We took some time out to chat with Angelique Jardine, Project Manager at Derivco’s Stormcraft Studios.
Angelique recently wrote and passed her PMI ACP exam, and besides congratulations being in order, we decided to pick her brain in order to get a perspective on the experience, and what it has meant for her and her employer.
Derek: What inspired you to take on the Agile Certified Professional certification with PMI?
Angelique: At first it was to gain knowledge on agile tools and practices, learn practical techniques for planning and be able to estimate the cost of the project in an agile way. Also, to increase my adaptability in agile technologies that would hopefully increase team productivity.
PMI Certifications are regarded highly across many organizations and with this, taking traditional Project Management in mind as well as looking at a broad range of Agile methodologies, it seemed to be the most comprehensive certification on the market. l wanted something that would formally recognize my knowledge of Agile principles and expertise with Agile tools and techniques.
More and more companies are adopting an Agile approach to their projects, I wanted to do a course that would not only benefit my organization but would also provide me with professional growth and make me more marketable.
Derek: How did you find the exam?
Angelique: I found the exam quite tough, coming from a traditional project management background, you need to always check yourself, make sure that you do not go back to old habits in the exam and in your projects. Having an Agile mindset is key to passing the exam.
Derek: Do you feel that the ACP studies have improved your individual service offering to your employee in the workplace?
Angelique: Yes, I learned more about the details in the tools and techniques that were not covered in other Kanban and Scrum courses. e.g. WBS and how to get your stories right, in terms of size and details and accurate estimating. Costing of a project in an agile environment. Tips and tricks Agile Leaders have learned over the years.
Derek: How long do you think that any aspiring candidates would need to spend in preparation for their studies for the ACP exam?
Angelique: If you are able to put in the hours, I would say you should try do it within the 2-3-month mark, on completion of the course. I did my course at the end of Oct, and wrote my exam in early Feb.
Derek: Are there any particular resources that you would recommend using to anyone wanting to take the exam?
I attended the PM Ideas Prep Course in JHB, with Charmaine Allen which was great. She is an amazing Coach and Mentor.
I purchased the Andy Crowe book ‘The PMI-ACP Exam’ (Iteration 2 – 2016), which did not arrive in time for the exam unfortunately but have read through it after the exam and found it quite comprehensive and it includes two exams at the back of the book as well as an online exam. There is a third iteration that was released in April 2018.
Note: It’s not a good idea order this from Book Depository, they send books through the postal system and you know how that goes. I did not see this info as it was only in the FAQ’s on their website.
I see Michael Griffiths also has a book out ‘PMI-ACP Exam Prep’.
I also did as many free tests as I could find, some of them I found from this website:
Derek: Do you have any advice for readers regarding the taking of the exam?
Angelique: Again, having an Agile mindset is key to passing the exam.
If you can do a Prep course through one of the PMI Providers in your area I would highly recommend it. Not only will you gain great insight from the lecturers, but you will also get the books/ information you need for passing the exam.
Derek: Do you have any parting words of wisdom for the PM community?
Don’t be afraid of Agile, embrace it and go in with an open mind.
Keep the Agile manifesto in mind daily throughout your workday and processes.
Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
Working software over comprehensive documentation
Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
Responding to change over following a plan
That is, while there is value in the items on
the right, we value the items on the left more.
Derek: Thanks Angelique ! Best wishes for the future