looking at agile certification in a different way

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Jeff Hoover

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Oct 24, 2010, 6:55:00 PM10/24/10
to Agile Developer Skills
I just learned about Google's Qualified Developer program (
http://code.google.com/qualify/faq.html ) at 1DevDayDetroit yesterday,
in a talk by Virender Ajmani's talk about Google Maps mashups.

Google's program takes a different approach to certification (which I
know is a hot topic in the Agile world in general and at the Agile
Skills Project in particular). Google's program is free, and it
focuses on accomplishments, references, community participation, and
knowledge.

To be certified in a particular Google API (Chrome extensions, Maps,
etc.), a developer must earn at least 3000 of the available 5000
points towards that API in any. She/he can earn points in the
following ways:
- showing proof of their work (working code) - up to 1000 points
- providing references (from paying clients) - up to 1000 points
- demonstrate community participation - up to 1000 points
- take the online exam - up to 2000 points

What I like about this approach is that no one type of mastery is
enough to earn certification. For instance, a developer who aces the
exam can not be certified without other evidence of their competence.
I got to wondering what an Agile badge in this style might be like.

There are already Scrum exams. Perhaps taking one of them would earn
some points. There could be a cap on how many points could be earned
through exams, and exam points might expire after a certain time.

I'm not sure how working code is necessarily any indication of
someone's skill in Agile, so I think we'd have to come up with
something else.

Attending certain classes might be worth points. I know there's been a
lot of talk about how taking a class doesn't necessarily mean a person
learned anything, and I agree. So perhaps any given class would be
only worth a small amount, say 200-300 points, and it would only count
if you had taken the course in the past year, and only 1000 points
could be earned by attending classes.

Certainly some Agile developers could provide references from
customers, and capping the number of points from references would
reduce the chance and affect of quid pro quo referrals. Developers who
don't have professional references could earn their points in some of
the other ways.

And maybe book quests or webinar quests could provide a few points,
perhaps with a fairly low cap, and maybe a "freshness date" too.

And yes, there would be a significant amount of administration
required to manage a program like this.

I'd like to hear your thoughts.

D.André Dhondt

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Oct 25, 2010, 6:52:12 AM10/25/10
to agile-devel...@googlegroups.com
Jeff, thanks for sharing this... comments below.

On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM, Jeff Hoover <jeffh...@ameritech.net> wrote:
a developer who aces the exam can not be certified without other evidence of their competence.
good idea
 
I'm not sure how working code is necessarily any indication of
someone's skill in Agile
sure, it shows one's understanding of technical skills required to keep our code flexible, er, agile.
 
...provide references from customers
+1
 
And maybe book quests or webinar quests could provide a few points,
perhaps with a fairly low cap, and maybe a "freshness date" too.
+1
 
And yes, there would be a significant amount of administration
required to manage a program like this.
+1


I'm still very interested in this space, but think that the economic push for this will come when we have a 'rating' that can tell recruiters who's going to be a good developer. This gets very tricky, and I've been advised against doing so, but I'm going to pilot something, anyway, in the local arena. I'll let you know how that goes ;)
 
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skype: d.andre.dhondt
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Jeff Hoover

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Oct 25, 2010, 2:19:04 PM10/25/10
to agile-devel...@googlegroups.com
Hi Andre,
Thanks for your thoughts. Mine are below.

On Mon, Oct 25, 2010 at 6:52 AM, D.André Dhondt
<d.andre...@gmail.com> wrote:
> Jeff, thanks for sharing this... comments below.
>
> On Sun, Oct 24, 2010 at 6:55 PM, Jeff Hoover <jeffh...@ameritech.net>
> wrote:
>>
>> a developer who aces the exam can not be certified without other evidence
>> of their competence.
>
> good idea
>
>>
>> I'm not sure how working code is necessarily any indication of
>> someone's skill in Agile
>
> sure, it shows one's understanding of technical skills required to keep our
> code flexible, er, agile.
>

Maybe I overstated my point. Let me say that showing a SOLID code base
does not demonstrate knowledge of or experience with pair programming,
story splitting, standups, retrospectives, sprint planning meetings,
and those types of Agile processes. In theory a developer could build
SOLID code while working alone in an office. (I guess knowledge of (if
not experience with) those would be addressed in an exam)

I thinking about it, I'm fine with "show your code" being part of it.
I think I'd prefer that it be a lower percentage of the points needed
to earn the badge than it is in Google's program.

>>
>> ...provide references from customers
>
> +1
>
>>
>> And maybe book quests or webinar quests could provide a few points,
>> perhaps with a fairly low cap, and maybe a "freshness date" too.
>
> +1
>
>>
>> And yes, there would be a significant amount of administration
>> required to manage a program like this.
>
> +1
>
> I'm still very interested in this space, but think that the economic push
> for this will come when we have a 'rating' that can tell recruiters who's
> going to be a good developer. This gets very tricky, and I've been advised
> against doing so, but I'm going to pilot something, anyway, in the local
> arena.

>I'll let you know how that goes ;)
>

I look forward to hearing your results.

--
Jeff Hoover

Mentor/be mentored: the Agile Skills Project
http://www.agileskillsproject.org/

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