Passing the PMI-ACP Audit: A Complete Guide to Success

The PMI-ACP audit plays an essential role in affirming the qualifications of professionals in Agile project management. This process is randomly conducted to maintain the PMI-ACP certification’s credibility. The audit is designed to thoroughly assess candidates’ qualifications through a detailed review of their formal education, training hours, and hands-on experience in Agile projects.

This guide provides an in-depth look at the audit’s random selection mechanism and underscores its importance for preserving the value of the certification. It includes a detailed preparation checklist, covering necessary educational qualifications, required training hours, and steps to pass the audit.

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Understanding the PMI-ACP Audit: Ensuring Credibility and Value

The PMI-ACP certification has an audit process to validate credentials and ensure the integrity of the certification. Erin Aldridge, an expert on PMI-ACP certification, highlights that “between 10%-15% of PMI-ACP applications undergo a random audit.” The purpose behind this procedure, as Aldridge explains, is for the PMI to ensure that the applicants’ agile project experience and educational qualifications align with their established criteria.

If you are selected for an audit, you will need to provide documentation to prove your agile project experience and confirm your educational credentials. You have 90 days to submit this documentation electronically through your dashboard. You can track the status and upload materials right on your dashboard.

The audit is important because your documentation must meet the expectations in order to proceed to taking the PMI-ACP exam. If your audit submission falls short, you will receive very specific feedback indicating exactly what is missing or inaccurate in your application.

While this may seem stressful, it is meant to be constructive feedback allowing you to fix any issues and resubmit improved documentation. It helps uphold high standards for the credential. Even if you must go through some extra steps during the process, it is important for maintaining the value and integrity of PMI-ACP certification over time.

Preparation Checklist for the PMI-ACP Audit

Prepping for a potential PMI-ACP audit doesn’t have to be scary. Think of it like tackling your spring-cleaning checklist – gathering up all the right paperwork might sound tedious but having it organized makes everything less overwhelming. Here’s what you need to have handy:

  • Formal Education Proof: Pull together any transcripts, degrees, certificates that show your education credentials related to project management. Double check that school names, degree titles, and dates match records.
  • Evidence of Agile Training: Dig up completion letters, certificates, or other confirmation that you’ve finished at least 21 hours of qualifying Agile training programs.
  • Details on Your Work History: Document all your relevant project management experience, especially ones using Agile methodologies. Outline specific timeframes, your responsibilities, and exactly how you contributed so it can be verified.
  • Project Management Experience: Show evidence you directly managed full projects start to finish – planning, execution, closure. If you have an active PMP or PgMP certification, you’re all set here. If not, compile documentation demonstrating at least 2000 hours of hands-on project management experience.
  • Agile Project Experience: Include details on the Agile projects you worked on – methodologies, outcomes, your role, etc. Have references ready to confirm your participation if needed. You’ll need to account for at least 1500 hours of hands-on agile project experience.

3 Steps to Pass the PMI-ACP Audit

Once you get that notice that you’ve been selected for a PMI-ACP audit, don’t panic! Here’s a simple 3-step checklist outlining exactly how to satisfy the auditors:

  1. Gather and Upload Your Education Credentials:
    1. Upload documents confirming your formal education and contact hours related to Agile methodologies.
    1. If the documents span multiple pages, consolidate them into one PDF
    1. For non-English certificates, attach a translated summary
  2. Have Your Project References E-Sign Verification Forms:
    1. For each Agile project listed in your PMI-ACP application, you’ll be asked to provide a reference’s name and email – someone familiar with your work like an employer, colleague, or client.
    1. Your references will receive DocuSign emails to electronically sign documents validating your project involvement. If they don’t receive the email, double check the address is entered correctly and have them check spam folders.
  3. Triple Check and Submit Your Completed Audit Package:
    1. The submit button won’t activate until all audit documentation is uploaded. Carefully review everything one last time before submitting – you cannot modify your audit package after sending to PMI.

How long does the PMI-ACP audit process take?

The timeline for finishing up the PMI-ACP audit varies person-to-person based on how quickly you can pull together all the required paperwork. Once PMI kicks off your audit, you have 90 days to get them every document on their list.

When PMI receives your bundle of documents, their review team takes 5-7 business days to verify everything. They’ll be checking that your education credentials, project experience, and Agile training align with the certification standards.

If you’ve been detailed and accurate with your audit documentation, you should breeze through this process. But if there are any holes or inconsistencies, you may face delays. PMI might request clarification or additional details if something seems off. That’s why it pays to be meticulous from the start – it avoids headaches down the road!

What are the best practices for passing the PMI-ACP audit?

Passing the PMI-ACP audit doesn’t have to be a daunting task if you follow the right practices. Here are some invaluable tips to ace the process. 

Keep Honest and Accurate Records: You need to be transparent and honest about your experience and qualifications. Overstated claims can land you in trouble during the verification process. Ensure that all your records, from educational certificates to work experience letters, are accurate and verifiable. 

Align Your Experience with Agile Methodologies: Make sure that your stated experience aligns with Agile methodologies. Show how you adopt and apply these methods in your work. This will prove your effectiveness as an Agile project manager and increase your chances of acing the audit. 

Maintain Proper Documentation: It’s crucial to keep all documentation related to your Agile experience, including project charters, schedules, and communication records. In addition, letters from colleagues or superiors confirming your role and contribution can provide valuable proof. 

Stay Organized: Keep the files you’ll need for the audit process in an organized and easily accessible manner. It’s faster and easier to respond to any inquiries when your documentation is in order. 

Continually Update Your Knowledge: The Agile landscape is constantly evolving. By maintaining an up-to-date understanding of current Agile practices, you can better reflect the ongoing learning intent of the PMI-ACP certification

Remember, the PMI-ACP audit is designed to reinforce your knowledge and experience in Agile practices. Consider it as an opportunity to validate your skills rather than as an obstacle to overcome.

What are the consequences of not passing or completing the PMI-ACP audit?

If you decide not to complete the PMI-ACP audit, it’s considered a failure to comply. In that case, you can reapply after one year by submitting a new application and fee and prepare for potentially getting re-audited.

If you do go through with the audit but don’t pass, PMI can revoke your exam eligibility meaning you can’t sit for the test. You would get the exam fee refunded minus a processing fee. Every case differs slightly on the specifics though.

Try not to stress if your first audit attempt gets derailed! The purpose is not to trip candidates up but to protect the legitimacy of the certification by vetting everyone’s credentials thoroughly.

Audit failure often boils down to gaps in understanding the requirements or having inaccurate documentation. Next go-around, comprehend the guidelines clearly, meticulously compile your records, and ensure you can validate all experiences claimed. View it as a valuable chance to deeply assess your Agile background.

A failed audit isn’t the end – it’s just a new chapter! Learn from the experience, rework any weak spots in your application, and press on with even stronger PMI-ACP ambitions.


While the ACP audit process might seem scary at first glance, it truly exists to confirm you have the expected expertise to uphold the meaning of the certification. It’s about thoroughly showcasing your Agile PM competencies – not some clever paper chase.

The key is being organized yet honest when documenting your specific hands-on experiences. Embrace this as an opportunity to highlight just how deeply you apply those Agile methodologies day-to-day. It’s a chance to reinforce that the PMI-ACP represents bonafide capabilities to excel in adaptive, fast-paced project environments.

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Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO
Director of Product Development at
Erin Aldridge, PMP, PMI-ACP, & CSPO