pmp-or-pmi

pmp-or-pmi

Which Certification Is Right PMP® Or PMI-ACP® ?

Are you unable to decide between PMP® or PMI-ACP®? It’s a classic dilemma for professionals looking for PMI® Certification.

Both PMP® and PMI-ACP® are globally recognized professional certificates. The decision indicates an important shift in your career direction and aspiration. While the final decision should come from you, in this blog I will share few pointers to help you in the process.

PMP® is often linked to traditional method of project management. If you are working in an industry or organization with strict command and control structure, PMP® is best for you. All non-IT industries still use waterfall model and are dependent on the project managers to deliver successful projects.

But with introduction of Agile in the PMBOK6®, this perception has changed. PMI constantly updates the certification content to keep it up to date with the market conditions. PMP® carries a greater brand value for professionals around the globe. It is a recognized certificate for any kind of project management irrespective of Agile or non-agile world.

So, before deciding on PMI-ACP® VS PMP® certification, it would be better to list out your specific requirements.

As a PMP® manager your roles would entitle you to:

  • Strategy Implementation: You need understanding and awareness of strategic goals. You get project goals linked with organizational strategies.  So, to deliver a successful project, you need deep understanding of the strategic requirements of the business. 
  • Leader: While having responsibility for the project, you need to own capability to lead and direct projects. For a successful project, both project management and leadership skills complement each other. So, as a project manager, you also have a responsibility to integrate leadership skills with project management skills.
  • Control: Control and regulate all the aspects of the project for its sustenance. You need to oversee all tasks and metrics to make sure the project is within scope, on time, and budget. Constant monitoring and controlling bring a minimal risk to the project and vital for its success.
  • Develop and Manage Team: You need to improve and track team skills, competencies, and collaboration. Here, the goal is to enhance project performance within budget and schedule allotted.
  • Apply Knowledge: You have to come up with enough knowledge and experience of a specific methodology required for the project in hand.

As an agile practitioner your roles would entitle you to:

  • Understanding Agile: Need understanding of agile methods and concepts. And to bring agility in your projects, you need a commitment to the right choice of practices, values, and behaviours.
  • Agile Practices: Work with project teams devised for agile practices which include many approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, and TDD.
  • Management: Strive to achieve lean management for the continuous improvements and for revising or cutting out steps that do not create value
  • Have Proficiency: Agility needs the right response to the changing project needs. You need to be proficient in utilizing the right mix of agile tools and techniques suited to the project.

Now, if you have all ‘yes’ for one certification then you have your answer. But, it often happens professionals get confused even after underling the roles of both the certifications. They have ‘yes’ for both the certifications. This is where the juggling takes place.

What to do when there is a tie between both PMP® and PMI-ACP®? I have devised a little questionnaire for you. Score ‘1’ if you are affirmative in either PMP® or PMI-ACP®.

I designed this table keeping in view the roles you wish to adhere to and aspire to play.

PMP®

PMI-ACP®

You monitor projects, but you do not interact with the complete team.  You only interact with a few sets of people and manage the project in an organized environment.

You are leading team and interact with each team member on a regular basis.

You only look at results which team produces; someone else ensures that the team produces the result.

You are responsible for your team's productivity. You are the one who sees the gaps and finds solutions if the team fails to produce desired results.

You do not get into details of how the software develops. You never bother about the build integration and coding issues.

You are responsible for ensuring that your team uses the right development practices to help in team productivity.

You are working on system integration projects where you have many teams associated with you.  And, your primary role is to identify and solve dependencies.

You are working as a Project Manager of the development team of 10-15 size. Here, your primary role is to ensure delivery, and you do use agile values in making day to day decisions.

You need to prepare complex project planning and monitoring reports. These reports go to the management at a frequency for review- the documentation.

You do prepare status reports, but they are not that complex. These reports go to management, but management also connected with you. They do discuss status with you when they need details.

You need to interact with many stakeholders; these stakeholders have been managing project traditionally for a while.

Your management is moving towards agile; they want to be lean as soon as possible.

Whichever side scores more would be your option. If you score same on both the sides, then my recommendation would be to opt for PMI-ACP® first. PMI-ACP ® is a new and advanced way of doing work. Once done with PMI-ACP® certification you can do PMP® which would be an add-on to your expertise and bring in more credits.

Hope this helps you in deciding what certification course you need to invest in. We are open for all sorts of queries. Do post follow up questions here on our DISCUSSION FORUM

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a project manager be a Scrum Master?

Answer:  
A Scrum master is the team coach. He is the leader in innovating solutions, seeks challenges, motivates, inspires and has a wide circle of influences. The responsibilities of the Scrum Master role do not translate to a project manager. Project Managers need a mix of leadership and management skills.  They work to deliver a successful project within the constraints of the project. They administer, control, seek to maintain the status quo, and have limited influence.  Yes, it is true that now project managers invest their lot of time in team development. But still, they need to have a balance between leading and managing the project.

Is there a project manager role in agile?

Answer:
There is no formal project management role in any Agile practices. In reality, designated project managers often put in Agile project management. It becomes a challenging situation as a Development team, Product Owner, and Scrum Master shares many of the project management work.
In Agile, there is no one-person show concept; it encourages participative decision making and wisdom of the crowd.

What is an Agile Certified Practitioner?

Answer:    
PMI-ACP® from PMI® is the fastest growing Agile certificate.  It includes agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, and TDD. It is the absolute evidence of your real-world, hands-on knowledge and abilities in using various agile approaches.

What is agile and scrum?

Answer:
Agile includes 4 values and 12 principles to deliver value to customers even in an uncertain environment. Scrum is one of the practices to put in place Agile values and principles. It is a framework help to build complex products in uncertain environments.
For more details about what is Agile, please refer:

And for What is Scrum:

I work with an IT company, but we are not using Agile as of now. How do I decided between PMP®and PMI ACP® ?

Nowadays, it is rare that you are not using Agile.  Agile is not about using specific well-known practices of Agile say Scrum, Kanban, and XP, etc.

If your team is valuing and working as per the 4 Agile Values and 12 principles, your team is Agile.  Whatever way you do work, if your team is valuing:

  • individual & interaction,
  • customer collaboration,
  • working software, and
  • responding to change,

....... it is Agile.

Let's talk about if you are eligible or not for PMI-ACP®?  For PMI-ACP®, you need to show at least 1500 (i.e., eight months) hours of Agile experience.  You need this experience working in an Agile team in the last three years.

For these 1500, PMI® considers your involvement in practices which supports agile values and principles. I am again emphasizing, these practices could be anything say -Scrum, XP, Kanban, or something else which your team found value. It could be a team customized and invented way of doing work also.   So, if your team is adhering to Agile Values and Principles in the day to day project work keeping in view the industry demands - you can do PMI-ACP® certificate.

For more details to check your eligibility for PMI-ACP® certification, please refer blog - PMI-ACP® Eligibility Experience Criteria Demystified

I am already a PMP®, will PMI-ACP® help me in my career?

Answer:  Yes, on fire to fuel your career goals it will help.  PMI-ACP® is the fastest growing Agile certificate.
 Let's first see a brief of PMP® and PMI-ACP®, and how they support in your career goal?
PMP® is a recognized certificate for effective project management irrespective if you are using Agile or not. In PMP®, you get a skill to integrate project areas together to deliver a successful project -
Say scope, cost, schedule, quality, resources, communication, risk, procurement, and stakeholders
In PMI-ACP®, you get knowledge of many approaches to Agile such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP, and TDD.  It is a notable channel to become a versatile Agile Practitioner.
So, in case you are in Agile team, and if you want to show evidence of your real-world, hands-on experience and skills in using various agile approaches, you should do PMI-ACP®.

If I have to go for both PMP® and PMI ACP®, do I need to keep a gap between both the certifications?

Answer:As per PMI® rules, you can submit only one certification application at a time. But, you can choose the next certificate immediately after your PMP® or PMI-ACP®.  PMI does not expect any gap between the two certificates.

In case of overlapping experience, how should I handle my PMP® and PMI ACP® applications?

Answer: If you do PMI-ACP® after your PMP® certificate, you need to re-write overlapping experience to map it with PMI-ACP® content outline tasks.

For example, if you have mentioned in one of your project for the planning process group:
-    involved in discovering stakeholders needs, actively engaged in developing an overall project management plan.

You can re-write it for PMI-ACP® application as follow:
-    Worked with stakeholders to know their interests, needs, and expectations

If you are planning PMP® after PMI-ACP®, you to need to align that overlapping experience with 5 PMP® process groups.
For example, let’s suppose you have mentioned following in your project description:
-    Worked with Team and Product Owner in creating and maintaining scrum artifacts, Product backlog, sprint backlog, and burndown chart.

Now if I talk about creating a Sprint Backlog, it is a planning activity.  In Sprint Planning meeting you create a Sprint Backlog. During Sprint, you monitor and keep updating it.
So you need to align description both in planning and monitoring.

One comment

  1. Jorge Bravo Pratscher

    Thanks for the chart explaining the differences. As you mentioned at the beginning of the page, I’ve said YES to everything, but after reading the chart it is clear that I will more successful learning Agile rather than PMP at least at the beginning.

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