World Agile Qualifications Board; God Help Us

The World Agile Qualifications Board should be seen as an embarrassment even to regular peddlers of certification.

The WAQB has apparently been established recently—but when? By whom? There is a Web site. I hesitate to link to it, because I don’t want people to see it… but on the other hand, I do want people to see it, so that they can observe from the outset how these things work.

Note that there is no information to be found on who the World Agile Qualifications Board is. No human’s name appears on the Web site. None of the people whom I respect in the field of Agile development (many), nor any of the people that I don’t respect (somewhat fewer, but still numerous) appear to be willing to identify themselves with this shadowy organization, either on the site or in other forums. There is a LinkedIn group; see below.

Go to the site and you’ll see just how comical this gets. Under the link “Find Training and Certification”, those reading as I write (March 29, 2009) will see a graphic that includes the logo for the London Underground (this trademarked logo is doubtless used without the permission of Transport for London) and the words “After London, you deside where to go next” and “Lets hear from you and your team”. Then there’s a list of countries, preceded by the suggestion “Clik on your chose:” (Yes, everything misspelled above is really spelled that way in the original.)

The WAQB is, apparently, offering a course certificate in Agile Testing. The fee for the course is £990.

What is the course about?

The course provides basic knowledge of agile testing. After the course there is the opportunity to sit an examination for the WAQB-T Agile Testing Foundation Certificate. Agile test is gaining recognition as a specialized field. In thedevelopment of systems and software, testing can account for 30-40% of the total cost. It is possible to reduce this cost significantly and still achieve improved quality by adapting agile testing mindset

Who should attend?

This is for developers and tester. We mention developer’s upfront, because this is NOT only for traditional testers The course is for anyone involved in agile development. It is worthwhile for project leaders and developers, who need an introduction to agile testing or who test software.

The text above, errors and all, including the missing periods, is cut and pasted from the original. That is, I’m not making any of this up. Here’s a little more snipped from the site:

Express courses 2 days* : Participants who hold another formal certification like: Scrum Master, ISTQB/ISEB Foundation, PMP, PMI, Prince2 or similar a 2 days intensive courses is available.

The WAQB-T Foundation Certification – WAQB-T Agile Testing Foundation Certificate – statup May 2009

The WAQB-D Foundation Certification – WAQB-D Agile Development Foundation Certificate – statup May 2009

The WAQB-M Foundation Certification – WAQB-M Agile Team Member Foundation Certificate – statup May 2009

As I mentioned above, there is a LinkedIn group. I am the 27th member. No Agilist that I recognize is a member, and very few members of the list identify themselves as a member of other Agile-related LinkedIn groups. No one in my survey of the list members (hey, there are only 26 others, so I looked at most of them) appears to make any claims related to the founding of or involvement with the WAQB.

There is a review board, and you too can join!

WAQB will use the techniques from Open Source to ensure that the quality of the syllabus is of high quality.

You can now become member of the Review Board. As a member of this board you will be asked to review topics in the syllabus. But you will also have the opportunity to suggest new topics, or change of topics.

In this way WAQB are sure that we will get a high quality of the syllabus and course material at any time. The fast changing agile world will force us to be up front and to work in new stuff often.

…but not quite up front enough to identify ourselves from the get-go.

In my opinion, all this shows signs for the WAQB being a scam, and a racket. My opinion is that of an experienced tester, a member of several testing communities, and a teacher of and consultant in testing. I consider the WAQB to be a racket even worse, even more transparent, even more nakedly a way to separate people from their money than the usual certification schemes. Everyone is free to make his own decision, but I believe that one would be a fool to have his (her) pocket picked by these people (or this person). And you’re not a fool, right?

In fact, you’re an upstanding member of your community, and so you will warn your colleagues and your managers, and everyone else who might innocently or uncritically seek or support certification, agile or otherwise, that isn’t skills-based—the kind of certification that is roundly and rightly dismissed by many thoughtful people, including Elisabeth Hendrickson, James Bach, Tom DeMarco, and the Agile Alliance itself. Oh, and by me.

3 replies to “World Agile Qualifications Board; God Help Us”

  1. Reconsider attributing to malice what one can easily explain by ignorance or stupidity.

    Michael replies: I don’t think I’ve attributed anything to malice here. But the ignorance and stupidity are so breathtaking (including apparent plagiarism of Crispin and Gregory’s work) that malicious people would be hard-pressed to compete.

  2. Do a Who Is on the domain to find at least one person related somehow to this. It may just be the designer of the website.

    Michael replies: I did that, and as you surmised it appears to be a Web designer in Kansas City. I’ve asked him to help identify the people involved. When I wrote the original post, I was (and remain) reluctant to identify him personally; he may not be associated, but may merely be a service provider acting in good faith.

  3. Michael are you sure this is not an April Fool’s Joke. It must be cause this can´t be serious. Cheers Henrik


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