Certifications Don’t Hurt (Nor Do Goats)

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“Let’s all add a goat to our presentations!”

I overheard this idea at a Digital Project Management (DPM) Summit meeting this week; however, I had already finished my presentation called “Certs: Don’t Hurt”—a lightning talk on project management certifications in the digital sphere—and I couldn’t even imagine where I would have fit in an image of a goat.

This is the second time I’ve attended the Digital Project Management Summit. It’s an event that brings digital project managers together from all over the world to inspire each other, workshop, share ideas, and do karaoke. This year it was hosted right here in Philadelphia.

We all attended events and listened to speakers such as Nancy Lyons, founder of Clockwork Active Media Systems. Nancy spoke on the importance of being solution-minded rather than problem-focused.

Breakout sessions fueled the conference with topics such as “How to respect yourself in the morning: getting comfortable saying NO” by Larissa Scordato from Phuse, to “Pricing design” with Dan Mall of the agency SuperFriendly.

One of my favorite speakers was Paul Boag, who electrified the audience with his presentation on the role of the DPM in user experience strategy. He emphasized that we as a community are a powerful voice at the UX table with our unique multidisciplinary experiences.

I was thrilled (and nervous) when I found out that I was selected to speak to my peers. I am very passionate about certifications, and it is a topic that is brought up quite a bit on Twitter, blogs, and meet-up events. I possess both a PMP (Project Management Professional) certification and a PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner). However, I was very careful to only whisper the PMP acronym during my presentation, as I know it often has negative connotations in the digital world. “PMP” can equal “Waterfall,” and the fast-paced nature of the digital world does not support that type of methodology well.


After my talk, multiple people approached me (so popular) and expressed interest in my talk or just wanted to debate the topic. One thing is certain: this field is full of people who love to ask questions.

Realistically, I know that a certification isn’t for everyone. All of us aren’t on the same path, and we don’t work with the same types of clients or even have the same career goals. However, continuing our education—by attending these types of events, researching digital blogs, or having coffee with a team member to learn more about research strategy—is something we can be united on in this community.

By the way, I did find a slide to add a goat picture to later on (see picture below). After all, it’s good to be agile.


Illustration by Brandon Sax

The author

Image of Cynthia Schmitt

Cynthia Schmitt

Engagement Director

Prepared by Intuitive Company before it joined Ernst & Young LLP.