Tuesday, January 22, 2008

wevouchfor.org - A Community Approach To Certification

Certification is a controversial issue in the Agile community at the moment. Some people think its a great idea that is necessary for Agile to grow, while others argue it makes it harder to separate truly talented contributors from the rest of the pack.

Laurent Bossavit presented an alternative (complementary?) approach on January's Naked Agilists mini-conference which he and Brian Marick have cooked up with a little help from their friends.

It's a website called wevouchfor.org which borrows a few ideas from social networking sites to allow software people to publicly "certify" each other based on hard evidence of a job well done. For example, Clarke Ching certified Laurent as follows..

Clarke Ching certifies that Laurent Bossavit is qualified as a master, capable of innovating in the skill agile adoption, based on this evidence:

I spoke with Laurent on the nakeagilists podcast and I was very impressed with his thinking, intentions and attitude: putting his spare time into producing this website wevouchfor.org (along with Brian)which benefits our community. The website speaks for itself and for both Laruent and Brian's skills and motivations. Well done!

I think this is a wonderful approach, and very well executed too. One of Agile's strengths is its strong focus on team decision making as the only way to get reliably solid decisions on matters which affect the team's ability to deliver - your boss can only act on what he or she can see, but you can never pull the wool over your peers' eyes! This site is typical of that ethos and if it is widely supported it has the potential provide a very reliable indicator of an individual's true credentials. This would be as good for the individual as it would for his or her colleagues or potential employers.

The first iteration is now live and Laurent promises more features are in the pipeline. The registration and certification process is extremely quick and easy so I hope you can find a moment to sign up and give some credit to people who have helped you in the past.

No comments: