PMI-ACP Archive

4

Virtue of Humanity & Emotional Intelligence

I was updating my Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) Training slide on Emotional Intelligence and thought of the relationship it has with our humanity.  A few clicks later, I found myself reading a passage on Wikipedia on “the virtue of humanity

The three strengths associated with humanity are love, kindness, and social intelligence. Humanity differs from justice in that there is a level of altruism towards individuals included in humanity more so than the fairness found in justice. That is, humanity, and the acts of love, altruism, and social intelligence are typically person to person strengths while fairness is generally expanded to all.

To me, social intelligence is nothing more than social competencies of emotional intelligence. We need empathy and we need social skills.  I’m left conflicted from the Wikipedia passage where it says humanity and justice differ.  Fairness should be found in both social and individual competencies.  It just doesn’t have to be explicitly stated. 

Image Source: LeadingAgile PMI-ACP Training

6

Chasing After The Latest Fad or Evolving

Washington DC PMI Chapter LinkedIn GroupThis last weekend, I had an interesting exchange on the PMIWDC LinkedIn Group discussions board.  This healthy exchange of viewpoints came about from the following message:

In June, PMPs numbers are down by over 4000 while the PMI Agile certification numbers are on a steady rise. What is preventing the ACP from really getting traction?  http://ow.ly/i/NRLD [link to graphic showing the upward trend of the PMI-ACP]

Because that LinkedIn group is not public, I won’t include the persons name.  Rather, I will refer to him as “Mr. PMP, CSM, ITIL” and include his responses in red.  Even if I don’t agree with everything he writes, I have to respect a differing viewpoint.

PMP numbers likely vary slightly throughout the year and 4,000 is less than 1%. Plus, in the current economy, I don’t think a drop is surprising at all.

Now about PMI-ACP. In my opinion, the PMI-ACP has no market (no one asks for it and, as you note, no one is really seeking it even after PMI lowered qualifying standards to get it). It is simply a me-too certificate competing with already established certifications by Scrum.org and ScrumAlliance.org. Besides, it is mislabeled as Agile when all it talks about is Scrum without ever using the word Scrum–making it even less distinguishable.

Personally, I’d rather see PMI focus its efforts on strengthening the PMP, and the overall body of project management knowledge and practice, than chasing after the latest fads.

[Mr. PMP, CSM, ITIL], interesting opinions. I always find these “corrections” compelling. Everyone can read the August edition of PMI Today (the source of my numbers) and draw their own conclusions. It could be there were 4000 people who really weren’t project managers in the first place, thinking they needed a PMP, and then realized they really did not. We’ll never know for sure.

As for the PMI-ACP, the qualifying standards were corrected while the certification was still in pilot. I know this because I was in Miami with PMI when it happened. It just took several months to get the change implemented in the application process. At least there is a qualifying standard. You and I both have a CSM, yet we both know there is no qualifying standard for that.

The PMI-ACP is not all about Scrum. Again, I know this because I helped create the ACP and because I am the Co-Lead of the ACP support team at the PMI Agile CoP. I won’t disagree that a large percentage of the ACP is Scrum related but in VersionOne’s latest State of Agile survey, a majority of Agile practitioners are using Scrum to deliver value to their respective organizations. I think the certification is pretty representative of contemporary Agile practices.

If you’d rather PMI focus its efforts on strengthening the PMP, I’m curious how you will feel about the upcoming PMBOK Guide revision and Software Extension. Both include Agile knowledge and practices. Does that mean PMI is chasing after the latest fad or is it evolving?

Derek, I’ll admit the 5th edition draft PMBOK is troubling–almost as if some folks are trying to sabotage the PMBOK or simply making changes for the sake of changes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against change but some of what is occuring is not good, doesn’t fix some problems in the 4th Edition and introduces some new contradictions and confusion. Waiting to see what the final release settles on. 

Stats can be fun and too often misleading. I don’t think month-to-month changes in active certificate holders is very meaningful and PMI-ACP’s less than six month track record is nonetheless too short. It’s 7 to 18% month-to-month increases are already faltering, losing 32% of it’s growth rate in the latest month. During this same time, PMPs dropped just under 1%. If both of these two latest trends continue, PMI-ACP will max out around 6,923 and reach parity (with current month declining) PMP in just over 38 years. 

As a reality check, PMP and CAPM make up 99.2031% of PMI’s certificate holders. I suspect the overall number of ‘traditional’ projects is a not too dissimilar ratio. Adding in the few thousand CSM and other certificate holders won’t significantly shift this ratio. And traditional project management is, if practiced well, agile and not the caricature painted by Agile and Scrum advocates.

Listening to people who are participating in the PMBOK revisions sounds a lot like legislation in the government. In the beginning, a bill with a bold new idea or fix is presented. In order to close the deal, the bill gets watered down and new stuff that really has nothing to do with the original bill gets introduced. I can totally see that happening with the PMBOK. But I do think common agile concepts and practices should be included. The question is, will it be a square peg in a round whole, based on the format of the PMBOK?

Speaking to the certification stats, I once presented a correlation graph claiming an increase in ice cream sales caused deaths by drowning. It was merely illustrating that metrics can be used to support just about any claim. If PMI gets more market penetration in India and South America, I think the overall growth rate for the PMP (and ACP) will continue. With PMI being the marketing machine that it is, I see the ACP cannibalizing market share from ScrumAlliance and Scrum.org, not from the PMP.  Only time will tell.

It’s my belief that “Agile” practices will be accepted as “Traditional” practices over time. Until then, the misinformed will believe it is a silver bullet. It’s funny, when I coach new clients, I always have at least one project manager tell me that he or she proposed similar changes to leadership but was ignored. I’ve also had attendees of my training tell me that having PMI offer an “Agile” certification legitimizes it as a possible delivery mechanism. This isn’t new stuff! Whatever gets people talking works for me.

HT: Project Management Institute

HT: VersionOne

0

New PMI-ACP Classes Announced

PMI AgileI am happy to report that LeadingAgile is ramping up its Public Training Program.  We will now offer regularly scheduled public training classes in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.  Early bird registration (30 days or more before class start date) will be heavily rewarded, by way of a $300 discount.  The first class to be announced is the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner.

For those unfamiliar with LeadingAgile, though all of us offer training, we’re all actually Agile practitioners by trade, with years of real-world experience.  We come from a variety of backgrounds, allowing us to offer relevant training specific to the needs of the individual student. Both our public and private classes move at a steady but relaxing pace, delivering the right combination of applicable information, Q&A, and interactive exercises.

When it’s time for your respective exam, you will pass because you understand the concepts, not because you memorized questions and answers. When you go back to your organizations, you will have the confidence of knowing that you understand the fundamentals and how to apply then.

Why Us?

There are a lot of companies out there who offer training but do so from an ivory tower.  The trainers aren’t actual practitioners so they aren’t going to be able to answer your questions based on their experiences.  When it comes to knowledge about the PMI-ACP content, no company comes close to LeadingAgile.  Both Mike and Dennis were on the ACP Steering Committee and I was an Independent Reviewer.  After the exam pilot phase concluded, I transitioned to a new role as Co-Lead of the PMI-ACP Support Team at the PMI Agile Community of Practice.


Contact Hours/PDUs: 21
CEUs: 2.1
Public or Private: Both
Duration: 3 Days – 9:00 am to 4:30 pm

DATE LOCATION  EARLY BIRD PRICE
August 20-22 Tampa, FL  $1395.00 $1695.00 Register
September 10-12 Reston, VA  $1395.00 $1695.00 Register
October Atlanta, GA  $1395.00 $1695.00 Register

Who Should Attend

Certainly, if you’re interested in getting the PMI-ACP certification, you should take this class. But, it doesn’t matter if you’re an executive, traditional project manager, or a member of a team.  This class is going to give you a lot of value.  In a typical workshop, I’ve seen anyone from a CTO to an Extreme Programmer to a Tester.  Come with an open mind and you’ll see how we’re on the bleeding edge of Agile thought leadership.

Class Materials

Attendees will receive a complementary copy of the class training material, ACP practice exam, and ACP flashcards.

Course Content

Though this course was originally designed to be an exam prep course, it was enhanced to be an introduction into the principles, values, and practices of Scrum, Lean, Kanban, and Extreme Programming. Our course is developed around a fun 3-day exercise, simulation, and game driven curriculum that encourages signifiant interaction amongst everyone participating in the course. Topics include:

  • Understand the Agile Manifesto Values and Principles
  • Have an end-to-end understanding of Scrum, its key roles, artifacts, and meetings
  • Understand what are and why we use big visible charts or information radiators
  • Understand Scrum from a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, and empowered Team perspectives
  • Know and understand the XP (Extreme Programming) roles and who does what
  • Understand Test Driven Development. Know how it works and why it’s valuable
  • Understand Continuous Integration. Know how it works and why it’s valuable
  • Understand the Lean Software Development Principles
  • Know what Lean Portfolio Management is and how your organization could benefit from it
  • Understand what Value Stream Mapping is and how to do it
  • Understand the basics of Kanban, WIP, and why it works
  • Know how to write and identify good User Stories
  • Know what Personas are and how to use them
  • Understand what makes a Servant Leader and what they do
  • Understand Velocity and its usefulness
  • Know Agile Estimation techniques
  • Know facilitation methods
  • Understand how Agile deals with risks
  • Understand the Definition of “Ready” and “Done”
  • …much more…

Private Training

If you are interested in private training for your organization or team, please contact us for more information.

0

Sneetches and Agile Training

star upon tharThis morning I read a tweet offering a 100% guarantee to pass the corresponding Agile exam.  Offering such a guarantee is such BS and insulting to our craft.  Reading the tweet sounded something right out of a Dr. Seuss book.

I’ve come here to help you.
I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work with great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!

That is a quote from The Sneetches.  The two main characters of the original Dr. Seuss story are the Sneetches and Sylvester McMonkey-McBean.  If you don’t know the story, I have it below.  The original text is listed in blue.  My commentary is in black.

I understand there are those who are eager to get a new Agile certification to add to their email signature or resume (Sneetches) and those willing to provide training and help them part with the money in their pockets (Sylvester McMonkey-McBeans).  But when I offer an Agile Certified Practitioner workshop, the primary goal is not to teach attendees to pass an exam (though they will as a by-product).  Rather, my primary goal is to introduce learners to multiple concepts and practices that can be leveraged later.

Are trainers primarily trying to help people be better at their craft or are they just trying to make fast money?  I’m quite certain people will get value from attending an Agile training class.  As someone who may be interested in getting a certification, what does a trainer have to do to pass your Sylvester McMonkey-McBean sniff test?

Image Source: Pictofigo “Star


Now, the Star-Belly Sneetches had bellies with stars.
The Plain-Belly Sneetches had none upon thars.
Those stars weren’t so big. They were really so small.
You might think such a thing wouldn’t matter at all.

But, because they had stars, all the Star-Belly Sneetches.
Would brag, “We’re the best kind of Sneetch on the beaches.”
With their snoots in the air, they would sniff and they’d snort
“We’ll have nothing to do with the Plain-Belly sort!”
And, whenever they met some, when they were out walking,
they’d hike right on past them without even talking.

I’m going to introduce another character into this story.  His name is Sylvester McMonkey-McBean, an entrepreneur who offers hope to the plain-bellied Sneetches by offering them the use of his star-on-machine.

Then ONE day, it seems while the Plain-Belly Sneetches
Were moping and doping alone on the beaches,
Just sitting there wishing their bellies had stars,
A stranger zipped up in the strangest of cars!

“My friends”, he announced in a voice clear and clean,
“My name is Sylvester McMonkey-McBean.
And I’ve heard of your troubles. I’ve heard you’re unhappy.
But I can fix that, I’m the Fix-It-Up Chappie.

However, it soon becomes clear that Mr. McMonkey-McBean is no champion of the Plain-Belly Sneetches; in fact all he cares about is making money.  He is quite happy modifying the machine to remove stars from Sneetches who want to stand apart again.

I’ve come here to help you.
I have what you need.
And my prices are low. And I work with great speed.
And my work is one hundred per cent guaranteed!”

Then, quickly, Sylvester McMonkey McBean
Put together a very peculiar machine.
And he said, “You want stars like a Star-Belly Sneetch?
My friends, you can have them for three dollars each!”

“Just pay me your money and hop right aboard!”
So they clambered inside. Then the big machine roared.
And it klonked. And it bonked. And it jerked. And it berked.
And it bopped them about. But the thing really worked!
When the Plain-Belly Sneetches popped out, they had stars!
They actually did. They had stars upon thars!

Then they yelled at the ones who had stars at the start,
“We’re still the best Sneetches and they are the worst.
But now, how in the world will we know”, they all frowned,
“If which kind is what, or the other way round?”

Then up came McBean with a very sly wink.
And he said, “Things are not quite as bad as you think.
So you don’t know who’s who. That is perfectly true.
But come with me, friends. Do you know what I’ll do?
I’ll make you, again, the best Sneetches on the beaches.
And all it will cost you is ten dollars eaches.”

He encourages the Sneetches to continually go from the star-on-machine to the star-off-machine and back to the star-on-machine.

All the rest of that day, on those wild screaming beaches,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie kept fixing up Sneetches.
Off again! On again! In again! Out again!
Through the machines they raced round and about again,

Changing their stars every minute or two. They kept paying money.
They kept running through until the Plain nor the Star-Bellies knew
Whether this one was that one or that one was this one. Or which one
Was what one or what one was who.

Eventually, Mr. McMonkey-McBean vanishes once the Sneetches run out of money.

Then, when every last cent of their money was spent,
The Fix-It-Up Chappie packed up. And he went.
And he laughed as he drove In his car up the beach,
“They never will learn. No. You can’t Teach a Sneetch!”

Fortunately, in the end, the Sneetches have no idea who is who and both Star-bellied Sneetches and Plain-bellied Sneetches learn to live together.

But McBean was quite wrong. I’m quite happy to say.
That the Sneetches got really quite smart on that day.
The day they decided that Sneetches are Sneetches.
And no kind of Sneetch is the best on the beaches.
That day, all the Sneetches forgot about stars and whether
They had one, or not, upon thars.

 

3

PMI-ACP Numbers So Far

PMI ACP NumbersTomorrow, the June 2012 edition of PMI Today will be formally available.  Before that happens, I wanted to give a progress report on the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner numbers.  Since the certification was launched back in January, the number of certification holders has grown from 542 to 758.  Though this may be perceived as a slow start for number of people holding the credential, it has already surpassed the PMI-SP and will surpass the PgMP next month.  Let’s not forget, these certifications have been out for a few years, not a few months.  I’m not trying to minimize the value these certifications hold.  Rather, I believe the Agile community is responsible for the ACP number reaching these milestones as quickly as they have.

Based on informal polling of learners from my classes, people are taking the exam within two months of taking a class.  Though I don’t expect to see the certification rates to rival the PMP any time in the near future, I’m excited to see an upward trend in the ACP adoption rate.

Data Source: PMI Today