CM certification – sense or nonsese

During a Configuration Management workshop in Mierlo, a little town near Eindhoven in the Netherlands, I had an interesting discussion about CM certification. The concept of certification is simple: if you comply with an amount of selection criteria, you get your certificate.

The discussion was what the added value is of CM certification. In my view, the may be – at least – two reasons why you need certification:

  • The distinction between professional and amateurs is difficult to make
  • The industry is using certification as a selection method

Currently, there is no common, generally accepted, understanding of what a configuration manager is. So if a certification institute defines certain rules and criteria for certification, it is arbitrary. There will be lots of good CM-ers that will fail and bad CM-ers that will pass, depending on whether your knowledge and work experience complies with those criteria. The result will be that within the crowd of certified CM-ers there will be good and bad ones, and within the crowd of non-certified CM-ers too.
In addition, the community of CM-ers is a small world. Bad CM-ers are easy to pick, and if someone is completely unknown within the CM community, it might be a reason to some extra screening when he or she applies for an assignment as a configuration manager.

So my argument was that the added value of certification of individuals within the CM world is too small. This does not justify the investments to set up a certification institution, not does it justify the individual investments to get certified.

I think CM certification is nonsense. It is useless to strive for a certificate unless it clearly boosts my career if I do, or damage my career if I don’t.

Some links:
Institute of Configuration Management
International Certified Configuration Manager

About Frank Schophuizen (fschop)

Hi, my name is Frank Schophuizen and I am working as a consultant in CM, Agile and ALM for TOPIC Embedded Systems. I have over 30 years experience in software development in the technology industry, with the last 15 years mainly in process improvement, deployment and integration of methods and tools in the area of Agile (SAFe, Scrum), CM and ALM. I am strongly interested in the complexities of collaboration and integration in multi-project and multi-site organizations. I have worked with various technology companies such as Philips, ASML, NXP and Vanderlande, and with various tool vendors such as Atlassian (e.g. Jira, Confluence),IBM Rational (e.g. ClearCase, Synergy, Jazz products) as well as open source tools (e.g. SVN, Git, Jenkins, Trac, Eclipse). I am living in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, with my wife. We have 3 adult children. My main hobbies are classical music and photography.
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