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Re: [XP] Re: Certification on eXtreme Programming

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  • Adam Sroka
    On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 11:22 PM, Olof Bjarnason ... I agree. That is why we have resumes. It is useful to have a list of things that someone has accomplished
    Message 1 of 94 , May 4, 2009
      On Sun, May 3, 2009 at 11:22 PM, Olof Bjarnason
      <olof.bjarnason@...> wrote:
      > 2009/5/4 Larry Brunelle <brunelle@...>:
      >> Ron Jeffries wrote:
      >>> Hello, Larry.
      >>> I'm pretty sure I mentioned something about scaling in my posting
      >>> ...
      >> Went back and looked, but didn't seem to see it . . .
      >> apologies if I still missed it. More comments below.
      >>> On Sunday, May 3, 2009, at 3:25:13 PM, you wrote:
      >>>>> What kind of social or other process could there be that would
      >>>>> address the legitimate need to know whether someone was fair, good,
      >>>>> or excellent at something. Or whether we ourselves were?
      >> [snip]
      >>> ... My question has to do with the broader
      >>> question of how we might screen our own skills, or those of others.
      >>>> It might be relevant to discuss what is the "something".
      >>>> Is it a skill? Or is it the ability to acquire the
      >>>> necessary skill? Is the most relevant skill, say, a
      >>>> programming language? Or is it the skill to recognize
      >>>> unnecessary complexity and to know what to do about it?
      >>>> Or maybe even the skill to share skills with others
      >>>> effectively?
      >>> I would think there would be many skills of interest to hiring
      >>> entities, including but not limited to things like:
      >>> Test-Driven Development
      >>> Exploratory Testing
      >>> Design (itself a big topic)
      >>> Refactoring
      >>> There might be topics like Story Splitting, simple design, and on
      >>> and on.
      >>> I would suggest that we could grab a group of people, assess some
      >>> others, and pretty much agree on what things they were good at, and
      >>> what they were not ... at least on some dimensions.
      >>> If we couldn't ... then there is no hope for any kind of
      >>> certification. But if we could ... that suggest to me that there is
      >>> something there to be measured.
      >>> How could we do that in ways we could live with?
      >> Hm. As far as I know, the primary drivers for commercial
      >> certifications so far have been
      >> a) something we hope has predictive validity about
      >> whatever is being certified, and
      >> b) some representation that can be made to third-parties,
      >> generally in respect of our ability to sell something,
      >> some quality of which the certification nominally guarantees.
      >> In other words, absent such a driver, probably no one is
      >> going to pay for the creation and maintenance of the
      >> certification mechanism.
      >> If we were to look at those "certification" mechanisms that
      >> many of us might agree are among the most valid and useful,
      >> such as commercial pilots' and physicians' licenses, I think
      >> we'd find that much of the meaning of the credential (per se)
      >> is that the individual was compelled to complete a course of
      >> study AND what amounts to a significant period of "apprenticeship"
      >> with a large one-on-one component. In other words, SOMEone
      >> (probably a NUMBER of someones) has had direct contact with
      >> the individual's work over a period of time. I think
      >> architects and LPEs undergo cognate periods of scrutiny
      >> by those with significant experience.
      >> No one would argue that these approaches are perfect, nor
      >> that they are not costly. They are intensive and time-
      >> consuming. Curiously, they arguably can be said to scale.
      >> For software, hm, and also for self-evaluation: what
      >> dimensions are REALLY important? Is today's skill what
      >> counts, or is it the ability to perceive business issues
      >> and drivers and quickly to craft a means to address them
      >> effectively?
      >> Could a TEAM be more properly certified than an individual?
      >> What would really be most useful to the likely users of
      >> the certification? Would this be like: "what stories
      >> would apply to its use?" Since developers are necessarily
      >> among the "users" - what stories must this contemplated
      >> certification implement well to satisfy developers?
      > I think one good indicator of skill is the "list of apps completed so
      > far". Show-casing what you've done previously.

      I agree. That is why we have resumes. It is useful to have a list of
      things that someone has accomplished and ask them specific questions
      about them. It is also useful to ask someone to actually do something
      and see how they do it.

      > [Rant: Certification in general just does not work today in the s/w
      > industry. I don't trust certified ppl, in fact I look for people that
      > are not certified because a certification would imply a belief in
      > todays certification systems, which does not work and thus degrades
      > the value of the applicant in my eyes.

      I think that's taking it a little far. Just because someone has a
      certification doesn't mean they are less competent than someone who
      does not. It could be that their previous employer encouraged or even
      required them to have it.

      Also, there can be value in seeking a certification. When I first
      learned Java (approx. 2002) I studied for and obtained the Sun
      certification. I learned a lot by studying for the test. The value was
      not in the certification, it was in the effort I put in to the
      preparation which forced me to examine some areas of Java that I would
      not have otherwise. .

      > Now the certification Ron and Chet does might be different, I don't
      > really know the certification process (I live in Sweden and haven't
      > bump in to anyone certified by them).]

      Ron and Chet are teaching a CSM course. They are providing the same
      certification as any other CSM course. However, there is probably some
      value in just being in a room with those guys for a few hours.

      Therein is the flaw with certification. It is not a substitute for
      experience. Some people who get certifications may have the right kind
      of experience. Some may not. There is no way to tell from the

      There are some CSTs (like Ron and Chet) whose input I would find
      valuable regardless of their certification. There are some CSTs (names
      omitted to protect the guilty) whom I wouldn't trust to make me a
      sandwich. There are also people without any certification who fit
      firmly into each of the aforementioned groups.
    • Adrian Howard
      ... Not sure that it is mind - I m often wrong :) Adrian
      Message 94 of 94 , May 8, 2009
        On 6 May 2009, at 04:08, Ron Jeffries wrote:

        > Hello, Adrian. On Tuesday, May 5, 2009, at 11:37:58 AM, you wrote:
        >> That said, my perception is that the odds of getting a bad candidate
        >> at interview increase if they have certifications listed on their
        >> resume.
        >> My post hoc rationalisation for this experiences is not so much
        >> related to the certification programme itself (although many of them
        >> have severe problems), but to the sort of folk they can attract.
        >> The less creative, by-the-book, list-following developer seems to see
        >> certification programmes as a way to prove their competence. The more
        >> creative, problem-oriented, passionate developers seem to spend their
        >> free chunk of career development time building something cool, or
        >> learning erlang, or contributing to open source projects or...
        > Interesting model. I can see how it might be.

        Not sure that it is mind - I'm often wrong :)

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