PRINCE2 Agile® Certification

The latest standard from AXELOS, PRINCE2 Agile, naturally comes with a certification program. I’m going to answer some of the frequent questions about this new certification.

PRINCE2 Agile Certification Levels

Most AXELOS standards have multiple levels of certification, while PRINCE2 Agile has only one advanced level: PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner.

There’s no PRINCE2 Agile Foundation, because the whole idea behind PRINCE2 Agile is to tailor PRINCE2® to suit the Agile environments, and tailoring is something we don’t expect from a Foundation level.

PRINCE2 Agile Exam Prerequisites

There’s a serious prerequisite for the exam: being PRINCE2 Practitioner certified.

The reason, as mentioned before, is that PRINCE2 Agile is about tailoring, and that’s one of the main focus areas in PRINCE2 Practitioner. They just want you to be familiar with the tailoring concept before starting your PRINCE2 Agile program.

There are no other prerequisites besides it. For example, there’s no obligation for taking approved courses; while it’s recommended.

Related Article: PRINCE2 Agile Preview

PRINCE2 Agile Exam Format

  • 50 scenario-based, multiple choice questions
  • 60% passing score
  • 2.5 hours
  • Open book (only the official PRINCE2 Agile manual)

The Questions and Topics

The first thing you should know is that there are only normal multiple-choice questions in this exam, unlike PRINCE2 Practitioner that uses a variety of question types. Most of them are based on a scenario; a project. However, I don’t find reading the scenario essential to answering the questions.

As I see it, the types and frequency of questions are as follows.

1. Questions about the basic topics (about 5% of all questions)

Here you can find simple questions such as “what is a timebox”, or “what is an information radiator”. There are also questions about the basics of PRINCE2 Agile, or about generic things from the PRINCE2 Agile perspective. For example, you might be asked to describe what “Agile” is, which is a simple question, but you have to answer it the way PRINCE2 Agile likes, rather than what you believe in (yes, I don’t really agree with its definition of Agility).

Another type of basic questions is about the PRINCE2 Agile approach; for example, you should know that it’s a tailored form of PRINCE2 that is compatible with existing Agile methods, instead of providing its own method.

2. Questions about “focus areas” (about 20% of all questions)

There are five “focus areas” in PRINCE2 Agile:

  • The Agilometer
  • Requirements
  • Rich Communication
  • Frequent Releases
  • Contracts

They discuss the common concerns and problems found in Agile environments. About 20% of the exam questions are about these.
For those already familiar with Agile, it’s rather easy to answer these questions, even without knowing much about PRINCE2 Agile. Well, except for the Agilometer, which is something specific to PRINCE2 Agile.

3. Tailoring (about 75% of all questions)

This is the main topic in the exam, covered with about 75% of the questions. In here, a case is explained, and you’re asked if it’s a good way of tailoring PRINCE2. Alternatively, they might ask how the topic should be tailored in this case.

The elements you’re asked about are Principles, Themes, Processes, Management Products, and project targets.

Note: Principles should not be tailored in PRINCE2; so, the question would be “is it a right application of … principles?”

The tailoring explained in PRINCE2 Agile is more about general guidelines such as “keep it simple”, and “make it informal and low-tech”. You won’t find hard-core tailoring applied to the Product Descriptions or responsibility tables. So, it’s not as complicated as you might expect.

If you’re good enough at PRINCE2, and familiar with Agile, I think you should be able to answer many of these questions correctly. However, it helps a lot if you understand the specific viewpoint of PRINCE2 Agile.

Sample Questions

You probably like to see a few questions. Here they are:

Sample question 1

One of the teams is using an information radiator in their timeboxes. During the composition of a related Work Package, The Team Manager is asking the Project Manager to consider it as the Checkpoint Report.

Is it a good application of Checkpoint Reports?

  1. Yes, because in Agile environments, Checkpoint Reports can be pulled instead of pushed.
  2. Yes, because in Agile environments, Checkpoint Reports should be low-tech and informal.
  3. No, because Checkpoint Reports are time-based reports that should be sent to the Project Manager.
  4. No, because Checkpoint Reports should contain more than what can be presented on an information radiator.

The right answer is 1. Most of the information you need as a Checkpoint Report can be included in an information radiator, and using them makes things simpler. It also suits the Agile delivery methods, and therefore, is a good option. However, it’s not “necessary” to use low-tech and informal reports.

Sample question 2

The Benefits Review Plan created in the initiation stage contains a detailed guideline on how to measure the benefits of each iteration/stage and reflect the result in the next iteration/stage.

Is this a right application of Benefits Review Plan?

  1. Yes, because it’s describing the benefits instead of values.
  2. Yes, because it also describes how to measure the benefits during the project.
  3. No, because it should be prepared after the initiation stage, and it shouldn’t be detailed.
  4. No, because it should only describe the post-project benefits.

The right answer is 2. The Benefits Review Plan is a livelier and more effective plan in Agile environments compared to predictive ones.

As usual, in addition to the post-project benefits (or business values, or outcomes), it should also explain it for the duration of the project. It’s actually a plan for receiving feedback from the market, users, and customer, to use for adaptation, which is essential in Agile.

How to Prepare for the Exam?

The first resource is obviously the official manual (available in print and PDF). Since it’s the only book you can use during your open-book exam, you should have it anyway.

For a basic training on PRINCE2 Agile, I suggest the email-course I’ve prepared: PRINCE2 Agile Awareness, One Step a Day. It’s free, and you only need to spend a few minutes per day learning it.

The last time I searched, there were no elearning courses available. It’s natural, since the standard is new, and it takes a long time to prepare one. We’ve been also working on a PRINCE2 Agile eLearning course, but it’s not ready yet.

The classroom courses are also rather hard to find, but still you can search on the internet and find a few of them. Or better yet, start your search from the AXLOES directory of ATOs. It would be much easier to find classroom courses as time passes, since training organizations need time to prepare their material and start delivering courses.

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