Friday, April 9, 2010

I am a PM cross-certification Agnostic!

Disclaimer:
I proudly proclaim my status as a Certified Product Manager and Certified Product Marketing Manager.  I have also been through the training for the Agile Certification but have yet to sit for the test.  I chose to be certified by the Association of International Product Marketing and Management because the certification was developed in Silicon Valley by people who worked in the trenches of software technology companies, and they spoke my language and understood my pain.  It is not based on a specific framework or philosophy, nor limited by a focus on a specific industry or type of product per se, and covers the full extent of best practices, methodologies, analysis and everything that I had encountered working with medium sized, enterprise, small businesses and start-ups.

I had been entrenched in website product development from early on, so weekly updates, continuous iterations, short launch cycles and cross functional collaboration had to be incorporated from the get go.  I found the AIPMM Certification training and testing to cover all of my experience, as well as enhance my appreciation for the trials and tribulations I encountered in being responsible for leading the product marketing at 2 different start-ups, transforming the culture at a database software company, and dealing with the customer and partner community when an off-the-shelf web authoring software company transitioned into a service model.

I am proud to be on the AIPMM Ambassadors Council and will gladly speak about the program.  However, I do that out of service to professional standards and to forward recognition of product management in technology driven companies.  I highly recommend attending an AIPMM Product Managers Education Conference, product camp and participating in the online communities because I have found them to be valuable, educational, healing and validating.

Ultimately, I am an agnostic in that I support product management certification, regardless of which certification training path you choose.  I would gladly obtain all of the certifications available, as any professional committed to excellence would desire to continue their education and expand their expertise in their field.  The Pragmatic Marketing framework is an excellent tool for visually identifying the various functional demarcations in an organization.  The PDMA NPDP focuses on new product development principles and strategies.  All of the certifications are valuable, exciting, and provide a foundation for talking about complex issues and considerations necessary to survive high pressure situations when you are responsible for making decisions that will affect the product profitability and ultimate job security of your team.

So I say, choose whichever you want, but Get Certified!

Why?

Because there is not yet a Masters of Product Management degree,
Because it is still a young profession that requires persistence, passion and willingness to fail, and to go right back to another start-up, another product launch, another customer segmentation or competitive market analysis,
Because I don't know if people choose to be a product manager, or if they find themselves elbow deep in giving birth to a product and wrestling with feature trade-offs before they discover there is a method to their madness that is called product management,
Because we need to support each other to generate respect from the people who want to build products without considering the implications and consequences of the market feasibility,
Because if we're doing our job right, we may be out of work in a reorganization or because we were willing to do and say the right thing for the product rather than to protect our own selfish interests,
Because every other profession has a career path and we are carving out the road map for product management as a profession of choice and distinction in a constantly changing economic and tech landscape.

I would proudly teach, promote and evangelize the Pragmatic Marketing Framework as well as AIPMM membership.  To me there is no conflict as I have not been entrenched in the behind the scenes political struggles that always exist between organizations with different approaches to solving similar problems.

If there are different options for certification, they must have originated in response to distinct needs in different types of organizations.  I don't believe that membership or association with one certification requires exclusivity.  Different certifications are similar to different degree specializations, or the same degrees acquired from different universities.  It is ALL GOOD!  I am delighted there are choices and options.

I say GET CERTIFIED and let me know which you chose.

The more certified Product Managers, the better for the profession, the companies, the products, the market and the customers!

Thank you to both Brian Lawley of 280 Group and the Cranky Product Manager for constantly and blatantly forwarding the profession by transparently communicating your passionate commitment to quality product management!

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