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Head First Agile: What is the significance of PMI-ACP?

 
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We have a lot of certifications around Agile practices. How does PMI-ACP stand out among all of them? I know from my friend that this certification needs to be renewed every 2 years. So will that not be an additional burden in terms of cost and effort? And what is the rationale behind the renewal?
 
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The PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® certification is actually the fastest-growing certification from PMI – the Project Management Institute – one of the most recognizable names in the world of certifications. Agile has been increasingly important in the world of project managers and PMOs, and over the last ten years they've realized that there's a growing demand for this.

Maintenance of the PMI-ACP certification is really similar to the PMP certification. You need to keep an active PMI membership. And you do need to renew your certification every three years (by paying a fee), and over those three years you have to meet professional development requirements through attending training sessions, self-directed learning, and other activities like writing books and articles.(Writing Head First Agile counted towards my renewal.)
 
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Certifications expire. Then what is the need of doing certifications? We should demonstrate our ability through some result and metrics which we can show. I feel certifications are more like having a disciplined way of learning and not more than that. What is your view on that? And is there any expiration for PMI-ACP?
 
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Vaseem Mohammed wrote:Certifications expire. Then what is the need of doing certifications?


Summer Olympic Games happening every 4 years.

What is the need for world champion in atheltics (let's say running 100 m), to go and compete if he won already 4 years ago?
- So he could prove to the World he's still the best and able to do his job at a highest level.

Pretty much same in certifications. Cisco Systems do every 2 years too. Java certificates don't expire, but they are taged with particular version, meaning you may know well Java 6, but not Java 8, even though quite a few concepts same. Technologies evolving very fast, so I'd consider this as an extra motivation to stay up to date. Don't think business isn't involved here, probably is part of the answer too.
 
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There are many different ways people regard certifications running the spectrum from irrelevant to highly desirable and attitudes that range from dismissive to irreverent to highly valued.  

Personally, I don't put much stock in them although admittedly, I went for the 2-day course and became a Certified Scrum Master more than a decade ago. Many leading consultants in the industry and even some of the original signers of the manifesto are neither certified nor want to be. In fact, not many of them even see certifications as a reliable qualification and/or measure of competence. For me, certifications are at best an indication that some effort was put into acquiring basic understanding of what "Agile" is all about it. A good track record in real-world practice carries more weight for me.

Many employers these days seem to be more inclined to consider candidates with a certification so if you think it will give you an edge in at least getting a foot in the door, you should go for it.
 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:There are many different ways people regard certifications running the spectrum from irrelevant to highly desirable and attitudes that range from dismissive to irreverent to highly valued.


Thinking now, that my analog was poor. It inclined that one who has certificate is a top level class player in programming world - that's not necessarily true and in most cases probably it isn't true. While in Olympics after the winning medal you couldn't state otherwise.

Probably certificate at most can be treated as an indication that student does extra steps in order to catch up or gain new knowledge and has some paper proof of passed course.

Those every 2 years or tagged versions on certificates I'd say are more business's profit related. Something needs to be done over and over again to keep it live.
 
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Let's go on the assumption that we take certification in relatively good faith and see it as an indication of at least a basic understanding of the current recommended practices. The body of knowledge around agile methods is constantly evolving and changing. Some people learn about agile estimation while others are already exploring and pushing the idea of #NoEstimates. While some learn about Pair-Programming as a technical practice, others like Woody Zuill are promoting an even more extreme version of it in Mob Programming. Some people are still trying to learn how to estimate using story points and velocity while others have already abandoned their use and moved on to other ways of measuring the value being delivered.

Given the volatility and constant change in the body of knowledge and practice, I guess it makes sense to want to make sure people have up-to-date certifications.

On the other hand, if you're cynical like some people who don't hold certifications in high regard, then you might see requiring constant certification refreshes as just another scheme to ensure a steady revenue stream for consultants, trainers, and certification bodies.
 
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Junilu Lacar wrote:Given the volatility and constant change in the body of knowledge and practice, I guess it makes sense to want to make sure people have up-to-date certifications.


As a holder of one of Oracle's Java certificates, I'd say having a certificate could at most impress lady over the phone who does the initial recruitment process, or at worst automated system which does possible candidates selection process.

When the things go, if go, up to a talk with seniors, I'd give myself very slim chances that I could impress somebody with my certificates. No doubt, actual practical understanding is the key WHAT everybody should seek primarily. Now if the certificates helps you achieve that or not, that's different, but waving certificate as a country flag probably is a mistake of beginners (not inclining I'm a senior or anywhere close to). Seniors who seeking recruit some developers I think insist staying up-to-date as a default and naturally understandable thing which is beyond precise prerequisite (=certificate) how to accomplish that.

As a note: I have around 10 certificates, with my first gained in 2007 I think, it were Cisco Systems cert, then was following several other, and recently Java (this one was just for fun, different case). My main point is, that I wasted many time and money concentrating on the wrong things in my younger days. Many still think that certificates are panacea and missing the point of actual practical research of the field.
 
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Honestly, I'd put more weight on technical certifications like those for Java, Oracle, and Cisco. It's kind of like the difference between a Certified Master Automotive Mechanic and a Certified Horse Whisperer. Maybe a better comparison is Certified Equine Veterinarian vs. Certified Horse Trainer.
 
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I might just took them too early. As a good agile practice probably would have been delay until really need them.
 
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Yesterday been tired, sleeping not much lately, so probably wasn't as clear as I could.

Just want to re-iterate my latest thoughts, so wouldn't demotivate aspirants.

I don't think certificates are bad, opposite, I find reading certification books the best way of gaining solid foundation about the subject, but what I wanted to say, is, that aspirants wouldn't put too much weight on certificate itself (as a paper). Knowledge, gained and continuously broaden afterwards is the key.
 
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I totally agree with facts discussed on certifications. But in the middle-east region where I am working, I feel there is a lot of importance to such certifications. Though I haven't had a first hand experience of the same.

But if someone is going out to reach out to people may be for consulting tasks, for talks, for workshops then credentials backed by certifications give some credibility to the person.
 
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Mohamed Sanaulla wrote:But if someone is going out to reach out to people may be for consulting tasks, for talks, for workshops then credentials backed by certifications give some credibility to the person.


This is absolutely true. There are many good consultants, speakers, and instructors out there whose certifications are well-earned and deserved. There are also those without certifications who are just as, if not more, competent. Some of the original signatories of the manifesto, like Robert Martin, Kent Beck, Ron Jeffries, and others are prime examples. These people's reputations and track records precede them and far outweigh anything that a certification could ever represent.

Like I said before, if you feel a certification will help open up doors to more opportunities, you should go for it.
 
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