De-Certification Boot Camp

By Anton Rossouw.

I think the world needs to be de-cluttered from certification bloat i.e. “De-Certification”.

Certification has now become a bunch of badges pinned to lapels and “must have” entry criteria for certain jobs. So if you are certified in “whatever” with limited experience you could arguably get a job over someone with great experience and no certification? I have seen this happen in recruitment! Sound strange to me. 

Certification is basically a good idea, but it has run into chaotic practices. It exists because large standards training bodies and their ORG’s need to remunerate boards and hoards through profits generated from training, certification and re-certification. I don't say that training per se is a bad thing, it's a great thing, but not for the sake of certification but for the sake of learning.

As an example take Project Management methodology.  Which certification is best is constantly being bantered around in the constellation of project management theory and practice. There is a lot of confusion about what the “best” project management approach is. Of course the one that one is certified in is "the best”.

As soon as a person is “certified” in whatever strand is most popular in a certain region at a certain time then they tend to get blinkered and fight vehemently that either PMBOK or Prince2 or SCRUM or whatever is the only “right” approach to manage projects and the other approaches are “wrong”. Over the years I have often been caught between such methodology arguments that is akin to brainwashing and the worst cases of monotheistic religious dogma at its best.

After all we have to pay our money up front, buy a manual, provide proof of work, study and prepare, attend training, and write an exam. Or get certified in “all of them” then you hold your options open – an expensive exercise.

I think we need to be freed and liberated from carrying this burden of certification. Press the “Cntl-Alt-Del” button on our biased certification brain area.

To get back to basics we should conduct De-Certification boot-camps at a wilderness retreat where certifieds can become De-Certified and thus be liberated to think in an open slow-thinking un-constrained creative way about approaching contexts, and in a Zen like manner craft a tailored response. Not ram in a square problem into a round methodology hole.

By the way NO De-Certification certificate will be provided at the end of the boot camp. Being freed from dogma is reward in itself. The De-Certification boot camp will be an emergent un-event over two days where topics such as below can be openly discussed:

  • Confess our certification sins and commit to become cleansed of dogma.
  • Understand the constellation of project management methodologies and reasons why they exist and when/where they can best be applied.
  • Confirm that there is no one right methodology that applies at any one time.
  • Explore the power and failure of command-and-control to do things right and do the right things. Then explore uncertainty, ambiguity and complexity.
  • Agree businesses and project are all different and unique and have different contexts.
  • It should be about waste removal, early value, innovation, adaption and not only machine like efficiency and cost saving.
  • Think complexity and simplicity before adopting simple recipe processes.
  • Think about and explore our thinking biases so that we can make better decisions.
  • Understand social, environmental, technical, cultural, commercial and competitive environments first.
  • Explore why a project or business or group is an evolutionary Complex Adaptive System that has a lifecycle and needs constant stimulation and change.
  • Its all about great decision-making in the moment based on available information, contexts and learning, and holding the fact in tension that most decisions will not be "right".
  • Anti-methodology is the right methodology mostly but some methodology is better than none.
  • Crafting a methodology and evolving it the be fit for purpose as time unfolds.
  • Convincing others to be adaptive and live with the fun of ambiguity and uncertainty.
  • Creating coherent networks with innovation at core and anti-group-think characteristics.
  • Getting to technical down and dirty delivery where things are physical and tangible matters more than concepts and politics.
  • Leadership is about agility, inspiration, vision, progress before perfection, and getting on with job.
  • Have passion for our projects and fun at work.
  • Explore future spaces with fun exercises and innovative games mostly outside of the office.

Why not join us on a De-Certification boot camp and become a methodology agnostic heretic! Fight the good fight and join the revolution of the De-Certified. Together we will change the world! Down with methodology zealots! 

PS. This does not mean that you need to throw your Certificates out with the proverbial bathwater. But it does mean that we will better be able to navigate the complexities of contexts and changing conditions and fit the best tools from a range of possible options available - horses for courses as the English gentlemen used to say!

As and example I like what Software Developments Experts have to say about A New Deal for Software Development.