Friday, 6 May 2011

Agile Certification - something's missing isn't it?

More and more companies are looking for certification or accreditation in Agile or SCRUM methods.  As Agile becomes more mainstream there is a need to distiguish between one CV and another.  One way of favouring candidates is to look for those that have been vouchered for by some certification body such as the Scrum Alliance and the famous Certified SCRUM Master or Product Owner "qualifications"

Now Agile is a very practical skill that demands a great understanding of how to influence & manage the expectations of the SCRUM team and the various stakeholders that surround development.  Far more, I'd argue, than Traditional Project Management.  However, looking at the marketplace at the moment it seems that every Agile training course is concentrating on understanding & managing the process of SCRUM not the people that are involved.

That leaves me with a concern.  I thought that the Agile Manifesto made it clear that we should favour "Individuals & Interactions" over "Processes & Tools" but from my perspective that exactly the oppostite to the approach that the mainstream certifications seem to be taken that tell me about the process and sweep over the people skills.  That's a mistake that Project Management bodies made in the 80's & 90's and it's only in the last 10 years that they've started to realise that knowledge is only part of the equation and that capability must be demonstrated.

SCRUM lends itself to a skills or vocational based certification approach.  Potential SCRUM Masters need to demonstrate that they not only understand the process (and let's be honest that really doesn't take two days of training) but can apply it in the real world.  To quote the Agile Alliance position "employers should have confidence only in certifications that are skill-based and difficult to achieve" Which is exactly where current qualifications fall down.  They only give employers confidence that a person has been exposed to a specific set of knowledge not that they can then apply that in the workplace.

The APM in the UK seem to be taking a stronger line along with the PMI.  Although I still struggle with the concept of Agile Project Management I respect both of these organisations in the way that they carry out and maintain the credibility of their qualifications.  They also offer "Practitioner" and "Expert" levels to their offerings that require demonstration of skills - that's a move I fully support.

However, I'd still like one of the main UK bodies take on the vocation approach - perhaps an NVQ in Agile & SCRUM for SCRUM Masters and Product Owners?

I'm looking at certitication & accreditation in the UK right now and any support would be welcome to help me bring it to fruition.  Leave me comments


1 comment:

  1. Certifications will definitely increase the salary significantly. For project management professionals, I would suggest them to attend any genuine agile scrum certification courses (eg. Scrum Master Certification). If not anything, at least it will give a boost to your career and salary.