I read a post recently, which says there are now 200 Agile-related certifications available. Has the obsession with certifications gotten out of hand?
My problem with certifications starts when people equate them with someone being the expert. The reality is, what sounds straight forward in a classroom, will quickly face challenges in the real world. No certification is going to be overly helpful when someone cannot respond effectively to challenges.
I’m not discounting the knowledge people acquire in the certification workshops. I’m also not discounting the value for job hunting & finding good people. However, let’s not lose sight of the value in people’s ability to respond to what happens. That’s leadership, and it occurs regardless of the letters behind their name.
You’ll get much further with great leadership than you will with all those certifications.
You’ve got this.
Hi Mike, this is an interesting post. As you may or may not know, I am on a personal quest to really uncover what is happening with agile certifications this year.
It sounds like you would expertise and ability to perform well in the role over the certification itself or the knowledge that it might demonstrate. Practically speaking, how can hiring managers determine if someone can perform well? I know that hiring managers and recruiters use the certifications for screening candidates.
On the other hand, I’ve run into numerous “scrum masters” who held a CSM but had no idea how to apply Scrum and were actually just project managers.
I was thinking back to a comment I received on my blog post about the 230+ agile certifications. The person who commented placed the biggest priority on the knowledge, as demonstrated by the person passing the certification. The person who commented thought that the certifications should ONLY test knowledge since that is more objective. The ones that require experience (such as you have mentioned) were deemed to be less valuable. This would include PMIs and a few others. Any thoughts on how to reconcile these opposing points of view or to determine if a candidate is actually any good?
I don’t know the answer but I am hoping to learn more. Would love to have you follow my progress as I try to get experience with as many of these certifications as possible this year.
Vitality Chicago Inc.
Thanks for commenting, and yes I did see you are on a personal quest on this topic. I think there are lots of good and bad about this space, and I’m hopeful your research will provide a refreshing perspective on the topic. I am already following you and in your mailing list, and look forward to following you on this quest.
I think your questions and concerns you express are valid. For hiring, the certifications do give something to do initial filtering with. However, then you have to do the hard work of reading resumes. Otherwise, you end up with as you point out … someone with a CSM and no idea how to apply (I’ve seen it too many times myself).
That’s an interesting perspective on knowledge vs. experience based on certs. Is it because knowledge-based are generally easier/quicker to acquire? I have several experienced-based certs, and the value in them is less about the knowledge and more about the ability. So is there perspective based on the ability, or wanting to be noticed.
I too don’t know the answer, and I love that there seems to be a lot of conversation happening. Good luck with your quest! I look forward to seeing where you take it!