Does PMI-ACP (Agile) Certification Matter?

By Bruno Collet

I had the opportunity to do agile project management for years and passed ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) last year. Several people asked me what I thought about ACP, so I figured it’s a good time to share impressions, rather informally.

ACP certification makes sense because:

  1. It focuses on project management, not just team management, i.e. it includes risk management, communications management, etc.
  2. It is not limited to software development.
  3. It is not easy to obtain, unlike some well-known certifications that have become quite hollow – ACP is a differentiator.
  4. It complements PMP in the sense that PMBoK describes *what* the PM should know, and ACP describes *how* to do it the agile way.
  5. It’s a pretty good state-of-the-art tour, as it does not focus on any single agile framework/approach.
  6. It goes beyond the tiresome “agile mindset” abstraction by requiring understanding of actionable practices.
  7. It recognizes the fact that successful project management is more about soft skills than about project management techniques (as any experienced PM will confirm).

On the downside, I feel it’s not easy to prepare because unlike PMBoK there is no accepted “AgilePMBoK”. ACP refers to a bunch of books and often requires answering questions for which there is not consensus regarding correct answer. Some would say that “agile certification” is a paradox because agile approach discourages standardization. (although I had the chance to set up agile standards in organizations on more than one occasion – the trick is the appropriate level of detail and adapting to context – but that’s another topic).

Hope to see more PMs knowledgeable in Agile!

Bruno Collet combines business acumen with technology know-how. His successful track record comprises Daimler-Chrysler, Siemens, and Loto-Quebec, with roles such as management consultant, project manager, SAP consultant, and software architect. Bruno Collet’s skills are firmly grounded in academic excellence by achieving an MBA at John Molson School of Business and a Master of Computer Science. He maintains a professional website:

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