Certification Proliferation...and Confusion

PMI Southern Alberta Chapter

Mike Griffiths is a consultant and trainer who help organizations improve performance through shared leadership, agility and (un)common sense. He maintains the blog LeadingAnswers.com.

Like TV channels, the choice of project management credentials has exploded recently. Twenty years ago, things were much simpler. In North America, the PMP® was the dominant credential; in the UK and ex-British Empire countries, it was PRINCE2. Life was straightforward, career paths defined and credentials well understood.

In 1983 in the United States, over 100 million people watched the finale of the TV series M*A*S*H. Outside of the Apollo moon landing and sports events, it remains the most watched U.S. TV broadcast of all time. Chances were most people in the office watched it and everyone had something in common to talk about. That was “peak TV”; populations have increased since, but program choice has exploded much faster. These days, there are so many cable choices, on-demand services, YouTube channels and Periscope sub-streams, it seems as if everyone watches something different.

Likewise, project management credentials have proliferated, too. Today I discovered seven different credentials for PMO staff from the same provider—each (presumably) providing some niche specialization or incremental progression from a former step. Don’t even get me started on agile certifications, which have splintered and multiplied faster than the brooms in the “Sorcerer’s Apprentice” segment from Fantasia.

This creates problems for …

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