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    Default APMG AgilePM

    So I've just passed the AgilePM Practitioner exam and thought I'd share something about the certification.

    The Framework

    AgilePM is an Agile Project Management framework, which has evolved out of DSDM, and has its roots in the early 1990s and the world of Rapid Application Development. As such, with a heritage in IT, it is strongly IT flavoured although it is presented in more neutral terms with the idea that it could be applied to other fields.

    DSDM predates the Agile Manifesto by a few years, so although it aligns well with the values of the manifesto, it isn't consciously based on them. Fundamentally, it believes that value is best delivered through a close collaborative approach with the business, with focus on the business need, prioritising features and producing a solution through iterative, timeboxed, development and deployment cycles. Put another way, Time and Cost are 'fixed' and Scope is flexible with the aim being to produce the best solution in the time/cost constraints. Quality is a non-negotiable and features are delivered to the agreed quality or not at all.

    The Project Manager is viewed as a servant leader and does not necessarily need technical skills as they are supported in their function by a Business Analyst and a Technical Co-ordinator. The Project Manager also doesn't get involved too much in the day to day running of the development timeboxes, and is primarily an observer and "remover of obstacles". The day to day management of the timebox is delegated to the team.

    Apart from fixed timeboxes, fixed time/cost, flexible scope, iterative development, prioritisation and close collaboration with the business, it also makes use of common Agile techniques of stable, collocated teams, management by exception, and integrated testing/quality control.

    It differs from Scrum, that other Agile framework which is sooo popular, in that it designed and intended as a complete Project Management framework and not just a product development/delivery framework. This means it can scale better, and integrate well with Program and Portfolio management, and explicitly addresses areas that Scrum isn't so concerned with eg governance and management.

    But it does try to be open and flexible, so that you can integrate it with other approaches, for example PMBoK, Prince2 or Scrum or Lean or whatever else. For example, you could manage work within the timeboxes using Scrum, use Lean to improve the processes of PM, use SixSigma to manage your quality concerns.

    The Certification

    The AgilePM certification set up is similar to Prince2, with a Foundation level certification and a Practitioner level certification. The Foundation level is a prerequisite to the Practitioner level. There is no experience or training requirement, so you could just pick up and read the official guide and sit the exam.

    The Foundation exam consists of 50 multiple choice questions, and the pass mark is 50%. The exam is 40 minutes and closed book.

    The Practitioner exam has a scenario, and 4 sections which focus on different aspects of AgilePM with a total of 80 marks and a 50% pass mark. The exam is 2.5 hours and is open book.

    If you do your study, read the book, know where to find things in the book and manage the exam process, it should be relatively easy to pass. Some background knowledge of Project Management and Agile is useful, though.

    Also available are certifications for the AgileBA and AgilePgM.

    AgileBA is for the Business Analyst role within the framework. The BA role is quite integral to the process as they are the ones who help to clarify requirements and priorities, in the same servant leader mode. It also comes in the two levels of Foundation and Practitioner.

    The AgilePgM is concerned with Programme Management, and is currently in a Foundation only format.

    APMG is the sole examinator(?) for the AgilePM, AgileBA and AgilePgM certifications, but there is a related set of DSDM certifications as well.
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    #2
    So my personal experience for this certification.

    I attended a 4 day course, with exams included, over 4 weeks. I had attended a Prince2 course run by the same instructor, and found him to be really good. If you are in Australia, then I can highly recommend him as trainer. He does corporate work as well - which honestly is probably the best way to do this if you are interested in actually implementing it. Any new methodology or framework needs a cultural shift in the organisation, so having it tailored and involving everyone possible at the outset is likely the smartest way to do it.

    We used the official book, some exercises, and the usual death by powerpoint - but not too bad when you have an instructor who knows what they are talking about and who can read a room to know when to digress. Also included were sample exams for the Foundation and Practitioner exams with answers and explanations. This was very useful, and I am not sure if it accessible outside of a training course.

    The first 12 chapters of the book (1/3 roughly) cover the Foundation exam. It's fairly easy to get into, and I do feel that you could pass the exam just from the book alone. The next 2/3s (another 12 chapters) covers the Practitioner content. Because of this layout, some of the material is repeated from one section to the next.

    The exercises were also quite useful in making some of the things more concrete and raising questions about how to put this into practice.

    Learning this agile approach was good as it gave a different perspective on project management and I could then compare and contrast methods. I think that process of comparison really helps to get at the heart of what matters, and to understand why we use certain practices.

    The Foundation exam was very straight forward, and honestly I can't see how you could fail if you read and understood the first 12 chapters of the book. It probably provides adequate background for people who would be involved in projects, but not having specialist roles of Business Analyst or Project Manager.

    The Practitioner exam is a bit more challenging since you need to analyse a scenario, the question formats are a bit more challenging, and you have the temptation to check every answer in the book. I was a little underprepared, and ended up finishing in about 1hr 50min (1 minute 12s per question), leaving 40mins to check my work against the book - and I used all that time checking.
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    #3
    OctalDump

    Thank you for providing the information about this exam. I was studying for my PMP late last year until I put it on hold to start my MBA. I fully intend to resume my pursuit of the PMP followed by an agile certification. However, I have seen a lot of job posts in my area for the Certified Scrum Master certification instead of the AGMP.

    Wanted to get your thoughts on if you have done any research on it and if you can offer any comparative info.
    Completed in 2017: MBA: Information Technology Management (WGU)
    Currently Working On: PMP
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    #4
    The big difference is that Scrum isn't a project management framework. That's not to say that it doesn't have a place within project management, or can't be used as a substitute for "getting work done" in some cases.

    DSDM's strength is that it is a complete project management framework, so that it can deal with larger and more complex projects, or where there are increased governance needs or where an organisation is used to working with more traditional methods and wants something more familiar that they can adapt.

    Scrum is likely to be more popular (in terms of numbers of people wanted with this skill) since there are more smaller scale products which it can be easily adapted to, and the way which it work means that you typically have more technical people needing exposure to the details of Scrum.

    Having said that, Scrum is very accessible and there's no reason not to get a Scrum certification, or just read the Scrum Guide (it's not a bad thing to read even if you aren't intending to do Scrum). And Scrum can be integrated into other existing frameworks, as long as the people doing it know what they are doing and why they are doing it.

    My philosophy is that you should have as many tools as you can, and adapt your approach to the situation.
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    #5
    Thank you, I am also preparing for AgilePM V2 Foundation.
    Anywhere can get practice exams, other the than APMG site ?
    Last edited by JDMurray; 02-15-2017 at 01:45 PM.
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