Wanna be bonafide.
May 21, 2013 7:11 PM   Subscribe

Help me figure out what sort of project management certification I should get.

Lately I'm noticing that the kinds of jobs that I want require a background in agile and/or kanban project management methods. I've been thinking for a long while that I want a project management certification, and I think I can get my work to fund it.

I know very little about what's on offer. I suppose I'd like to get something that covers agile, kanban, lean, and those other keywords that pop up in job postings. Someone recently recommended that I look into a 'black belt in lean'. Sure. Why not.

To be more specific, I work in educational publishing, and would like to be someone who does large scale project management of digital publishing. I have a background in software development, and a few years experience of project managing virtual teams.

One potentially relevant detail is that in my sub-industry, we're still very much dominated by a print paradigm of project management (i.e. waterfall). I'd like to play a role in getting us to take a more iterative approach to developing our digital products -- so a project management certification that develops those skills would be preferable. That said, I'd like to have my certification make sense to my current employer as well (and to fit their house style of management). There's a lot of talk at my company about focusing on 'product management' -- so perhaps I should look at the types of PM certification offered to technology product managers?

I'd love to hear some recommendations on the different types of options I have. What should I look into?

Thanks as always, my metafriends.
posted by mammary16 to Work & Money (6 answers total) 9 users marked this as a favorite
One thing you might explore is scrum training. I work as a project manager in an agile environment, and it's one of the cornerstones of our development process. We don't follow it to a T, but there are a lot of concepts we've found useful. I did a 1-day training course (within my company) and got a lot out of it, but I am sure there are more intensive sessions.

At the risk of stating the obvious, I assume you've already looked into PMP certification?
posted by juliplease at 7:44 PM on May 21, 2013 [2 favorites]

Best answer: Yeah, I work in educational publishing as a project manager and PMP is the only game in town.
posted by mattbucher at 8:03 PM on May 21, 2013

Best answer: From what I've seen, the most direct thing is to get PMP certified then pick up PDUs (PMI's abbreviation for Professional Development Units) in the disciplines that have the most traction in the industry you prefer.

You can get a Lean Six Sigma Black Belt, but you will be taken more seriously if that's on top of a PMP cert.

You can absolutely become a CSM (Certified Scrum Master) through International Scrum Institute or Scrum Alliance. This is also generally taken more seriously on top of a PMP cert.

PMI now offers a PMI-Agile cert, which has the buy-in of Scrum Alliance and Agile Alliance.

Kanban now also has its own cert, explained well here.

I think it's obvious at this point that you're going to need to make a choice between methodologies, at least to get started. Sure, over time you can be certified in all of them, but maybe only if you want to evaluate each then take the pieces that work best and come up with a brand new system that is the best of all worlds.
posted by batmonkey at 8:38 PM on May 21, 2013

PMP is the standard. The SCPM (Stanford Certified Project Manager) is a decent program, but it's more about the business drivers of projects than the job of being a PM. Any Six Sigma certification is a bit more suspect because there isn't a consistent certification standard. For Six Sigma the quality is really dependent on how you earned the title (experience, training, ASQ).

I'm a PMP, SCPM and Six Sigma Black Belt. In your spot, I'd get the PMP. It's a more standard professional credential. For instance, PMP requires continuing education and recertification. The SCPM does not require recertification and Six Sigma may or may not depending on who certified you (ASQ requires it). I haven't worked as a PM in years, but I do keep up my certifications.

PMP first. Then you can tag on any supplemental certs that your company is willing to fund.
posted by 26.2 at 11:25 PM on May 21, 2013

Admittedly I'm on the outskirts of the profession, but PMP is where I'd start as well if I were in your shoes.
posted by randomkeystrike at 4:59 AM on May 22, 2013

Response by poster: Thank you, everyone -- sounds like the advice is unanimous. I'll look into the PMP certification.
posted by mammary16 at 6:17 AM on May 28, 2013

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