It is understandable and healthy to question the value of certifications.
- Are they worth it?
- Are they just money-making schemes for the certification creators?
- Do hiring managers even care if you have a certification?
There is also a wider discussion around certifications in general that include ideas such as:
- Being certified does not equate to experience or suitability to a role
- People can be certified and “book-smart” but terrible at managing people
- A crafts-person does not need credentials, their work shows their value
These are all valid points, and everyone should make up their own mind before deciding whether to pursue a credential.
The most difficult part of discovering and analyzing requirements on agile teams is determining how much detail is needed and when we should discuss the details. Early advocates of agile approaches, like SCRUM, emphasized a high level product vision at the beginning of development and then quick, lightweight user stories to support the vision detailed before each sprint. They suggested that we don’t need to get into any details until sprint planning. But as more and more teams are attempting to use agile approaches, the challenges of this requirements approach are exposed.
Project managers spend 90 percent of their time on communication related activities; yet communication is reported to be the No. 1 problem on projects.
Consider the following example: While planning one of my projects, my core project team assessed our sponsor, “William”, to have high influence but low interest in our project. William would routinely arrive late to meetings, be distracted by his phone, and leave early saying he had more important meetings to attend. When he was present, his gloomy attitude affected the rest of the team. They did not want to speak up in front of him fearing that they may have to face his disdain.
We teach prioritization techniques in many of our classes and many of the conversations we have at conferences and meetings are about how challenging it can be to get a group of people to agree on project priorities or even individual aspects of a product. As I was working on my 2017 strategic plan, I decided to write a short post on prioritization and metrics.
As a program manager at RMC Learning Solutions I have to prioritize projects and make recommendations to my management. We have many ideas for new courses, products, and services which are competing for our time. Prioritizing requires us to assess the expected value of an idea against its expected cost and then compare it to other ideas.
It seems that certifications are under attack. In the past several months I’ve heard that corporations are no longer interested in having their employees obtain any certifications. This rant is not limited to the PMP®. Indeed, it is said that companies are now solely interested in skills training. On one level this makes sense. Why should a company care whether their employees are certified project managers, business analysts or Scrum Masters so long as they are able to perform those functions? What good are certifications, anyway?
Listening to everyone’s excitement yesterday over the win of the NBA title of Cleveland over Oakland was great. I thought the sportscaster I listened to made a very astute observation. While everyone believes LeBron James is a great player, maybe the best in the league, this person’s observation was that Oakland was made up of better players but that Cleveland actually has a better team.
That’s a great comment and one that is likely quite true.
Over the years there has been quite a lot written about the benefits of the PMP® Certification. There has also been some comment (mostly anecdotal on blogs) about some of the disadvantages.
According to several studies, the benefits include:
Every organization uses job titles as a way of describing the contribution of an individual employee. Titles are important within an organization for employees to understand their role and their relationships with other employees. But titles are often meaningless outside a particular organization. When someone is looking for skills training or professional development opportunities for their role, it is sometimes difficult to match a job title with a skill description.
Applicable to PMP® Exams Taken on or After January 11th, 2016
In June of 2015, the Project Management Institute (PMI) released an updated version of the “Project Management Professional (PMP)® Examination Content Outline,” which will be applied to all PMP examinations taken after January 11, 2016. (PMI had initially planned on changing the exam starting on November 2nd, 2015, but they later pushed the date back to January.)
Business analysis skills are no longer optional for a project team. Surveys continue to show that poor requirements management is the number one reason for project failures. Project managers either have to enhance their own business analysis skills or bring a business analyst onto their teams as a professional partner from the initiation of a project through closing. Business analysis skills include critical thinking, elicitation, and requirements modeling. These skills and many more are now recognized with the PMI-PBA® Certification program, the PMI Professional in Business Analysis.