Friday, July 31, 2015

PMI-ACP Exam series -1 :: Why not PMI-ACP certificate

PMI-ACP has changed exam content and now focusing more on Scrum and Kanban. I would not recommend PMI-ACP to anyone due to exam fee and examination process itself but reading reference material is always helpful. PMI approach is not encouraging especially when it's come to Agile Certified Practitioner (ACP) certificate. Purpose of this PMI-ACP exam series not to criticize but elaborate what contents get cover in exam. I will be writing a separate blog on each topics in coming days. 

Here is details why not PMI-ACP.

Unlike PMP there is NO guide from PMI and only suggest to read below 12 books. These books are anyway available and agile enthusiast refers it. Why should I go to PMI to get this list if same is available everywhere. In case of PMP, PMI does provide a guide called PMBOK.

1. Agile Estimating and Planning: Mike Cohn
2. Professional Agile Project Management: Creating Innovative Products: Jim Highsmith 
3. Professional Agile Retrospectives: Esther Derby, Diana Larsen, Ken Schwaber 
4. Agile Software Development: The Cooperative Game Author: Alistair Cockburn
5. Coaching Agile Teams: Lyssa Adkins 
6. Effective Project Management: Traditional, Agile Extreme: Robert K. Wysocki
7. Exploring Scrum: The Fundamentals: Dan Rawsthorne with Doug Shimp 
8. Kanban In Action: Marcus Hammarberg, Joakim Sunden
9. Kanban: Successful Evolutionary Change for your Technology Business: David J. Anderson 
10. Lean-Agile Software Development: Alan Shalloway, Guy Beaver, James R. Trott  
11. The Software Project Manager’s Bridge to Agility: Michele Sliger, Stacia Broderick
12. User Stories Applied: For Agile Software Development: Mike Cohn

PMI test agile enthusiast skills through exam but since content is not provided by them and course will not going to be taught by PMI accredited trainer then why someone has to write PMI exam? Unlike PMI, other organizations like Scrum Alliance and Lean kanban University teaches same and conduct their own exam which are more focused on  good content and good trainer. Becoming Scrum alliance trainer is difficult and someone should really be good in agile and scrum and has to go through well managed process. In case of PMI, anyone can teach without even knowing agile and scrum. Bad part is participants come to know about poor training only when they fail in exam and same time PMI is not going to take any action against trainer.

Exam Fee:-
$495 (33,000 INR) only for exam? but why? what if I have failed due to poor training by any trainer? Will PMI take any action against trainer? NO then $495 just for exam? Because PMI is a brand and can issue a piece of paper? I was hoping that PMI will reduce exam fee and will keep it around $200 but unfortunately exam fee remain same. Participants also has to spend 15,000 for training and around 5,000-10,000 for books. Total cost of PMI-ACP certification comes around 55,000-60,000 INR in India.
Scrum Alliance program cost is very less that includes training, content and exam/certification fee. Participants can attend multiple program and get certificates in 55,000 - 60,000 INR in India then why PMI-ACP?

Certified Scrum Master CSM) cost around 24,000 INR and Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) cost around 27,000 INR so total cost for both still 51,000 INR that will also help in getting Certified Scrum Professional (CSP)
If not Certified Scrum Developer then you can think of getting Certified Kanban Professional Management or Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) in 27,000 INR same will also help in getting certified Scrum Professional (CSP).

I will definitely recommend to read above books but will not suggest to spend lots of money to test your learning skills through expensive exam.

This is my personal view please ignore if you don't like. 

Monday, July 13, 2015

Agile adoption start from you

Why agile? I think adoption start with this question but honestly many fails to answer this simple question. Answer is usually very generic like reducing time to market, faster releases and improved productivity etc. Well all these is fine but what exactly you are trying to achieve through agile adoption? Is there any dysfunction in the organization? not able to compete in market? or employee attrition rate is too high? Clear answer will help in setting clear goal for transformation.

Which framework? Can we adopt Scrum, Kanban, LeSS, SAFe or XP? Any framework is fine as long as framework is empirical in nature. Even you can ignore all these frameworks to start with and let people decide which is more suitable as per complexity in adoption. You can design your own framework but better to have someone to facilitate teaching, mentoring, setting it up and answering all your doubts. Usually people call them "Agile Coach" or "Transformation Agent". Selection of framework depends on work and organization complexity but to reduce complexity, better not to choose complex framework.

How to select Agile Coach? Better to hire someone good in facilitation and understand software engineering. Someone with lots of certificate? may be if you don't know anyone because there is no other way to filter but better to speak to their customers to understand more about individual behavior and approach. Hire Agile coach and not "Enterprise Agile Coach", "Executive Agile Coach" or "Team Agile Coach" etc. Agility is also about getting away from complex organization design if coaches themselves start promoting hierarchy then what they will bring for you is a big question. Coaches should facilitate rather preach to ask question around facilitation techniques. Someone having good knowledge about agile, facilitation techniques and software engineering can be a better choice. Must be a good listener.

From where to start? Start from wherever you are. Yes you need a leader within organization who understand why agility. Better situation if leader is very senior in hierarchy else someone very influential. Even that's not the case then adoption will slow down but still possible. Start small rather than big bang implementation but once you see success and win confidence of leaders then better to go big bang. Ensure transformation not restricted to software development but happen in all supporting department like human resource, payroll, marketing and general administration as well. If not then agile organization will not be possible and such cases people may go back to old path because required support to sustain agility will be missing. Ensure there are leaders (not managers) from every field to lead and support transformation to see better result.