WHY I AM EXCITED ABOUT THE NEW PMI AGILE CERTIFIED PRACTITIONER (ACP)

I am just going to lay it all out on the table here... When you think about the PMI organization do you also think of procedures and processes that support waterfall release models?  To be perfectly honest, I did, and I have heard others in the software development industry say the same.  For a lot of us, PMI and the PMBOK they publish are synonymous with the processes and procedures used in a typical waterfall release model.  Then PMI comes along and forces me to question my automatic association between the two by offering a PMI-ACP certification.  No fair!  So now what?

Well as someone who has practiced project management for 12 years, managed a PMO, and is now an agilist, I am going for this certification of course!  And I feel relieved that PMI, the governing agency for my profession, is recognizing Agile practices as valid methods for delivering products.  Their recognition makes a lot of sense given that Gartner predicts that 80% of all software development programs will be using Agile methods over the next two years.  Still it feels revolutionary coming from PMI.  And in my opinion, it is just more confirmation that Agile is not 'just a fad' but a viable alternative to waterfall approaches (and for some of us, a new standard).

In this winter edition of the AgileEvolution newsletter, Steve discusses his experience in preparing and training others to take the exam. One of the recommendations is to read Stacia's book 'The Software Project Manager's Bridge to Agility.'  I read this book before when I was in the midst of transitioning my first team to Agile practices and now I am reading it again to prepare for the exam.  The book's introduction is a personal story from Stacia describing how she 'Crossed the Bridge' to embrace Agile practices.  And again to be perfectly honest, it almost brought me to tears as it was so close to describing me.  Maybe you will identify with this too...

From being one of those 'control freaks' who also devised a system to wash and load the dishwasher at a young age to questioning the development estimates provided by the engineers on my team, to relishing that sense of accomplishment by increasing the percent complete status for a task on our project gantt chart, Stacia and I both shared that false sense of power in 'controlling' the projects we managed. Fast forward to the leap we both made in realizing that true happiness comes with not controlling and merely managing projects but rather leading and influencing the people in our project teams to build valuable products.  This requires learning to let go and growing your skill set, and that can be truly invigorating and freeing.

If you are not feeling an Agile revelation yet, there are still reasons to consider going for this certification.  I think the strongest is if you have an understanding of both Agile and traditional release methodologies it will immensely increase the value you bring to any organization.  This certification is applicable and open to all Agile practitioner team roles and includes Scrum, XP, Lean and Kanban Agile methods so it is pretty comprehensive of the primary methods in use today.   

So to me, this new PMI-ACP certification validates and echoes the 'briidge to agility' we are all crossing.  This certification also recognizes the value of agile development processes, recognizes our chosen software development framework, and provides us with an opportunity to change, learn and grow- how terrific!

My closing words of advice- follow Steve's path to certification, pick up Stacia's book and learn from it,  take the leap, cross the bridge and go for certification!

References:

Basic Certification Requirements:

  • 1500 hours (8 months) of Agile experience in the past 2 years
  • 2000 hours (12 months) of project experience in the past 5 years
  • 21 Agile training PDUs
  • Pass the 120 question PMI-ACPsm certification exam