Scrum Alliance

How to Help PMI Chapters & Members

After speaking with a few PMI Chapters, I see them (at least the ones I spoke to) suffering from one major issue.  How to they grow their membership?


Because PMI has created an ecosystem where people pay serious money to prepare for certification exams and then continue to pay good money for Professional Development Units (PDU)s to maintain those certifications, why don't the Chapters capitalize on that?  The PMI Chapter is much more than a monthly opportunity to exchange business cards.  They are a conduit to continued education.

PMI Chapters are trying to provide value to and grow their memberships.  If the membership drops too low, clearly there can be a problem. With the average annual dues for a PMI Chapter (in the United States) at $25, what value can they provide as an incentive to join the Chapter? Additionally, without collecting enough membership dues, PMI Chapters have to find other forms of revenue to sustain themselves.

I believe the solution to growing PMI Chapter membership (or PMI membership) is to make it more cost effective to be a member (of both) than it is to be a n0n-member pursuing or maintaining a PMI credential.  PMI and PMI Chapters should adopt the old American Express slogan membership has its privileges.

Idea 1:

The cost for PMI membership is $129 to join and $119 to renew (annually).  The cost for annual PMI Chapter membership averages $25.  PMI should require all Registered Education Providers (REP) to extend a discount to exam preparation training by more than $150 to PMI Chapter members.  Right there, the membership has paid for itself.  On top of that, they should discount single PDU offerings by at least 10%.

Idea 2:

REPs should profit share with the PMI Chapters. I see PMI Chapters selling advertising to training providers.  That model doesn't really scale.  Training providers are paying for advertising in the hope there will be revenue generated to justify the cost.  This caps the revenue the Chapter can make and provides no guarantee to the training vendor that the investment is worth while.  Why don't the Chapters just ask for a percentage of revenue with the agreement to distribute the training option to their membership?  It's a win-win agreement.

Idea 3:

PMI Chapters should make deals with authors and suppliers, to offer the same type of profit sharing model.  Think of Amazon affiliate links.  It costs you nothing to promote these products but if people trust your recommendation, you could potentially create revenue.  The same goes for the PMI Chapters.  If their membership trusts them, they could provide them discounts on products and services AND get a referral fee.


Again, remember the old slogan for American Express.  Membership has its privileges.  It doesn't matter if you are a member of PMI, The Scrum Alliance, or Agile Leadership Network.  Membership SHOULD also provide discounts.

Or course I want to put my money where my mouth is.  My PMI-ACP 3-day workshop is $1495.  If a PMI Chapter member wants to take my class, they need only to identify the chapter they are a member of and I'll discount the cost of the workshop to $1250.  That will save them $245.  Additionally, I'll send $150 to the PMI Chapter they belong to.  If interested, just contact me.

Image Source: Pictofigo

Becoming a PMI R.E.P.

As you may know by now, I left my gig advising a Federal PMO to join LitheSpeed as a Senior Manager. LitheSpeed offers premium Agile software development training, coaching and management consulting services. My relationship with the organization actually started several years ago, when I attended ScrumMaster training to earn my certification. (You can't be a Certified ScrumMaster through the Scrum Alliance unless you get your training from a Certified Scrum Trainer®.) Well, the world is evolving and so is LitheSpeed. See, Certified Scrum Trainers (CSTs) play a vital role within the Scrum Alliance. They are the only ones licensed to teach Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) courses. Stringent certification requirements are imposed on CSTs to make certain that only those who are qualified to meet the commitment are entrusted to engage in this role on behalf of the Scrum Alliance.

Well, what about those out there who are members of the Project Management Institute? What about those seeking the upcoming PMI® Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)SM certification? If you want to qualify to sit for the PMI-ACP, you will need 21 training hours in an Agile-specific curriculum. To ensure members of the PMI know LitheSpeed offers quality training that will help satisfy that requirement, we applied to and were approved to be a PMI Registered Education Provider (R.E.P.).


What does it take to become a PMI R.E.P.? Applicants must complete a 33-page application, which includes a strict quality review of both the trainers and the curriculum. The first class we submitted and got approved was our Certified ScrumMaster course; next will be our Certified Product Owner and PMI-ACP Prep courses. As an R.E.P., LitheSpeed has been approved by PMI to issue Professional Development Units (PDUs) through the PMI website. Our goal is to equip our trainees with tools they can apply on current and future projects, not just help them qualify to take an exam.

I know this post sound a little like a press release.  But, I have to admit, applying to become a PMI R.E.P. is no cakewalk.

If you would be interested in attending one of my upcoming public training sessions or would be interested in me providing a private training session, shoot me an email!

PMI® and the PMI® Registered Education Provider logos are registered trademarks of the Project Management Institute, Inc. PMI-ACPSMis a service mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

CSM & PMI Agile Certification Eligibility

Though PMI has published information about what is required to be eligible to take the upcoming PMI Agile Certification exam, I'm getting quite a few emails from people asking about the upcoming exam.  One of the most intriguing was from a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) asking if (his or her) CSM training could be applied toward the required 21 PDUs. The question: Do Scrum Alliance® Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) courses qualify for the training eligibility requirement?

The answer: Yes, Scrum Alliance® courses qualify for the training eligibility requirements. Only hours in Agile training will meet the certification eligibility requirements. One hour of training equals one contact hour of education eligibility.



Take the Oath

Over the last few years, I've seen more and more people get certifications (or accreditations) from PMI, Scrum Alliance, APMG, and now SAFe.  Some will demonize the organizations for offering certifications and accreditations without actually proposing anything to deal with what they perceive as a problem. I believe certifications and accreditations are only as good as the people who get them.  One component I see missing is an oath of honor.  Yes, like Kingon honor or knights of the round table honor. (oh ya, I'm a geek)

When I wanted to be a Boy Scout, I met the qualifications.  But I then took an oath.

When I wanted to be a U.S. Marine, I met the qualifications.  But I then took an oath.

When I wanted to be a Freemason, I met the qualifications. But I then took an oath (which I can't repeat)

Not to compare project managers and leaders to doctors, but they take the Hippocratic Oath!  From that, I took inspiration.  Instead of trying to save lives, we're trying to save projects.

So, here is my first shot at it.  I call it the Metis Oath.  Metis was the Titan goddess of good counsel, advise, planning, cunning, craftiness and wisdom. Let me know what you think.

Metis Oath

I swear to fulfill, to the best of my ability and judgment, this covenant:

I will respect the hard-won gains of those practitioners in whose steps I walk, and gladly share such knowledge as is mine with those who are to follow.

I will apply, for the benefit of the stakeholders, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism.

I will remember that there is art to project management and leadership as well as science, and that empathy and understanding may outweigh all other things.

I will not be ashamed to say "I know not," nor will I fail to call in my colleagues when the skills of another are needed for a project's recovery.

I will respect the privacy of my stakeholders, for their problems are not disclosed to me that the world may know. Most especially must I tread with care in matters of project success or failure. If it is given to me to save a project, all thanks. But it may also be within my power to fail a project; this awesome responsibility must be faced with great humbleness and awareness of my own frailty.

I will remember that I do not serve a budget, or a schedule, but a human being, whose success may affect the person's project and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the project.

I will prevent waste whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

I will remember that I remain a member of society, with special obligations to all my fellow human beings, those sound of mind and body as well as the infirm.

If I do not violate this oath, may I enjoy life and art, respected while I live and remembered with affection thereafter. May I always act so as to preserve the finest traditions of my calling and may I long experience the joy of managing and leading those who seek my help.


Scrum Alliance & Star Trek

Live Long and ProsperMax Keeler tweeted that the new Scrum Alliance director is new to Scrum.  I went over to the Scrum Alliance website and I see they have selected Donna Farmer as the new Managing Director.

Beginning October 1, 2010, Farmer will lead the non-profit organization, working with the staff and Board of Directors to realize the organization’s vision and mission.

Lately, there seems to be some turbulence in the Scrum world, after Tobias Mayer resigned from his SA staff role as creative director and renounced his SA certifications of CSM, CSP, and CST.  He then wrote a scathing blog post on the whole thing.  I've also read an email response to his post by the Scrum Alliance, over at the Agile Scout website. The whole situation was really quite disheartening.

I empathize with Tobias and what he went through.  I empathize with the Scrum community, as it evolves and tries to navigate through constant change.

But, let's go back to what Max tweeted about.  Max sent me a link to the source (if it stops working let me know).  Farmer admits to being new to Scrum.  Even though she is, should it matter?

My analogy is the latest incarnation of Star Trek.  When I heard J.J. Abrams was going to be the Director of the movie, I was shocked.  How could the franchise do this to us!?  Abrams admitted he wasn't even a fan of Star Trek.  This was blasphemous to hear.  How could anyone but a fan direct a Star Trek movie?

Well, though Abrams wasn't a fan, he took the franchise in a new direction and made a pretty damn good movie.  I'm not saying Farmer is going to be a savior for the Scrum Alliance but I want to give her the benefit of the doubt.

I will continue to be optimistic about the future of the Scrum Alliance and the Agile Alliance until someone like Ken Schwaber or Alistair Cockburn publish something that counters the very principles they stand for.

So, before we pass judgment on Donna Farmer, let's all get a extra-large popcorn and see how this plays out.

May the Scrum Alliance live long and prosper.

Graphic from