A Project Manager’s Poker hand

Or- Ripped from Today’s headlines; PMP certification and $4 will buy you a cup of coffee!

It was late evening at my office. I was still there to take a conference call with one of our Chinese out source firms. I strode purposefully down the hallway and straight into the conference room.
I stopped short. I backed up and looked at the name of the conference room. Yes, I was in the right place. Stepping back in my mind tried to make sense of the scene before me. Hogarth was sitting at the table, his back to me. He had garters around his forearms and wore a visor. He was rapidly dealing cards around the table to the other occupants of the room.
Two more gorillas, a black swan and a pink elephant.
The sheer absurdity of the scene froze me to inaction for several moments.
“All right, everyone ante up out,” Hogarth called out.
ITIL,” mumbled the larger of the two gorillas.
Six Sigma, Black Belt,” the pink elephant said..
Slapping a chit on the table, the other gorilla declared “Prince2.”
Quietly sliding her chit across the table, the black swan almost whispered “MCSE.l
PMP,” Hogarth said.
Everyone at the table picked up their cards and carefully began arranging them. Moments later Hogarth called out, “Opening bet is to you, Winston.”
“I call two years of team leadership,” the larger gorilla said.
The “betting” went around the table. “Award winning writing”,” Paid to speak in public”, “Risk management expertise…”
“HOGARTH!” My mind finally caught up with the absurdity. “What are you doing?”
My gorilla turned to look at me. “Oh, hi boss. Just playing poker with some of the guys.” He pointed around the table. “I told you ’bout my cousin, Winston. The elephant is Percy, from accounting, that’s Wendy’s Gorilla, Stanley and birdie over there is Wanda from IT.”
“Poker? What on earth are you using for money?” For some reason my mind had no problems with three gorillas, a pink elephant and a black swan playing poker. Instead I was trying to wrap my mind around just what they were playing for.
“Job experience and accomplishments!” He declared.
Hogarth grinned ,”Haven’t you heard the news? A PMP certification and $4 will get you a cup of coffee?”
Certification Poker, just what does a PMP get you?
A while back Simon Cleveland, of the Miami  Project Examiner, posted a blog titled “Why is just having a PMP not enough.” In his blog he reviewed a study published in the Project Management Journal. The study surveyed Senior IT Executives and found that a PMP certification rated at the bottom of the list for considering a candidate for hiring.
The bottom?…
Yes, the bottom. Here is the list from Simon’s blog:
1. Leadership = 94%
2. Ability to communicate at multiple levels = 93%
3. Verbal skills = 87.2%
4. Written skills = 87.1%
5. Attitude = 85%
6. Ability to deal with ambiguity and change = 82%
7. Work history = 68%
8. Experience = 67%
9. Ability to escalate = 66%
10. Cultural fit = 57%
11. Technical expertise = 46%
12. Education = 37%
13. Length of prior engagements = 23%
14. Past team size = 18%
15. PMP certification = 15%
Wow… My first reading of the article had me up in arms. I was ready to storm the walls and take no prisoners. How dare they say my PMP was the bottom of the list! Then I read a LinkedIn discussion on the matter. In that discussion, one person voiced confusion on why the PMP is considered a must have in so many job requisitions and with HR. Another poster wondered how this jived with PMI promoting project management as a “certified” profession, like accounting or lawyers.  I was ready to call the million PM march on Washington (okay maybe the century PM march, do I hear a dozen?).
So I read Simon’s article again. This time I took my time. I paid attention to the listed values and the LinkedIn concerns from my fellow project managers. When I was done, I had learned two valuable things. The first is the old Netiquette adage to never immediately respond to a confrontational email or post. Write your post, then walk away for thirty minutes or more. Come back after you’ve calmed down and see if you still want to send it. You almost never will.
Of course that’s not what this blog is about. The “Aha Moment” for me came when I realized that the study was 100% absolutely right!
“Say that again?
That’s right. I agree that a PMP should be at the bottom of the list for deciding if you want to hire someone. We saw Hogarth use his PMP (well technically mine) to ante up in his job experience poker game. He didn’t use it for an actual bet. The PMP got him in to the game, but it wouldn’t win him his hand.
It’s the same for a hiring decision. A PMP certification is not the most important decision in hiring someone, and it should not be. The same goes for pretty much any other professional certification, Prince2, Scrum Master, PMIs new Agile cert ( You need a Medical Degree to be a doctor, that doesn’t mean you are a good doctor.). A certification helps get you in the door. It’s a must have on your resume and, in theory, is proof that you have the skills that the hiring manager wants. It is your ante to get into the interview game. It gets you to the table. Then you have to prove that your certification was justly earned, by demonstrating your ability in the skills. In the case of the PMP one of those key skills is the ability to communicate.
Three of the top four things on the study’s list are about communication. Eighty percent or more of being a Project Manager is about communication. Then, looking at the top of the list, the number one thing IT Execs look for is leadership. It’s not communication, though a good leader must be a good communicator. That said, I would argue that to be a successful Project Manager you must be a strong leader. If you can successfully lead a project team, without direct report authority, then you are probably a good leader.
Let’s look at two more high ranking traits; handle ambiguity and change 82% and ability to escalate 66%. These are both vital tools in a good project manager’s tool box. A dedicated PMP certified project manager should have these skills and actively cultivates them. I’d also argue that the ability to escalate is just another part of communication.
Conversely, notice where Technical Expertise rates? A whopping 46%. Leadership, communication, and adaptability (ambiguity and change) far outweigh the requirement for technical expertise.
So on reflection I think this article is spot on and fully supports who I am, as a project manager.
My PMP certification gets me to the table. It shows I want to be one of the best. I still have to prove to them that I am.
Joel Bancroft-Connors
Veteran, the project management wars
Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email
You can follow me on twitter, @JBC_PMP

Book Review- The Lazy Project Manager

The Time: 7:15PM, The Location: My office
My gorilla looked over the top of the Wall Street Journal. He was leaned back in my chair, his size twenties on my desk. “Yes?”
“What are you doing?”
“I’m reading the paper and being lazy, you should try it.”
I stalked into my office, waving a stack of papers in front of me. “I don’t have time to be lazy! There’s a dozen things that need to get done, right now. I have to have this report posted tonight and I’m three days late updating the matrix of gear ratio changes. I’ll be here until at least ten. Now for Pete’s sake get out of my chair!”
Hogarth carefully folded his newspaper. Placing it in his lap, he slide his feet off my desk. Fixing me with his big, black eyes he said “Let me ask you something. No matter how hard you’ve worked, have you ever been able to get everything you are supposed to do done?”
“Well no, but…”
Hogarth held up a big paw-hand, “Atch, atch, atch, no buts. This report, say you get it out. Will anyone read it between now and tomorrow afternoon when they come to the program team meeting?”
“Wel no…”
“And the updated matrix of gear ratio changes, how many people have downloaded the last version from the SharePoint.”
I reached past him and brought up the SharePoint metrics screen on my computer, “Umm two!”
Hogarth nodded, “One would be you, when you downloaded it to update it. And the other one was me, I needed something to put me to sleep last night.” Hogarth leaned back, tossing his feet back up onto my desk. Flipping open the paper he said, “No matter how hard you work, there will always be more. Are you working on the right things?”
It was then I noticed his prehensile toes were holding something. It was a book, I could just make out the title, if I turned my head just right…
The Lazy Project Manager – by Peter Taylor
I first learned of the Lazy PM through Cornelius Fitchner’s podcast series. If the father of PM Podcasts thinks it’s worth bringing a writer on his cast, then it usually is worth learning more about that author. 
So when Peter Taylor had a special sale, I snapped up an autographed copy.
The cover shows the silhouette of a suited man, casually seated in a large comfy chair. The author recommends just this approach for reading the book, and for how a project manager should approach his job. I was flying coach, so the chair wasn’t all that comfy but I was able to finish his book in one cross country flight.  Regular readers will recall my words from my Potato, Pahtato blog and how I described studying for the PMP has learning a common language for what I already knew. Reading Taylor’s book was much the same experience.
As I flew through the pages I found myself nodding along and making the logic jumps with him. Peter’s book is all about being Effective with your time, making sure you focus on what is critical and not the things no one is going to care about. And he’s not just spouting platitudes and personal bias. He starts the book with the powerful Pareto Principle (using a wonderful Monty Python dinosaur reference to do so). Anyone who’s studied for the PMP certification, has had to commit this principle to memory and you can’t help but quickly realize Taylor is a smart veteran who’s seen enough of the project management wars to know the science of project management and the art of how to apply it.
Taylor’s book isn’t going to give you the secrets of the perfect status report, or the keys to unlock the mastery of the Gant chart. He even goes to great lengths to make it very clear this book is NOT a PM training book. You won’t be able to pass the PMP by reading the Lazy PM. But like the kindly old Sergeant, who teaches the wet behind the ears Lieutenant about leading men, Taylor’s book is like a virtual coach (his own words) on how to be good at one of the most important parts of being a good project manager. The people part.
Using a combination of real world stories, great two by two charts, a Monty Python-grade dry wit and practical explanations, Peter Taylor walks you through the stages of a project lifecycle and what you, the project manager, need to focus for each stage of your project.
Where does it go on my “Book Shelf Index”? Right now the Lazy PM is one of the half dozen books on my office quick reference book shelf. Not so much because I reach for it often, like I do with Elements of Scrum or the PMBOK, but more so because the picture on the cover reminds me to stick to my own Gorilla PM philosophies, focusing on what’s important and not burning out trying to do everything.
Buy the Lazy PM and let Taylor prove to you that working until midnight isn’t effective, it’s plain silly.
Joel BC
Veteran, the project management wars
Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email
You can follow me on twitter, @JBC_PMP

Pothole Project Management, a Gorilla PM philosophy

Or- How to solve a problem you lack the authority/resources to solve.
Ever have a day where you feel utterly powerless? Where your every act carries as much power as a waterlogged facial tissue holding back a runaway train? Okay, okay, I know, that that’s the normal state of being for a project manager. But I mean really and truly feeling like you have no more influence then a viagra spam email. Ever had one of those days?
I was.
Jake, the development manager,  had just declared his team had no plans to fix the fatal crash& corruption bug in the database load scripts. “It’s a fringe case, no one is ever going to hit it.”
Carlos was less than inclined to accept the answer. “Fringe case? A good twenty percent of our user base uses the Whippoorwill chip. What are my customer support reps supposed to say, ‘Oh sorry, sir, but that’s a fringe case. Can you please reinstall your system from a backup? You don’t have a backup, oh well.”
I sat in the middle, doing my best to stay the unbiased facilitator. Carlos could be a very reactionary customer service person and had a tendency to exaggeration, but I’d seen his data on this, and it was accurate. Over in the other corner, Jake’s team had been working for six months solid and had juggled a mountain of scope creep, introduced by the product manager. He was under a lot of pressure to deliver the product and just plain worn out by it.
So I looked to the product manager. “Bob, it’s your product, what do you want to do.”
Bob looked up from his Blackberry prayer. He glanced at the fiery tempered CS manager and then at the stoic development manager. “We’re a month late already, we can’t afford any more delays.”
Carlos nearly jumped across the table, “Delays? We wouldn’t be a month behind schedule if you hadn’t added a dozen features at the last minute and we wouldn’t have this bug if you hadn’t insisted on changing the DB schema!”
Two size-twenty, hairy feet levered themselves up onto the table next to me. Leaning back in his chair Hogarth folded his arms behind his head and turned to me. “You know this isn’t going to be any different from the last time customer support went toe to toe with the product manager?”
I glared at Hogarth, willing him to disappear in a puff of smoke. He didn’t and I was faced with the lopsided grin of my personal gorilla. I wanted to snap at him, that this would be different, but I couldn’t because I knew very well it wouldn’t be. Just like weather in LA, if yesterday was sunny, then odds were damn good tomorrow would be as well. The needs of the schedule would outweigh the needs of the product quality and customer support would be stuck supporting the bug. It would also impact our company. We were already starting to get a poor reputation for having great ideas, but horrible implementations.
Hogarth yawned, exposing a mouth full of pointed teeth, each gleaming like a reminder of things gone wrong. He said, “if you don’t do something, then it will be the same thing all over again.”
Now I was angry. It was one thing for Hogarth to state the blindingly obvious. But to imply I could change fate was quite the other. “Hogarth, I don’t have that kind of authority. My job is to move the project, not decide what it is!”
“We’re not going to have the responsibility argument again, are we?” he said. Before I could tell him this was different he waved towards the conference room’s big, picture window. “Remember that pot hole in the north parking lot, the one you used to hit every day?”
I nodded, “Yes, and I tried to get it fixed for six months. Facilities only finally got around to doing it last week. So?”
Hogarth shook his head, “Yeah facilities fixed it, but it wasn’t anything you did. The construction project on the south wing meant they had to drop a bunch of equipment at the head of the south lot, including in the CEO’s parking spot.” Flipping his feat down, Hogarth turned to point out at the north parking lot. “So they gave him a temp spot right next to the north entrance. See there’s his Mascarpone right there.”
“Maserati” I corrected.
He waved a massive paw-hand, “Whatever. The point is last Monday he drove into the north lot and took out his muffler on that pothole. Want to guess how fast it was fixed?”
I shook my head, “No, I want to know what your point is.”
“My point,” he said, “is sometimes the solution to the problem is to steer the right person into the pothole. Who do you think is really going to care is there is a crash bug on  the Whippoorwill chip?”
And the light dawned on me. “Massive Computing, probably our largest client. And Walter, their account rep is in town. I make sure Walter knows about the problem and he’ll get Bob to change Jake’s mind!”
My gorilla smiled. “You are learning, young Jedi.”
I call it “Pothole Project Management” and it’s one of the core tenants of Gorilla Project Management. It is something of the flip side to what I discussed in Blog 21, The Responsible Authority Gorilla. In Responsible I talked about how I, as the Project Manager, worked process and standardization into the team using Gorilla PM rule #1 “First thing is to get it done, then find out who should do it.” Pothole PM is the tool I bring out when my own authority (real or relationship) is insufficient to solve a problem. By steering someone with the authority into the issue, you can get the needed result.
Important point: This is not “I’m going to go tell dad!” This isn’t the school of tattle-tale project management. Relationships and subtlety are still very important. A project manager who gets a reputation for always going over people’s heads is a project manager who will soon have his team working to get rid of him.
Let’s take the example from above. I wouldn’t pick up the phone and tell Walter “Oh my god, do you know what they are doing?” My first approach would be to talk to Carlos, the Customer Service Manager. Carlos is the one who is most invested in the problem and he and Walter share a common interface point, that being the customer. Guiding Carl to go talk to Walter about “how we can ensure Massive Computer will be impacted minimally” will not only make Walter aware of the bug, but worst case will also start the risk mitigation planning if the bug does ship.
If I had to handle it directly, I’d do it in two ways, face-to-face and the power of status reports. Face-to-face is the trickiest, as it can all to easily come off as tattle-tale PM and that’s bad. You have to steer the conversation and get Walter to ask for the data. Power of the status report is the least risky, but you have to make sure people read your status reports (and that is a whole other blog, but there are tips for this). You make sure you have a history of factual reporting that includes issues and risks. If Walter is reading your reports, he’ll know about the issue gets involved that way.
Being an effective project manager is not about doing the work yourself, it is about making sure the right resource is applied to the right problem.
Joel BC
Veteran, the project management wars
Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email
You can follow me on twitter, @JBC_PMP

All the worlds a stage, and we are merely gorillas

Or- Welcome to the 21st century, you are always “in public”
Bob sat down in the chair across from me, a conspiratorial smile on his face. Unseen by Bob, Hogarth silently lumbered past to perch on the desk section behind me.
Bob was part of my program team, Hogarth was just a ‘bit of undigested beef’, so I focused my attention on Bob. “What can I do for you Bob?”
“Man can you believe they promoted Mary? I mean come on, Jake can code circles around her with one arm chewed off by a bear.” Bob’s voice was hushed in the way a five year old “whispers” across the school yard. I was momentarily taken aback by Bob’s statement, which he seemed to take a tacit approval to continue. “And we all know she got the job because she practically knifed poor Steve in the back on project Pacheco. Seriously, is there a single ounce of good in that woman?”  Bob went on to express his personal feelings on Mary with great amounts of vitriol, his rant eventually petering out like an out of gas car. 
“Well what do you think?”
I leaned back in my chair, contemplating what Bob had just said. Mary was most certainly not on my most favorite people list. More than once she had caused one of my projects to fly off the rails, with near impossible “customer” demands. Personality wise she was about as warm and fuzzy as a petrified, flash frozen hedge hog. And still…
“You know,” drawled Hogarth. “Interesting thing about Bob. Overheard him in the break room not twenty minutes ago. He was ranting on and on to a guy from legal. Couldn’t stop moaning about how his project manager was an over bearing control freak who didn’t even know the difference between a half bit flange rod and a radiated tie off bar.”
Bob only worked on one project, the one I was the project manager for. I gave Bob my best smile and simply said, “Bob, when you question a corporate decision and then proceed to demean someone, no matter who they are  it makes me wonder how you’ll represent our project and team. If you’ll excuse me, I need to get this report done.”
Behind me, Hogarth smiled proudly.
So before the tragedy of Japan’s Tsunami blotted it from the headlines, the news was abuzz with the latest scandals to rock NPR. It seems VP Ron Schiller let loose with how he really felt about the Tea Party, in what was supposedly a private conversation with potential donors to NPR.  The fall out from that was the grist for many a news story mill, but what I found most interesting was something that had nothing to do with the actual words said or the resulting fall out. Though it is of important note that Schiller went on to say “I made statements during the course of the meeting that are counter to NPR’s values and also not reflective of my own.”
Remember those last five words- “Not reflective of my own.”
I was listening to my local news radio and they interviewed some talking head (are they still called talking heads on radio?). After what I thought was a well thought out set of answers, the talking head answered the final question, which had to do with how he felt about how the reporters had obtained the secret video (If you skipped the link to the story, they were fake donors meeting Schiller for lunch and had a secret camera). The talking heads said something like “If I’m in public, I’m going to speak differently than I am in private.”
Hello, Houston? We have a problem.
There are so many things wrong with this, I don’t know where to start…
First off, if you’re willing to bad mouth the Bad hair party so you can get donation money from the Parted Hair Brotherhood. Whose to say you won’t trash the Parted Hairs next month to get money from the Mohawk’s are sexy society? It’s a question of integrity. When I hear people gossip, trash talk or tear into their company, I immediately wonder what they say about me when I’m not around or how they talk about decisions made on my projects. This kind of talk is destructive, tearing down other people is destructive. You don’t have to be flower-power, hippie-love to everyone, but there is a fine line between not liking someone’s beliefs and tearing them down.
This is by far the most important part of this blog. It doesn’t matter if you are in private or public, if you treat people poorly, it will reflect back on you three fold. But at least if you are going to take a controversial stance, be prepared to defend it in public. Just look at Ron Schiller, I think he only compounded his mistake when he spoke publically.  Not only was what  he did monumentally stupid, but then he tried to say that what he said wasn’t what he really felt.
So let me get this straight, you were lying to get donor money? Oh, and that makes it all better.
Which brings me to my second/last point (okay lousy segway, but stay with me here). Going back to the talking head and his comments about being in private.
Welcome to the 21st century. Welcome to 24 hour Facebook, to a world where anything and everything can be posted to the internet in a heartbeat.  From secret diplomatic cables released by Wikileaks, to that ten year old picture of you puking into a bathtub that your old college room mate just posted on Facebook, anything and everything can and does become public. Like it or not, we are on stage and broadcasting live 24 hours a day.
As project managers, we need to be especially sensitive to this. We may not have the line item budget, or the direct reports, but as PMs we represent the project and the company.  If your Facebook page is a drunken tribute to the Rocky Horror Picture show, mixed with rants about how Uncle Sam is impinging your rights to own surface to air missiles, do you really think Mr. Fortune 500 is going to hire you? You’d better be the next Bill Gates, with the patents to back you up to stand a chance in heck.
In the end, it all comes down to personal integrity. It shouldn’t matter if you’re in public or private or if someone might post your words or show off a picture. Integrity is a value that goes back to the dawn of time.  All that’s changed is now it is so much harder to fake it. As Manager Tools guru, Mark Horstman says “You’re not that smart; They’re not that dumb.”
Stay true, stay honest, stay real.
Joel BC
Veteran, the Project Manager wars
Want me to talk to your gorilla? Send me an email
You can follow me on twitter, @JBC_PMP

The Potato, Pahtato Gorilla

Or- My personal Aha Moment, on the value of an Agile Certification.

I should have known communication was going to be an issue from the start. When the Director of IT clarified that he was in charge of Interactive Telemarketing and the guy in charge of the actual infrastructure was called the Director of Data Management, it should have been a clue to the coming communication issues.

“So the overall framework will use a standard five phase PLC..” 

“A what?”, the Dir. of DM asked. 

I smiled, chiding myself for not spelling out PLC, there I go again using alphabet soup, “Sorry, a five phase product lifecycle, concept, planning, development, verification, and sustaining.” The Dir. of IT looked confused, so I elaborated. “A structured process from strategic vision through developing and then release.” 

“Oh,” the DM replied. “We call that a phased release tree and we call them Ideation, contract, coding, test and shipped.” 

I nod, “Right, so the overall framework will be follow the PRT.” Drucker says, “Communication is what the listener does,” so I changed my language to fit my listeners. ” Because requirements are still fluid, we will shorten the.. contract phase and use a modified Agile, Scrum process as we move into the…” 

Another question, and another explanation led to my changing my terminology to call this a “Wagile job.” 

I began to have an inkling of a communication gap. 

“Due to the short release schedule I propose we use one week sprints…” 


“The schedule currently has the backlog grooming on…” 

“Story time…” 

Two hours later I left the conference room, completely exhausted. Dropping into the temp cube I was parked in, I rubbed my face. The meeting had gone well over schedule, almost completely a result of the constant running translations that had to happen for any information to pass back and forth. 

And in lumbers my personal gorilla, whistling a merry little tune. He held out a banana to me, “Want a Musa Fruit?” he asked. 

“Hogarth, that’s a banana!” I snapped. 

He nodded, “Yep, it is. Good thing you guys weren’t trying to put out a fire in there. The building would have burnt down before you agreed on what to call that cylinder object to deal with fires.” 

“Fire extinguisher,” I snapped. 

“Nah, I was thinking about the phone handset so you could call the fire department. You really want business directors fighting a fire?”


If you’ve hiding under a rock for the last week or so, you might have missed that the Project Management Institute has announced a new Agile Project Management Certification. For some this announcement is akin to hearing that “Big Brother” has decided he wants to install cameras in your car. To others it’s something too long in coming, after all isn’t PMI the one and true wisdom in projects? For a large, middle of the road, group the announcement has been followed by a “wait and see” attitude.  Announcing something and how it will actually work are very different beasts.  Announcing you’ve found life on Mars and then revealing that it is only a millennium dead microbe are two, very, different things. 

With feet firmly planted in both the PMI and Agile communities, I was prepared to take a wait and see approach. To start, I wasn’t convinced that there should have been a PMI agile certification in the first place. The Program Management cert (PgMP) has been less than a stellar success. Does PMI have the credentials and ability to make such a certification have value? 

But then I don’t make those decisions and another part of my brain came to the realization that much of the value of a PMI Agile cert would be in the hands of the people who pursue that certification. Like any trail blazers, they could give this new certification real purpose or they could turn it into another white albatross on the road to certification alphabet soup (professional web site developer, really?). 

So until yesterday I was still trying to decide if there was an actual value to even creating a body of Agile knowledge and a certification around that. With the power of the internet at my fingers, I can easily read up on any Agile methodology, from Extreme to OpenAgile and back again. Why did we need a certification?  

And then I had my Aha Moment and I realized that yes, this certification could be a very good thing. 

My Aha moment came talking with Ainsley Nies about one of the “use case” studies she brought into her Agile Management class at UC Berkeley Extension. Captain “Dave”, a police officer, came to class and described how he coordinated the police response to the San Bruno Pipeline explosion last year. What he described is something nationally called the Incident Command System (or SEMS in California) and when Ainsley recounted the tale I recalled my own experience with ICS and it all snapped into place. 

ICS started as California’s Standardized Emergency Management System, in the 1970’s to respond to series of catastrophic urban effecting wildfires. When the retrospectives were done, it was found that it was not a lack of resources but a breakdown in communication and management, a failure in common language, that resulted in poor ability to respond to the fires. This is not surprising for a state almost 800 miles long, paramedics from Eureka may have never even been to San Diego, much less worked with their ocean search and rescue. After 9/11, Homeland Security took California’s system and turned it into a national system that all emergency service organizations were required to learn. Today, any US emergency responder can arrive at any US disaster and plug into the existing “project.” 

Why? Some weaknesses in incident management were a result of:

  • Lack of knowledge with common terminology during an incident.
  • Lack of an orderly, systematic planning process.
  • No predefined methods to integrate inter-agency requirements into the management structure and planning process effectively 

Lack of common language. .. 

Lack of a common planning structure… 

Lack of cross organization integration… 

When I studied for the PMP, I didn’t learn great swaths of new knowledge. I’d been doing project management for years, even before I wore the official title of project manager. What I did learn was a common language and a set of common frameworks, in short a tool box and the instruction manual to go with it. How I ended up using those tools was up to me, the PMBOK itself clearly states it is a set of guidelines or common practices. Getting my PMP gave me the ability to converse with other project managers on a common basis. It also gave me a community. 

And an Agile Project Management certification can be of the same value. Like an Incident Command System for using Agile methodology, it could offer a common language, common frameworks and make sure that when we all grab hold of the elephants tail, we all know its an elephant we’re holding onto and not python. It can shorten the time new teams take to come up to speed. It can mean that an Agile PM can join a firm with other Agile PMs and already know they are talking the same language. 

Does my Aha Moment magically make things all rosy and bright. No, but it does tell me that this certification can be a good thing. When we can all agree that the red cylinder is called a fire extinguisher, it will make it a lot easier to put out the project fires.