Agile project management qualifications
Agile project management qualifications are rising fast! Whilst agile development methods such as Scum dominate the software industry, they are gaining popularity in other industries too.
As more businesses adopt agile, they are seeking dedicated agile project management methods to help them. Individuals with agile project management certifications can therefore command a premium in the jobs market.
Read on to find out more about the growing agile project management certification.
Agile Project Management (AgilePM) qualifications are showing increasing demand from professionals eager to extend their professional project management qualifications.
The qualifications scheme announced by the APM Group (APMG) in 2010 was developed in conjunction with the Agile Business Consortium (formerly the DSDM Consortium). Since its launch, more than 90,000 AgilePM examinations have been sat (until end of Q2 2018).
|% year on year increase||n/a||159%||72%||100%||35%||32%||35%||28% *||n/a|
* based on first half of previous year
The graph shows that in less than 8 years almost 60,000 AgilePM Foundation exams and over 31,000 AgilePM Practitioner exams have been sat worldwide. As more and more professionals learn about the new qualifications scheme, these numbers are set to rise.
In 2017, approximately 45% of all exams taken worldwide were sat in the UK. Of these 38% of Foundation exams and 58% of Practitioner exams were sat in the UK.
Global pass rates in 2018 for the Foundation exam were 98.5% and 94.7% for Practitioner.
Who should get AgilePM certification?
APMG’s AgilePM qualifications are aimed at professionals working in an agile environment who want some of the discipline which more structured project management approaches can offer.
With the demands on businesses ever increasing, there is pressure on project managers to deliver products faster, cheaper and more efficiently than ever before.
Traditional project management
Falsely, traditional project management approaches assume that requirements are well known at the start.
Such methods use the commonly understood ‘project triangle’ of time, cost and scope whereby the scope is fixed at the start of the project and both time and cost are varied as the project continues. This is one reason why many such projects suffer from time and cost overruns.
Traditional project management methods are often seen as bureaucratic and heavy on documentation, managed in a top-down ‘command and control’ type of way. How such methods are seen and how they are used are two entirely different things however.
Not designed for agile
Traditional project management methods such as PRINCE2 can be adapted to suit the needs of agile projects, but they were never designed from the ground up to do so.
Agile delivers product releases iteratively
Agile approaches recognize that users often don’t fully know their requirements when projects start and therefore they will likely change during the project. Whilst changing requirements can often be problematic in more traditional project management approaches, agile approaches embrace changes in requirements.
On agile projects time and cost are normally the fixed elements but the requirements and scope of the project are variable. Agile therefore is better at delivering on time than more traditional project management approaches.
Agile approaches focus on incremental and iterative releases of products to users and customers, each iteration or incremental release giving the user yet more functionality. Agile can therefore deliver products early to users and this helps users better understand and refine their requirements after a period of use.
Agile is branching out
Although agile methods developed in the software industry, the agile philosophy has moved beyond its initial beginnings and has started to be used in other industries – particularly digital media and marketing.
How to become AgilePM certified
To become AgilePM certified requires you to pass one of the 2 AgilePM exams: Foundation and Practitioner.
AgilePM Foundation online courses can be completed in 20 hours including exam.
Both examinations are in multiple-choice formats with a pass mark of 50%. The Foundation examination contains 60 questions to be answered in one hour. This exam is closed-book and tests students’ ability to recognise and distinguish between the main elements of the AgilePM approach. Agile project management training courses at Foundation level are aimed at people who are already practising agile project managers, or members of agile project teams who are seeking to step up into agile project management.
The Practitioner exam paper contains 4 questions with 15 marks available for each question. It’s an open book exam lasting two hours and tests students’ ability to apply and tailor the AgilePM guidance to a given project scenario. It is designed to test a candidate’s competence to begin working as an Agile Project Manager on a non-complex project.
The pre-requisites for taking the AgilePM Practitioner examination is passing either the AgilePM Foundation certificate (above), or either the DSDM Atern Foundation or Practitioner certificate.
AgilePM certification, along with the method itself, can be an extremely valuable asset to project managers wanting to manage projects in an agile way.
Whilst the number of AgilePM certified people remains far less than the number of PRINCE2 certified practitioners, this is an advantage for those professionals willing to gain their AgilePM certification.
Having an AgilePM qualification is a great way to stand out from competitors in the jobs market when applying for agile project manager roles.
Simon Buehring is the Founder and Managing Director of Knowledge Train.