PMI supporting agile methods by offering such a certification should be taken positively, however, many cynics and naysayers may not agree.
There might be the perception that a stereotypically “heavy” PM association would only support agile as a pathetic attempt to stay relevant or (for those that are even more cynical) to make more money from “certification-chasers”.
Here’s why the development and implementation of the PMI-ACP certification is a good thing for agile.
- PMI’s standards and the certifications that are aligned with them focus less on low-level implementation details and more on providing a broad understanding of good practices. This addresses one of the challenges many organizations face when adopting agile methods – they sometimes focus too much on implementing specific methodologies and less on embracing the guiding principles & philosophy behind them.
- For traditional companies that may be hesitating about investigating agile approaches given some of the hyperbole and fanaticism exhibited by some “fringe” agileistas, PMI’s support for agile will provide some additional sponsorship and credibility.
- The inclusion of the Agile Manifesto within the certification content pays homage to the origins of the movement and emphasizes its core values and principles.
- One of its objectives (as taken directly from PMI’s certification content outline) is “to show that the practitioner has the capacity to lead basic Agile project teams”. PMI does not try to claim that certified practitioners will be able to successfully manage complex agile projects OR to successfully introduce agile methods into waterfall organizations.
- The content for the certification does not advocate or focus on any one specific methodology (e.g. Scrum, Extreme Programming).
Given the large numbers of agile practitioners and the stated objectives for the certification, it would have been challenging for PMI to have designed the PMI-ACP certification process to mimic the PgMP (which includes the use of a panel review and a multi-rater assessment).
As I wrote in an earlier article, knowledge-based certifications are not ideal, but this still represents a positive move for PMI.