– Fact Check

[Consumer Alert] – It is my intention to investigate this matter objectively with as much information as possible to assert the veracity of the website’s claims.

Now that PMI has issued its first PMI-ACP certification holders, many training providers and professionals are very interested in seeing the final form of the test. Some training providers are interested in how they can better help people prepare for the exam. One such training provider,, popped up on many people’s radar through their marketing campaigns as the #1 PMI-ACP Exam Prep Resource with over 100 years of combined experience in Agile and exam development.

As a potential purchaser, and savvy-interweb-netzien, I decided to do some research before I signed up for an account. Hey, it’s important to research before you buy, right?

It seems that may not be keeping it’s promise that you’ll “Pass the Test” as their Trade Marked tagline goes.

Reading through the testimonies, they gave the impression that helped them pass the test. Ok. I’m interested. has an open search portal to verify credentials, so I checked that out.

As I typed in some of the names on the testimonies page into the PMI database, I could not find any evidence that they passed or are even registered with PMI.

Further, there is one testimony on the front page of that is dubious indeed: I couldn’t find the person to even exist in the registered PMI database as a PMI-ACP credential holder.

[How did we verify this? A simple search of all the names from the testimonials from:]

[[**EDIT** – It has come to my attention that the individual is indeed a PMI-ACP credential holder and did indeed fill out the testimony. His full name did not come up in the PMI database. We apologize for this incorrect finding.]]

In regards to the percentage pass rate, the fact is, that number seem to have jumped a % from 96% stated in an email from AgileExams to it’s members, to 97% on the website:

(76/79) = 96.202% – Maybe just rounding up? Or maybe they received more respondents after the email was sent? 

As a potential customer, I find it necessary to do diligence before I purchase something. I even emailed the owner of, about the % and the testimonies not matching up.

Here is the response I received from William Fumey, the owner and operator of, pertaining to the discrepancies I found:

1) Testimonials are submitted openly from anyone on the web.
2) The user determines how they want their name to be displayed on the site
3) The name may not be an exact match for their name in the PMI-ACP database or the user may have opted out of the PMI DB. This does not mean that the person doesn’t exist. Some people choose to use pseudonyms online for privacy reasons.
4) Our pass rate was the result of a survey of our users. Testimonials were written by users before and after exam results were released.

What do you think?

50 Replies to “ – Fact Check”

  1. After reading this, I figured I would check out the site a little more. I found the following on their About Us page:

    All of our training materials are diligently developed by subject matter experts who we employ, including Agile experts, exam preparation instructors and test development professionals with over 100 years of combined experience in Agile and exam development. These experts undergo a stringent quality review process to ensure that the end products they deliver bring maximum value to our customers. By using our material, customers have the utmost confidence that they are learning the latest and relevant materials they need to pass their exams.

    Really? Agile experts? 100 years of combined experience? After looking at the test questions, it may be current information taken from the PMI recommended reference books but it certainly is not relevant as it pertains to the exam. I know this because I am the Co-Lead of the PMI-ACP Support team.

    My analogy would be if you want to take your drivers exam. You’re not going to want to read about how to rebuild your engine, unless you’re into that. It may be current and factual but it’s not relevant to the exam.

    I recommend people go to, join the Agile Community of Practice, and then get the support from the community.

    I don’t see a list of “experts” on the AgileExams website. I also see from the PMI Credential Registry that Mr. Fumey is not a PMI-ACP. Lastly, Mr. Fumey was not involved with the PMI-ACP process. I know this because I was.

    All of this makes me feel really uncomfortable. As a reviewer of the site, I would not recommend this product to anyone pursuing the PMI-ACP.

    1. Hi,

      I used AgileExams to prepare for PMI-ACP and passed the certification. Today I received an e-mail from AgileExams and decided to check this blog. This is really amusing: 96 vs 97%, experience years, credentials – for me it all looked like a cheap fuss about nothing. The guys (or the guy) behind the company seems to have just read those 10 recommended books and distilled questions. Ok, the grammar was not too good, the distribution of questions between knowledge areas was a bit skewed, but overall it was good, definitely worth 50 bucks. I mean I have read or skimped most of those 10 books but having all the key concepts distilled and presented in random order was an immense help. Besides (perhaps most important) there was not much similar in offering at the time I was preparing (August/September); widely advertised book was indefinitely delayed. So, the guys just jumped into opportunity and used it in full – cannot blame. No credentials/certification? Gosh, I worked in my company with hired coaches with almost heavenly credentials and reputation in Agile world – they charged ten of thousands of dollars and made damage in millions.

      1. … and the last note: what would be the point for them to make up testimonials if they have plenty of people who have really passed the exam and gave their opinion (like me). Given how PMI handled the whole process (my first exam attempt did not happen because apparently PMI did not provide the exam content to Prometric at the exam date; results were delayed, etc), I would not be surprised that their registry also has glitches

  2. Peter,

    Great article. I had a very positive experienc with Agileexams and found it did help me focus my studies. I find it worrisome that it looks like testimonials were made up. If you build a quality product, people will come. Sometimes it takes time but they will come.

    I hope Agileexams will take this as a clarion call and make themselves transparent.

    Two comments-

    Agile is not ten years old: The word agile is, but agile goes back at least as far as Lean in the 1940’s and perhaps farther.

    @Derek- I don’t think you need to be a PMI-ACP to provide value to people wanting to study for the ACP. My first recomendation to most folks is “Take a CSM class, great way to learn the basics and start your agile journey.” I don’t think it’s a bad thing that Mr. Fumey isn’t a PMI-ACP. I think the real issue is lack of transparency and what appears like false testimonials.


    Joel and Hogarth

    1. Hogarth,

      Thanks for the feedback. I like receiving feedback from a gorilla. 🙂

      Per your comments:
      1. Yes, you are correct, there was agile-like practices happening way before 2001. Fair enough.
      1a. If the 100 years thing is correct, it would be nice (in the spirit of Agile and Transparency) to know who the expert exam creators are.

      2. As for (supposed, not confirmed officially), false testimonies. It would be nice to see them verified. But who knows.

      I report. You decide.

    2. Joel (and Hogarth) I’m glad you called me on that. Mr. Funey may merely be the figurehead of the organization and have nothing to do with this. Some of the best project managers I know are not PMPs. Some (almost all) of the agilists out there have no “Agile” credentials either. They don’t DO Agile. They ARE Agile. The community decides if they are worth following. It’s all self managing.

      In Agile fashion, I hope AgileExams becomes more transparent and iterates its product as quickly as possible. Unless AgileExams employs those who were on the PMI-ACP Steering Committee, they don’t know what the test was based on. They are merely guessing, based on the recommended reading material. The PMI-ACP Support team will help clarify what the Steering Committee was thinking by publicizing content relative to the exam from both a trainer and learner perspective.

      We want more people to learn, practice, and BE Agile. We don’t want the goal to be a certification.

      1. Why do you think they are “merely guessing”? I don’t know about AgileExams, but for testing in general, there is a huge industry of people selling test answers…(especially for Cisco and MSFT certs).

        How do they get the answers? People remember them, write them down, shoot them with cell phone cameras or build a webcam into their hat or whatever….

        If you google for “cisco braindumps” for instance you’ll find lots of test answers.

        I don’t think it’s fair to say “they don’t know…” — they may know very well from people submitting the test questions to them.


      2. Derek, thanks for the reminder “to learn, practice, and BE Agile.” So, to paraphrase your urging, in a style attributed to Mahatma Gandhi (Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, 1869-1948) & son Arun,

        “BE the [agility] you wish to see in the world.”

        I’m trying…

    3. @Joel and Hogarth
      ” I think the real issue is lack of transparency and what appears like false testimonials.”

      Exactly. This industry is filled with a lack of transparency, and what appear to be false testimonials, unsupported claims etc.

      I applaud that Peter is starting to shine light into the dark corners of the industry.

      Although I think the subject of this post is companies that help you pass tests (in the broad sense), I see the whole certification game as being broken.

      “Certified Scrum Master”? “Kanban University”? I mean, to me, that is the whole problem right there, the fact that some company helps people on those tests is almost roundoff error.

      Cut off the head of the snake and the tail will fall off by itself.

      I’m frankly pretty disgusted that there is a PMI exam at all, because it gives too much perceived credibility to concepts that are still unproven.

      All of this certification stuff is just a means to extract money from the marketplace. The best way to win is not to play the game.


  3. They are advertising they have 100 years of experience in Agile AND exam development. Maybe 6 guys have 15 years of experience in exam development, who knows. This is a common technique used by many companies and not creepy by itself.

    I just checked the site and looked up one of the current testimonial who has a PMI-ACP and she IS a registered PMI-ACP holder. However we JUST got notified that we passed the exam so if someone has not entered in their info, it doesn’t mean they don’t have the credential.

    “Please note that not all certified individuals choose to appear in the registry.” — PMI website. So you can’t use the registry as a final arbiter of who has passed the exam.

    As far as I can see AgileExams has two points that are interesting:

    1) Those who used Agile exams used it for 65% of their studying. That’s something only they would know based on questions they asked their members directly.
    2) 97% of their members passed the exam (at least the ones who answered their survey). So what? The pass rate on the exam seemed pretty high in general. I would think most people would use whatever resources they had at their disposal to pass it. This is one. It was used. They passed. Great.

    As far as I know AgileExams is the ONLY site where I can get enough questions to round out my knowledge. Everyone else’s prep book is going to come out soon, and then their questions will be available. The founder of the website doesn’t have to have the credential for it to be a valid source if he can put a team together that provides value.

    So the question is, does it provide value? My personal answer Yes.

    Is it the ONLY tool you need? No.

    Do I find anything untoward in the site…not really.

    If you were a member of Agile Exams you can state something like: the knowledge covered in Agile Exams covered x% of the questions on the exam.

    That would be the data I would be most interested in to determine if I would buy the product.

    1. Gina,

      Thanks for your comments. Very welcome.

      As for your comments on the “data that you would be most interested to determine if you would buy the product.” – I would disagree here. It would be naive to think that people buy products based on one data point alone. What I found out was unsettling, to say the least. Good products and good companies have good brand presence, or “brand image.” That plays a big part.

      You don’t (or shouldn’t) buy products manufactured with child labor. Bad image. Likewise, I wouldn’t buy a product with (seemingly) unverified or dubious claims.

      As for your quote of the PMI website, the key word is “CHOOSE” to appear in registry. The assumption would be that, if you pass, you get in the registry. If you “choose” to not be in the registry, you can opt out. – My assumption can be wrong here, for sure. But if I pass an exam, wouldn’t I want to make sure that people can verify it?…

      1. OK Paul, you can’t disagree that I would be interested in that data! 🙂

        I am not generalizing what people would be interested in so I won’t wear the naive mantle for now.

        I am actually not arguing that your instincts as to the integrity of the site are not valid, and I too would be interested in unethical or dubious claims.

        But testimonials are added by individuals themselves in the form on the testimonials page. So maybe you want the site to verify the testimonila before allowing it to be posted, or state that it was verified by date and with an accompanying email of the testimonial giver? It’s not unreasonable, on Amazon if you give a review people are able to respond to the review. This mostly shows that Agile Exams has a web 1.0 website. That by itself does not imply that the information is false. The assumption that it is false or unethical is that it’s not in the PMP database, and as mentioned previously that’s an opt-in database so can’t be used make a final determination.

        Joel, I’m not sure about the 65% either, can anyone point me to where they say that?

  4. @Gina-

    I admit to being confused on the 65% of time studying spent on Agielexams. I don’t recall being asked this question. I wouldn’t even begin to calculate how much time I spent using Agileexams so I couldn’t even say if 65% is accurate.

    I did get an email asking me to report if I had passed, but nothing on how much I used it.

    Again, I found it very useful and I also find the possibility of false data very disturbing. Ethics is a major part of any PMI certification. If a friend gives me $10,000 that’s awesome. If I find out the money was stolen, then I would have to give it back and report my friend.

    No matter how good Agileexams is as a tool, it needs to be ethical in its promotions. I really hope and urge them to be transparent. Don’t let a good product be ruined by bad marketing.


  5. More math…

    [1.]  See “The 10,000-Hour Rule” article (it’s good!) just posted today by John Stout. He begins, “A good friend recently referred Malcolm Gladwell’s /Outliers/ to me. The theme of this book is the amount of time an individual must devote to developing a skill in order to attain a world-class level competency…” (Keep reading! )

    [2.]  If we were to round up 10 collaborators, each with a 1,000 hours of experience, would that aggregate to 10,000 hours of equivalent competency? Of course not. Would you feel safe submitting to surgery by a team of 100 medical students? I wouldn’t. What about boarding an airliner to be flown by a crew of 3 student pilots?

    So what is the value of claiming “over 100 years of combined experience” in two orthogonal domains (“Agile and exam development”) if we don’t know anything about the distribution of experience? Bios? Credentials? References? 

    At the bottom of the “About Us” page we see the note, “Sharing is caring!” 

    I agree with that note. To advance the art and excel in our practice, I believe we can do best by working together as collaborators, learning from each other and sharing what we learn, toward building sustainable communities of practice. Among other things, that requires TRUST. Transparency builds trust. Delivering on commitments builds trust. We could go on, couldn’t we?

    For the site, what do we have to go on so far…?

    So, to William(*) and colleagues, please consider coming forth with more reference-able disclosures. Build trust, and “Press ON!” 😉

    (*) William, mailing only as, never disclosed his last name to me in our correspondence last year, nor did he offer any contact info, simply signing “William” instead. At that time, I don’t recall finding any phone number on the “About” page.


    Ken ‘classmaker’ Ritchie 
    PMI-ACP, PMP, CSM, 6σGB, etc.
    “Still, I am learning” –Michelangelo(**), in his 80’s, wrote “Ancora imparo” in the margin of a sketch.

    (**) Michelangelo di Lodovico Buonarroti Simoni (1475-1564), aka “Michelangelo” is the master to whom this is also attributed: 
         “If people knew how hard I worked to get my mastery, it wouldn’t seem so wonderful after all.”

  6. Just a follow up.

    Turns out Agileexams did ask what percentage of time was spent studying in the same email where they asked if I had passed.

    I missed that part of the email and didn’t answer the question % of time.

    Just want to clarify my previous comment.

    1. What are the great sets of ideas? Talking to customers? Daily scrums?

      The profiteering started in the early days of Agile; XP was a process created out of a failed project (C3) that was 4 years late and only 60% complete when the plug was pulled.

      What did they do? Made lemonade, and sold XP to the masses, and scorned anyone who asked for proof it worked. And they sold books and immersion classes.

      The fact that they were able to nullify critical thinking led directly to the frenzy over Scrum. There’s no more proof that Scrum works than XP; but there was proof that people would pay money and so Scrum trailblazed the certification route.

      At the end of the day it’s all about money and little to nothing else. People were iterative and agile long before the hoopla. As soon as the XP gravy train dried up, most of the XP prophets hopped to greener pastures (Jeffries->Scrum, UncleBob->Craftsmanship).

      While we’re on the subject some of the Scrum founders have some very questionable beliefs in essentially the paranormal that bear considerable scrutiny…since so much of agile is based on what a few people think are great ideas…

        1. Well thanks Peter.

          It’s not only hilarious it’s also informative. Certainly the high point to date of my various writing attempts.

          I’m waiting for various things in that post to become memes — you know, someone will walk in and say “those new post-its really brighten up the office” and others will nod knowingly.


  7. Pingback: – Fact Check | Agile | Syngu
    1. It’s an interesting post but the whole agile industry is “not agile” and “not transparent”.

      Censorship of dissenting ideas has occurred on a number of blogs from leaders in the “agile” movement,and sutherland has threatened at least one person with legal action for perceived slights.

      Throw all the bums out is my take, and has been for over a decade. The agile stuff is nothing but buzzwords, pseudoscience, and a marketing scheme.

      One huge problem is because agile hasn’t faced enough criticism in the past, it has no idea how to cogently respond to well founded criticism besides knee jerk threats and bullying.


      1. Jordan,

        Your issues seem to delve to a deeper level and down to if agile itself is viable? Not that they are not valid issues.

        I would just point out that agile is just a new word on decades old concepts. It’s a common word we’ve all settled on to describe product development and management concepts that reach back to the Hawthorne Study of the 20’s.

        I don’t always agree with the luminaries of Agile Software Development, but then I don’t always agree with the luminaries of PMI.

        What I do agree with is doing what works and I’ve found that the values and principles of agile make for a great moral compass on the projects I work on.

        1. Everyone who’s trying to make a buck of agile says that, and almost noone who isn’t trying to make a buck off agile says that.

          Are you or are you not trying to make a buck off agile? I guess the answer is yes right, or why invest in the cert if not to try to profit by it?

          Scrolling through that, the parallels to agile are impossible to miss.


  8. Jordan,

    I work full time for a Fortune 500 company. I write my blog on my own time and don’t make any money from it. I am active in my local PMI chapter giving back to others, especially those out of work.

    I started using agile because it made sense and it worked. I was once firmly in the anti-agile camp, even quoted as saying “you’ll pry waterfall from my cold dead hands.” Today I’m passionate about focusing on making better teams and I think agile has a place in that.

    I also shamelessly support Same reason, it works.

    I have been asked to speak on my experiences, I’ve been asked if I would write a book and I’ve been asked to coach people. All this came well after I started using agile. To date I’ve not made a single $ from agile.

    I can’t say I won’t ever go into something like coaching, but if I ever do, it will be because I love to help people.

    So no, I’m not making money from agile. I just believe in it.

  9. Well here is an interesting thing to add to the mix.
    there is a site called which is run by (Or at least you have to get permission from them to edit)
    Agile Exams says “AgileExams is partnering with The AgileBOK Community to help them develop and promote the Agile Body of Knowledge…”

    One would expect that what you find in the AgileBOK is what you will find at content. One would hope at least.

    However, What you will find on the site is coppied content from the top 3 Google searches on whatever topic. Some of which is copied wrong: see the entry on Verification and Validation, that has the columns flipped from the original article. some is just wrong content: see the article on Risk Adjusted Backlogs, compare it to the article by Mike Griffiths Mike was on the PMI-ACP Board, I THINK Mike’s might be more in line with the exam, I’m Just Say’n.

    Of course by the time most people read this the folks at AgileExams will have read it as well and will. likely fix those two examples, that is ok though do your own searching, there are plenty more!

    1. Joseph, Good catch! The V&V sections are, indeed, inverted.

      To Validate: Does [whatever] solve the right problem?

      To Verify: Is the [whatever] implementation done right?

      That’s the simplified gist of it. There are many available references, formal and informal. IEEE 1012-2004 is the “IEEE Standard for Software Verification and Validation.”

      For an example of how the NASA Independent Verification & Validation (IV&V) Program implements SW V&V, see “Independent Verification and Validation Technical Framework” (IVV 09-1) listed (and downloadable) at


  10. Even more curious is the fact that is somehow affiliated with As the About AgileBOK page cites, “was created by a signatory of the Agile Manifesto …”. Now it might just be me, but since when does one of the signatories to the Agile Manifesto, who advocate getting better at delivering software BY DOING IT, also somehow align with a site that helps one prep/cram for a test that deems someone to be “agile”. Aside from the obvious conflict with the Dreyfus model, this seems somehow odd. The fact that it appears to be aligned with the PMI-ACP certification seems even more odd to me…is this what “agile” as come to mean, pass a test, get a badge – endorsed by a signatory? Even odder, as mentioned above, is that apparently is effectively anonymous – huh?

    1. Why the hide-and-seek games? I still don’t get it. 

      I don’t recall seeing “Anon Y. Mous” listed among the 17 original signatories.  So, whomever founded must be one of the thousands upon thousands who have signed since. 

      “Come out! Come out, whomever you are!”

      I Double-LeanDog dare you!

      1. I found something strange on Wikipedia under
        Agile Manifesto a while back. Fortunately, someone changed it.

        Scroll to the bottom of the page under External Links.
        There is a link “A look into the PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner)” which was linked to AgileExams.

        Here is the history from Wikipedia (under line 237)

        I’m tempted to remove the link, though it is pointing to PMI. I just don’t see it adding value to the Wikipedia page.

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