The real problem with certification

November 8, 2017 — Posted by Al Shalloway

I don't believe certification in and of itself is a bad thing. We do want to know which people are qualified.  But certifications based on mere courses (even with tests) just means they have information, not qualifications. 

But there is something more insidious that few consider.  When someone becomes a CSM, CPO, SPC, or whatever, they say they _are_ a certified whatever.  They identify with what they've learned. For knowledge workers, this identification typically becomes personal. I've seen this for years where I've attacked ideas (not people) but people feel personally attacked. As knowledge workers we often identify with what we know.  That makes challenging what we know more difficult. It also means when faced with a challenge we tend to look through our known solutions before really understanding the problem.  At best people learn two or more methods but are still limited to their recipes of ideas.

When certifications require some demonstration of capability, this identification is even stronger.  This would be OK if people would disqualify themselves when the solutions they have don't meet the problems of the people they are working for-a brain surgeon would not try open heart surgery.  But in our space, this doesn't seem to happen.

Al Shalloway

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About the author | Al Shalloway

Al Shalloway is the founder and CEO of Net Objectives. With 45 years of experience, Al is an industry thought leader in Lean, Kanban, product portfolio management, Scrum and agile design. He helps companies transition to Lean and Agile methods enterprise-wide as well teaches courses in these areas.



        

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