PMI-ACP – the audit!

A few weeks ago I applied to take PMI’s new PMI-ACP exam – the Agile Certified Practitioner. I was initially reluctant to sit for this exam because – I knew it was going to take time to file, to skim the required reading (I’ve already read most of the books suggested), and to actually take the test – see the FAQ. I also have so many interesting and exciting change initiatives and coaching learning opportunities currently underway  … so where will I find the time?

And as soon as I pressed the submit button on my application, boom, I received email that I was one of the lucky (unlucky) random foks to get audited. Really it’s fine, I have tons of the required experience and classes. It was more of a sense of – bummer – this is going to eat up even more time.

A)     The transcript was easy – MBA– no problem, they deliver electronically! Go USC!

B)      Work experience in Agile – no problem… thank you EFI and my wonderful manager for the opportunity!

C)      The Agile Related Education – oh man. This was harder that I imagined.

You see, much of my Agile education has been either in-house or in Open Space with some fabulous consultants, like Tobias Mayer, and Chris Sims. My first great learning experience was working along side Jesse Fewell, Pat Reed, Brian Buzzuto, and others on the original PMI-Agile PB Wiki – this was even before there was an official Community of Practice. I am also a trained “Innovation Games® facilitator – great tools to facilitate agile collaboration and the best tool for hosting online retrospectives with virtual/remote teams!  I have also learned so many great agile lessons from the Agile Open Northern California  open space — for several years in a row with Ainsley Nies, David Chilcott, and many other amazing folks. And then there was the first open space that I actually shared at – the PMI San Francisco Open Space – exploring the Agile Way.  I love open space events – great hands on learning!  My first more formal training – with certificate – was a Product Owner class with Chris Sims and Steve Bockman – called The Agile Product Manager’s Guide to the Galaxy – hmmm was this going to apply? And I have also participated in and hosted Agile tracks at PMI symposiums.

So I started emailing all my teachers above…only to learn that the events above probably don’t count towards the Agile Related Education. Uh Oh. Now what?

Fortunately I realized that through an interesting twist I did actually have my CSM – by chance! (that is a story for another day). Great  – I thought – that should be two days of the training requirement. Alas I went to the scrum alliance site and could not find the letter proving that I had in fact taken the CSM training – no proof of attendance. Now I was on a mission, if I had to be audited, at least I would help others who are a audited later…by sharing my learning. I happily emailed scum alliance support and asked for the letter of attendance. And they quickly replied – “Thank you for contacting. You will need to get this letter from the actual trainer. Do you still have their contact information? If you give me the name, I can provide it to you. “…  Wow  – this was getting frustrating. At least I knew how to contact Tobias Mayer! Who quickly sent me the needed letter!

Then a colleague pointed out that in fact there is a way to print a certificate of CSM on the scrum alliance site. Ironically I could not “find” the button to create this certificate until he sent his email –  I re-checked my screenshots. The font on the “generate certificate” button is really small. And my eyesight is not improving here with age! I am glad that there is a place to generate the certificate.

By then, reviewing the list of books for the exam study – I also realized that Lyssa Adkins’ Coaching Agile Teams class would also count! Hurray! And I also had just taken The Coaching Stance class with the Agile Coaching Institute. Now my audit folder contained an embarrassment of riches. Lots of “extras” just in case. Letter from many Agile friends and trainers. We sent in the whole lot of letters and certificates… and voila – I have passed the audit.

So lesson here – just ask the Agile trainers for a letter of completion listing dates and learning goals at the time that you attend that class. Keep a copy in a safe place – electronic – pdf is fine. And wear glasses when checking the scrum alliance site for your certificate – it’s there somewhere!

Good luck with your exam!


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7 Responses to “PMI-ACP – the audit!”

  1. PM Hut Says:

    Hi Margaret,

    This is interesting. I was not aware that you will know that you will get audited when you are submitting the application. It seems how the audit works is different for the PMP (where they will tell you that they are auditing your application AFTER you submit your application).

    PS: I have published years ago an article on the audit process of the PMP application… Maybe if you will have the time you can read it, and perhaps compare it to ACP…

  2. margaretmotamed Says:

    Hi Cornelius! Good to hear from you – I “listened” to your PM prepcast when I was studying for the PMP – and happily passed!

    As to the differences – The main difference I see is that the Agile teachers/trainers are much less likely to be accustomed to issuing letters with learning goals.. so there is a confusion factor. and much of the public Agile learning is collaborative – via open spaces and world cafes. It was just less clear to me – what would qualify and how to get the needed letters… For example for one PMI local chapter day long symposium I did contact the chapter officer who ran the original event – – who explained that they were not currently an officer so could not write the letter, etc

    Hopefully the post will help others be “ready” with the “letters” before applying – which of course is the recommended practice.

  3. Agile Exams Says:

    Thanks for sharing Margaret. I can now point students to your website to answer any questions thanks to your in depth guide. Looks like the key point to note here is that as long as you have all the required experience, the audit is nothing to worry about!

  4. Harwinder Says:

    I just stumbled upon this post while searching for something else. Quite interesting information. I recently passed my PMI-ACP exam and created a post on the study resources. I’ll add a link to this post on my page. Thanks for sharing your experience.

  5. Sam Says:

    Hi Guys,

    I have the same experience as margaret. As soon as I made the payment, I received an email about audit. But I need some thoughts from your. I filled out the application a year ago and it was expired. I used the same application with some updated information. I have emailed my old boss and colleague about experience letter but for education hours I used my MBA- Project management course work.
    Now the question I have is that although I have formal educational hours from PMI authorized institute and it was completed few weeks ago (formal certificate) but in the PMI ACP application form I used my Masters degree courses as it doesn’t let you add more than 21 educational hours in the application.

    Can I submit my formal certificate in my audit response along with my Masters degree? My only worry is that It would be hard to justify how those MBA-PM courses are tied to agile therefore submitting the Formal agile education certificate will suffice the 21 hr requirement.

    I would appreciate your response.

    • Pari Says:

      Hi Sam, Did you get response for your post? Can you provide training certificates other than what is mentioned in application to prove you have 21 contact hours?

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