The ACP certification is a new credential offered by PMI for people working in Agile project management environments. Individuals obtaining this certification can demonstrate their level of skills in Agile practices. The process of earning this credential involves satisfying PMI's eligibility criterion and passing a exam. The ACP certification carries a high level of professional standing and credibility as it requires a combination of agile education, experience on Agile practices and examination on Agile practices.
The ACP certification is for anyone involved in any product development efforts that have a large amount of complexity and uncertainty. Obtaining the credential recognizes an individual's skills in using Agile tools and techniques to successfully navigate complex projects towards satisfactory outcomes
• Project Managers
• Team Members
• Support Professionals
• Project Sponsor
• HR Staff
• Quality Staff
• Project Controllers
The ACP credential is suited for organizations running:
• Customer Projects
• Product Provisioning Projects
• Internal Projects
Customer Projects :
Customer Projects are typically initiated as a result of a request for quotation from a customer, or by a customer contract. In these projects the customer is easily identified and to a large extent present in the project. The customer decides on functional and quality requirements on the project outcome.
The customer's needs and requirements are thoroughly analyzed on an iterative basis. The interpretation of the customer's requirements that has been made in the project is verified frequently with the customer to ensure agreement.
In customer order projects, the project steering function includes the managers in the performing organization who will act as internal stakeholders. As a complement to the customer's requirements, these managers formulate the organization's requirements on the project regarding profitability, performance quality and added value. These requirements are weighed against the requirements on customer satisfaction.
Product Provisioning Projects :
In projects aiming to put a new product on the market for sale, no other customers than the presumed buyers of the product can be defined. These customers and their unexpressed and expressed needs should is identified and thoroughly analyzed on an iterative basis.
It is good practice to identify a "first customer". This customer will then take an active part in the work to define requirements, suggest solutions, verify that the needs are fulfilled, and to perform an acceptance test.
The product owner is responsible for following up the product from a life cycle perspective, that is, after project conclusion. This includes verification of the business case that was formulated for the project outcome and the market situation as described in the project.
Internal Projects :
The aim of an internal project is to achieve a specific change within the organization related to its performance or its organizational structure. An internal project is funded by a manager in the performing organization (in most cases the project sponsor). Also the end-users of the project outcome will be found within the performing organization. This means that the organization and the project sponsor will act as primary stakeholders when the requirements on the project outcome are formulated.
However, in order to ensure that all project members are business-focused also in an internal project, the long-term effects of the project and its outcome should be related to the needs of the organization's customers. The customers' requirements can be related to the organization's performance and efficiency.
The long-term perspective on the project outcome is important also for internal projects. After the project has been completed, the effects of the project and its outcome should be evaluated and compared with what was expected when the project was initiated.
We are uncovering better ways of developing [products] by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value:
• Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
• Working [products] over comprehensive documentation
• Customer collaboration over contract negotiations
• 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."
What is Agile Project Management
An Agile Project is made up of a number of iterations that are repeated over a time period with a feedback loop after each time period work is completed. At the discretion of the client the last time period may release a partial solution. Agile practices are suited for situations when most but not all of the solution is clearly known or when the solution is known but not to the expected level of depth.
Benefits of Agile Project Management:
• Incremental results early and often
• Client can review current solution for suggested improvements
• Can accommodate scope changes between iterations
• Adapts to changing business conditions
• Easily engages the client
• Gives immediate feedback on the effect of solution changes
• Does not waste time on non-value added work
• Does not waste time in planning uncertainty
• Provides maximum business value within the given time and cost constraints
Agile practices proceed from iteration to iteration based on very limited specification of the solution. Each iteration learns from the proceeding ones and redirects the next iteration in an attempt to converge on an acceptable solution. At the discretion of the client an iteration may release a partial solution.
Agile involves feature driven development
This practice greatly reduces complexity, because it allows the team to focus on one feature and only one feature at a time. For example, one team is working on Feature #5 and that's the team's only focus. They don't concern themselves about Features #3-8. It is the business analyst and project manager who ensure the next feature in the backlog is truly the next priority, based on business value and risk. Typically, high-risk components or core infrastructure pieces are built first, and then everything else is prioritized based on business value.
Difference between Agile Project Management (APM) and Traditional Project Management (TPM)
The traditional project management approach is a linear approach where you try to get it all done at one time. You do a lot of very detailed planning at once upfront and then deliver it in what's known as the 'Big Bang'. That industrial age thinking has spilled over from software development to other projects as well. This is the heart of the difference between Agile and traditional project management.
The 'Big Bang' now comes from the greater flexibility and collaboration APM provides. "Just enough" planning is done up-front. As each increment of the system is built, the team gathers input and learns from customer feedback. Since the customer sees and/or experiences a working prototype, he or she is better able to refine or redefine requirements and describe to the team what the organization really needs.
APM development is conducted collaboratively, with a small co-located team. This core team usually consists of two developers who write code in pairs (for quality control), the customer/end-user, IT architect(s), a business analyst and a project manager. The work is accomplished through a series of sessions where the team writes code, then tests working modules of the system and repeats the process. There is minimal documentation as the team relies almost exclusively on informal internal communication.
This differs from the traditional approach where a considerable amount of time is invested in planning and a significant amount of requirements documentation is produced. The Agile team identifies and prioritizes the features based on business value, and after high-risk components of the system are produced, works on the highest value features first. This approach works if the solution can be delivered incrementally to the customer. If this is not possible, features still can be built incrementally and then integrated into the first release of the system.
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