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Interview: Tracey Flynn - How to Develop Effective Certification Programs

Author Tracey Flynn guides us on a tour of how certifications are developed from start to finish.

Interview: Tracey Flynn
Author of Unlocking the Power of Certification - How to Develop Effective Certification Programs

Have you ever wondered what it takes to build a certification program from scratch? Although we've written on this topic in the past in our article How Certifications Are Born, developing a certification program involves much more than can fit into a single article. In fact, the process is involved and important enough to fill a book. Now that book has been written.

Unlocking the Power of Certification - How to Develop Effective Certification Programs, was authored by Tracey Flynn, who has participated in certification exam development for Microsoft, Digital/Compaq, Nortel Networks, and numerous other programs. This how-to guide for developing lasting, quality certification programs is a collation of her experiences as a consultant, speaker, and adjunct professor. We asked her to share some of her extensive expertise with GoCertify readers.

GoCertify: Who should consider creating a certification program and why?<

Tracey Flynn: Any organization can consider creating a certification program from any industry; they can be in hi-tech, healthcare, education, finance, etc. Organizations should seriously consider a certification program if:

  • They have a measurable business need to formally validate an individual's knowledge or skill in a particular product or content area.
  • Tests available from other organizations don't measure the same level of performance on the same content or products.
  • Determining the minimum performance capability of an individual is critical to the job. (e.g., safety, health, environment)

Certification presents a viable solution and is best used when the following factors are evident:

  • The product set or content to be covered is stable (for at least 12 to 18 months).
  • Subject matter experts can agree upon a minimum standard of achievement.
  • The audience's needs and benefits have been clearly identified.
  • Management supports the program with funding.
  • Management supports the program with resources that are measured on their input to the program.
  • Personnel and funding are available to support a recertification process.

GoCertify: What are the major steps involved in creating a new certification program?<

Tracey Flynn: The major steps to cover include the following; all of the factors should at least be reviewed by the management team determining the certification outcome for the company.