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Why agile skills are more valuable than certifications

Sharon Florentine | June 17, 2015
Businesses struggling to align their IT projects with larger business goals and strategies are emphasising agile project management skills over traditional project management certifications.

Hire Agile

And those rapid changes are even affecting how organizations source, recruit and hire project management professionals, says Jennifer Jaffe, vice president of product and marketing at Jama software. Traditional certification of project management skills isn't as important nowadays as real-world, on-the-job experience with the agile methodology and business agility in mind, she says.

"For me, personally, as a hiring manager I don't necessarily look for these certifications when I'm trying to fill a project manager or product manager role; there's just no substitute for that kind of experience analyzing larger business trends and breaking that down into tangible requirements and actionable steps in the process," Jaffe says.

Adopting an agile project management mindset is a lot like running a microbusiness, according to Jaffe. While traditional project management tends to focus on individual projects in a vacuum, an agile approach can place projects and initiatives with the larger context of the entire business so project managers can see how their work impacts the entire organization.

"I am always excited to see project managers who can look at both the individual project's impact and the larger business strategy and implications -- they are the 'versatilists.' These tech workers are truly of value to an organization whether they have certifications or not. That holistic view and big picture' experience is what makes them great project managers," Jaffe says.

And project managers with that type of experience are able to command much higher salaries, too, says Innotas' Patel, because of their ability to add value to the business.

"Good, experienced, versatile project management talent is where businesses should invest the most money. You aren't spending on infrastructure anymore -- it's all in the cloud. You aren't spending on office space -- most people work remotely. You aren't even spending on software as much -- a lot of its SaaS. So what you are spending should go toward making sure you've got the right people with the right mindset to work on the right things," says Patel.


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