Which certification to pursue?..that is a million dollar question which every professional face, at some point in time of their career. This discussion is based on which certifications one should pursue, after making a concrete decision to tread the project management route. Within project management, we have two major schools;
- The agile project management
- Traditional project management
Both are valuable, and complementary. Which one will give you the fastest return on investment depends on;
- The industry to which you belong to
- The industry where you want to spend your future
- The country where you will be working
The globally well known certifications for project managers
- Project Management Professional (PMI, USA)
- Projects in controlled environment (UK)
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM), by Scrumalliance
- Professional Scrum Master (PSM) by Scrum.org
- Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) by PMI-USA
If you are from the information technology domain, it is better to with any one of the agile certifications straightaway. The certified Scrum Master (CSM) by Scrumalliance is expensive and has the early starter advantage, where as PSM is not that expensive, and at the same time it is very authentic, because it is coming from Ken Schwaber’s Scrum.org. For those of you who do not know Ken Schwaber, he founded scrum along with Jeff Sutherland, and both of them together developed the scrum guide, which is the most authentic documentation on scrum, becuase it is coming from the founders. The syllabus for these two certifications (CSM and PSM) are the ScrumGuide, and upon completion of the certification process, one will have the proficiency to play the role of a scrum master (project manager, in the traditional forms).
Then we have the PMI-ACP certification. The syllabus for this certification is a cocktail of all the frameworks available out there and calls for;
- Complete understanding of SCRUM
- A very good understanding of Extreme Programming
- Some key concepts like earned value management, risk management, communications management from the project management body of knowledge (PMBOK)
- Complete understanding of Agile body of knowledge
After getting anyone of the agile certifications, then try for PMP credential. Without a proper understanding of the ten knowledge areas of PMBOK;
- Integration management
- Scope management
- Time management
- Cost management
- Quality management
- Communications management
- Human resource management
- Risk management
- Procurement management
one will fail, when it comes to real life project management. More than that, while the future holds good for the Agile, many customers insist on PMP’s to manage their projects. If you are from the I.T background, these two certifications are mandatory. Start with agile, and then graduate into PMBOK. Both complements.
If you are from any other domain, other than I.T, then the options are either PMP or PRINCE2. Since the origins of PRINCE2 are from U.K, it is appreciated there, and the rest of the world is with PMP. So, based on where you are, and where your customers are, you have to decide.
Please post all your additional queries as comments to this page, and I will reply.