Well the first PMI-ACP class was offered last week and based on the feedback forms and the personal comments about the course from the attendees, it's safe to say that we are on to something very positive!
The intent of this class is not only to pass the PMI-ACP exam the first time but to actually gain a strong understanding about Agile as a whole. What has been the most significant sign of of having gone beyond the traditional "cram for the exam" only approach is the large majority of students having expressed their excitement about implementing immediately some of the techniques shown to prepare for the PMI-ACP. Building better information radiators and many ways to improve team dynamics are the easy take away. Techniques like story mapping and diving deeply on how to improve many short feedback loops have proven to be areas where the many students found great insights to impact their respective organizations.
The material used to help students navigate the substantial Agile body of knowledge (mapping exactly the content of the PMI-ACP) has been a great success. I had a feeling that the PMI was on to something when I first looked at the way they organized all this information and it must be said that good structure can make a huge difference. Ultimately, the 3 day format was perfect and we even had time to practice as group taking a few exam like questions. This study group atmosphere as well as the Teach to Learn model used throughout the class were great ways to assure that the content started to stick into people's mind at a level necessary to get ready for the actual exam.
As we ended the class with numerous tips about preparing for the exam, one key element was to make sure to adopt the right level of discipline to study every day leading up to the exam. All students agreed to book their exam within the next 2-3 weeks, so I am hoping to celebrate their success very soon!