Project Management Professional (PMP) vs. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) Certification

PMP (Project Management Professional) and ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) are two of the most popular and widely accepted certifications in the field of project management.

PMP establishes your credentials as a professional who is skilled enough to work in and manage different kinds of projects whereas PMI-ACP establishes your credentials as a professional who can adapt and implement agile technologies across various projects of an organization. 

Both are globally recognized certifications that are applicable in different industries and projects. A common thing about these certification courses is that both of them are offered by PMI (Project Management Institute) which is a highly reputed and most popular institution when it comes to project management and related fields.

PMI-PMP v/s PMI-ACP – Eligibility  

Though both PMP and ACP are offered by the same institute i.e. PMI, their criteria for eligibility do not match.

For becoming a PMP professional you must possess 7500 hours of a team-leading experience or 5 years of working experience on different projects if you are a diploma holder. If you are a degree holder you will require 3 years of experience or 4500 hours of team leading experience.  

Apart from that, you should undertake 35 hours of the contact-training program from any of the institutes that are recognized by PMI.

For becoming an Agile Certified Practitioner, you must possess 2000 hours of experience while working on different projects (a PMP certification will also be enough as it suffices this condition) along with 1500 hours of experience while working on agile projects and methodologies and 21-hour contact training program that is related to agile practices.

This means that you can take up an ACP course if you do not have a vast experience in project management but have work in agile teams. Similarly, if you have not worked in agile teams then you can target the PMP course first.  

PMI-PMP v/s PMI-ACP – Exam Pattern 

ACP exam comprises of 120 MCQs. In these questions, 20 questions are pre-test questions and their marks are not calculated in the final score. You will get 1 hour to answer all these questions.

PMP comprises of 200 MCQs in which 25 questions are pre-test questions. You will get 4 hours to answer all these questions.  

ACP exam can be either paper-based or online depending on the institution in which you have enrolled whereas the PMP exam is conducted through an online test only.

PMI-PMP v/s PMIACP – Job Roles  

The primary role of a candidate who has completed the PMI-ACP certification course is to implement an agile methodology in the development process of the projects. Apart from that, he also needs to eliminate the steps that do not add value to the project to adopt lean management guidelines in an organization. Moreover, he needs to optimize the use of agile tools and methodologies in the organization. Also, he needs to enhance the adaptability of an organization when it comes to agile technologies that ultimately improve productivity and results in customer satisfaction.

A candidate who has completed the PMI-PMP certification must ensure that the strategies are being effectively implemented in various projects while balancing the different project constraints. He also needs to resolve system dependencies by monitoring and working on system integration and has to co-ordinate with different teams that are working in the organization. He must understand and implement different types of management to bring in better productivity and results in various processes.  

PMP certification focuses on traditional waterfall methodology that works best when the requirements and constraints of a project are fixed. As a result, it works best for simple and uncomplicated projects. On the other hand, ACP certification focuses on the modern agile technology which works the best for complex and dynamic projects that might face changes in the requirements, scope, and constraints at different stages in a project.

PMI-PMP v/s PMI-ACP – Which certification should I choose?  

It is natural for anyone to be confused while choosing these certifications. However, you can also opt for both these certifications for adding more credibility and value to your resume.

PMP certification will help you even if you are not interested in agile methodology as it validates your credentials in handling different types of projects. It makes you an expert in procurement, communicating requirements, mitigating risks, and understanding the key balance between scope, budget, time, and other constraints.  

On the other hand, ACP certification introduces you to various agile approaches such as Kanban, Lean, TDD, Scrum, etc. It validates your credentials as a specialized agile practitioner who has skills to use and implement different agile approaches.

Agile is certainly in great demand these days and therefore, you should not ignore ACP as it is the most sought after agile certifications in the world.  

Also, you do not have to maintain a gap between PMI-PMP and PMI-ACP certifications as long as you are enrolling for one certification at a time. PMP certification will help you throughout your career even if you change your industry or job role whereas ACP certification is suitable for those who want to lead projects and take complete responsibility for a project.