Certifiable – III

I am drafting a reply to the agile-leadership group, but posting it here first.

Several people (including me), asked what problem certification solves, or who the “customer” is for the certification. To which Alistair Cockburn replied:

Back in message 416 or thereabouts I wrote: “In both cases, the market is so hungry for an agile PM certificate, that the market will snap it up (witness the response to the 2-day “Certified ScrumMaster” course).”

and in message 458 I wrote: “Looking at project managers in general, a company hiring PMs will follow two paths at the same time: they will send some of their existing PMs, or people about to become PMs, to PMI school to get their PMP certificates as part of general training. …”

To me, this argument seems to boil down to: “That Market Wants It. If we don’t do it, someone else will, and they will do a much worse job.”

Please keep in mind, I respect Alistair and what he has done, and I mean this in the best possible sense, but there is just no easy way to say this.

“If we don’t do it, someone else will” is not a reason – it is a rationalization. It is the same rationalization that people use to sell Crack, Heroin, and other drugs. And rationalization no reason, it is a logical fallacy – the fallacy of deceptive alternatives. (Logic and Rational Thought, Frank Harrison III)

Letting another vendor grab title-share is one alternative. Having the ALPN create the certifications is another. Education and Dialogue is a third.

My proposed solution is dialogue. It won’t make me rich, or even popular, but that way, at least I have chance to be Good.

And that’s a trade that I would make any day.



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