January 21, 2018


Project management advice, tips, tools and recommended resources for existing and aspiring project managers.

Are you ready to take your PMI Agile Certified Practitioner Exam?

This article is about identifying your eligibility to take your PMI-ACP exam.

Do you work in an environment where you use one or more Agile methodologies regularly? Do you have both general project experience as well as Agile project specific experience? If either of these scenarios apply to you and you are interested in earning your Project Management Institute Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification, then use these steps to discover if you are eligible to take the PMI-ACP® Exam.

Many people/companies see holding the PMI-ACP® certification as a demonstration of professionalism in one or more Agile methodologies. To determine whether you are eligible to take the PMI-ACP® Exam, just follow the simple 4-step approach outlined below.

Step 1: Read the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® Handbook

Click here to download the PMI-ACP® Handbook produced by Project Management Institute (PMI)®.

Pay close attention to sections that cover eligibility requirements and the application process. It is in the eligibility requirements section that you will find information regarding the exam requirements as they pertain to educational background, general project experience, Agile project experience, and Agile specific training requirements in order to take the PMI-ACP® Exam.

In the section covering the application process you will find out how your experience is counted when applying to take the PMI-ACP® Exam. The thing to remember about experience is you must account for Agile project experience and general project experience separately. You cannot record the same project under both Agile and general project experience, and you cannot count hours associated with general project experience towards your Agile project experience hours.

Step 2: Read the PMI-ACP® Examination Content Outline

Click here to download the PMI-ACP® Examination Content Outline produced by the Project Management Institute (PMI)®.

As you review the Tools & Techniques, Knowledge & Skills, and Domains & Tasks sections you should recognize many of them as those you use or have relied upon as part of your own activities when working on Agile projects. Half of the PMI-ACP® Exam covers Agile Tools & Techniques and the other half covers Agile Knowledge & Skills. Domains & Tasks are not specifically covered as part of the PMI-ACP® Exam; however, this section can provide you with insight as to how Agile project management is understood across different industries.

You may not have utilized all of the tools and techniques, or even have all of the knowledge and skills discussed within the outline; but you should have experience with or utilized the majority of the tools, techniques, knowledge, and skills listed in order to meet the eligibility requirements to sit for the PMI-ACP® Exam.

Step 3: Compare Your Agile Education and Experience with Your Resume

After working through steps 1 and 2 to gain a clear understanding of the education, experience, and Agile specific training requirements required to sit for the PMI-ACP® Exam, grab a copy of your resume and look for areas of overlap. If you are like many people who don’t typically update their resume at the completion of each project, take some time to create an experience list to document all of your project experience since your last resume update. Remember, you cannot overlap your general project and Agile project experience; so you may want to make to separate lists.

If you have copies of project charters or similar documents from the projects you have worked on and they have a clearly defined responsibilities section they can be very helpful when trying to recall and accurately document your experience. Plus you will need all of this information to complete the application for the PMI-ACP® Exam. Next, based on your resume and/or experience lists you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Do I have the required experience hours on both general projects and Agile projects?
  • Do my resume or experience lists reflect experience with the majority of the tools, techniques, knowledge, and skills in the outline?
  • Do I honestly meet the criteria?

If your answer to all three is “Yes”, then you are most likely eligible.

Step 4: Contact PMI Customer Care

If you have any doubts concerning your eligibility, contact the Customer Care department at PMI. They have knowledgeable and helpful staff who will be happy to answer your questions.

Following the simple 4-step approach outlined here will allow you to determine for yourself if you are eligible to sit for the PMI-ACP® Exam. In addition, all of the information you have gathered such as education, general project experience hours, Agile project experience hours, and Agile specific training hours will all be very valuable when you start the application process.

Agile Project Management Certification

The purpose of this article is to look into what PMI-ACP means and to provide you with information outlining the exam requirements, the exam content, and what you need to do to maintain your PMI-ACP certificate once you pass the exam.

What does PMI-ACP stand for?

PMI-ACP-ExamPMI-ACP is the PMI® certification that “recognizes an individual’s expertise in using agile practices in their projects, while demonstrating their increased professional versatility through agile tools and techniques”. (Project Management Institute).

In other words, once you pass the PMI-ACP, you are then considered a PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.  Passing the PMI-ACP Exam indicates to employers and others both inside and outside the Agile Community that you have demonstrated  experience working on Agile projects, and knowledge of Agile practices, principles, tools, and techniques.

Secondly, how can you be sure if taking the PMI-ACP Exam is the right step for you? First you need to have the desire to become a PMI-ACP. Next you need to verify that you meet the PMI-ACP certification requirements in four areas:

  • educational background,
  • general project experience,
  • Agile project experience,
  • training in Agile practices.

Certification Requirements

For educational background you need to have a secondary degree (high school diploma, associate’s degree or global equivalent).

In the area of general project experience you need at least 2,000 hours (12 months) of general project experience within the past five years. In the area of Agile project experience you need to have at least 1,500 hours (8 months) of experience working on project teams that specifically used Agile methodologies within the past three years. Keep in mind that you cannot count the same hours or projects towards general project experience that you do for Agile project experience.

Finally, in the area of training in Agile practices you need to have at least 21 Contact Hours. A Contact Hour is considered one hour of formal education, in this case formal education in Agile practices.

Once you have all of your general project and Agile project hours documented, and you have obtained your 21 contact hours, you are then ready to start your application to sit for the PMI-ACP Exam. You can complete the application online at www.pmi.org, or download a PDF copy of the application, fill it out and then submit it by mail. If you select to apply online you will have 90 days to complete the application. If you have already earned your PMP® or PgMP® credential then PMI has already verified you have fulfilled the 2000 hours of general project experience requirements to take the PMI-ACP® Exam, and this requirement will be waived.


Now that you know what PMI-ACP stands for and what the requirements are to take the exam, what should you expect when it comes to the exam? The PMI-ACP Exam consists of 120 multiple choice questions that need to be answered within three hours. There are two areas of questions on the PMI-ACP® Exam. Half of the exam questions cover Agile tools and techniques, and the other half cover Agile knowledge and skills. Additional information on what is specifically covered on the PMI-ACP Exam can be found in the most current copy of PMI-ACP® Examination Content Outline. An excellent resource for studying toward the PMI-ACP Exam is the Agile Prepcast.

Once you take and pass the PMI-ACP Exam, you will need to focus on maintaining your certification. This is accomplished by obtaining at least 30 professional development units (PDUs) during your certification cycle, which is three years and starts the day you pass the PMI-ACP Exam.

A PDU is earned for each hour spent conducting activities in one of two divisions; education or giving back to the profession. You can earn all 30 PDUs with educational activities, but are limited to 20 PDUs per cycle for the giving back to the profession category. All activities in either category must be within the specialized area of Agile project activities in order to be counted towards maintaining your PMI-ACP certification. If you are already a certified PMP® or PgMP® you can claim Agile project activity PDUs toward maintaining your PMP or PgMP credential. So you still only need to earn 60 PDUs in total in three years, not 90. And remember that all PDU hours you earn towards your PMI-ACP certification must be in the area of Agile project activities.

Obtaining your PMI-ACP certificate demonstrates to others your knowledge of Agile practices, tools, and techniques. Make sure you understand PMI’s most current requirements to qualify to sit for the exam prior to starting the exam application process.

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