The PMI Agile Community of Practice sponsored a webinar discussion today between Alistair Cockburn and James Shore on “The merits and limitations of certifications.” Both are well-established Agile teachers and thought leaders, and I thought their arguments reflected the dialogs we’ve been having here in the blogosphere. A recording of the webinar is available here. It runs 58 minutes, safe for work. Highly recommended.
James raised a point that I felt was not sufficiently rebutted: that certification contributes to “stagnation” in the field. I will disagree, and point to the ever-increasing number of PMI standards, publications, and other resources that have accompanied the dramatic increase in the number of PMP credential holders over the last few years. PMI sponsors conferences, publishes papers, provides scholarships, and promotes publications by various experts in their bookstore. And they continuously improve the quality of both their publications and their credential exams; witness the coming updates to the PMP and PgMP exams, and the coming fifth edition of the PMBOK. Far from being stagnant, I would argue that the field of project management has benefited tremendously from the alignment of interests brought about by the PMP credential program. It has been the nucleus for development of a market of practitioners and their employers, resulting in new software, knowledge, and consulting products of every kind.
I hope you’ll add your thoughts on the webinar and on the value of professional credentials and certifications in your comments to this post.