Excellence By Proxy

I remain an uncertified agile coach. I wish to continue to remain an uncertified agile coach. I have missed many opportunities because of this position.

I remember several years ago, my manager was sent to get their CSM badge, and after a weekend came back a changed man. I saw the other managers that went and saw them return similarly impassioned. After a few days I did notice a difference. The other managers used their new certification as leverage to order the teams around, where my manager shifted his attention to how he can facilitate better. He became excellent. He also, managed to bring a copy of the test home so we could see just how complex it is to become a CSM. We all took the test, we all passed. We never went to a course, we never paid for it, and we wondered if you could actually even fail this thing.

On a resume, my former manager would have the same qualifications and credentials as the other terrible ones, even though the other managers were fired or their teams taken from them, they both still have CSM propping them up. This is not meant so much as an attack on Scrum certifications, it just has a lot of relevance to me.

When did we get comfortable with a certification being the proxy for our excellence?

I mean that question for both organizations and individuals. We have somehow, largely gotten to a point where we believe that the, “Flair,” that we carry somehow means ability. Organizations seem unwilling to see beyond that flair, what a qualified person would do and how they would accomplish their goals, and as individuals we rabidly pursue more and more flair so that we can feel like we know what we are talking about.

I have worked with other consultants who have admitted quite literally that they don’t believe in any of this stuff that they are certified in, that to them its just project management, and it doesn’t matter how you dress it up.

It leaves me in a difficult position where to be able to talk to someone I am greatly benefited by spending a couple of thousand dollars to take a multiple choice test officially, while simultaneously realizing that doing so encourages this laziness.