Certifications, Integrity, Values: Where do you stand?

Certifications, Integrity, Values: Where do you stand?

Last week I passed the Product Owner Assessment (PSPO 1) from Scrum.org (you can check out my new PSPO 1 mock exam here).  As an Agile Coach and Trainer, I try to stay current with certifications. I don’t believe that these certifications necessarily make someone more effective, but for me, they are a structured way of staying current with industry best practices. As part of my long-term professional development plan, I have been thinking , “What’s next?” I had already achieved what I considered to be the core certifications for a project management consultant; PMP, PMI-ACP, PSM 1, PSPO 1, CSPO, CSP, so I wasn’t sure in which direction should I go? Should I go “big”, like SaFE or DAD (heaven forbid). Should I get certified as an Agile or PMI Trainer and pay thousands in licensing and application fees? As an independent consultant, these types of certifications become cost prohibitive.

The value provided by consultants like me is that we offer services based upon real world experience at a reasonable cost. Not that long ago, I sat in a meeting with an external project management auditor from one of the Big Four. His rate was $475/hour. He was hired to audit my Scrum project to see if it was adhering to project management best practices. He started his initial findings meeting with, “I was reading about this Agile thing last night, and I think I have some recommendations.” Once my blood pressure dropped to reasonable levels, I realized that this interaction only reiterated that I needed to stay committed to my values:

  • Always provide value to my customer.
  • Stay current on best practices.
  • Keep my expenses low so I can offer reasonable rates.
  • Never sacrifice integrity for profitability.


I considered these same values when reviewing the available certifications. Can I meet those values with my current certifications? At this point, my answer is yes. What about you?

If you are interested, at my last count, there are 64 different Agile certifications! (I am sure I missed some). Can you imagine the signature line on my emails?

Agile Certification Institute

  • Accredited Agile Practitioner (AAP)
  • Accredited Scrum Master (ASM)
  • Accredited Product Owner (APO)
  • Accredited Scaled Agile Practitioner (ASAP)
  • Accredited Kanban Practitioner (AKP)
  • Accredited Lean Software Development Practitioner (ALSP)
  • Certified Agile Associate (CAA)
  • Certified Scrum Associate (CSA)

Scrum Alliance

  • Certified Scrum Coach (CSC)
  • Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
  • Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
  • Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO)
  • Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)

Disciplined Agile Consortium

  • Disciplined Agilist-White Belt
  • Disciplined Agilist-Yellow Belt
  • Disciplined Agilist-Green Belt
  • Disciplined Agilist-Black Belt

DSDM Consortium

  • AgilePM certification
  • DSDM Atern Foundation Certificate
  • DSDM Advanced Practitioner Certificate
  • DSDM Foundation Certification
  • DSDM Consultant
  • DSDM Coach
  • DSDM Trainer
  • DSDM Advanced Practitioner

The International Consortium for Agile

  • ICAgile Certified Professional (ICP)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Business Value Analysis (ICP-BVA)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Portfolio Management (ICP-PFM)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Project Management (ICP-APM)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Adaptive Management (ICP-ADM)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Team Facilitation (ICP-ATF)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Programming (ICP-PRG)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Software Design (ICP-ASD)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Testing (ICP-TST)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Test Automation (ICP-ATA)
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Enterprise Agile Coaching
  • ICAgile Certified Professional in Agile Leadership

International Scrum Institute

  • Scrum Master Accredited Certification (SMAC)
  • Scrum Product Owner Accredited Certification (SPOAC)
  • Scrum Team Member Accredited Certification (STMAC)
  • Scrum Certification for Java Developer (SC4JD)
  • Scrum Certification for Web Developer (SC4WD)
  • Scrum Certification for Mobile App Developer (SC4MD)

The LeSS Company

  • Certified LeSS Practitioner
  • Certified LeSS for Executives

Project Management Institute

  • PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)

Scaled Agile Inc.

  • SAFe Agilist (SA)
  • SAFe Practitioner (SP)
  • SAFe Program Consultant (SPC)
  • SAFe Program Consultant Trainer (SPCT)
  • SAFe Product Manager/Product Owner (SPMPO)

Scrum.org

  • Professional Scrum Developer (PSD)
  • Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I)
  • Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II)
  • Professional Scrum Product Owner I(PSPO I)
  • Professional Scrum Product Owner II(PSPO II)
  • Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)

SCRUMStudy.com

  • Scrum Master Certified (SMC)
  • Scrum Developer Certified (SDC)
  • Scrum Product Owner Certified SPOC)
  • Agile Expert Certified (AEC)
  • Scrum Fundamentals Certified (SFC)

People have different reasons for certification. Some do it to advance their careers, others to learn new skills. Yes, there are also those that use certifications to artificially represent their expertise. I don't worry about them because the job will weed out those people. Ultimately, you need to decide, based upon your professional values. Will these certifications allow me to provide more value to my employer or my customer? Once you have that answer, the decision is easy.

Dan Tousignant, PMP, CSP, PMI-ACP, etc., etc., etc.

President, Cape Project Management, Inc.

BE AGILE.™

Scrumdan | September 02, 2015 in Agile

Scrum Trainer, Agile Coach, and PMI-ACP. Passionate outlier. Committed but inept yogi.

5 COMMENTS

  1. Natalie Currie
    October 07, 2015 11:26

    A refreshing and wise perspective. Lots for me to takeaway here.

    As a coach and facilitator I am frequently asked about which certifications and certificates I think are best (understanding that the subtext is: will this help me move my career forward?or will this help me get a job?). My response has always been, take the course/training if you want to not because you feel you have to. It is always a choice.

    Thanks for the post.

    Natalie Currie

  2. Alicia
    October 24, 2015 15:16

    This article was perfect because I’ve been struggling with the next steps and wasn’t sure if continuing to obtain more certifications were worth it. After reading that article I KNOW I want to provide more value to customers so I know what this means for me as I move forward. Being able to deliver the maximum value will lead to great opportunities by proxy. Awesome article!

  3. Hosting
    May 09, 2016 18:23

    Your integrity is manifested in your willingness to adhere to the values you hold most dear. It’s easy to make promises and hard to keep them, but if you do, every single act of integrity will make your character a little stronger. And as you improve the quality and strength of your character, every other part of your life will improve as well.

  4. Jess
    August 27, 2016 08:56

    Interesting take on it. I am looking to gain some additional skills and knowledge as an agile PM. I also want to prove my knowledge to my customer with an accreditation. Trying to decide which is better; ICagile or PMI ACP?

    • Scrumdan
      September 05, 2016 04:42

      PMI-ACP is more industry recognized and does not require that you take training from a specific provider

Comment