Originally published July 27, 2015
I am frequently asked about the value of knowledge management (KM) certification. I don’t recommend KM certification, but some of the associated training can be helpful.
When I worked at Washington University School of Medicine’s Biomedical Computer Laboratory, we taught a course called “Introduction to Programming the Laboratory Computer” which was aimed at doctors and other medical professionals. In two days, they were supposed to learn how to program a computer using assembly language. This was not a realistic goal, and most of them could not write a computer program after such minimal instruction and experience.
My colleague, Janet Johnson, and I created a spoof of this course, which we called “Survey of Medical Techniques.” In two days, the course was supposed to teach the entire field of medicine to computer scientists, which seemed just as unlikely as teaching assembly language programming to physicians.
The field of knowledge management spans over 100 KM specialties. It is too broad to be certified in as a whole. Doctors get board certified in a specialty, not in the broad field of medicine. Taking a one-week class in KM and then being anointed CKM is not meaningful, and is generally not respected by experienced KM consultants and thought leaders.
Certification makes sense for narrow specialties within specific products and disciplines, such as:
It doesn’t make much sense for KM, but three organizations have offered KM certification, only one of which is still active:
- The International Knowledge Management Institute (KM Institute) — active
- KMCI — inactive
- KMPro — defunct
This is a topic on which strong opinions have been expressed. I recommend reading one or more of these threads and articles:
- SIKM Leaders Community Discussions
- KM Competencies: Is Certification the Way to Go? by Patrick Lambe
- Money, Testosterone and Knowledge Management by Patrick Lambe
- A Perspective on Knowledge Management & Training in Europe by Barry Hardy
- Anti-certification rant by Dave Snowden
- Certification wars and standards by Dave Snowden
- I am totally opposed to any attempt to certify people in a developing field such as KM by Dave Snowden
- You can’t create a craft by committee by Dave Snowden
- Professionalism in KM by Dave Snowden
- On KM and certification by Dave Snowden and David Gurteen
- KM Certification by David Gurteen
- KM Certification — one KM professional’s opinion Manager’s Choice by Art Schlussel
- The problem with ‘certified’ KM training by David Griffiths
- KM Certification — Another Bad Idea Threatens KM by John Maloney
- Practically Speaking, Does Professional Certification in Knowledge Management Exist? by Bill Kaplan
Alternatives to KM certification include:
- 10 Ways to Build Expertise in Knowledge Management
- KM Training
- Cognitive Edge Accreditation
- International Knowledge Management Standards and Accreditation
Are you certified in knowledge management? Do you know of other accreditation related to KM? What do you think about the value of KM certification?