Scrumptious

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Scrum is the most popular framework used within an agile environment to convert complex problems into valuable products and services. In this blog, we will examine all things Scrum to shed light on this wonderful organizational tool that is sweeping the globe. There will be engaging articles, interviews with experts and Q&A's. Are you ready to take the red pill? Then please join me on a fascinating journey down the rabbit hole, and into the world of Scrum.

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The Scrum Certification Factory



I noticed recently that a few more Scrum certifications were introduced to the world of professional development. Normally this would go unnoticed, but it suddenly dawned on me that the number of Scrum certifications may in fact be outnumbering all other certifications on the planet. There is something about Scrum that seems to warrant a certification every other month, and I can't put my finger on exactly what that is. What I do know is that we may be in danger of reaching a critical mass where the law of diminishing return comes into play as we add yet another Scrum certification.

After thinking about it for a while, I came up with the following possible reasons:

1. Scrum certifications are "small" enough to study for and pass within a reasonable time and budget. So the certification bodies figure why not add another flavor of Scrum certification which they are confident their existing body of certification holders will jump on.

2. Scrum is by far the dominant framework for delivering Agile projects. Therefore, the certification bodies must feel that there is a demand from the huge supply of thirsty Scrum certification seekers.

3. Scrum transcends just the delivery of its framework through Scrum Masters to incorporate coaches, trainers, product owners, developers, and...who knows!

Don't get me wrong, Scrum still rocks. But Scrum on the rocks only leads to a dilution of quality certifications when the ice starts to melt!

"Curiosity is only vanity. We usually only want to know something so that we can talk about it."  - Blaise Pascal


Thank you for your interest in the Scrumptious blog. If you have any ideas for Scrum topics, please message me here. Until next time, remember, projects can be Scrumptious!
Sante Vergini Signature


 

Posted on: October 31, 2018 02:06 AM | Permalink | Comments (32)

Scrum.org beefs up training courses

Sumo 
 
Scrum.org, one of the major Scrum training and certification bodies, recently announced that they were creating a Professional Scrum Master II training course for more advanced Scrum Masters. It will create more Scrum muscle compared to its smaller counterpart, the original Professional Scrum Master I training course.

I had the chance to ask a few questions to Eric Naiburg, Vice President of Marketing and Operations at Scrum.org:

1. What is the Professional Scrum Master II Training Course?

The Professional Scrum Master II™ (PSM II) course is a 2-day advanced Scrum Master class designed to support Scrum Masters in their professional development.  The PSM II course is intended for Scrum Masters with at least one year of experience who are looking to grow their knowledge and abilities as a Scrum Master. This course is one step in that journey. The course also includes a free attempt at the globally recognized Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) certification exam.  

The class helps students to understand the stances that characterize an effective Scrum Master and servant-leader while diving deep into how they serve the Development Team, Product Owner and organization. The course then teaches students about related practices and skills to enable them to have the right types of conversations and how to apply them to become better Scrum Masters.

Over the 2 days, students will learn about areas critical to growing as a successful Scrum Master such as how the principles and values of Scrum help guide Scrum Masters in the decisions they make and how the Scrum Master can help change the environment of Scrum Teams, creating an environment for agility to thrive. The Scrum Master role is complex and often, a Scrum Master must be able to apply different stances in order to be effective, such as:

1.  The Scrum Master as a Teacher
2.  The Scrum Master as a Coach & Mentor
3.  The Scrum Master as a Facilitator
4.  The Scrum Master as a Change Agent

As a Scrum Master, being able to identify, and effectively apply, which stance would benefit your team the most depending on the situation or circumstance could prove to be the key to the success of your team.

As a Scrum Master, part of your role is to help management and other stakeholders across your organization understand the benefits of Scrum and Agile. Therefore, it is imperative that you have the information and background that is needed to gain credibility in order to be an effective change agent. Throughout the class, your PST will provide stories, exercises, facilitation techniques (such as “Liberating Structures”), resources and more.

There will also be time in class for the Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) to provide coaching on challenges that you and your classmates may be experiencing today or may in the future.  

2. Why should Scrum professionals enroll in this course?  

The role of the Scrum Master is not an easy one and learning how to do it better should never stop. This course focuses on the “softer skills” of the Scrum Master. Being a good teacher, coach, mentor, facilitator and change agent and with greater experience and understanding a Scrum Master, can continue to improve how they accomplish these stances. The course provides Scrum Masters with at least 1 year of experience a way to improve on their role, not teaching the basics of Scrum, that is accomplished in the PSM I class, but now how to keep improving the way they and their teams work.

3. What differentiates this course from the Professional Scrum Master I Training Course?  

Unlike the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) course which focuses on how to use Scrum, the Scrum framework and the role of the Scrum Master, PSM II is an advanced course helping students to understand the stances that characterize an effective Scrum Master and servant-leader while diving deep into how they serve the Development Team, Product Owner and organization. The course then teaches students about related practices and skills to enable them to have the right types of conversations and how to apply them to become better Scrum Masters.

4. How much is the course?

Pricing for the course will vary based on timing, location, public or private for within a company. Often early bird specials will be available for those who sign up early as well.  Please check the website for the specific class date that you are interested in to find the most accurate pricing. 

5. Is the Professional Scrum Master II exam price including in the course cost?  

Yes, the price of the class includes the PSM II exam.  All participants completing the Professional Scrum Master II course will receive a password to attempt the Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) assessment. If you attempt the PSM II assessment within 14 days of the class and do not score at least 85%, you will be granted a 2nd attempt at no additional cost. You are also entitled to a 40% discount on the PSM III assessment. These industry-recognized PSM certifications require a minimum passing score.
 


Thank you for your interest in the Scrumptious blog. If you have any ideas for Scrum topics, please message me here. Until next time, remember, projects can be Scrumptious!
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Posted on: September 16, 2018 06:54 AM | Permalink | Comments (23)

How to be a Scrumian



Earlier this month, I coined the term "Scrumian" to mean any advocate of Scrum. However, I never really thought about what it means or what it could mean. I have been giving it some thought over the past few weeks and came up with a very basic framework to define what a Scrumian is or should be, and I certainly welcome any suggestions for additions or improvement. After all, what kind of Scrumian would I be if I didn't entertain the idea of continuous improvement, iterative feedback, and maximizing value.

Most people enter the world of Scrum through their employment, or through the need to gain qualifications in the hope they will add some value to their job or future employment engagement. They sign up for a course, take it in-class or online, and then study toward any number of certifications such as the PSM, CSM or SMC. One thing binds them all; they adhere to the values and principles of Scrum. They also acknowledge and respect the rules, roles, events and artifacts of Scrum.

By doing this, they can become valuable assets to their employer or client and look with pride upon that shiny certificate hanging on the wall. In most cases, this would seem to be a complete success story; one that has come full circle. But is it a success? To the Scrumian, it is only half the (user) story.

The Scrumian Philosophy (Draft Zero)

A Scrumian not only adheres to the principles of Scrum in the work environment, but does everything they can to promote and "radiate" Scrum throughout the world. That means we extend our knowledge and skills into society in general, through our hobbies, our volunteer work, our children's education, our pet projects, heck even our personal lives if it adds value.

We promote Scrum through the technology and communication mediums we have at our disposal. Blogs, articles, books, podcasts, social media pages, chat forums, study groups, tweets, best practice centers, focus groups, and the list goes on.

For all the reasons we became advocates of Scrum in the workplace, is the same reason we believe Scrum can alter society and our personal lives for the better. From a simple Daily Scrum at home to see what the family did today and will do tomorrow, through to promoting information radiators and estimating with story points at the local YMCA.

I call on all Scrum advocates to go beyond their certifications, beyond the clock-on and clock-off usage of Scrum at work, to embrace all the richness that Scrum has to offer, and radiate it throughout the world.

We are Scrumians!
 


Thank you for your interest in the Scrumptious blog. If you have any ideas for Scrum topics, please message me here. Until next time, remember, projects can be Scrumptious!
Sante Vergini Signature

 

 

Posted on: March 28, 2018 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (14)

Which Scrum Certification is Best?

Scrum is what many of us eat, drink, breathe and dream about. It's more than just a framework for delivering successful Agile projects. It's a lifestyle in the project community that we Scrumians live by. We uphold the values and principles of the Scrum Guide authored by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber. We also attempt to apply Scrum in its purest unadulterated form, while being open to modifications that make sense for the particular project or as mandated by the organization.

But who or what process can verify that we are indeed living Scrum by the book? Well fortunately, there are some certification bodies that train, test and certify individuals in the Scrum framework. These certifications are the best way to know that a Scrum practitioner is indeed qualified to assist the organization with its Scrum implementation or increasing maturity level.

But one question that many hiring managers and certification aspirants rarely understand or ask themselves is: "Which Scrum certification is best?"

My fellow projectmanagement.com colleague Andrew Craig wrote a great article on his journey to the PSM certification when compared to the most popular Scrum certification; the CSM. However, we will look at some other major Scrum certifications that are both popular and trending, and assess their pros and cons.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM)

The most well-known certification for Scrum is the Certified Scrum Master by Scum Alliance. It has the most Scrum certified professionals, which may have more to do with their marketing intelligence and early adoption into the Scrum certification domain. The vast majority of job advertisements that ask for a Scrum certification ask for the CSM, but this is changing rapidly.

The reason for this change is that the CSM is very expensive and only delivered through face-to-face training, which many feel is over the top. To make matters worse, the exam's very low passing rate does not go well for its longevity as the predominant certification chosen by employers. In fact, for many years there was no exam for the CSM; the training course was enough to get certified.

Pros:

  • most well know Scrum certification
  • most employers currently ask for the CSM
  • the exam fee is included in the training course

Cons:

  • mandatory 2 day face-to-face training course
  • very expensive training (up to $1,500 in many cases)
  • very low passing score needed to pass the exam
  • have to renew once every 2 years for $100


Professional Scrum Master (PSM)

This certification is managed by Scrum.org, which is run by Ken Schwaber, one of the two Scrum founders, so you know you are in good hands. The website provides a lot of resources as well as "open" exams to assist those prepare for the PSM. Further, they have varying categories of the PSM exam such as PSM 1, PSM II and PSM III to reflect complexity and a higher level of mastery.

The PSM is not an easy exam to pass in comparison with other certifications. In fact I read the blog of a 10-year Agile veteran who had also performed several Scrum projects and yet he only passed the PSM exam by just two questions. The pass rate is 85% so it is by no means a walk in the park.

Pros:

  • no training needed to apply for the exam
  • no renewal fees
  • low exam price

Cons:

  • not as well known (yet) as the CSM
     

Agile Scrum Master (ASM)

The Agile Scrum Master is managed by EXIN, which has a long and distinguished record for authoring and delivering certifications. They have been around for almost 35 years and certified over 2 million professionals. You may also be surprised to know that EXIN is one of the founding partners in the development of ITIL.

This exam is pretty tricky even though it has a lower pass rate than the PSM. It does not just involve Scrum, but Agile as well, and touches on some other Agile methods such as XP. To add complexity, there may be more than one correct answer during the exam, and you need to choose which ones are correct from a list. I personally found the ASM to be the most difficult of all the Scrum certification exams I participated in.

A major negative point is that like the CSM, there is a mandatory training course that can cost up to $750, but this training also has it's own assessments in order to get the training certificate to use to apply for the exam.

Pros:

  • the certification is almost as much about Agile as Scrum, and having the term "Agile" in it may tick some boxes for employers
  • EXIN is well known in the certification world having certified over 2 million professionals

Cons:

  • the exam fee is $230
  • mandatory training course
  • double assessment
     

Scrum Master Certified (SMC)

This certification is managed by ScrumStudy, who also authors the SBOK (Scrum Body of Knowledge). While they don't make it mandatory for exam aspirants to first take a training course from their approved education providers, they "highly recommend it".

The exam price is almost obscene at $450, so if you fail the exam a couple of times, you may just run out of money to get any Scrum certification.

Pros:

  • None


Cons:

  • extremely high exam price

                                                               * * *

So, which Scrum certification is best? When evaluating all the above certifications, and weighing up all the pros and cons, the author has decided to select the Professional Scrum Master (PSM) certification as the gold standard in Scrum certification due to trending popularity, rigorous assessment, high passing score, certification body being owned and managed by one of the Scrum founders, expected increase in future value and market share, no training course required, and low exam price with no annual renewal fees. 
 


Thank you for your interest in the Scrumptious blog. If you have any ideas for Scrum topics, please message me here. Until next time, remember, projects can be Scrumptious!
Sante Vergini Signature
 

Posted on: March 06, 2018 08:02 AM | Permalink | Comments (39)
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