Re: CILIP - Is anyone thinking about taking up the KM chartership and what about consultants? #certification #consulting

Robert L. Bogue

Sorry I’m late to the party but allow me to offer a few thoughts based on my experience in a couple of different arenas.


First, we shouldn’t lose sight of the fact that certification is an indication that someone has met the standard.  The problem, as Patrick and Murray point to, is that we don’t have a standard.


Having been involved in the certification process for a vendor and an industry association, I can tell you setting a standard isn’t as easy as it seems and it can easily be drawn into a bad place by the subject matter experts deciding that their area of specialty is the most important.   (It can equally be pulled off by people who are not practical.  I’ll get to that in a moment.)  When you’re building a fundamentals, or baseline, certification it’s easy enough to select the key things that everyone should know.  The fundamental models (correct or not) that people should be aware of since they’re likely to encounter them.  It becomes difficult, as Patrick points to when you get to the point of the knowledge being specialized.


The answer then is – and should be – to develop the associate/beginner certification which includes the things that everyone should know.  Connecting this to academia – it’s all the stuff that goes in the 101 course for other disciplines.  The advanced stuff doesn’t psychometrically validate well and setting a “cut score” becomes challenging.  Consider an exam and certification with four major areas.  Let’s say that someone demonstrates good competency in three of the four areas but has no knowledge whatsoever in the fourth.  You end up with 85/85/85/20 resulting in a 68.75%.  Should that be passing?  (By the way, I assume 20% because I’m assuming multiple choice 5 answer questions and pure guesses since they psychometrically validate well.)  Cut scores are generally set around 70%.  However, the more challenging problem is that the certification meets a standard.  One should reasonably expect that someone certified should know all four content areas.  (This was precisely a question I had to help answer on an exam/certification that failed in the market.)


The second truth to advanced certifications is that they’re not profitable.  You don’t drive enough volume to justify your development costs.  Years ago the most lucrative certification was A+ for CompTIA because of the volume.  It served a real place in the market.  The “big box” retailers needed a way to certify their computer technicians.  It drove a ton of volume.   So while subject matter experts want to work on advanced certifications, it’s the wrong place to go if you want the market to move.  My work with the Server+ certification is public knowledge so I can say that while we did the right things for skills match there wasn’t a market demand because no one used it as a screening criteria for candidates.


I can tell you if you include too many people’s personal beliefs into what’s important it will sink the validity of the certification.  The market won’t care and they won’t interpret it as valid.  The reason that A+ worked is because it was directly relevant to the job skills necessary to be successful.  Doing that with a more heuristic role is exponentially more difficult.


Let me share my experience with my work on change management.  Change management suffers the same fate as KM relative to certification.  In their case ACMP is pushing their CCMP certification which is based on their “Standard.” (literally that’s what it’s called.)  The problem is the standard is garbage.  It’s a project management approach to change management that just doesn’t work but they’re still off certifying people because it’s something.  The Change Management Institute (CMI) is certifying folks but they’ve got a sole-source training contract with a vendor and a body of knowledge that got pulled into a book and really unwound.  It turned into a mishmash of everything that someone might want to know with no focus.  Prosci is the big commercial player and they’re certifying people on their model.  The problem is that it doesn’t make people broadly more able to manage change.  I put together what I think are fundamentals to the profession but then again I’m building training.  I don’t care about certifying people because I want them to have the skills and I don’t think I could set the standard if I want to.  Neither of the industry associations are doing an effective job at creating an entry level certification that indicates basic competence.


(Sidebar: Consider the fact that there’s very little difference between the skills necessary for change management and knowledge management.  The core skills overlap is very large.)


Let me shift to project management where PMI has their PMP.  Everyone thinks about this as the “gold standard.”  It requires experience.  It’s relatively difficult.  The problem is that it’s too hard for the project coordinators that a project or program manager needs to manage projects.  The result, is that project coordinators (lower level staff) get certified with CompTIA’s Project+.  It’s a step towards project management’s gold standard PMP certification but indicates baseline skills and lexicon that a PMP certified project manager should expect.  As a result, it’s successful.  So while PMI is successful with their PMP program, it’s a bit in spite of themselves.  Others in the market filled the gap.


However, PMI raises an interesting point… Do you have to have experience to get the certification?  My answer is an emphatic no.  However, as a certification provider you want the answer to be yes.  Because you want to demonstrate that your certification is higher value.  However, I’ve met people with the same first year experience twenty times – and people that have crammed 20 years of experience into less than a year.  So in my mind, experience means nothing.  However, it guards the certification provider against the claim that people don’t know the things that the certification is supposed to ensure.  (Paper MCSEs was common for the Windows NT 4 days because people couldn’t do the work.)  My answer to this is improve the relevance of your questions to the real world skills that people are being asked to demonstrate.


Oh, and ACMP requires that you demonstrate 21 hours of training from one of their qualified training providers – or you come up with some way of them agreeing that you’ve done 21 hours of training.  As most of you here know, I’ve read and reviewed a book every single week for several years.  I’ve got 270 book reviews on the confident change management site.  However, it’s unclear if they’d count this as “training.”  As a point of fact, I applied to become one of their qualified education providers and my application was denied.  The point of this – requiring training to get a certification is not a good idea for a certification.  At the same time, I recognize and support the reason why training providers have to do this.  The market demands it of them.  In the absence of a good certification, any certification will do.


In short, we need an entry level certification for KM that works from the mode of the things that everyone needs to know, that’s practical to the real work we all do (and the others on our team do).





Robert L. Bogue

O: (317) 844-5310  M: (317) 506-4977 Blog:

Want to be confident about your change management efforts?

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From: <> On Behalf Of Murray Jennex via
Sent: Monday, March 22, 2021 4:08 AM
Subject: Re: [SIKM] CILIP - Is anyone thinking about taking up the KM #chartership... and what about consultants?


I would argue that it is not the lack of a body of knowledge that makes certification difficult, it is the lack of standard outcomes and how to achieve them that makes certification impossible as there is not a measuring stick to measure against, hence you can't certify anyone to a base level of performance......murray jennex 

-----Original Message-----
From: bill@... <bill@...>
To: <>
Sent: Mon, Mar 22, 2021 12:42 am
Subject: Re: [SIKM] CILIP - Is anyone thinking about taking up the KM #chartership... and what about consultants?

All great points Patrick!


Thank you 



Bill Kaplan


Working Knowledge CSP



On Mar 21, 2021, at 23:13, Patrick Lambe via <plambe@...> wrote:

 Thanks Bill. I especially like the way you advocate separation between certification and training. However while the Body of Knowledge (BOK) approach does appear at first sight to hold value, some providers have merged their training content with “BOK” claims, thus blurring that separation. We still lack independent means of verifying a body of knowledge around KM, and I think we are still a very long way off from having anything that is sufficiently diverse and deep to cover the diversity of work contexts we deal with.


What I like about the CILIP offering is that it is practical. It advances the experience-based evaluation of KM practices, using portfolio building, mentors and the mechanism of peer review. That is a framework we have sadly lacked in the past.


There is no lack of training in KM, whether “certification”-oriented or otherwise and my instinct would be that (aside from foundational education programmes in KM), there may be more value in seeking out specialised training in deep niches for the specialised aspects of KM we may be dealing with at any given time. 


KM practices and needs (as you point out) are so diverse that I am not sure how valuable a generalised (context-free) certification course can be, aside from building some foundational knowledge, which is useful for beginners but rapidly loses value when we get into more specialised areas of work. That is precisely the same problem that a BOK approach runs into.




Patrick Lambe
Straits Knowledge


+65 98528511

knowledge mapping:

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On 22 Mar 2021, at 1:53 PM, bill@... wrote:


Stephen and Patrick--


This subject resurfaces regularly.  I can share two Linked In articles I posted on certification in KM and why it cannot yet exist.  The articles share many of your points.



Training organizations offer “certification” but in reality the “certification” is a certificate demonstrating completion of offered training. While there may be personal value in taking the training it is not certification around a body of knowledge.










Learn more about the solutions and value we provide at




From: <> On Behalf Of Stephen Bounds via
Sent: Sunday, March 21, 2021 21:29
Subject: Re: [SIKM] CILIP - Is anyone thinking about taking up the KM #chartership... and what about consultants?


Hi Patrick,

I'm very much looking forward to this session. BTW, I ended up re-reading a 2006 article of yours and think it is definitely worth considering to what extent CILIP is or is not a "certification" program, noting the the challenges and goals you outlined so nicely back then.

I have taken the liberty of lightly revising what you wrote to reflect my assessment of our present situation as per the below:

What would you expect to see in a professional KM certification programme?

A "strong" KM certification programme would need diverse instructional and testing in:

  • Knowledge: taught input and verbal testing (ie describe the difference between a knowledge strategy and a knowledge management strategy)
  • Skills: demonstration, supervised practice and outcomes based testing (ie put together a project plan for a knowledge audit; conduct an after action review session for a project team)
  • Attitudes and Values: cannot be taught or tested, can only be modelled and observed in an environment of continuing professional interaction and peer review
  • Aptitudes: cannot be taught, can only be uncovered and fostered over time, most likely in a mentoring/coaching kind of partnership

And therefore a good KM certification programme would need to have:

  • taught and examined knowledge input
  • guided and assessed practice
  • continuing professional interaction and peer review over time
  • mentoring and coaching structures

Professional societies or networks are clearly the best candidates for providing this combination of features: as good as universities are, few of them are well placed to develop and deliver the practice based skills and professional interaction areas. To avoid the inevitable distortions of commercial gain, certification and training courses in KM should be not-for-profit and non-commercial in nature.

A problem is that -- with the possible exception of the ISO 30401 KMS standard -- there is still no commonly accepted set of concepts, theories and practices that embody KM. As such we must acknowledge that from the "knowledge" point of view (as distinct from skills, values and aptitudes), any certification is likely to only represent one perspective among many.

Based on what I know of the CILIP chartership, my assessment is that the focus is primarily on demonstrated skills. There is definitely some intent to test demonstrated attitudes and values as well, but it appears to be neither designed or intended to address the knowledge or aptitude components of a hypothetical "certification".

Having this option still represents a significant leap forward from the status quo of course! However, I am interested to unpack and discuss we can make progress as a community in the other areas as well.


Stephen Bounds
Executive, Information Management
E: stephen.bounds@...
M: 0401 829 096


On 22/03/2021 12:00 pm, Patrick Lambe wrote:

Hi Aprill 


ISKO Singapore is holding a virtual panel with CILIP on the KM Chartership on 18 June (the panel will include a couple of chartership candidates, one of whom is a consultant). You (and other list members) are welcome to register and participate in  this event - there is no charge. Note the timing is 4pm Singapore time.





Patrick Lambe
Straits Knowledge

phone:                                                    +65 98528511

knowledge mapping: 



On 22 Mar 2021, at 6:17 AM, Aprill Allen <aprill@...> wrote:


As above... 
Are any consultants here thinking about the CILIP chartership? Wondering what the value of joining will be when I can't get an employer to cover the cost.

Image removed by sender.
Aprill Allen
Founder and Managing Director | Knowledge Bird
KM Consulting & KCS Training
M: +61 (0)400 101 961



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