Theodp in a Slashdot comment referred me to an interesting article by Jon Evans in TechCrunch where Jon laments the failure of interviews to weed out bad software development candidates.

His conclusion is remarkably simple, yet worth noting here, that while candidate flash out their certificates and degrees, these are not real accomplishments and “There is no excuse for software developers who don’t have a site, app, or service they can point to and say, ‘I did this, all by myself!'”.

This is very relevant to recent discussions about the weight that should be put on PMP certified project managers. There is clearly nothing wrong with having a certificate, and having a choice between a PMP certified and non-PMP certified PM would still add some credit to the one with the certification. This, however, is not sufficient as certificates and degrees are not accomplishments and  tangible, demonstrable experience should also be presented to have them carry the appropriate weight.

Think about it!

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4 Comments

  1. Pingback: Shim Marom

  2. Pingback: Shim Marom

  3. I think most of us who’ve earned degrees and professional credentials would classify them as “accomplishments.” Of course, you only get out of them what you put into them, right?

    Project management is a management discipline. While a professional software developer (or reasonably clever tween, these days) can certainly create a website as a demonstration of personal proficiency, those who manage the work of others have a different challenge. I maintain a list of projects, including funding, duration, number of staff, and a Haiku description of the goals and outcome. I’ve been growing it for about twenty years, and it now runs for several pages, but I doubt anyone wants to look at it; certainly, no one’s ever asked me for that sort of detailed information.

    I just went through the exercise of finding a new job, and prospective employers were far more interested in my experience, professional credentials, education, and communications ability. But I suppose that’s because I have a lot of those things to share in a resume and during the interview cycle. If I was a noob trying to portray my WordPress site as the reason you should hire me to manage multi-million dollar IT projects, maybe I’d want you to believe that the PMP and degrees didn’t mean anything. Maybe I’d succeed. But if I could, I’m not sure I’d want to work for you.

    Reply

    • Hi Dave, thanks for your comments.

      Let’s see if we can reconcile our apparent differences.

      I absolutely did not attempt to denigrate the personal importance of obtaining any academic degrees or professional credentials. I’ve had to work hard on mine and I do not take lightly the effort and dedication put into obtaining them. So clearly, as you correctly suggest, they are “accomplishments”.

      The question is whether or not this could also be considered as being an accomplishment in the context of job experience. You clearly have the experience to back-up your formal education. I have seen, and you must have as well, individuals with PMI certification who had little to no real experience. So when it comes to project managers I need them to demonstrate to me what real-life experience they have. Being a self employed project manager I too go fairly often through the exercise of finding new contract work and the fact that I have a PMP certification has never dominated the discussion. It was always about tangible results and how I achieve them.

      So, am I right to suggest that we don’t disagree after all?

      Cheers, Shim.

      Reply

  4. We apparently agree that academic degrees and credentials are accomplishments. We also agree that PMP / MSM are not necessarily guarantees of professional effectiveness, although I usually advise people who absolutely need a guarantee to buy a toaster.

    All that aside, I’d like your thoughts on how hiring managers should select the best qualified candidate for a PM position.

    Reply

    • Love your toaster advice.

      I make hiring decisions based on experience and experience only. I specify selection criteria for the position and during the interview process attempt to match the specific experiences the candidate has had against each of these items. I don’t care much for certifications as they don’t, in themselves, prove anything. My selection criteria always includes both hard and soft skills. And finally, I always check for references to obtain corroborating 2nd opinions. And while following the above I’ve had bad experiences where I regretted making a hiring decision. Not sure why it’s happened but I know that others have had similar experiences. Probably an indication that nothing in life is perfect.

      Cheers, Shim.

      Reply

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