Understand the tools and techniques portion of the ACP toolkit, and then practice some questions in this category.
- There are tools that you're expected to know how to use or do as an Agilist. In the PMI ACP outline, we've been focusing on those domain areas, but PMI breaks those domains into further categories known as the toolkit. The toolkit contains knowledge areas in the tools and techniques, T&T, and knowledge and skills, K&S, for that domain. Since both are present in each domain, let's start by focusing on the T&T portion of the toolkit first.
For example, knowing how to build and maintain a backlog and servant leadership are considered tools and techniques essential to leading an agile team, so you should be experienced in how to do them. These questions commonly use scenarios to test your knowledge. You'll need to be able to decide what you should do next or infer what happens next. Like all PMI exams, there may be more than one correct answer. However, there is always a best answer.
Let's practice answering some of these T&T type of questions. Let's look at a non agile question to focus on how to choose the best answer. What steps would you need to take to paint a room? The first step to answering this kind of question is to eliminate the obvious wrong answers. In this example, A, and B, can be eliminated immediately since you can't do any painting at all until you buy the paint.
Next, look at C and D. Either of these answers can be done, but what's typical or logical most of the time? It's that you would tape the trim before you start painting, so D is the best answer. As you can see, standard operating procedures apply in these questions. Ask yourself, what would you normally do? Normally I'd buy the paint, tape the trim, and then start painting.
Now let's look at an agile example you might encounter. Which of the following is a valid agile KPI? Remember, KPIs are the key performance indicators that tell us whether the project is on track to meet our desired end date. Let's eliminate the answers we know are wrong. First, we know that option A, velocity, only measures the team's capacity for work, so it doesn't reflect the overall project.
The same holds true for option B, release plan. For option C, meeting the sprint goal, is an indirect indicator of the progress the team is making, but D is the best answer here because the likely completion date actually tells you when the full backlog is expected to be finished. Let's take a look at another question that you might encounter in the T&T category.
Which of the following is not one of the seven hallmarks of servant leadership? In order to eliminate the wrong answers here, you're actually looking for items that do reflect good servant leadership. Recall what you know about servant leaders. They're self aware and they're able to influence those around them. They also help the team rebound from mistakes and failures. That's emotional resilience. That means that B, self-aggrandizement, is not a trait of the servant leader and is the right answer.
Let's do one more from the tools and techniques category. Which common agile estimation technique is based on the Wideband Delphi estimation method? This one is a little trickier, so let's examine each in turn. First, let's remember what we know about Wideband Delphi. This is an estimation approach that relies on anonymous estimates so that the estimate isn't based on group think or aligning behind the popular estimate.
Next, let's look at our list. T-shirt sizing and affinity estimating are usually done verbally, so they're not anonymous and can be eliminated. Option A is a mathematical series of numbers. While it's the basis for story pointing, A again has no requirement for anonymity. Option B is the best answer because planning poker technique does ask for simultaneous voting that prevents group think.
Sometimes you'll find a question where there's more than one best answer. Let's take a look at one. Which of these is a core concept of Lean? When looking at this one, remember that Lean has seven core concepts. As we recall those ideas, we recognize that A, C, and D are all among them. As a result, B is the best answer.
As you continue to study, be aware that many times the questions aren't really that difficult. You simply need to slow down and stay focused on what's actually being asked. By eliminating the clearly wrong answers first, you're logically working to find the best answer.
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- Exam overview
- Exam benefits
- Determining eligibility for the exam
- Navigating the application and audit process
- Reviewing core domain areas
- Reviewing the metrics covered on the exam
- How earned value management applies in agile
- What to expect on test day