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Taking PAL and PSK after PMI-ACP, is it worth?

Last post 07:08 pm August 30, 2019 by Olavo Alexandrino
4 replies
10:32 pm June 17, 2019

Hello everyone!

I have got the PMI-ACP certification and now I am looking for another agile assessment.

After reading what PAL is I could realize that PAL would be a subset of PMI-ACP (no sure if it really is)

It sounds like it is included in some PMI-ACP domains like Agile Principles and Mindset, value-drive development, adaptive planning and so on…

Do you agree if one take PMI-ACP would be easier to take this one?

What do you think about it?

Is it worth to take PAL after taking PMI-ACP?

I am thinking about this one or the PSK certification.

04:55 pm June 18, 2019

Do you agree if one take PMI-ACP would be easier to take this one?

@Olavo Alexandrino, From experience, I would not underestimate the exams and therefore it may or may not be easy. The PMI-ACP is quite broad in what it covers, therefore some of that knowledge may be helpful but is in no way a guarantee or an indicator of how easy the PSK or the PAL would be.

Is it worth to take PAL after taking PMI-ACP?

I am thinking about this one or the PSK certification.

At the end of the day, the value you really get from certifications is validating your understanding and knowledge in a particular subject area. If your goal is to validate your knowledge, then it may be of value to you or else its value may be subjective. You need to research and decide.

After reading what PAL is I could realize that PAL would be a subset of PMI-ACP (no sure if it really is)

The PAL is for Leaders who promote Agile and the PMI-ACP validates the knowledge of a Practitioner, this could be a Scrum Master, Team Member, Coach, Leader etc. In my opinion, they are not similar but may have common subject areas.

07:50 am June 19, 2019

I am not sure about PMI-ACP vs PAL. But I do want to point out that PSK is a completely different subject.

I'm am going to do the 2-day classroom course, simply because combining Scrum and Kanban have so many ways to do wrong, and it is not like "Oh I know some Scrum" and "Yeah, Kanban, like limiting waste and WIP, have good flow, I know that", and than stitching those two together.

We already know how many wrong ways there are implementing Scrum, and probably there are just as many when it comes to Kanban. So I think it is not only about getting your PSK certificate, but learning how to properly do PSK. For me personally, a completely new subject to really dive into

11:20 am June 19, 2019

Personally I found the PSK exam relatively hard. It build on top of the "standard" most-know Scrum stuff. Same with PAL. Although they're great additions, please do not underestimate them.

07:08 pm August 30, 2019


Now, I’m here to answer myself.

I hope it helps someone who may have similar question regarding what certification could take next.

I decide to take PSK.

After taking PMI-ACP, I was looking for one of the exams in order to select one to go further.

The great about PMI-ACP it’s that it provides a very suitable overview of the Lean and Agile Mindset. You don’t have to master, but you’ll have to know several concepts and domains of the Agile and Lean world. However and obviously, ACP is broader and more wide-ranging agile related concepts. There’s no way for a single exam goes in details in some subject matter (that’s why may have distributed its exams in several assessments).

Why did I decide to take PSK?

So, after watching a video by Eric Brechner (“Agile Project Management with Kanban", Talks at Google) it got (fully) my attention. He used Kanban itself to answer Kanban’s related questions on his lecture. It is so funny! Then, I read his book, “Agile Project Management with Kanban”. I do recommend. Very practical!

According to Brechner, Kanban would be an evolution of Scrum so that once you master Kanban you would be able to stop following some Scrum events such planning and reviews.

Yes, yes! I know it is not what says in one of posts by Steve Porter


I’m not starting a debate about this here just because, as Dave West states, “we should build bridges not walls”


The point is that I starting reading PSK Suggested Reading when I had the opportunity to read both Vacanti and Klaus’s books.

  • Actionable Agile Metrics for Predictability: An Introduction by Daniel S. Vacanti
  • Practical Kanban: From Team Focus to Creating Value by Klaus Leopold

What an amazing material!

It is where PSK certification starts to be worth.

Klaus provides a deeper of the root of the Kanban strategy and Vacanti provides a deeper understanding of the flow metrics.

So, I’ve earned the PSK exam and I passed with 91.2%.

Finally, answering myself: Do you agree if one take PMI-ACP would be easier to take this one?

I would not say that it would be easier, but in fact, it helped a lot.

My thoughts about the exams are that it fully represents Vancati’s book! 

If one wants to understand why flow metrics matters (WIP, Cycle Time, Work Item Age and Troughput) and traditional agile metric don’t (story points and velocity), should read it!


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