I've just passed PMI-ACP exam - which is the main requirement to obtain the PMI-ACP certification. For those who didn't check the link: ACP stands for Agile Certified Practicioner.
Certifications like PMP, PRINCE2, ITIL are by definition quite formal - the knowledge domain is precise, the terminology is set, the exam scope is given - methodology / framework / library has its clear boundaries that serve this purpose.
What about Agile? Agile is more a mindset than a fixed methodology - doesn't it say that individuals & interactions go above processes & tools? Isn't it about adapting to the situation instead of forcing one "works for everyone" method? Can you really verify how does someone understand the idea of Agile with a multiple choice test? (120 questions in 180 minutes)
"Agile" was / is intended to not belong to any organization. It's a movement anyone can contribute to, everyone can freely adopt & adapt to his environment - without any restrictions / licenses or other obligations.
And now organizations like APMG (Agile PM) or PMI (PMI-ACP) have found their way to exploit it - they've noticed the rising popularity of Agile methods in Enterprise (where the Money (capital M intended...) really is) and they've found the way to weasel some money out of it. What is worse, stuff like Agile PM doesn't really have much in common with Agile. Other than ninjaed terminology. Should I really support them in cynical hijacking the noble idea to get more cash?
- YES, passing PMI-ACP doesn't make me more agile than I was before.
- YES, passing PMI-ACP doesn't prove I understand / can use the principles of Agile better than someone who didn't bother to go for the certification.
- YES, I can do my stuff the Agile way without this certification - as well as with it.
- YES, I don't believe in "one version of Agile" and for instance I can openly question some statements in PMI-ACP prep sample exam test.
- YES, I went for the exam anyway ...
- I actually like the idea of original PMP as a set of PRACTICES, IDEAS, GUIDELINES - something like a toolbox of Project Manager - not a "carved in stone" methodology. PMI-ACP seems like the same idea implemented for Agile methods.
- You don't do certifications just for yourself - you do it to increase your market value. Yes - that's why even if I have ... well, let's call them "mixed feelings" about formal approach to Enterprise Architecture, I seriously consider TOGAF certification.
- I love proving myself. Even the best steel has to be stressed from time to time, otherwise it may get shattered when struck hard.
To summarize: learning new stuff is great by itself, but you need every possible way to verify what you've learned, certification is one of the ideas you can use. Of course the best way of verification is trying in practice, but you can't do that with everything you learn about.