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is Head First Agile just for the certification?

 
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Should people read this book for Agile in general or just if studying for the PMI certification?
 
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No! Head First Agile is for learning agile. We just wrote it in a way that also happens to help prepare for the PMI-ACP certification. If you're looking to pass the PMI-ACP exam, this book is a very effective tool. But if you don't care about it at all, you won't be confronted with a lot of PMI-ACP material until the end of the book.

Here's how that works. We wrote Head First Agile to help you understand agile. We made the assumption from the beginning that if we taught you the basics of agile, and did a decent job of covering the basics of agile principles, and did a reasonably deep dive into Scrum, XP, and Lean/Kanban – focusing on really getting those ideas into your brain – that would get you 90% of the way to passing the exam. Then we would just need to finish off the book with "last mile" material to get you all of the way there, and put together a really accurate practice exam.

And that's what we did. There isn't much material specifically about the PMI-ACP in the first 80% of the book – but it's all written in a way that will help you pass the exam if you want.

We dogfooded this approach to make sure it worked. In order to make sure that our "cover agile, not the exam" approach would actually help you pass the exam, we waited until after we had the bulk of the non-exam-oriented material written and then took the exam. Don't try this at home – it is a nerve-racking exercise – but we both did fine on the exam, and that gave us a really good idea of what we had to do with the "last mile" material. And the first person to take the exam using a later draft of all of our material passed as well.
 
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