Sunday, June 22, 2014

Difference between PMI-ACP and CSP

CSP is a next level of certification by Scrum Alliance that helps professional in demonstrating their experience and knowledge in the art of Scrum. If you are CSM, CSPO or CSD and practicing Scrum then you are right fit for CSP. It’s elevate your career even further and helps in getting next level of job like agile coach or trainer. CSP is also needed when you are aiming for CST or CSC.
PMI-ACP® is a certificate program by PMI that covers most of the agile processes. The PMI-ACP certificate recognizes an individual expertise in using agile practices and help them to demonstrate their knowledge of agile tools and techniques. The PMI-ACP® certificate carries a higher level of professional credibility as it requires a combination of agile training, working experience and followed by examination on agile principles, tools and techniques.

Looking at above both looks similar beside than one is provided by Scrum Alliance and other is by PMI but look at below table to check what is better for you and why?

Prequalification criteria
CSM, CSPO or CSD valid credential holders
2000 hours (12 months) working on project teams in last 5 years
Working experience required?
36 months of demonstrable agile/Scrum work experience in last 5 years
1500 hours (8 months) working on project teams using Agile methodologies in last 3 years
Formal training required?
No. Formal training requirement get covered in CSD, CSM or CSPO training.
Yes. 21 hours of training needed. PMI REP provides this training across the globe
Any Other requirement
70 SEUs (Scrum Education Units), Usually 1 hour of learning is 1 SEU. Scrum alliance has provided 6 category through which you can get these SEUs. Check here to know more about SEUs.
21 PDUs (Professional Development Units) that you will get after attending training program by PMI REP
Examination process
No examination but you must submit application and mentioned how you have earned 70 SEUs, show your work experience. Scrum Alliance will not allow you to fill application if you are not a valid member or your certificate has been expired
Fill application form showing your experience and training. Pay exam fee and write an exam of 120 questions in 3 hours.
Certification fee
Total $250 including 2 years membership fee. $100 during submission of application and $150 after application approved. If you add CSM/CSD/CSPO training cost (approx. $500) then total cost for CSP is $750
$495 for non-member and $435 for member but membership is $139 per year. If you add 2 years membership fee and exam fee then total cost for ACP $703
Audit Process
Yes for everyone. Scrum Alliance validate every application
Yes but randomly. If your application get picked than PMI will ask you to send a copy of educational degree certificate, 21 hours training certificate and proof for experience
Certification validation period
2 years
3 years
Renewal Process
Earn 45 SEUs in 2 years
Earn 30 PDUs in single cycle period (3 years)
Renewal Fee
$250 that includes renewal of low-level certifications, such as CSD, CSM and CSPO
$60 for member and $150 for non-member
Suitable for
Professional working in Scrum environment, looking for next role like Scrum master, coach or trainer.
Scrum Master, traditional project manager, DevOps manager, IT Infra team manager and members

We deliver training on Test Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Cucumber, Selenium, Jira Agile, Scrum, Jenkins, Scrum Master, Scrum Developer, Product owner, agile estimation and planning, writing user stories etc. 

Scrum Team Roles, Tools and Engineering Practices

Scrum Team

There are 3 roles in scrum team Product Owner, Development Team and Scrum Master. As we know that scrum team is self-organizing and cross-functional team and empowered to take decision how to develop software. Below is detailed about each role and where engineering practices fits in. Scrum team should be flexible, creative and productive. Adopting right engineering practices makes team more flexible and productive.

Product owner
Only one product owner within a scrum team who manages product backlog, describe acceptance criteria, accept or reject work, prioritizing backlog item and ultimate responsible for maximizing the value of the product and the work of development team.
Some tools and technologies needed for product owner to deliver above tasks effectively. A tool to manage product backlog and preferred tool can be JIRA or TFS but someone can even work with Excel sheet. Next important tool is implementation of BDD either through Cucumber, SpeckFlow, NBehave, Fitnesse, BEHAT, or JBehave. BDD tool is very useful in automating acceptance criteria and validating same.

Development Team
Development team is cross functional team of developers, business analyst, testers, DBA or simply say a group of people responsible to deliver a potentially shippable release at the end of every sprint.
Most important for development team to have tooling for configuration, auto build and deployment of build but at the same time coding through TDD is very much needed to have less defect and better organized code. Using TFS or Jenkins with SVN can solve configuration and continuous delivery issues and NUnit, JUnit, TestNG or Test Center can help is producing better code and lesser defect.

Scrum Master
A servant-leader for the scrum team. Primarily responsible to remove impediments to the development team’s progress. Secondary responsibility to coach scrum team member to become self-governing and cross-functional, also work with product owner for effective product backlog management.  Basically overall goal for scrum master is to ensuring scrum is understood and enacted throughout. 

Scrum Master need a tool for tracking impediments, reporting progress and working with team and product owner. Ideally any agile project management tool like JIRA and TFS should be good enough for SM but SM must learn other tools depending on comfort level either in product owner’s tools like Cucumber, SpeckFlow or Behat or may be development team’s tools like CI and TDD.  

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) – What, why and How?

What is Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)?

CSP is a next level of certification by Scrum Alliance that helps professional in demonstrating their experience and knowledge in the art of Scrum. If you are CSM, CSPO or CSD and practicing Scrum then you are right fit for CSP. It’s elevate your career even further and helps in getting next level of job like agile coach or trainer. CSP is also needed when you are aiming for CST or CSC. 

Advantage of CSP
  • CSP validates that you are practicing Scrum
  • CSP increase your market value and gives an edge in competing job market 
  • Attract more recruiter with real job in Scrum either as agile consultant or coach 
  • CSP helps in continuous improvement through community 
  • Establish a gateway and milestone towards becoming CST or CSC 
  • You will gain access to online social networks and specially designed logo to highlight your credentials
How to become CSP

There is no exam for CSP and that’s the beauty of this credential. But no exam means more learning. You must satisfy below eligibility criteria to earn CSP credentials. 
  • You must be current holder of either CSD, CSM or CSPO 
  • You must have 36 months of demonstrable agile/Scrum work experience in last 5 years 
  • Collect 70 SEUs (Scrum Education Units) from past 3 years
If you have all above then fill online form and submit along with $100 for review. Once your application approved then pay $150 to get credential that will valid for next 2 years.

How to earn 70 SEUs for CSP

Scrum alliance has 6 different categories through which you can earn SEUs and these categories also have some limitation.

Category “A”/Scrum Alliance Scrum Gathering – You can earn maximum 45 SEUs in this category. One SEU per hour of participation in scrum alliance global, regional or user group scrum gatherings as well as Scrum alliance affiliated user group.
You can earn these SEUs either through presenting, coaching and attending sessions. For example you can earn SEUs through attending Regional Scrum Gathering India event or event through user group like Play Scrum and Agile Software Developers Network.  

Scrum Alliance Guideline - 
Attended Global Scrum Alliance Gathering
Attended Regional Scrum Alliance Gathering
Attended Scrum Alliance User Group Activity
Attended Scrum Alliance-Sponsored Event
Attended Scrum Coaching Retreat 
Attended Scrum Coaching Retreat Pre-Workshop

Category “B”/Scrum Alliance Course – There is no limit for this category. CSM and CSPO certification is eligible for 16 SEUs, CSD is eligible for 24 SEUs. You can also earn through attending training course provided by REP or CST. Training by Scrum Alliance CST and REP must follow below guidelines.

If you are CSM or CSPO then attend 3 days CSD engineering training to get additional 24 SEUs. You not only get 24 additional SEUs but also additional certificate - CSD

You can also earn additional SEUs through attending various training deliver by CST and REP like Leanpitch. These training includes TDD, BDD, Writing USer Stories, Scaling Scrum and Continuous Integration.

Scrum Alliance Guideline - 
Received CSM Training
Received CSPO Training
Received CSD Training
Received Training from a CST (including video training)
Received Training from a REP (only approved courses and trainers)
Received Coaching by a CSC

Category “C”/Outside Events – Up to 15 SEUs in this category through attending Scrum conferences like AgileNCR or training on agile topics provided by someone who is not a REP or CST. Attending 2 days PMI-ACP training will help you in getting 15 SEUs.

Category “D”/Volunteer Service - Up to 15 SEUs may be earned by providing non-compensated, Scrum professional services to an organization or group other than your employer. You can earn these SEUs even through helping REP or CST in organizing and delivering seminars.

Category “E”/Asynchronous Learning – Up to 15 SEUs may be earned through various independent learning activities, such as preparing presentations, authoring relevant books or reading some books deeply and then describe benefits.

Category “F”/ Synchronous Learning – Up to 15 SEUs may be earned through a variety of other learning activities that doesn't fit in above category like working as co-trainer with more experience trainer.

How to earn SEU for CSP. How to become CSP.

Reach to me on or +91 9810547500 for corporate training.

We deliver training on Test Driven Development (TDD), Behavior Driven Development (BDD), Cucumber, Selenium, Jira Agile, Scrum, Jenkins, Scrum Master, Scrum Developer, Product owner, agile estimation and planning, writing user stories et

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Agile estimation in a nutshell

What is estimation?
Estimation is basically approximation of time needed to complete an activity and activity can be anything. Activity may be driving from New Delhi to Mumbai or cooking food for 50 people or reading a 300 pages book.

Similarly estimation can be developing a data entry form or designing a search page for flight between cities.

Below are few important practices of agile estimation
  • Estimates are shared and not done by individual
  • Single estimate by whole team
  • Top down estimate where team estimates requirement starting from Theme, epic then stories
  • Ideal time is the time, which is spent only on project work without any interruptions.
  • Elapsed time is the total time taken to finish the work.

It’s about relative terms
Agile estimate is relative terms and estimates has no direct link with man days or hours. Relative terms establishing a relation between multiple similar works then comparing which is big story, medium story or short story etc. Like designing a registration page can be a medium story but it may become big story if registration page required integration with CRM application.

Story Point Estimate
Story points are a unit of measure for expressing the overall size of a user story. We start with assigning a numeric estimate value to a user story. The raw value doesn't matter what matters is the relative values based on size (bigness and complexity). Team can use any unit to estimate like very big, big, medium, small, very small etc. Most appropriate is to use Fibonacci Series where story can be estimated like 1,2,3,5,8,13 points. Similarly Epic can be estimated like 20, 40, and 100.

Planning Poker
Planning poker is a game that team play using deck of cards and every cards has number written on it. Every team member picks up a card against story and if all team member doesn't have same number then team discuss internally to understand each other logic about why someone estimated very high or very low. If story is not clear then team approach to product owner to get clarity about story. Team keeps playing this game till everyone agrees for approximately for same number.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Writing user story is not only an art but also science

Everybody says focus on below 6 attributes to write a good user story and same is true but following these six attributes while creating story requires science and arts both.

Below is detailed explanations of all six attributes.

Dependencies in the stories lead to planning & prioritization issues so we should try to create stories as independent as possible. There could be two tricks to resolve dependencies:
Combine the dependent stories and create slightly large but independent story. – This is not suggestible
Split stories slightly different – This can be done easily if you are having good engineering practices like TDD. You can split in smaller stories and develop stories after mocking dependencies.

Example –
  1. Search available Air France flight between London and Paris
  2. Search available British Airways flight between London and Paris

Negotiable – Stories are not written contracts or requirements, which are hard to change. Stories should contain basic information and other notes about issues to be resolved during conversation. The details can later be negotiated between customer and development team.
Example –
  1. Searching only direct flight between London and Paris or also including stop over?
  2. Search will also show combined flights?

Valuable – Story should be valuable for user or purchaser. The details which are very specific to IT processes and technology could be valuable for development team but make no sense for customer/user. Let’s take few examples:-
  1. All services should be exposed using RESTful services
  2. All error and logging should be handled through Jlogger

But same can be presented in much better way for customer like below
  1. User should see same data through web or mobile
  2. All error should be logged in same way and presented to user

Estimatable – The possible reason why story might NOT be estimatable are team lacking technical/domain knowledge or Story being too large.
In case of issue with domain knowledge customer should talk to customer and try to gain domain knowledge.
If problem is with technology knowledge, team can conduct a spike i.e. a short time-boxed activity to research/experiment to learn enough to be able to estimate.
A large story should be disaggregated into smaller constituent stories so that these can be estimated more confidently.

Small – The story should be of right size, not too big or too small.  What is ‘right size’ depends on the team, its capability and technology in use. In case of very small stories, consider combining the stories. If story is large then split it in many small stories.
Example of splitting stories.

Big story – User should be able to search all available flights between London and Paris

Split it in many stories like below
  1. User should be able to search all Air France flight between London and Paris
  2. User should be able to search all British Airways flight between London and Paris

Testable – Stories must be written so as to be testable and should not be like below.
  1. User Interface loading should be faster (How much?)
  2. Software should be easy to use (How do we know what is easy?)

Better to have something like below
  1. User Interface should get loaded in 30 seconds
  2. Software should have a help button associated with every mandatory fields to explain what is needed

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

PMI-ACP (Agile Certified Practitioner) certification overview


PMI-ACP certification is a credential offered by PMI for people working in agile project management environments. The process of earning this credential involves fulfilling eligibility criteria and passing a exam. PMI-ACP certification carries a high level of professional standing and credibility as it requires a combination of agile education, experience on agile practices and examination on Agile practices.


Eligibility Criterion

Education Level
Secondary degree (high school or equivalent) or higher
General Project Experience
2,000 hours working on project teams. Must have been earned in the last 5 years.
Agile Project Experience
1,500 hours working on Agile Project teams or in Agile methodologies. These hours are in addition to the 2,000 hours required in general project experience. These hours must have been earned in the last 3 years.
Training in Agile Practices
21 contact hours. Look for trainer or REP for formal training.
Test knowledge of Agile fundamentals and ability to apply to basic project
30 PDUs per cycle (3 years)

Exam Information

Exams are available at multiple Prometric locations around the world. You will have up to one year from the date your application is approved to take your exam.  If you fail your exam, you are allowed to re-test twice within your one year eligibility period.

You will need to provide 2 forms of identification upon arriving at the test center.  All of your belongings, including your cell phone, etc., are placed in a locker and are not accessible during the exam.

You will have 3 hours to complete 120 multiple-choice questions.  Of the 120 questions, 20 questions are considered pre-test and are not scored.

The split of exam questions will be:
    Agile tools and techniques - 50% of the exam questions
Agile knowledge and skills - 50% of the exam questions

There are no scheduled breaks during your exam and as such, the clock will continue even if you step away from the exam.

Questions are provided one at a time and can either be answered, answered and marked, or left blank and marked for review. Upon submission of the exam, you will be asked to answer a survey prior to receiving your results. Upon completion of the survey, you will be notified as to whether you have passed or failed the exam

The exam center will provide you with a paper copy of your results, including your proficiency level in each of the domains. Proficiency levels are: Proficient, Moderately Proficient and Below Proficient

PMI-ACP Exam Fees

The fee for computer-based test is $435 for members and $495 for non-member. On the other hand the re-examination fee is $335 for members and $395 for non-members. The membership for one year costs $119 plus a one-time $10 joining fee.

What is tested

-          Your knowledge of Agile practices
-          Your understanding of the terminology used to describe Agile
-          Your ability to apply established Agile practices
-          Your understanding of certain Agile methodologies

-          Your understanding of PMI’s testing biases