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PMI-ACP The journey for a successful certification


In a constantly moving business environment and in a very competitive market, Agile Project Management and PMI - Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) ® certification meet the needs of the market, aiming to deliver projects better, faster and with less waste.

The PMI-ACP credential attests to the professional's ability to understand the principles and concepts of Agile Project Management and their skills in applying Agile techniques and tools.

PMI-ACP started in 2011, being the fastest growing PMI certification, covering many approaches to Agile like Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD).

This article presents important information for those who want to know more about this certification.

What are the benefits?

By obtaining certification, professionals will be able to:

  • Demonstrate to the market its level of professionalism in agile project management practices;
  • Increase your versatility in project management tools and techniques;
  • Present a certification that has more credibility than other certifications that only require training or an exam to be obtained;
  • Show that they are capable of leading Agile project teams.

Why Agile Project Management?

Agile is an increasingly important topic in project management. The market shows this trend, as project managers embrace Agile as a technique for managing projects. Agile project management is focused on delivering increments of functionality quickly and frequently.

There is a huge demand for Agile Project Managers (not just those who know, Scrum, XP or Lean). It is not necessary to work in the IT area, although anyone working with software development should look at PMI-ACP certification carefully: the Gartner Group estimates that 80% of software development projects are already being managed within Agile techniques.

Certification is one of several steps taken by PMI to recognize the value of Agile project management practices.

What is the profile of the candidate for this certification?

Professionals who are using agile practices in their projects or whose organizations are adopting agile project management approaches are good candidates for PMI-ACP certification.

In general, if you have performed activities in a team that uses the best practices of one of the agile methods (such as Scrum) or if your organization is adopting Agile practices, PMI-ACP® certification is a good choice for you. Compared to other agile certifications based solely on training and exams, the PMI-ACP® certification is the best way to showcase your real experience and skills.


Candidates for PMI-ACP credentials must meet the following prerequisites:

  • Secondary education (high school or equivalent) or higher
  • 2,000 hours of work on projects acquired in the last 5 years *
  • 1,500 hours of work (8 months) on projects - using agile techniques - in the last 3 years. NOTE: This requirement is in addition to 2,000 hours of general project experience.
  • 21 hours of training in Agile Project Management

* PMP or PgMP certificates are considered automatically approved in this criterion.

NOTE: Note that it is necessary to have worked on projects, but it is not required to have worked as a project manager.

Application Process

The first step is to complete and submit the online form on the website https://certification.pmi.org, in which the candidate informs his personal details and provides details about his professional experience. The form must be sent within 90 days from the beginning of its completion.

After submission, PMI has 10 days to evaluate the data submitted and, subsequently, allow the applicant to make payment.

The next step is to schedule the certification exam. Scheduling can be done up to 1 year after the application has been accepted.

Where to take the exam?

Before the pandemic the exam could be taken, at any authorized Prometric center or Pearson VUE. From April 2020, the PMI-ACP exam can be taken over the internet.

The PMI-ACP® exam is now delivered entirely through the supplier Pearson VUE. Candidates now could take the exam online while being monitored by an online supervisor in their home or office.

Examination fees for PMI-ACP remains the same.

Supervised online exams can be scheduled 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and can be scheduled from Tuesday to Saturday every week.

The exams are offered in English, Arabic, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese and Spanish. Please note: although exams are available in multiple languages, the supervisory software, welcome support and supervisor support are only available in English.

What does online supervision mean?

It is a system by which exam participants can use the computer's camera and microphone to simulate the exam center environment. A Pearson VUE representative (or “supervisor”) will access the camera and microphone and monitor candidates during the exam, just as an inspector would at an exam center. This procedure guarantees impartiality and responsibility for all candidates who take the exam, regardless of taking the exam under supervision online or at an exam center.

The latest computers will be compatible with Pearson VUE's online supervision system. However, there is a downloadable application to ensure your computer is compatible before you sign up for a supervised exam online.

If you are considering taking the exam online, you will still need to be in a quiet place that allows you to spend several uninterrupted hours to take the exam. Once started, candidates will not be able to leave the online supervisor's view and, if someone enters the room, the exam will be closed.

Know more

If you are interested in learning more about online supervision for the PMI-ACP® certification exam, visit www.PMI.org/acp-op. Start by confirming that your computer is compliant with the requirements: download and complete the mandatory system test. We also recommend that you review the online supervision video before deciding to take the exam in this way. If you have any questions or restrictions, we recommend scheduling at an exam center.

The exam price will be the same, in person or online. When registering for your PMI-ACP exam, you will have the option to simply select “Online Proctoring” on the registration form.

PMI-ACP exam

The exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions (20 are “pre-test”, unidentified, randomly distributed and do not affect the score). The exam time is three hours, with no breaks. For now, the exam is available in English only.

The exam contents

The questions are based on the PMI-ACP Examination Content Outline. A study carried out by PMI, called RDS (Role Delineation Study), involving more than 1,000 agilists from 60 countries produced a description of agile practices. Based on this, the domains, tasks, knowledge and skills were determined, as well as the tools and techniques used in daily life, and this was reflected in the PMI-ACP certification exam.

The exam has 7 domains and 62 tasks. The tasks and the Knowledge and Skills (“Agile Knowledge and skills”) are distributed together with the Tools and Techniques (“Agile tools and techniques”) within the percentages of each domain.

Other Concepts

Note that among the information the student must know to take the exam are the agile manifesto (public statement on the philosophy of agile principles), agile methodologies and frameworks (such as Scrum, Extreme Programming - XP, FDD and Kanban) and concepts like Lean, Business Value Focus, Continuous Integration and Deployment, Value Stream Mapping, among others.

It is important not only to know the theory, but also to know how to apply it: how to control daily meetings (daily scrum meetings) so that they do not exceed 15 minutes, for example?

Note: It is also important to know the basic concepts of traditional project management: scope, schedule, cost, added value, etc.

Study Tips

  • Know the Agile Manifesto;
  • Take a Scrum course (including roles, rules, artifacts, responsibilities, vision, release planning, burnup, burndown), as this is the main content of the exam;
  • Take a specific supplementary course to prepare for the PMI-ACP exam;
  • Basic notions of Lean, Kanban, TDD and eXtreme Programming (know values, principles, practices, including roles);
  • Comparison of agile estimation methods with traditional techniques (Delphi, Monte Carlo analysis);
  • Soft skills - leadership (servant leader), managers (command / control) versus leader, conflicts, such as praising / criticizing, interventions in meetings;
  • Study these subjects:

the Added Value (applied to agile methods);

the Value Stream Map (Lean tool);

o Risk management (as is done in agile methods);

o Spikes (user stories with little definition);

o WIP (work in progress).


After payment, it is possible that the application will be selected by the audit process. There is no certain, but approximately 20% of applications for certification go through an audit process. In this case, the candidate is notified by e-mail and must send the following documents by mail within 90 days:

- Copy of diploma with translation

- Signature (in a document sent by the PMI itself) of the project managers or supervisors informed.

- Copy of the certificates of each course taken to complete the 21 hours, accompanied by translation

If you are selected for the audit, the Experience Verification Form, in PDF, containing the information you provided yourself (projects, hours and months) and a form for the person who will pay to confirm your name and address will be sent to you by PMI via email.

The person who is going to pay must complete the section regarding personal data and sign the documents (by hand, electronic signature is not accepted), put them in an envelope and sign again on the flap that seals the envelope (part of the signature is in the envelope breaks in the flap) and return the envelope to you (not PMI), which will add it to the other documents you will send to PMI.

There is no need to recognize a firm. Each signer must have a separate envelope. If the same person is signing multiple projects, they can be placed in the same envelope.

The form comes ready from the PMI, with the data you have informed yourself. It is only the person who will pay to sign. It is not possible to “get ahead” of the audit, as the form that comes from the PMI is required to send.

Upon receipt of your material, PMI must process the audit and issue the eligibility document within five business days.

NOTE: If you are not selected for auditing, you do not need to send anything to PMI.


During the one-year eligibility period, candidates can take the exam up to three times. The fees for retaking the exam the second and third times are:

  • Computer exam: US $ 435 for PMI members and US $ 495 for non-members.


The recertification process, called Continuing Certification Requirements (CCR) Program, aims to keep the accredited members active regarding their activities related to the agile framework. After obtaining the PMI-ACP credential, your certification is considered active. To remain with the active credential, it is necessary to report 30 PDUs (professional development units) for each three-year cycle. PDU's can be obtained in several ways:

  • courses
  • formal education
  • self-study
  • publication of articles, participation in events, development of courses, etc.
  • volunteering
  • professional activities

Each category confers a certain number of PDUs. There are also limits for each category per recertification cycle.

Note: If you already have a PMI credential, such as PMP, for example, you can use the PDUs obtained to maintain the PMI-ACP certification to maintain the PMP credential. So, to maintain PMP and PMI-ACP certification, you only need 60 PDUs.

The renewal fee is $ 60 for members and $ 150 for non-members, every three years.

Complimentary references and tips

Some tips for preparing you for the PMI-ACP certification process:

  • Access the PMI-ACP Handbook (in English)
  • Check the PMI website for certification
  • Review the PMI-ACP Examination Content Outline
  • Follow #pmiagile on Twitter
  • Review the list of bibliographic references for PMI-ACP certification

Find out more at: https://www.pmi.org/certifications/agile-acp/exam-prep

2020 is ending up and for sure it was a year different for each one of us. Nobody had in their mind face a pandemic, that made us change the way how we live in society, work, and transforming business adopting new technologies. Certainly, what doesn't kill us, makes us stronger. Wishes of a great Christmas time and 2021 with health and peace for all of us.


Note and Disclaimer: The author of this Blog post is Ivan Alves Moreira. He is the guest author of PMI.hu. The writing reflects the author's own professional opinion, findings, and conclusions, which do not necessarily agree with the position of PMI Budapest, Hungarian Chapter, and cannot be considered as an official recommendation, resolution, or opinion of PMI Budapest. The copyright and publication rights of the writing belong to the original author.


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