When PMI Introduced the Elephant - Part 2

In just a few weeks, I will be speaking at an upcoming (sold out) Agile conference here in Washington D.C.  It's unfortunate that I had to decide between going to the PMI North American Congress and speaking at the AgileDC event.  The events are happening the same week.  I had to decide if I wanted to speak or if I wanted to just attend. The title of my talk at AgileDC is "When PMI introduced the elephant in the room".  Let's define that.  We're talking about an important and obvious topic, which everyone present is aware of, but which isn't discussed, as such discussion is considered to be uncomfortable.  That elephant, of course, is the mainstream adoption of Agile.  Many of us saw the momentum of agile practices growing.  And I think just as many out there have tried to ignore it, misrepresent it, or dismiss it.  Though it took 10 years, I see PMI's move to formally embrace Agile, with its own Agile certification, as a sign we're about to cross the chasm.  The PMI wouldn't do this if they didn't see market trends supporting it.  With the PMI endorsement, Agile will be more widely used, more openly adopted...and yes, abused.

But I'm not here to rain on PMI's parade.  I take my hat off to the PMI leadership, the PMI Agile Community of Practice leadership, and the informal Agile luminaries we all know in the industry.  I know there are people who are not very happy with the idea of PMI being the organization to release a comprehensive Agile exam.  Like it not, someone has to do it!  Agile needs something that will motivate people to accept it as a legitimate alternative (or primary choice) and leverage it.  Though not every project environment appears to be conducive to what the Agile Alliance or the Scrum Alliance offer, they seem to be more receptive when the PMI offers it.  In the U.S. market, the Project Management Professional (PMP) certification has reached a point in the adoption curve whereby if you are a Project Manager and don't have it, you are at a disadvantage.  It has reached such a fever pitch that even people who are not Project Managers (by trade) are finding ways to get the certification.  People are believing certifications will make them more marketable and better managers or leaders.  PMI is merely capitalizing on that belief, with the introduction of the Agile Certified Practitioner certification.  A certification that is not easy to get, immediately has a perception of value.

When you think of PMI, what do you think of?

Processes and tools?
Comprehensive documentation?
Contract negotiation?
Following a plan?

PMI is the world's largest project management member association, representing more than half a million practitioners in more than 185 countries. As a global thought leader and knowledge resource, PMI advances the profession through its global standards and credentials, collaborative chapters and virtual communities and academic research.

When you think of Agile, what do you think of?

Individuals and interactions over processes and tools Working software over comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over contract negotiation Responding to change over following a plan

The authors of the Agile Manifesto wrote "We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it."

So, is this a contradiction?