This book was a primary part of my study plan in pursing PMI’s ACP certification. The certification is fairly new which results in slim picking for study aids. One thing that drew me to this title was the author. Mr. Griffiths was on the steering committee for the certification. He did not get involved with development of the exam questions but was involved in choosing what knowledge makes for an Agile Certified Professional in the PMI world. His ties to RMC (publishers of the book) also spoke to me. This well-known organization was specifically mentioned to me by my manager as I started on a journey away from software development.
The short version of the review is simple. The book was a great resource and I would recommend it to all and use it again myself.
The book does not waste any time getting going. The first chapter may sound like it will not help much upon an initial scan. Skipping it would end up being a mistake. It breaks down the test to the components that make it up. It details the knowledge areas on the test, the tools a tester will need to know, and the domains associated with the knowledge. One of the more useful, but easily overlooked, sections of this chapter is where Mr. Griffiths lists out the original 11 books which defined the exam content. By the end of the first chapter a reader knows what to spend the most time getting right and what is least likely to affect the test outcome.
The second chapter is a decent overview chapter. It covers Agile at the core. This is the broad brushstrokes that all Agilists should inherently know to some level. They may not come into play on a day-to-day level but will for the basis for more specific knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques. To give you an idea of how high-level this section is Scrum gets 2.5 pages of 40. As I scan over it now the information is densely packed in those pages, but it would not be enough information to pass a PSM exam. (Probably not enough for a CSM either but I have yet to take that exam.) The remaining 5 chapters specifically go over the Tool, Techniques, Knowledge, and Skills needed to pass the exam.
The format of the book worked really well for me. The chapters were not short, but they could be conquered in a solid evening study session. At the same time, it took more than 8 nights to get through due to the amount of information coming in. Inside of each chapter there were exercises similar to worksheets from a class to cement knowledge as it came in. Each chapter after the first had a test at the end to check knowledge for. The best part is that these were not “rote memorization” practice tests. They required understanding the material, not paging back a dozen flips and copying the information.
I truly believe if I had followed the guidance and gone through the book one or two more times I would have increased my proficiency level on at least one of the two exam sections. (I scored the average in both.) If I were to coach some people through getting an ACP in the next year then this book would be a required tool for them.