Well it turns out the “controversy” about AgileExams turned out to be the biggest of misunderstandings.
The Testimonials Were Authentic: Several of AgileExams customers contacted me and revealed the root cause of this confusion is the fussiness of PMI.org’s online certification registry:
- The name on the testimonial may not be the same format as the name in the registry (e.g. Joel Bancroft-Conners explains you can find his name by searching ‘Bancroft’, but not ‘Conners’)
- There are occasional delays from passing when a candidate passes the exam, until they are listed in the system.
- Most of all, candidates may choose not to be listed in the registry (which beguiles me, since the whole point of a certification is to assert to people that you’ve accomplished a structured learning program)
However, there are some bitter hard feelings left over. Joel posts an excellent analysis of the situation: The issue is not the issue. Apparently Yes, the testimonials may be authentic, but that didn’t stop the controversy from happening. In any crisis management situation, (e.g. Joel cites The Toyota Prius), the response to the crisis often matters more than the core problem.
Privacy is not an effective crisis management response for public issues: In response to the issue, the owner of AgileExams has asserted his privacy by removing his LinkedIn profile from the internet, and personally asking me to refrain from using his name, which I have done. Yes, he has the right to his privacy, but only if he choses to remain in the private. Once you go out into the public with a product, you offer some of your privacy in exchange. Some examples from last night’s Republican debate show the point. Newt Gingrich blasted the press for highlighting the personal nature of his marriage. He made the point that some things are personal, and not related to public life. But then Newt promptly forgot his got high-and-mighty position when he questioned Mitt Romney about not releasing his tax returns. It turns out if you run for public office, you lose some of that right to privacy. Likewise, if you release a product online, then you have to expect the public scrutiny of 2 billion internet users.
Personally, I’m glad the service was exonerated. It further validates the efforts of the 515 project managers who earned the certification. Also, I believe the service made a substantive contribution to the community. So, for what it’s worth, I’m sorry that AgileExams had the misfortune to endure this controversy, but alas sometimes it is the price one has to pay to be successful.