Friday, April 14, 2017

Why I decided to become Professional Scrum Trainer (PST)

I have been teaching Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) course in India and other part of Asia for last 3-4 years and could have decided to take path of Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). It's also not true that I didn't think about it and didn't want to be one of the CST.
So my Professional Scrum Trainer story start with my hunt for agile coaching assignment during 2015 winter. I reached out a PST asking work for me especially for scrum and engineering coach. He tried but there was no available position in his company at that time for consultant. But he suggested to try PST because it will open many door for me. I took his advice seriously and started my journey by passing Professional Scrum Master - I with 95% as this was the first requirement. Went to Netherlands and London to attend my PSM-TTT and PSD-TTT.
But somehow I decided not to pursue PST after attending TTT because I didn't want to stop teaching CSD course. A course that gave me identify in my community and course that I love teaching all the time. Scrum Alliance came with EST (Endorsed Scrum Trainer) in September 2016 and I thought of trying but that didn't workout either. Here come December 2016 and I was asked once again what I am planning for? But by that time I was sure not to choose CST as option. I started hearing lot more quality issues of Scrum Alliance certifications especially CSM and CSP. I don't want to discuss something that everyone knows about.
I took few days off in December to decide about it. Since I am a teacher and coach so do I need any license to teach or coach? No. So why need license either CST or PST? It's not about me but about people to whom I teach. If about students then my not to give best to them. Here I am with best for my student after going through some tough processes to become PST like passing PSD-1, PSM -III with 95% and clearing peer review (I think it was one the biggest panel during Xmas holiday).
It wasn't for me but for the people I teach. This line has helped me a lot in deciding my path. Something good happened just after clearing PST. You know what? Scrum Alliance has updated REP agreement in December and now I can even teach my CSD as well.
Here I am with courses that my students like learning. Write to me if you wanted to become Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) or wanted to attend my workshop to learn something real and fruitful. I organize Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) training in Chennai, Bangalore, Colombo, Jakarta, Singapore, Manila, Dubai and Kuala Lumpur.

Why just Scrum is not enough for successful delivery?

Why organization is not able to gain much from Scrum? Is Scrum not very useful? 

Below is my understanding based on interaction with more than 100 people those have attended my workshop either CSD, PSD or PSM.

Organization doesn’t understand Scrum Framework in depth. They don't have skills to explore and adopt Scrum internally. Either they got few people certified (Certified Scrum Master) or sometime not even that. Scrum will struggle without right people so they are struggling. I am not against CSM or Scrum Alliance but I am not happy with quality of CSM training. CSM may be good at foundation level something similar to Professional Scrum Foundation (PSF) but definitely not good enough to become Scrum Master or Scrum Coach. Better to hire experienced people even without any certificate or at least Professional Scrum Master (PSM) for the role of Scrum Master.

Not getting development team trained. Only Scrum will not work so you need to train your development team on modern development practices and at least teach them Test Driven Development (TDD), Acceptance Test Driven Development (ATDD), Continuous Integration (CI), Pair Programming, Peer Code review, Emergent Design and Collective Code ownership. Without modern engineering practices, developing a high performing team is myth. All these practices are part of Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) and Certified Scrum Developer (CSD).

Not having Scrum Coach to help during initial stage. You need a good Scrum Coach for 3-6 months to help your team to learn Scrum faster and to support your adoption. Not having Scrum Coach may leads to situation of ScrumBut but having Coach can take you to ScrumPlus. Better to hire a Scrum Coach either full time or a consultant to help.

Above is entirely my personal view and you may not agree to it but still write your comments. You feedback will help me to improve my knowledge on this topic.

Thanks for reading! Let me know if I can help you.

I have been teaching Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) course in India and other part of Asia for last 3-4 years and teaching Scrum Developer course is really really tough. You need to be very good in technical practices and should be able to teach all these hands-on on various languages including C++, Java, .Net, Ruby, Python and JavaScript etc. Keeping pace with technologies demands more time for self improvement and continuous learning. I also teach DevOps practices and Agile Testing (trust me these are very similar to CSD/PSD but just different name) as more and more people started asking about DevOps and Agile Testing. I am a certified ICAgile trainer for DevOps and Agile Testing courses so reach out to me if you need any help.

I am also a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST) to teach Scrum.Org courses. I teach Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and Professional Scrum Developer (PSD). I regularly conduct training on PSM, PSD, and CSD in Chennai, Bangalore, Pune, Hyderabad, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Dubai, Manila, Hong Kong and Singapore.

I see one thing common everywhere that awareness and adoption of Scrum is very high although they struggle a lot due to above reasons. Keep Scrumming!!

Monday, April 3, 2017

Is CSM (certified Scrum Master) certificate still valuable?

I often get below questions regarding Certified Scrum Master (CSM) Training and especially from mid-level managers like traditional project manager, release manager, development manager and test manager etc.

1. Which agile certificate is good for me? I wrote a blog for that. You may like to read here
2. Will CSM help in getting job?
3. Will CSM help me learning about Agile?
4. Is CSM mandatory for Scrum Master role?
5. Will CSM help me to switch from Developer to Scrum Master?
6. Is CSM useful for QA Engineers?

Here is my answer starting from what is CSM, why CSM, why not CSM and what are the alternatives of CSM.

What is CSM (Certified Scrum Master)? A training and certification program launched by Scrum Alliance in 2001. This was the 1st certification training launched by Scrum Alliance and this is oldest so very popular is few countries. Initially there was no exam but got introduced later on due to many complains as per my knowledge. CSM has a very basic criteria for participant like must attend 2 days workshop by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and write a very basic exam to pass and gain certificate. Personally, I have not seen anyone failing in exam and most of the time people write exam in group to pass together (I was told by many but I can't prove it). 

Why CSM (Certified Scrum Master)? Somehow it was communicated from beginning that CSM is a foundation workshop for Agile and Scrum. So anybody wanted to understand agile and Scrum, they just join CSM workshop. But this workshop was for Scrum Master as name suggest. For other roles there are other workshop like CSD for development team and CSPO for Business Analyst and Product Owner. Since CSM is labelled as foundation training so even CST teaches very basic stuff and avoid going deeper into Scrum Master role. Again this based on my knowledge after helping many people to gain CSP (Certified Scrum Professional).

Will CSM helps in getting job? No but at least it can help in getting your resume filtered during screening process. Most of the company filter resume based on certification so CSM credential help in Scrum Master role. Many organizations has started ignoring CSM now due to poor process of certification and started demanding PSM credential. PSM is known for quality exam and total cost of ownership is much lesser because PSM doesn't require renewal every 2 years like CSM. 

Will CSM helps in learning Agile? Yes it does. Because it covers basic scrum framework (most popular agile methods). Alternately, you can look for Professional Scrum Foundation (PSF) or Professional Scrum Master (PSM) from

I am leaving here with rest of questions and would prefer to hear from you about your understanding :)

Thanks for reading! Do let me know if there is any questions related to agile and scrum certifications.