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Topics: Agile, Career Development, Scrum
PMI-ACP vs. PMP as the "Standard Bearer" for certifications

With PMI heavily emphasizing agile project management, do we think that the PMI-ACP certification will replace the PMP as the "standard bearer" for PMI certifications? In other words, we will see in the next few years more people earn the PMI-ACP first, and then earn the PMP?
Also too, does one think that the requirements to earn the PMI-ACP will change to reflect agile project management importance?
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I have both. And I am working with the PMI to create all related to both certifications (as volunteer, one more in the group). Both are totally different. And the first mistake is to add Agile as an adjective to any related to project management. I mean, things like Agile project management does not exists. What exists is performing project management in the "PMI way" (PMBOK Guide) inside an environement using a practice like Agile where you can add tools that are not stated into the PMBOK. That is because the PMI-ACP and the next Practice Guide for Agile that will be delivered in september.

Obviously, the PMI-ACP designation is all things Agile. I view the PMP designation as geared towards the Waterfall methodology.

The PMP designation requires the certificate holder to understand a wide range of tools and techniques for managing projects in general. A seasoned professional will review these tools and techniques and guide the sponsors in selecting the appropriate ones to be applied to a specific project.

Just as the PMP should be able to determine if and when PERT is the better estimation technique, the seasoned professional should also be able to determine if SCRUM is the preferred approach to delivering business value. Whether it’s experience with the technology or an inability to fully articulate business requirements; the project’s complexity should drive the methodology decision. This places agile methodologies alongside the other tools and techniques a PM has at their disposal.

At this time experience with agile within the profession is still immature. Fortunately, I can rely upon the experience of those who have used the agile methodologies for many years, to help me in the learning curve. Until the majority of professionals have gained at least a firm foundation in Agile, a separate PMI-ACP designation signals comprehension of the non-waterfall world. It’s a way of saying the PMP has the additional knowledge of Agile. It is my hope the day will come when the PMP designation and the PMBOK framework covers waterfall AND the agile methodologies.
I had this same thought, so I've decided to go for getting a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and then the PMP. Scrum is not exactly Agile, but most software or dev companies should be able to see that you've at least got the certification that'll transfer over to Agile. I'll have both by January of next year.

I also hope that the PMBOK framework will someday cover waterfall and Agile.

The new edition of the PMBOK will have an agile section, from what I understand. I think it's very beneficial for a project manager to understand waterfall and agile, and determining what certification would best represent that knowledge should be looked at. I hope at some point it could be an either or approach-where someone can choose from the PMP or the PMI-ACP-rather than having to earn the PMP first, and then the PMI-ACP.

The comparison between PMI-ACP and PMP is a never ending discussion as both have their own value and benefits. PMI-ACP is specially designed based on Agile processes and methods, whereas PMP is designed for Project Managers of all industries. However, with the launch of PMBOK Guide V6, PMP will also have a touch of Agile. You can also refer and to understand how PMP is utilizing Agile.

The difference in requirements between "working on teams" and "leading and directing projects" is notable. It's difficult to compare leadership and participation on the same scale. I believe that gap will need to shrink before we see the two certifications adopted and viewed as equivalent.

However, I agree that as more organizations explore agile practices, we'll probably see more people (myself included) going for the PMI-ACP prior to the PMP.

It is simple to understand if you go to the certification documentation, mainly handbook and content outline documents. PMI-ACP still remains a "generalist" certification with focus on methods for agile software development. I have the PMI-ACP and I have DSDM AP&C certification which is specific to a method: DSDM. PMP is a certification with focus on project management no matter the domain and method you are using. Because Agile Project Mangement does not exists (search the new PMBOK Guide version and you will not find any reference to it) you can perform project management in any type of environment by using Agile, Lean, etc. What is critical to understand to not fail is: you have practices (Agile, Lean, etc), you have life cycle models (predictive and adaptative), you have life cycle process based on those models (waterfall, iteractive, etc), you have methods based on those process (Scrum, DSDM, SDLC, etc). You can mix all that and using "recognized best practices" like stated into the PMBOK Guide to perform project management. For example, in the organization where I am working today, we have five different project life cycle defined and method based on it like Scrum. WIth basement on PMBOK Guide the same person is performing project management assigned to a project that is using waterfall and at the same time to a project that is using Scrum.

I never once believe that the PMP was a waterfall certification. Like Sergio, the PMP is all about project management. Yes, there are predictive and adaptive frameworks within which you can manage projects.

The ACP, just like the PBA, is not about project management. It is about agile practices.

At least up to recently the requirement for PMP has been recent (8 years) experience as micro-managing command-and-control project manager. A project manager in a collaborative agile project would not qualify.

It will be interesting to see if PMI will start accepting collaborative agile project management experience as qualification for PMP with the new PMBOK version. The fact that Agile ended up in a separate book (Agile Practice Guide) bundled with the PMBOK makes me suspect that PMP requirements will continue to be micro-managing command-and-control.

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