Chasing After The Latest Fad or Evolving

Washington DC PMI Chapter LinkedIn Group

Washington DC PMI Chapter LinkedIn GroupThis last weekend, I had an interesting exchange on the PMIWDC LinkedIn Group discussions board.  This healthy exchange of viewpoints came about from the following message:

In June, PMPs numbers are down by over 4000 while the PMI Agile certification numbers are on a steady rise. What is preventing the ACP from really getting traction? [link to graphic showing the upward trend of the PMI-ACP]

Because that LinkedIn group is not public, I won’t include the persons name.  Rather, I will refer to him as “Mr. PMP, CSM, ITIL” and include his responses in red.  Even if I don’t agree with everything he writes, I have to respect a differing viewpoint.

PMP numbers likely vary slightly throughout the year and 4,000 is less than 1%. Plus, in the current economy, I don’t think a drop is surprising at all.

Now about PMI-ACP. In my opinion, the PMI-ACP has no market (no one asks for it and, as you note, no one is really seeking it even after PMI lowered qualifying standards to get it). It is simply a me-too certificate competing with already established certifications by and Besides, it is mislabeled as Agile when all it talks about is Scrum without ever using the word Scrum–making it even less distinguishable.

Personally, I’d rather see PMI focus its efforts on strengthening the PMP, and the overall body of project management knowledge and practice, than chasing after the latest fads.

[Mr. PMP, CSM, ITIL], interesting opinions. I always find these “corrections” compelling. Everyone can read the August edition of PMI Today (the source of my numbers) and draw their own conclusions. It could be there were 4000 people who really weren’t project managers in the first place, thinking they needed a PMP, and then realized they really did not. We’ll never know for sure.

As for the PMI-ACP, the qualifying standards were corrected while the certification was still in pilot. I know this because I was in Miami with PMI when it happened. It just took several months to get the change implemented in the application process. At least there is a qualifying standard. You and I both have a CSM, yet we both know there is no qualifying standard for that.

The PMI-ACP is not all about Scrum. Again, I know this because I helped create the ACP and because I am the Co-Lead of the ACP support team at the PMI Agile CoP. I won’t disagree that a large percentage of the ACP is Scrum related but in VersionOne’s latest State of Agile survey, a majority of Agile practitioners are using Scrum to deliver value to their respective organizations. I think the certification is pretty representative of contemporary Agile practices.

If you’d rather PMI focus its efforts on strengthening the PMP, I’m curious how you will feel about the upcoming PMBOK Guide revision and Software Extension. Both include Agile knowledge and practices. Does that mean PMI is chasing after the latest fad or is it evolving?

Derek, I’ll admit the 5th edition draft PMBOK is troubling–almost as if some folks are trying to sabotage the PMBOK or simply making changes for the sake of changes. Don’t get me wrong, I am not against change but some of what is occuring is not good, doesn’t fix some problems in the 4th Edition and introduces some new contradictions and confusion. Waiting to see what the final release settles on. 

Stats can be fun and too often misleading. I don’t think month-to-month changes in active certificate holders is very meaningful and PMI-ACP’s less than six month track record is nonetheless too short. It’s 7 to 18% month-to-month increases are already faltering, losing 32% of it’s growth rate in the latest month. During this same time, PMPs dropped just under 1%. If both of these two latest trends continue, PMI-ACP will max out around 6,923 and reach parity (with current month declining) PMP in just over 38 years. 

As a reality check, PMP and CAPM make up 99.2031% of PMI’s certificate holders. I suspect the overall number of ‘traditional’ projects is a not too dissimilar ratio. Adding in the few thousand CSM and other certificate holders won’t significantly shift this ratio. And traditional project management is, if practiced well, agile and not the caricature painted by Agile and Scrum advocates.

Listening to people who are participating in the PMBOK revisions sounds a lot like legislation in the government. In the beginning, a bill with a bold new idea or fix is presented. In order to close the deal, the bill gets watered down and new stuff that really has nothing to do with the original bill gets introduced. I can totally see that happening with the PMBOK. But I do think common agile concepts and practices should be included. The question is, will it be a square peg in a round whole, based on the format of the PMBOK?

Speaking to the certification stats, I once presented a correlation graph claiming an increase in ice cream sales caused deaths by drowning. It was merely illustrating that metrics can be used to support just about any claim. If PMI gets more market penetration in India and South America, I think the overall growth rate for the PMP (and ACP) will continue. With PMI being the marketing machine that it is, I see the ACP cannibalizing market share from ScrumAlliance and, not from the PMP.  Only time will tell.

It’s my belief that “Agile” practices will be accepted as “Traditional” practices over time. Until then, the misinformed will believe it is a silver bullet. It’s funny, when I coach new clients, I always have at least one project manager tell me that he or she proposed similar changes to leadership but was ignored. I’ve also had attendees of my training tell me that having PMI offer an “Agile” certification legitimizes it as a possible delivery mechanism. This isn’t new stuff! Whatever gets people talking works for me.

HT: Project Management Institute

HT: VersionOne

Categories: Agile, Project Management Tags: Tags: , , , , , ,

Individuals & Interactions over Processes & Tools


It’s pretty exciting to hear that LinkedIn just reached over 100 million users.  Upon review this morning, my LinkedIn profile stated that I have 149 connections, adding it links me to 3,156,950+ professionals.  Unfortunately, I believe a tool is only as good at the individual(s) using it.  I’ll admit, I don’t really get LinkedIn.  I don’t leverage it the way it was probably intended.  To me, it’s an online resume with connections to people who I should have some kind of affiliation with.  I think of it more as for business.  I actually have a majority of my LinkedIn contacts as a result of an extended Fail Whale that happened on Twitter last year.  Twitter may be great for interactions but it’s not so great as a professional contact management tool.

A few days ago, I received a LinkedIn connect request from someone I interact with on Twitter.  She wrote

Derek, Would you have any interest in connecting on LinkedIn? I went to send an invite but for some reason the option isn’t there!

Since we’ve interacted on Twitter and share some professional affiliations, I figured I’d add her to my LinkedIn connections.  I logged into LinkedIn to send her the  connection request and realized why she did not see the option.  The LinkedIn user interface had recommended she connect with me, though we were already connected.


In the end, we just laughed it off. We’re still following each other on Twitter. We’ve reaffirmed that we’re connected via LinkedIn. But, it raises an interesting question.  How useful is an interaction tool if you don’t interact with other individuals?  How useful is have connections, if you don’t connect with them?

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The Impact Of Social Networking On Project Management


A few years back, while studying for the PMP exam, I committed the formula for calculating communications paths to memory.


So, what’s the big deal? Why is it so important? If you’re in the Project Management (or leadership) field, you know all too well how important communications is. I used to call myself a project manager. I now prefer to use the term project leader. What’s the difference? According to Warren Bennis and Dan Goldsmith (1997) there are 12 distinctions between managers and leaders.

  • Managers administer; leaders innovate.
  • Managers ask how and when; leaders ask what and why.
  • Managers focus on systems; leaders focus on people.
  • Managers do things right; leaders do the right things.
  • Managers maintain; leaders develop.
  • Managers rely on control; leaders inspire trust.
  • Managers have short-term perspective; leaders have long-term perspective.
  • Managers accept the status-quo; leaders challenge the status-quo.[*]
  • Managers have an eye on the bottom line; leaders have an eye on the horizon.
  • Managers imitate; leaders originate.
  • Managers emulate the classic good soldier; leaders are their own person.
  • Managers copy; leaders show originality.

In order to both innovate and do the right things, I listen and listen a LOT. (Some people listen; some wait to talk) I’ve watched executives and managers, who knew absolutely nothing about a subject, make uneducated decisions because they were too stubborn or proud to consult a subject matter expert (SME). Good leaders do not operate in a vacuum. They exchange ideas and information with people. Offer free information and it will come back to you tenfold. Listen to knowledgeable people and then make a more educated leadership decision.

Social Media CampaignWhere does social media fit into the grand scheme of things? Old-school managers and executives who believe in the bureaucratic organization and status quo, tend to lean toward command-and-control or top-down management. That group is operating under the assumption people higher in the organizational chart know more. New-school leaders believe in social media. Why? It strips away all of the nonsense and connects people to people. They have real conversations as human beings. They educate and they listen with a freedom to connect at an exponential rate. They are not confined to the notion of an hierarchical organization.

My example is my current engagement, which I have been at for 13 months: Within my direct cross-functional organization chart, I have 28 contacts to interface with. There are no plans to increase the size of this group. [28(28-1)]/2 is 378 communication paths. Not too bad.

TwitterTurn now to option number two, social media like Twitter and Facebook. For arguments sake, I’ll say I have 200 followers on Twitter with a growth rate of 10% a month. (I’m actually have 450+ and counting)  Each Twitter Follower is a communications path.

[200(200-1)]/2 = 19,900 communication paths

After one month it would be projected to increase to 21,945 communication paths

Every Friday, people I follow on Twitter recommend others in the industry who I should consider following (#followfriday). Every week, I learn more about my craft and more importantly I get to form relationships with people all over the world. By bypassing the organizational structure to get my information, inbound communications is at a much higher velocity and is now flowing up through the organization.

Social Media helps you be a project leader.

12 distinctions between managers and leaders by Bennis, Warren and Dan Goldsmith. Learning to Lead. Massachusetts: Persus Book, 1997.
Thank you Laurel Papworth for the use of the Social Media Campaign image

* I recommend reading Fighting Status Quo by Pawel Brodzinski

10 Helpful Steps to Submit PMI PDUs

I’m in the process of helping a group in the PMO make their submissions for PMI Professional Development Units (PDUs).  All PMPs need 60 PDUs during a CCR cycle so don’t put it off until the last minute.  In this case, they all participated in a workshop.  If you want to collect PDUs, you’re going to need some kind of evidence.  It might be a program agenda, copies of a publication, transcript, certificate, registration form… do I need to go on?  This is actually for you in the event PMI audits you.  In this case, participating in a workshop, the evidence is not required to actually complete the PDU request online.

Know your PMI ID #, Cert #, and Last Name on file with PMI.

Step 1: Log into the PMI homepage.
A Membership Status box will appear in the left navigation menu with the following data:
Member Since:

A Certification Status box will also appear in the left navigation menu with the following data:
PMP No.:
Renewal Date

Within that Certification Status box, at the bottom, is a link titled “View PDUs”

Step 2: Select the “View PDUs” link
Step 3:
Enter your ID#, Cert#, and first four letters of your last name
Step 4:
Select the “PMI PDU Self Report Form” radio button
Step 5:
Select the “Login” button to continue
Step 6:
Select the Activity you wish to claim  (“2e” for participating in a workshop)
Step 7: Complete the entire form (know the knowledge area and process group)
Step 8:
Select the “I Agree” checkbox and the “Continue” button
Step 9:
Review for accuracy
Step 10: Select the “Submit” button

Go back and review your Online Transcript in a few days to verify your submission was successful
Repeat Steps 1, 2, and 3

At Step 4,  select “PMI Transcript” radio button
Step 5: Select the “Login” button to continue to your Online Transcript

See, it’s not as hard as you thought!

Categories: PMP Tags: Tags: , , , ,

Critical Path is Back Up

As my eyes rolled to the back of my head last night, waiting for the server to finish configuring, I hoped my website transition plan was going to work.  Yesterday, I took control of the Critical Path hosting. That meant everything would have to be reinstalled on a new server and database restored. I kept asking myself if I had planned enough.

Other then 6 hours of dead time, due to the release of the domain by the other host, things went relatively well.

The final indicator that I did indeed plan my transition correctly was when the database was restored this morning. The line read better then a tweet.

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