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PMI-ACP: Preparing to Pass the Exam
6. Team Performance: PMI-ACP Exam Domain Details
Moving on to the fourth domain of team performance. There are nine tasks in team performance. Three subdomains. Team performance will account for 16% of your exams, approximately 19 questions. The Team Performance Exam domain creates an environment of trust, learning, collaboration, and conflict resolution that promotes team self-organization, enhances relationships among team members, and cultivates a culture of high performance. The first subdomain of team performance is team formation. Cooperate with the other team members to devise ground rules and internal processes in order to foster team coherence and strengthen team members' commitment to shared outcomes. Now, this is an important principle: the idea of devising ground rules and internal processes. Ground rules have to be agreed upon by everyone on the team, and once they are agreed upon and everyone agrees, they will be adhered these ground rules.It's the responsibility of the project team to enforce the ground rules. Now, internal processes are more than just ground rules. It's how you do your work, how you check in your code, how you do refactoring, and how you work with other programmers. So it's the internal processes of how you're going to develop. And this contributes to the formation of the team's sense of coherence and cohesion because you want everyone to be involved and to feel a sense of shared ownership, but also the idea of a shared outcome in which we all created the result and are all responsible for the result. Help create a team that has the interpersonal and technical skills needed to achieve all known project objectives in order to create business value with minimal delay. So, as the project manager, you want to create a team that can communicate with one another and work with one another. So you have some emotional intelligence here, but they also have the technical skills needed in order to create these objectives. if you need a SQL programmer, developer, database owner, or whatever the terminology you want to use is. If you need someone who knows SQL and you don't have that skill set, then you're missing that skill set. So you want to create a team that has the interpersonal and technical skills in order to reach those project objectives, because if you don't, then you're going to be lacking in business value, and that's going to create delay, disruptions, and poor quality in the project. Deliverable. Team empowerment is our next subdomain of team performance. Encourage team members to become generalising specialists in order to reduce team size and bottlenecks and to create a high-performing, cross-functional team. But what does PMI mean by generalising specialists? This means that you have team members that can develop code and also test code or write test cases. Now, it doesn't mean that developers are writing their own tests for the code they develop. What it means is that I can write a test that anyone can write the code for, and it has to pass this test. There has to be some agreement on what the test is. A generalising specialist, on the other hand, may be someone who can write tests, program, and help write user manuals so that they can get away from the idea that I am only a developer or a tester and that I can do more than one activity. The idea of how this reduces bottlenecks makes sense because if I can move labour or effort from one activity to another to have more throughput, that can get rid of a bottleneck. Contribute to self-organizing the work by empowering others and encouraging emerging leadership in order to produce effective solutions and manage complexity. So the idea of contributing to self-organizing work means you do not command and control as the PM but rather allow the team to do so. The team is empowered to determine who does what or who's willing to do what. This is part of emergent leadership, where different leaders come forward in the project at different times and continuously discover team and personal motivators and demotivators in order to ensure that team morale is high and team members are motivated and productive throughout the project. So you figure out what motivates and demotivates people, and by understanding what those motivators are, you can use them to help people achieve their goals while also keeping the team focused on delivering value to the customer in order to keep the team productive on the project. It's not just motivators, but you want to take away those D motivators so your team can focus on getting work done. Team collaboration and commitment facilitate close communication within the team and with appropriate external stakeholders through colocation or the use of collaboration tools in order to reduce miscommunication and rework. Well, that's a pretty lengthy way of saying that colocated teams, teams that work face-to-face and communicate face-to-face, have better odds of not miscommunicating or having to do rework. So we want to have close communication, and we'll talk more about this, of course, when we get into the details of team performance. But basically, colocated teams are preferred. Face-to-face communication is preferred. If that's not feasible, then we use those collaboration tools like web conferencing software to reduce distractions in order to establish a predictable outcome and optimise the value delivered. So this is the idea of servant leadership. You remove things that are impediments to the team. So one thing here is a great example. If we have a colocated team, they all work in one space. Well, reducing distractions would mean that if you're not part of this development team, you do not go into this room. This is only for the development team. And so customers, stakeholders, visitors—no, they're not allowed to go in that room. so you reduce distractions. Participate in aligning project and team goals by sharing project vision in order to ensure the team understands how their objectives fit into the overall goals. of the project. So what we're talking about here is that the team goals have to be aligned with the project goals in sharing the project vision, so they have to really understand what the customer wants. So we don't exclude the teams from those conversations; they participate because they really want to understand how their objectives, their day-to-day activities, support that shared project vision that they are all working towards. The goals of the project encourage the team to measure its velocity by tracking and measuring actual performance in previous iterations or releases in order for members to gain a better understanding of their capacity and create a more accurate forecast. Well, velocity is how fast something moves. How quickly are you getting work done? So when you first start an agile project, the first couple of iterations or even the first several may not be very reliable. But then it begins to settle down and normalize, and the team can begin to track that and make predictions about how much work they can actually get done per iteration.
7. Adaptive Planning: PMI-ACP Exam Domain Details
Now we'll look at the fifth domain, adaptive planning. 12% of the domain is adaptive planning. So adaptive planning actually has ten tasks in three subdomains, but it only counts for 12% of your exam. So ten tasks will equate to 14 questions. Produce and maintain an evolving plan from initiation to closure based on goals, values, risk constraints, stakeholder feedback, and review findings. So adaptive planning at these levels of planning is our first domain plan at multiple levels. So we start with the strategic planning—very high level—then the release planning, so it's a little bit more narrow. When are you going to release this thing? The iteration and daily So plan at multiple levels, developing appropriate detail through rolling wave planning and progressive elaboration to balance predictability of outcomes with the ability to capitalise on opportunities. So this objective is talking about planning, obviously, from very high to very specific, from a strategic big picture all the way down to what activities we do today. Now, the idea of rolling wave planning and progressive elaboration—rolling wave planning is really agile—is a model of rolling wave planning that you plan and you do, and you plan and you do the successive iterations of planning and doing. Now I know it's more than that, but the idea here of rolling wave planning is that I plan in detail for the imminent work and I plan at a high level for future work, and this allows me to balance the predictability of outcomes that I'm planning very specifically for this iteration and what opportunities I have to exploit in this iteration. Now, progressive elaboration means that as more details become available, I can plan more details. So the idea of progressive elaboration is that you're going to create a whole new kitchen in my home for me. So I want a kitchen. All right, well, what type of kitchen do you want? What do you do in your kitchen? Well, we do a lot of cooking and entertaining, and I want an eat-in breakfast bar. So now you have more details to ask and more questions. All right, you do a lot of cooking. Do you want a chef stove or do you want just a regular stainless steel stove? Oh no, I want a chef stove. Well, do you want water over the stove to fill up for big pots of pasta? No, I don't cook a lot of pasta. And so as more information becomes available, you can ask more questions, and you can act accordingly. Make planning activities visible and transparent by encouraging participation of key stakeholders and publishing planning results in order to increase commitment levels and reduce uncertainty. So planning happens with stakeholders; it's not a separate activity; the team's involved and stakeholders are involved, and that means that we have involvement, consensus, commitment, buy-in, and it gets rid of uncertainty. Uncertainty is a risk as the project unfolds, and we manage stakeholder expectations by making increasingly specific commitments in order to ensure a common understanding of the expected deliverables. So we have stakeholder expectations of what they think we are going to create for them. We want to make sure that what they think is exactly what we are. So we make specific levels of commitment, which we do through backlog prioritization, reviews, and constant communication, so that their expectations align with what our team's expectations are and what they will be creating. So there's consensus and shared ownership of what is being created. Adaptation: adapt the cadence and the planning process based on the results of periodic retrospectives about the characteristics and/or the complexity and criticality of the project deliverables in order to maximise value. So let's talk about maximising value. What is most valuable to the customer now, as we enter an iteration or sprint, is what we focus on. So the planning process is all based on the results of these retrospectives so that we can affect what we do next in the project based on what we've discussed with our customer in the past, and then tied to that is the size complexity criticality. So how big is the deliverable? Is it too big? Do we need to break it down some more? Is it too complex? So because of some complex user stories or some complex requirements, it's going to take more time, and so we can do less other work in this iteration because of the criticality of the work that's most important. So that is going to affect what we can create in an iteration. Inspect and adapt the project plan to reflect changes in requirements, schedule, budget, and shifting priorities based on team learning, delivery experience, stakeholder feedback, and defects in order to maximise business value delivered. Now, the project plan in an agile environment is not like a project plan in a predictive environment; it's fluid. We welcome change; we know change is going to happen, but when change happens, we need to document that change. Now, we don't have to be extensive to the point of what we might in a more predictive environment, but we do need some documentation about what has changed in the requirements. Has this affected our schedule or our budget? Has our stakeholder changed priorities? So as the team discovers and learns more about how to do the work, that might shift priorities with our product owner. So we always strive to provide value while keeping in mind what is going on in the project. So we have a little bit to trade off. Our first goal is to always maximise business value delivered to stakeholders. Our last domain here in adaptive planning is agile sizing and estimation of size items by using progressive elaboration techniques in order to determine likely project size independent of team velocity and external variables. So basically, as you understand more about the project, you are better able to more accurately estimate the project size and adjust capacity by incorporating maintenance and operation demands and other factors in order to create or update the range estimate. So the capacity we're talking about here is your team. So will there be maintenance and operation demands on your team that could affect the duration of the project? Create initial scope, schedule, and cost range estimates that reflect current high-level understanding of the effort necessary to deliver the project in order to provide a starting point for managing the project. on day one of this project. You don't know every possible deliverable. So you have a cost range, a scope range, and a schedule range. So usually this might be like plus or minus 20% or plus or minus three months—who knows? So it's somewhere; it's a starting point, and then through progressive elaboration, we can become more and more precise on what that is, but we have to start somewhere. And that's the next point, then: refined scope, schedule, and cost range estimates that reflect the latest understanding of the effort necessary to deliver the project in order to manage the project. So we have to start somewhere—that was the previous point. And then, as more information becomes available, we make refinements. So we find the scope; we narrow down what's in and out of scope; the schedule; and our cost range. Finally, the estimate was evaluated as complete using data from changes in resource capacity, project size, and velocity metrics. So basically, we keep tabs on what's happening in the project, and that will allow us to predict when the project will be done, the likely cost for the project, and what may or may not be able to remain in scope based on stakeholder deadlines. All right, great job talking about adaptive planning. Let's keep going.
8. Problem Detection and Resolution: PMI-ACP Exam Domain Details
Welcome back to our discussion about the Pmiacp exam blueprint. We're now moving into domain six, where problem detection and resolution will account for 10% of your exam. Problem detection and resolution have five tasks, or 10% of the exam. So roughly twelve questions continuously identify problems, impediments, and risks, prioritise and resolve them in a timely manner, monitor and communicate the problem resolution status, and implement process improvements to prevent them from occurring again. Create an open and safe environment by encouragingconversation and experimentation in order to surface problemsand impediments that are slowing the team downor preventing its ability to deliver value. So as the project manager, it is part of the idea of the project teams driving the project, not you, that you allow people to experiment and find ways to do their work better. So this helps with surface problems, but it might also give you an opportunity if there are impediments that are slowing down the team. This is the idea of the servant leader—that you take care of those impediments. You help the team deliver value by maximising the way that they can work. Identify threats and issues by educating and engaging the team at various points in the project in order to resolve them at the appropriate time and improve the processes that caused them. So you take action to get rid of threats and issues. How do you do that? Educate and engage the team. Now, the idea of various points, usually we're talking about any type of team retrospective where you can look back and do some lessons learned and what worked and what didn't. So how can you approve that in the next iteration that you don't wait till the very end of the project to do this? You're doing this throughout the project so that the next iteration can go better. Ensure issues are resolved by appropriate team members and/or reset expectations in light of issues that cannot be resolved in order to maximise the value delivered. Pretty straightforward. So if you have a team member and they say they're going to take care of an issue and they don't figure out why, or if it's an issue that cannot be resolved, then you reset expectations. Now, isn't that interesting that we have an issue that cannot be resolved? Well, think about this. Your project team may have day-to-day activities they have to do beyond the project work. And one of those is that they have to go to a workshop or have to go to a meeting every week at the same time. So that could be a disruption or an interruption to the work while the other manager says, "Too bad they have to come to this meeting, which can't be resolved." So you make adjustments, you work around it, you maximise values, and you focus. Maintain a visible, monitored and prioritised list ofthreats and issues in order to evaluate accountability,encourage action, and track ownership and resolution status,so visible, monitored, prioritised those are three greatways to describe how you communicate in Agile. So a list of threats and issues Here's what you want to know about this for your exam. It's called a "risk burn down," meaning that over time the risk threat diminishes. So we'll go over this in more detail when we talk about problem detection and resolution, but we want the risk to be very low over time; we don't want it to be high; it usually is high at the start of the project and then diminishes over time, but it's visible, monitored, and has a prioritised list of threats and issues. Then we communicate the status of threats and issues by maintaining threat lists and incorporating activities into the backlog of work in order to provide transparency. You've heard this idea a couple of times: that our priorities in our backlog also contain the risk that we address. So it's not two separate lists of ideas here that we have requirements, user stories in the backlog, and threats in the backlog, so that we attack both based on their project priorities.
9. Continuous Improvement: PMI-ACP Exam Domain Details
We're now moving into our conversation on domain seven, the last of the domains for the PMI CP exam. And it's on a continuous improvement path. And as you can see, this is only 9% of your exam objectives. There are six tasks that you will be tested on at this 9%. So it's basically about eleven questions. And the objective here is to continuously improve the quality, effectiveness, and value of the product, the process, and the team. So, continuous improvement. It's the three P's of product process: people tailor and adapt the project process by periodically reviewing and integrating team practices, organisational culture, and delivery goals in order to ensure team effectiveness within established organisational guidelines and norms. So you're allowed to tailor and adapt your approach to the project, and then you do this, the reviews, and then what's?You try to incorporate that into your team's work. How does your organisation work? Try to incorporate that. Do whatever you can to ensure the team has the power to get their work done effectively and efficiently within the guidelines of your company. But they have some leeway here that you want to tailor and adapt as needed. Improve team processes by conducting frequent retrospectives and improvement experiments in order to continually enhance the effectiveness of the team, project, and organization. So one of our goals as a servant leader is to improve team processes. And you do this by looking back at the end of each iteration. So in your retrospectives, you find out what experiments worked or did not work well, and you adjust and move forward. It's not a way to say "you failed" or to cast blame on somebody. It's just, how can we make the next iteration work better based on what we've learned so far? Seek feedback on the product by way of incremental delivery and frequent demonstrations in order to improve the value of the product. The key thing here is frequent demonstrations. So when you have a retrospective and your customers are involved in this review, you're going to demonstrate what you've created so far so the customer can see it, understand it, and confirm that you're moving in the correct direction. And if you're not well, then you can make adjustments. Create an environment of continued learning by providing opportunities for people to develop their skills in order to develop a more productive team of generalising specialists. So this is pretty straightforward. You give people the opportunity to learn new things. You give them the opportunity to learn new things. So you might do this, yes, through training courses, but you might also do it by learning from each other. So some peer-to-peer training, shadowing, or just working with other people with skills different than what you may have as a developer or tester, or what have you, The idea here is that you want to get back to the generalising specialist, where an individual can play more than one role in the project. Challenge existing process elements by performing a valuestream analysis and removing waste in order to increase individual efficiency and team effectiveness. We will talk more about value stream analysis, but basically, what it is is that it examines the flow of work, a product, or information through a system and then identifies opportunities for improvement. So how can we remove waste? Create systemic improvements by disseminating knowledge and practises across projects and organisational boundaries in order to avoid the reoccurrence of identified problems and improve the effectiveness of the organisation as a whole. This is a really lofty objective here, but the idea is that you take what you've learned in your project and you share that with others so that others can emulate what you've done. And this is part of the role of an agile leader, right? that you are communicating, educating, and getting others involved in the idea of Agile project management. The goal with the specific objective, on the other hand, is all about preventing mistakes from occurring again and eliminating problems to make everyone in the organisation more effective. That brings us to the end of our conversation on all of the objectives on the ACP exam. Let's just take a second and look at our strategy, or at a strategy for you. So the big one here is obviously value-driven. Deliverables are 20% of your exam. That does not mean you should ignore problem detection and continuous improvement. It just means you should spend more time on value-driven delivery. Now, problem detection and resolution and continuous improvement—those are pretty small objectives. I mean, it won't be hard for you to master if you really dig in and learn those two. If you knew those two, that's 19% of your exam; plus value-driven delivery, that's almost 40% of the exam. Are those three alone? Now, I'm not saying ignore the others, but just notice how they're all grouped together about the same. So what I encourage you to do is, as we move through this course, pay attention to which one of these topics is giving you the most trouble. And that's where you're going to put your effort. You want to take the one that is causing you the most difficulty and spend more time on it because you want to improve your performance, your test-taking performance, on the objectives that are causing you the most difficulty. If you're fairly new to Agile or your organisation has done a different flavour of Agile than what we may be discussing here, then you may have to make some adjustments and plan accordingly. But I just want you to pay attention to your test scores and any terms you're not familiar with as we move through this course because we're going to be following these seven domains for the remainder of the course. Pay attention to this stuff and plan accordingly. Attack accordingly. Your goal is to pass the exam. So we're going to devise a strategy for passing the exam by focusing on which of these domains is obviously worth the most value-driven delivery, but which one has the most opportunity for you to get a good score and capitalise on what you know and have experience in. Alright, great job finishing up this talk about all of the exam objectives.
10. PMI Resources for the PMI-ACP Exam
As you begin to prepare to pass your PMIACP exam, it's a good idea to visit PMI and check out what the official exam objective is. And that's what we're going to look at in this brief lecture on the official exam objectives and the handbook and some other resources that you should check out. You should download these. So let's hop in and talk about these different objectives and these different goals right now. First and foremost, the official exam objectives can be found at PMI.Orgcertificationagilemanagementacp. Now I'm going to call up the PMI's website, and I'm going to walk you through these different items that you should download and look at. Let me pull that up now. All right, so here I am on PMI.Org's website, and you can see the address here in the title bar where I'm hanging out. And this website provides us with some information about the PMI ACP. kind of gives us an overview. You can see again that it's our fastest growing certification. So that's important to know. And you can take a look at some qualifications for who should apply and what the test is about. And this is also where you get to begin applying for the exam. Now I'm going to scroll back up to the top, and this is the Exam Content Outline. So I'm going to click that, and it's a PDF document. And so this is the official Exam Content Outline. So in this document, everything that you need to know can be checked to see when it was last revised about the ACP exam. So I'm going to scroll down a little bit to the good stuff here. So here is the table of content. So that's the quick intro, and then we'll dive right into the exam content outline. And then what we've looked at already in this module are the domains one through seven, the domains and tasks that you need to be familiar with to pass the exam. And there are some tools and techniques, and there's a role delineation study about what does an ACP do in their role as a project manager? I'm going to go ahead and scroll into this just a little bit. I talked about the introduction. So this gives us some ideas of how the ACP came about. And then this idea of the role delineation study that was the basis for the exam Come down a little bit again and let's get into the exam content outline. So this is where that information came from that I shared with you already in the score summary: the different domains and the percentage of items that you can expect on these domains on the exam. And then we get into the very specific domains and tasks. And this is what I covered, and what we have already covered in this course. So what I've shown you are the actual exam objectives that you can expect to be tested on in the exam. And then if you go on, you can see these are the different tasks that we've already walked through, and it's pretty extensive, so I'm not going to take the time to go through this again. But you can see they have a little bit more information on each area of the domains and the subdomains and the different tasks that you're going to be tested on. So it's a good idea to go and download this from PMI.org. Probably not something you have to study, but I would encourage you, especially now as we begin to move to this course, to maybe read this to kind of set the stage, if you will, for the remainder of the course. And what we're going to be focusing on is that we're going to be covering each of these domains in each of these different tasks, seeing them in action, and talking about all the characteristics and attributes of these tasks that you must know in order to pass the exam. So we're all the way down here at domain seven. I want to move forward a little bit and look at these tools and techniques. You should definitely be familiar with all of these tools and techniques, and we'll be talking about them throughout the course. So this might be something you keep handy if you're making your flashcards, which I recommend you do. This is a great list of terms to make sure that you have on your flashcard. So you'd write down these terms that youcan Google them or, as we touch on these topics throughout the course, you can fill in the blanks on these flashcards, but this is the terminology you're going to see on the exam. See, a lot of people don't take advantage of this. PMI tells us what we're going to be tested on. So this is where you should begin your studies. What exactly will you be tested on? Why study something that's not going to be on the exam or ignore something that you will be tested on? So I highly recommend you hop out to PMI's website and download this document. This is the exam content outline. I'm going to go back to the PMI site here. We just looked at the exam content outline. Now I want to look at the handbook. So I'm going to open up this document, and I'm going to scroll down a little bit in this one as well. As you can see, this is a pretty long document. It gives a little background on the ACP exam. How do you apply for it and pay for it? What's the audit process like? What are the policies and procedures? So a lot of the information I've already given you in this session comes directly from this handbook. So this is where you can go and download this information. and I would encourage you to at least glance through it. If not, read it, especially as you begin to study for the ACP exam. Now, some of this is kind of boilerplate. It's going to be for every PMI certification, but some of it is very specific to the ACP exam. The last thing I want to look at here is two more things, actually. I want to look at exam guidance. So this is also on PMI's website. I've shared some of this with you, but it has some tips. Here's what you should do and what we've already talked about. Review the handbook, look at the exam outline, and it will also come back to this and enrolling in a formal study. And then there's an appeal. That's what you're doing right now. We're a registered education provider, so you have this information. The last thing I want to look at, though, is this reference list. So the link to it is right here. So we'll go back to this reference list on your exam. The exam is based on all of these different books and resources, some of which are online, but most of these are books. And as you can see, there are a bunch of different books. It's not like you just have the pinback. There are lots of different titles that you'll be tested on. Do you have to read all of these titles? No, that's the point of this course: that I've taken the best of each of these and condensed them to map to the exam objectives. And so this is the course that you're taking now, and the ACP exam is based on all of these resources. All right, so that was just a quick overview of what I feel like you need to know as you prep to pass the PMI ACP exam. We looked at the exam objectives; we looked at the ACP handbook; some exam guidance; and the reference list. So I wanted to just take a second and show you that information as you prepare to pass the exam.
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