvements and foster self-organization and empowerment.
  • Practice servant leadership by supporting and encouraging others in their endeavors so that they can perform at their highest level and continue to improve.

Domain II: Value-Driven Delivery

Define Positive Value

  • Define deliverables by identifying units that can be produced incrementally in order to maximize their value to stakeholders while minimizing non-value added work.
  • Refine requirements by gaining consensus on the acceptance criteria for features on a just-in-time basis in order to deliver value.
  • Select and tailor the team’s process based on project and organizational characteristics as well as team experience in order to optimize value delivery.

Avoid Potential Downsides

  • Plan for small releasable increments by organizing requirements into minimally marketable features/minimally viable products in order to allow for the early recognition and delivery of value.
  • Limit increment size and increase review frequency with appropriate stakeholders in order to identify and respond to risks early on and at minimal cost.
  • Solicit customer and user feedback by reviewing increments often in order to confirm and enhance business value. Prioritization
  • Prioritize the units of work through collaboration with stakeholders in order to optimize the value of the deliverables.
  • Perform frequent review and maintenance of the work results by prioritizing and maintaining internal quality in order to reduce the overall cost of incremental development.
  • Continuously identify and prioritize the environmental, operational, and infrastructure factors in order to improve the quality and value of the deliverables.

Incremental Development

  • Conduct operational reviews and/or periodic checkpoints with stakeholders in order to obtain feedback and corrections to the work in progress and planned work.
  • Balance development of deliverable units and risk reduction efforts by incorporating both value producing and risk reducing work into the backlog in order to maximize the total value proposition over time.
  • Re-prioritize requirements periodically in order to reflect changes in the environment and stakeholder needs or preferences in order to maximize the value.
  • Elicit and prioritize relevant non-functional requirements (such as operations and security) by considering the environment in which the solution will be used in order to minimize the probability of failure.
  • Conduct frequent reviews of work products by performing inspections, reviews, and/or testing in order to identify and incorporate improvements into the overall process and product/service.

Domain III: Stakeholder Engagement

Understand Stakeholder Needs

  • Identify and engage effective and empowered business stakeholder(s) through periodic reviews in order to ensure that the team is knowledgeable about stakeholders’ interests, needs, and expectations.
  • Identify and engage all stakeholders (current and future) by promoting knowledge sharing early and throughout the project to ensure the unimpeded flow of information and value throughout the lifespan of the project.

Ensure Stakeholder Involvement

  • Establish stakeholder relationships by forming a working agreement among key stakeholders so as to promote participation and effective collaboration.
  • Maintain proper stakeholder involvement by continually assessing changes in the project and organization in order to ensure that new stakeholders are appropriately engaged.
  • Establish collaborative behaviors among the members of the organization by fostering group decision making and conflict resolution so as to improve decision quality and reduce the time required to make decisions.

Manage Stakeholder Expectations

  • Establish a shared vision of the various project increments (products, deliverables, releases, iterations) by developing a high-level vision and supporting objectives in order to align stakeholders’ expectations and build trust.
  • Establish and maintain a shared understanding of success criteria, deliverables, and acceptable trade-offs by facilitating awareness among stakeholders as a means to align expectations and build trust.
  • Provide transparency regarding work status by communicating team progress, work quality, impediments, and risks so as to help the primary stakeholders make informed decisions.
  • Provide forecasts at a level of detail that balances the need for certainty and the benefits of adaptability in order to allow stakeholders to plan effectively.

Domain IV Team Performance

Team Formation

  • Cooperate with the other team members to devise ground rules and internal processes in order to foster team coherence and strengthen team members’ commitment to shared outcomes.
  • Help create a team that has the interpersonal and technical skills needed to achieve all known project objectives in order to create business value with minimal delay.

Team Empowerment

  • Encourage team members to become generalizing specialists in order to reduce team size and bottlenecks, and to create a high performing cross-functional team.
  • Contribute to self-organizing the work by empowering others and encouraging emerging leadership in order to produce effective solutions and manage complexity.
  • Continuously discover team and personal motivators and demotivators in order to ensure that team morale is high and team members are motivated and productive throughout the project.

Team Collaboration and Commitment

  • Facilitate close communication within the team and with appropriate external stakeholders through co-location or the use of collaboration tools in order to reduce miscommunication and rework.
  • Reduce distractions in order to establish a predictable outcome and optimize the value delivered.
  • Participate in aligning project and team goals by sharing project vision in order to ensure the team understands how their objectives fit into the overall goals of the project.
  • Encourage the team to measure its velocity by tracking and measuring actual performance in previous iterations or releases in order for members to gain a better understanding of their capacity and create more accurate forecasts.

Domain V: Adaptive Planning

Levels of Planning

  • Plan at multiple levels (strategic, release, iteration, daily) creating appropriate detail by using rolling wave planning and progressive elaboration to balance predictability of outcomes with ability to exploit opportunities.
  • Make planning activities visible and transparent by encouraging participation of key stakeholders and publishing planning results in order to increase commitment level and reduce uncertainty.
  • As the project unfolds, set and manage stakeholder expectations by making increasingly specific levels of commitments in order to ensure common understanding of the expected deliverables.

Adaptation

  • Adapt the cadence and the planning process based on results of periodic retrospectives about characteristics and/or the size/complexity/criticality of the project deliverables in order to maximize the value.
  • Inspect and adapt the project plan to reflect changes in requirements, schedule, budget, and shifting priorities based on team learning, delivery experience, stakeholder feedback, and defects in order to maximize business value delivered.

Agile Sizing and Estimation

  • Size items by using progressive elaboration techniques in order to determine likely project size independent of team velocity and external variables.
  • Adjust capacity by incorporating maintenance and operations demands and other factors in order to create or update the range estimate.
  • Create initial scope, schedule, and cost range estimates that reflect current high level understanding of the effort necessary to deliver the project in order to develop a starting point for managing the project.
  • Refine scope, schedule, and cost range estimates that reflect the latest understanding of the effort necessary to deliver the project in order to manage the project.
  • Continuously use data from changes in resource capacity, project size, and velocity metrics in order to evaluate the estimate to complete.

Domain VI: Problem Detection and Resolution

  • Create an open and safe environment by encouraging conversation and experimentation, in order to surface problems and impediments that are slowing the team down or preventing its ability to deliver value.
  • Identify threats and issues by educating and engaging the team at various points in the project in order to resolve them at the appropriate time and improve processes that caused issues.
  • Ensure issues are resolved by appropriate team members and/or reset expectations in light of issues that cannot be resolved in order to maximize the value delivered.
  • Maintain a visible, monitored, and prioritized list of threats and issues in order to elevate accountability, encourage action, and track ownership and resolution status.
  • Communicate status of threats and issues by maintaining threat list and incorporating activities into backlog of work in order to provide transparency.

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Knowledge and Skills

With in each domain, we look at specific knowledge areas and skills needed to effectively lead agile product development teams, including:

  • Agile values and principles
  • Agile frameworks and terminology
  • Agile methods and approaches
  • Assessing and incorporating community and stakeholder values
  • Stakeholder management
  • Communication management
  • Facilitation methods
  • Knowledge sharing/written communication
  • Leadership
  • Building agile teams
  • Team motivation
  • Physical and virtual co-location
  • Global, cultural, and team diversity
  • Training, coaching, and mentoring
  • Developmental mastery models (for example, Tuckman, Dreyfus, Shu Ha Ri)
  • Self-assessment tools and techniques
  • Participatory decision models (for example, convergent, shared collaboration)
  • Principles of systems thinking (for example, complex adaptive, chaos)
  • Problem solving
  • Prioritization
  • Incremental delivery
  • Agile discovery
  • Agile sizing and estimation
  • Value based analysis and decomposition
  • Process analysis
  • Continuous improvement
  • Agile hybrid models
  • Managing with agile KPIs
  • Agile project chartering
  • Agile contracting
  • Agile project accounting principles
  • Regulatory compliance
  • PMI’s Code of Ethics and Professional Conduct

Tools and Techniques

We go beyond discussion of the key knowledge areas and skills to get actual hands-on practice with some of the tools and techniques that our instructors and coaches use with their real-world projects that are included in the PMI-ACP® exam.  Some of these techniques include:

Course Structure

  • Three-day course with a mix of lecture, class discussion, and hands-on practice through exercises and simulations.

Instructional Strategies

  • Lecture
  • Class exercises and simulations
  • Class discussion
  • Hands-on practice with actual or sample projects
  • Ongoing, in-class instructor Assessment
  • Example exam questions