Qualifications are important

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Structured knowledge base is low

This blog is based on my experiences over the last couple of weeks. I am helping an organisation with a cultural change, adopting Agile ways of working at all levels and in all business functions across the organisation.

I have been running a number of familiarisation workshops with those sponsoring and managing the change. The workshops have been high energy, lots of discussions, lots of collaboration in building the change plan but……I am frustrated.

I have been hired as a subject matter expert in both transformational change and Agile working so it is my job to pass on my knowledge, my skills and my experience of similar changes in organisations. I love my job, but what has frustrated me is that during these workshops, I am having to build the knowledge of the key leaders of this large-scale change from nothing. They have had no grounding in Agile, they know nothing about any of the methods, techniques, structures or theories. However, they are going to be the ones that everyone is looking to for answers.

How have qualifications helped me?

It has given me cause to reflect on my own journey, which over the last couple of years has meant my attendance at numerous conferences, seminars and formal training courses. I won’t bore you with all of my Agile qualifications but take it from me, it is a lot!

I think we need to start valuing core knowledge in Agile approaches, so that those involved in adopting Agile can make well informed decisions about the style and type of Agile working that will meet their strategic objectives.

I think too often we think a quick introduction at the start of a workshop will bring everyone up to speed but with broad disciplines such as Agile and Change Management this isn’t true. A period of study and careful evaluation of all the different approaches isn’t a luxury, it is a necessity.

Continued learning

Perhaps I am biased, as I provide both the Agile Practitioner course and the Change Management Practitioner course, but I do this as a reaction to those of my clients that want this formal learning. My point is, not enough organisations demand this depth of learning. I may also be biased because I have been studying another formal qualification myself this month (I am happy to say I passed my Benefits Management Practitioner exam). The most important aspect of sitting the exam was the amount of reading and thinking I did about how benefits management contributes to change programmes I am leading.

It got me thinking about how much more my clients achieve in their workshops if they came to the sessions with the same depth of knowledge. I am also mindful of a very clever client I had a couple of years ago who pointed out that it is always an advantage to be the most well qualified in the room because that way you have inner confidence which shines out and increases the respect others have in your abilities.

What do you think? Are qualifications an important way of becoming informed, or are they a nice to have that we don’t really have time for anymore?