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Welcome to the Agile Interview Series. As part of this series, we ask agile practitioners 7 questions, focused around agile and agile related certifications. Our goal with this series is to give you multiple perspectives from a variety of practitioners within the agile space.
How did you get into the agile space?
Since getting into Project Management early in my career, I have always been interested in better ways of executing and facilitating. Even in a traditional model which is why I pursued a PMP. Agile is another way of executing and has been successful in many organizations, so it was of great interest to me.
What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile?
Certainly my focus area is Project Management but specifically the ability to execute effective and efficiently to deliver value. This has always been my goal for project management whether traditional or agile.
What is your view on certifications? Should people get them or not?
I am not a believer in certifications for certifications sake. If you are not going to utilize what you learn or grow your newly acquired expertise then do not pursue them. However, certifications give practitioners a place to start or a baseline. Once achieved the practitioner must grow the knowledge base they have achieved through further education and experience. In short, use it or loose it. As they move through their careers they can point to their achievement and more importantly share their knowledge with those who follow them.
What certifications do you have and why?
As I noted earlier, I pursued and achieved a PMP to improve my PM skills and to more effectively execute. I view it as a standard that I can hold up to my employers and peers. I have also pursued and achieved a CSM for much the same reason. In both cases, I see these certifications as a starting point for growing my skills.
What is your favorite agile related book?
I have used the Highsmith book as a reference but my favorite resources are actually websites like ProjectManagement, ScrumAlliance, PMI, PMINJ. There are a lot great articles on these sites that are a quick read and get to the point. Also there are communities of practice on networking sites such as LinkedIn that you can join that also have great information.
Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners?
Be flexible. Be adaptable. What I have found both in the Agile world as well as the PMP world is that orthodoxy does not help you execute effectively and get you in trouble if misused or poorly understood. Organizations are different, projects are different, people are different. What works well in one environment, does not necessarily work in another. Rigidly adhering to the tenets of any methodology can work against you in these different environments. You have to be able to use what you have learned but you need situational awareness so that you know what is appropriate to use and when.
How can people contact you if they have specific questions?
I am on LinkedIn or they can send me and email JohnLeGoff (at) hotmail (dot) com