PMI Announces Agile Certification

PMI announced today that they are launching an Agile Certification, to be piloted beginning this year. The examination content outline will be made available in April, and PMI will begin accepting applications in May.  The first offering of the Agile Certification examination will be in the third quarter of 2011, and participants should expect to receive their scores approximately ten to twelve weeks later.  PMI says the official name of the credential will be announced prior to the beginning of the pilot.

You don’t need to hold any other PMI credential in order to apply, as long as you meet the requirements:

  • At least a high school diploma or equivalent
  • 2,000 hours of project team work over the last five years
  • In addition, 1,500 hours working on Agile teams, or using Agile methodologies within the last two years
  • 21 contact hours of Agile project management training
  • Pass the examination

Testing will be available globally at Prometric Testing Centers.  Fees are based on the exam administration type and whether the applicant is a member of PMI; see the PMI website for details.  As with the other PMI credentials, the Agile certification will have to be renewed every three years.

PMI claims that their research indicated that 68% of the organizations using Agile Practices would find value in an Agile certification for project managers, and 63% of hiring managers would encourage their project managers to pursue an Agile certification.  PMI reasons that their Agile certification, requiring a combination of training, experience in using the methodologies, as well as general project experience and the examination, would be “more credible than existing training-only or exam-only based offerings.”

The only concern I have with all of this is the complete lack of a “body of knowledge” document, comparable to the PMBOK and BABOK, or a practice standard.  I’ll wait to see the examination content outline, but PMI needs to commit to development of a BOK or practice standard for Agile, either as an internal effort or jointly with one of the Agile organizations.   Otherwise, I’m not sure what they’ll be certifying against.

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About Dave Gordon

Dave Gordon is a project manager with over twenty five years of experience in implementing human capital management and payroll systems, including SaaS solutions like Workday and premises-based ERP solutions like PeopleSoft and ADP Enterprise. He has an MS in IT with a concentration in project management, and a BS in Business. He also holds the project management professional (PMP) designation, as well as professional designations in human resources and in benefits administration. In addition to his articles and blog posts, he curates a weekly roundup of articles on project management, and he has authored or contributed to several books on project management.

3 thoughts on “PMI Announces Agile Certification

  1. I think that the PMI Agile certification could be a giant step in the recognition of the Agile Methodologies inside PM community.


  2. Agile is already mainstream, as a light-weight software development methodology. Translating Agile principles to project management is still a bit edgy, but I agree – the PMI credential is going to validate it, as long as they find a reasonable way to define the practice. See my April 20th post on the examination outline for further thoughts.

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