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Demand for AgilePM® training and certification goes from strength to strength.

Becoming a certified AgilePM Practitioner can enhance your career, demonstrating to employers you have the skillset to deliver projects in a world which demands speed, flexibility and discipline.

It wasn’t too long ago that Agile was rather an alien concept to project managers. It’s often been seen as lacking structure and governance, whilst suitable only for non-business critical projects and developments.

How times have changed in recent years. Job sites and descriptions for project managers are now littered with demands for experience and certifications in agile.

In truth, Agile has always been present in project management, just cleverly disguised. The logic behind Agile is intuitive; it’s about dealing with change as it occurs during the lifetime of a project. Agile concepts, such as improvising and adapting, have long been part of an effective project manager’s toolkit, despite popular frameworks and methodologies not giving them due recognition.

DSDM® Consortium launched the first version of DSDM in February 1995, which offered guidance in Agile thinking. Certification followed soon after. The course was comprehensive, including full governance modules, role definition and quality testing. The DSDM approach appealed to a wide variety of professions with many project managers enrolling because it was the only course which understood their needs.

Barbara Roberts (Director of Professional Development at DSDM) was involved from the beginning and remembers days when Agile and project management were rarely used in the same sentence. “The first Agile method was RAD – Rapid Application Development. It was seen as frightening by large organisations,” she says. “RAD got a bad name. The suggestion was that RAD stood for ‘Rapidly Achieving Disaster’ or ‘Really Awful Design’.

Barbara continues, “The problem was it didn’t recognize the importance of project management. So DSDM took Agile and brought it together with project management disciplines. You had the speed and flexibility of Agile, with the strength and quality of traditional project management methods. Companies needed both.”

Now in its 20th year, the DSDM approach is widely used – and in many cases mandated – within institutions as demanding as the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and large pharmaceutical companies. Two decades on and thanks to its emphasis on project management processes, the DSDM Agile Project Framework remains almost unique in the world of Agile.

DSDM’s popularity led to the launch of the AgilePM training and certification scheme in 2010, in partnership with APMG International. Training and certification is based on the AgilePM Handbook. Based on the parent DSDM Agile Project Framework, the Handbook is tailored exclusively to the needs of project managers, providing them with an effective and robust framework for the management of Agile projects from start to finish.

Successful candidates become knowledgeable team members who can apply the DSDM Agile techniques to project management. Those enrolling on the course come from a variety of organizations and industries, from construction and defence to transport and the public sector.

The growth in popularity of AgilePM has been staggering, both in the UK and abroad in countries like Australia, Poland and The Netherlands. The number of exams almost doubled from 2012 to 2013, and again from 2013 to 2014. The upward trend continues and the end of 2015 will see over 30,000 exams sat since the scheme’s launch in late 2010.

Approved training courses are available globally, offered by APMG’s global network of Accredited Training Organizations (ATOs).

Asked who the course and certification are designed for, Richard Pharro, APMG CEO, replies: “Anyone can benefit. The key is to be open to new ways of working. Some say it is more attractive to a younger generation as they don’t need to change their mindset. But I stress it is applicable to any organization and any project.”

The meteoric rise of Agile in project management is in large part because it’s based on real-world challenges. The concepts are rooted in what project managers do in their jobs which is why they find it so practical.

“Agile has grown up,” Richard Pharro concludes. “It is now accepted and established. The world needs project managers who can react to a changing world. AgilePM helps them handle situations as they evolve. I’d urge anyone wanting to improve as a project manager to enrol.”


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