A question I’ve been hearing with increasing frequency is, "Should there be a professional certification for product managers?" Tyner Blain has a thoughtful post on just this subject that’s worth reading.

There are three obstacles to making professional certification worthwhile:

  1. First, you have to agree on what product management is.
  2. Then, you have to define the curriculum that every product manager needs to master before getting the blessing of some certifying authority.
  3. Finally, you need to trust the certifying authority.

Sadly, all three criteria remain unmet. That doesn’t mean that someone can’t create certification for particular product management techniques, just as developers can get certification in particular Agile methods, or opthamologists can get certified to perform Lasik eye treatments. While these certifications can be extremely valuable, they’re not the same as receiving a degree in product management, which means that you’ve mastered all the basics of that discipline. Whatever they are.

It’d be great if academia just got off the dime and created professional product management programs at the university level. If you can get a degree in designing the right products to meet people’s needs, why not have a complementary degree for understanding those needs in the first place?