I did something that a great many people I know wouldn’t expect. I took the Project Management Professional certification exam (and I passed).
I have to be honest that in the past I may not have been the most supportive person of certifications. My feeling (and the feeling at the time of my peers and superiors) was that certifications were for people who didn’t know anything. If you knew what you were doing you didn’t need a piece of paper telling you that you did. The paper, at best, brought the bottom up but didn’t really help those who did well. And that was true for a while.
But times have changed. Now that piece of paper is more. When done right it is a contract between you and the certification body (in my case the Project Management Institute) to keep up to date and uphold a number of professional conduct rules. That does more than just bringing the bottom up. It puts the focus on doing it better next time, every time. Set up the systems right. If you can’t use your learned experience directly in a project because of constraints, keep track of the risks that much more. Most important think about what you can do to make the customer happy before they even know that they might be unhappy.
That’s more proactive than the project managers I encountered in the past. Maybe it was just the learning curve on their part. After all you can’t always get people to pay attention to new best practices. Unless you force continuing education on them. Which the PMI does.
Now that I think on it, most of the people who seemed to hinder instead of protect were PMs in name, not certification. I guess it makes a difference.