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: http://www.thorprojects.com/blog
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From: main@SIKM.groups.io <main@SIKM.groups.io> On Behalf Of Murray Jennex via groups.io
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
All great points Patrick!
Working Knowledge CSP