Agile Vs Scrum: Differences & Similarities
By Susan MayAgile and Scrum are buzzwords that have been tossed around a lot over the past decade, and especially if you are an aspiring Project Management professional, you would have heard these words dozens of times. Everyone loves to talk about how waterfall is now passé, and Agile is the only way forward.But what makes Agile & Scrum so important that organizations are scrambling to adopt them? And though they are always spoken of together, are Agile & Scrum the same?We attempt to answer some of these pertinent questions that will help you better understand Agile Scrum, what they encompass, and what they offer to the world of software development.What is Agile methodology?Agile is an umbrella term that encompasses a number of frameworks and practices that operate on the principles and practices described in the Agile Manifesto, for iterative and incremental development and collaboration between self-organizing teams.Agile methodologies work to deliver high quality products, with frequent delivery of small chunks of functionality. They take into consideration regular feedback from the customer and incorporate course correction as needed. In doing so, Agile deviates from the traditional top-down ‘Waterfall’ methods of project management.If there is an Agile vs Waterfall debate in your organization, then to help you make up your mind, here are some advantages of Agile!Helps adapt faster to changing requirementsA continuous improvement is built-inHigher project success rates are ensuredThere is efficient communication leading to more customer satisfactionRemoves roadblocks to scaling and agile development processAgile methodology comprises of 6 phases:Concept — the end goal is envisioned and priorities are sorted.Plan — Initial requirements and methods to approach tasks are discussed. Iteration — The coding teams starts building the product. Testing — Quality testing is conducted simultaneously to ensure that the product is bug-free and ready for deployment.Deployment — The code is deployed and working software is delivered to the customer.Maintenance — Continuous improvement is implemented by gauging customer and market reactions/feedback. Work performed in previous stages is continuously evaluated and improved upon.Agile and Scrum definitionsAgile is the ability to create and respond to change. It is a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.—Agile AllianceScrum is a lightweight framework that helps people, teams and organizations generate value through adaptive solutions for complex problems—Scrum GuidesWhat is Agile and Scrum?Agile is a project management methodology that follows an incremental, iterative approach to development and testing of a product. It can trace its creation back to 2001, when a group of 17 engineers got together and came up with the Agile Manifesto, the bible for Agile methodology.The Agile Manifesto outlines the 4 core values and 12 principles on which the entire Agile methodology is based.Scrum is a framework that embodies all that is Agile. Scrum stands for “Systematic Customer Resolution Unraveling Meeting” and uses sprints to break large projects into small chunks, with each chunk delivering an end product.The cumulative output of all the sprints translates into a finished product that is tested at every stage and improvised.Differences and Similarities Between Agile and ScrumAgileScrumAgile is a mind-set, a project management philosophy.Scrum is a set of values, principles and practices.Agile is an umbrella term for all the frameworks and practices that follow the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto.Scrum is a framework under the Agile umbrella.Agile does not have a prescribed approach to how to manage projects. Rather it describes values and principles in the Agile Manifesto.Scrum provides specific processes to efficiently manage projects.Similarities:Though there are differences in Agile & Scrum, there are also a number of similarities. Scrum, after all is a sub-set of Agile. Scrum embraces all the ideals of Agile such as quick response time, being adaptable and continuous feedback. Not just Scrum, but all frameworks and processes that fall under the Agile umbrella adopt these practices.Scrum vs Agile vs Kanban Scrum and Kanban are both Agile methodologies.Kanban vs ScrumScrum and Kanban differ in the way they are carried out. While either one of them is chosen, often the best practices from both are combined and used as Scrumban.How Does Scrum Fit with Agile?Scrum embodies all the values and principles outlined in the Agile Manifesto. It follows an incremental and iterative approach to software development. These iterations are of fixed length and are called sprints.Scrum brings in all the advantages of Agile, such as:QualityTransparencyCost controlRisk ControlFlexibilitySpeed to marketSatisfied customersQuality end-productWhen exactly to use Agile?Agile methodology follows a collaborative approach to software development, where the end vision is clearly laid out, but the requirements and solutions evolve over the course of the development. This is a flexible process, where each iteration results in a potentially shippable product increment.If we think about Agile vs Waterfall, then the basic difference comes down to how each method handles time, cost and requirements. In the waterfall method, requirements are fixed with a view to controlling time and cost; while Agile fixes time and cost in order to control requirements.Agile is of great value…When change is neededWhen there is less time to planWhen changing requirements are anticipated, orWhen requirements are not clearly identified.When exactly to use Scrum?Scrum too, like Agile is carried out when:Requirements are not clearly definedMore changes are anticipated during developmentThe solution needs to be testedThe team is self-organisedThe scope is open to change.When to use a Hybrid Approach?Waterfall or Agile Scrum, that’s a question that plagues most project managers. Many teams tackle this question by opting for agile-waterfall hybrid project management. This new management style takes the best of both worlds, helping to improve product delivery and hastening time to market.The hybrid approach used will depend on the project and its complexity. You can plan your project using the waterfall method and deliver using the agile method. In this case, the project is time-boxed into sprints and an iterative and incremental approach is used to deliver the product to the customer. Alternately, you can Agile for some phases and waterfall for others. It is best to apply agile for changing aspects of your project and waterfall for deliverables that are fixed. 60% of the companies surveyed use hybrid project management all or most of the time—PMI Pulse of the Profession, 11th Global Project Management Survey. The hybrid approach is used for large, complex projects that need the flexibility and adaptability of change but also require the stability to hit long term goals. ConclusionNow, that you have understood the differences between Agile and Scrum and the importance that each brings to software development, it is also important to understand the value of Agile and Scrum certifications.If your next question is about Agile vs Scrum certifications and which is better, then you can explore more about the certifications offered under these disciplines. Learn and understand which certification will suit you best and embark on a successful Scrum Agile career path.
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Why is scrum the most popular agile methodology?
By Susan MayHow did a rugby term that alludes to the formation of players huddling together closely, in an attempt to gain the ball, come to represent the most important software development methodology of our times? It’s because Scrum represents teamwork, whether on a rugby field or in project development. And this teamwork and cohesion between elements in a Scrum framework is what makes it one of the most popular Agile methodologies.Why Scrum for projects? There are plenty of statistics out there that are a testament to the popularity of Scrum.85 percent of respondents say Scrum continues to improve quality of work life—State of Scrum 2017-2018Scrum Master is one of the most promising jobs—LinkedInScrum is by far the most popular and widely used agile framework—Scrum Alliance®This article attempts to help the reader understand about Scrum project management, why it is so popular, the scrum process flow, scrum ways of working and a lot more.What is Scrum?What is Scrum in Agile? Scrum is an Agile framework that follows an incremental and iterative approach to development. While it was initially used only in software development it has also proved to be useful in diverse fields such as sales, research, marketing and more.The world was first introduced to Scrum as a concept in product development by two Japanese professors, in their article that was published in the Harvard Business Review. The idea of using Scrum as a framework for software development was put forth by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in 1995. Since then, Scrum has seen continuous improvements and enhancements and become among the most widely used software development methodologies.Scrum stands for “Systematic Customer Resolution Unraveling Meeting” and focuses on breaking large projects into small chunks. Goals are defined and timeboxed and teams are small, self organized and with a high degree of cross-function.A Scrum team is made of 3 major units:The Product OwnerThe Scrum MasterThe Development teamWhy is Scrum So Productive?In his book “Scrum: The art of doing twice the work in half the time”, Jeff Sutherland states that Scrum is one of the reasons why productivity gains of as much as 1200% have been recorded.Scrum has benefited not just the software development industry but also the military, government, universities and manufacturing industries and agencies.The reason for Scrum being an enabler of high productivity is because it helps teams to stay focused and transparent with each other, collaborate, communicate, take accountability and remain motivated.Advantages of ScrumAbility to manage changing prioritiesThe markets are tough and companies are jostling for customer attention which they can get by creating unique products that match target goals. This results in frequent changes in their requirements—which a Scrum team needs to implement.Scrum successfully manages changing priorities because it is based on Agile principles and values that place the customer before process and principles, and responding to change over following a plan.Better visibility into projectsScrum with its use of tools like task boards, daily stand-up meetings, sprint reviews and more helps in better resource allocation and project completion within timelines and budgets. This helps in improved planning, reduced chances of failure and faster response to risks.More alignment between business and ITThe product owner who represents the business works in tandem with the development team and the scrum master, ensuring better synergy between the business and IT.Teams do not work in silos and there is open communication between business and IT, which leads to better understanding of what the business wants, and if and whether IT can deliver it.Faster time to marketScrum is built on the foundation of time-boxed iterations called Sprints at the end of which a working part of the software is delivered. This ensures that a minimum viable product is immediately available for the customer to market.Since it is also based on continuous improvements, the product is continuously enhanced, and more features are added in each subsequent release.What are the Main Agile methodologies?There are several popular Agile methodologies includingScrumKanbanLeanCrystalExtreme Programming (XP)DSDMFDDWhat makes the Scrum the most popular Agile methodology?So, why use Scrum?Easy to implement Works for complex projects Helps implement fast response to changing requirements Fosters creativity and innovation Increases pace with which dev teams work Lowers costs Ensures customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction Promotes flexibility and adaptability Reduces time to market Works across markets and industries Gives a sense of satisfaction to team membersThe Secret of Scrum's SuccessWhat contributes to Scrum’s success? That’s a question to ponder upon. That Scrum is extremely popular is a well-known fact. It checks all the boxes that a good Agile framework should satisfy, helps companies gain their business objectives and promotes creativity and innovation.Some may argue that other Agile frameworks too offer these advantages. Yet, among all the other Agile frameworks like XP and Kanban, Scrum has managed to retain the top spot for the most popular agile framework.These are some reasons why:Scrum is simple, straightforward, and easy to implement. It has many well documented use cases that can be referred for successful implementation.Right from books to certifications to non-profit organizations, Scrum has a huge community that lends it enormous credibility and support.There are also a number of certifications like the Certified ScrumMaster®, Certified Scrum Product Owner®, Professional Scrum MasterTM certification and more that are widely recognised and accepted by the industry as a testament of the holder’s knowledge of Scrum. These certifications are a great way to land lucrative job roles and further one’s career. Certifications are available not just for those wishing to become Scrum Masters and Product Owners but also for those who wish to coach and lead organization wide transformations with frameworks like SAFe® and LeSS. Scrum is a continually evolving methodology and its global network of practitioners contribute to its growth and success.ConclusionFrom Google, Apple and Facebook to Adobe, AirBnB, Spotify, and Yahoo, the who’s who of technology is using Scrum for their day-to-day operations.These are solid companies that have seen huge growth over the past years and a large part of this can be credited to the Scrum style of working. Not just applicable to tech giants, but Scrum is perfect for small team start-ups who need to innovate quickly and bring products out at breakneck speed. The State of Scrum Report states that Scrum is the overwhelmingly preferred Agile method, used by 40% of respondents. Scrum is definitely the most popular agile methodology and when used the right way, with the right tools it becomes a no fuss, simple implementation that gives autonomy to teams, emphasises on quality and customer satisfaction and above all helps each individual team member work to their maximum potential.
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What are the Pros and Cons of Agile and Scrum?
By Susan MayAgile has brought about a revolutionary transformation in the way products are developed, marketed and maintained. While the benefits of Agile are many, it is a well-known fact that there is no ‘one size fits all’ Agile formula for organizations. Every business is unique and hence needs tailor-made Agile solutions to survive in this ever-changing economy.There are advantages and disadvantages of using Scrum and Agile, and each comes with its own set of challenges. But the benefits of Scrum and Agile far outweigh its disadvantages and hence it is worthwhile for an organization to invest in transformation. Successful transformation can be ensured by investing in training and upskilling under the guidance of Agile & Scrum experts.What is Agile and Scrum?These stats reveal the length and breadth across which Agile has permeated and the huge profits that organizations stand to benefit by getting on the Agile bandwagon. A Vitality Chicago blog talks about how for large projects, adopting an Agile approach ensures twice the rate of success, as compared to traditional waterfall approaches.Agile Alliance describes agile as the ability to create and respond to change and a way of dealing with, and ultimately succeeding in, an uncertain and turbulent environment.What is Scrum in Agile?Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework —Scrum AllianceScrum stands for “Systematic Customer Resolution Unraveling Meeting” and uses an iterative and incremental structure for project management. Scrum focuses on delivering large projects in small chunks and has brought in immense benefits to teams that have adopted it including, creating, delivering and managing complex projects/products that are of the highest value. According to Scrum Alliance, Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework.In this next section we will look into the pros and cons of Agile and the pros and cons of Scrum.Advantages of Agile and ScrumFlexibility and Adaptability: Agile’s philosophy of flexibility and ongoing adaptability helps companies respond to changing requirements. Agile gives you the flexibility of progress over perfection and the freedom of deploying engineering teams to requirements that are more important, rather than following a rigid first-in-first-out method. This allows you to flex resources more efficiently to cope with changing requirements.Creativity and Innovation: Agile indexes in the ability of prototyping and allows customers to be a part of the entire development process that creates the minimum viable product. This gives developers the freedom to bring in innovation and explore their creativity during development. Furthermore, agile emphasizes on self-organizing teams and this greatly fosters creativity and innovation. Time-to-Market: The concept of the minimum viable product ensures that a working model is brought out into the market sooner. There is effectively the creation of some increment of the product at the end of each sprint. This not only satisfies the customers but also gives the development team the flexibility to add improvements to the product and release it faster in the market.Lower Costs: Since Agile releases product versions at frequent intervals, the cost of failure is much cheaper compared to the traditional waterfall model, which focuses on production quite late in the SDLC.Improved Quality: Agile promotes best engineering practices like unit testing, peer review, test driven development etc. This ensures that the product created is of improved quality. Customer Satisfaction: The first principle of the Agile Manifesto states, "Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software." Agile’s focus on early and frequent delivery ensures that customers get a finished product faster and that their requirements are implemented through each iteration of the product development.Employee Satisfaction: The quick time to market philosophy of Agile has a number of advantages and one of them is employee satisfaction. Developers get quick feedback on the product they develop, there is greater accountability and self-organization gives greater freedom to team members. The requirements chosen are all geared towards giving maximum value to the customer and this help employees gain confidence and a sense of pride in their work. All this ensures high employee satisfaction. Organizational Synergy: Organisational synergy occurs when people and processes work together to deliver value and quality. Agile allows for cross-team prioritization and these priorities trickle down and permeate through every level of the organization thus helping towards organizational synergy. Iterative in nature: Agile is a philosophy, while Scrum is a framework that believes in iterative and incremental development of products. This focus on iteration provides for all the benefits associated with scrum and agile including customer collaboration, innovation, early risk identification and mitigation and rapid delivery of software. This iterative nature of agile is perfect for large projects with continuously evolving requirements. Agile Scrum can work with any technology/ programming language: Agile is a mind-set, not a technique. It can work across industries and sectors and most definitely across technologies and programming languages.Improvement in the productivity of each of the team members: Every team member is accountable in Agile. This enhances the sense of ownership and responsibility, which in turn improves productivity. In fact, Scrum reduces the amount of non-productive work that team members often find themselves doing in traditional product development, such as writing requirements or specifications that have little of no use to anyone.Disadvantages of Agile and ScrumTraining and Skill Required: Most Agile and Scrum implementations often fail due to a lack of training of employees. Agile is not easy to implement. It requires dedication and a shift in the mind-set and the way or working. Organizations who are planning a shift to agile from the traditional often fail due to lack of proper training for employees as well as C-Suite leadership.Organizational Transformation: While organization transformation cannot be achieved overnight, it is a goal that most enterprises seek to pursue, in order to maximize Agile benefits. This again is easier said than done and requires full commitment from leaders at all levels in order to avoid failure. Most organizations that are trying to transform are deeply rooted in the waterfall methodology and find it difficult to relieve control and give it to the team, as mandated by agile, thus leading to transformation failure.Scalability: Agile and Scrum work well for small teams. In fact, small teams work smarter and better by adopting the scrum practices and the agile philosophy of fail fast, fail safe methods. But there are organizations that try to scale and more often than not, end up failing. Scaling agile requires a thorough evaluation of current processes and a complete overhaul of the top-down control. This is difficult to achieve as it means charting your own path and tailoring agile for your own needs.Integration with Project/Program Management: Integrating agile into an already well-established system can be frustrating, chaotic and comes with a high chance of failure.Works well only with small teams: Agile was designed for small teams. Small teams can adapt faster, integrate faster, ensure open communication and transparency and implement decisions faster. Communication is a major factor for the success for agile and this is more effective in smaller teams.Conclusion Like every other system there are also Scrum limitations and disadvantages of Agile methodology. The road to becoming agile is not an easy one. There will be bumps and failures along the way but once you succeed you will realise that the benefits are manifold. Agile involves a complete shift, right from the way you work to the way you think.You do not do Agile, but you become agile. Becoming Agile is a journey, the success of which depends largely on the support of senior management. Allowing teams to self-organize is the first step towards becoming agile. A lack of commitment or belief in agile methods is a sure recipe for disaster. The right training can ensure a successful agile transformation and scrum implementation.
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CSM Certification Guide - CSM Exam Requirements
By Susan MayCertified ScrumMaster®: What is it?The Certified ScrumMaster® is a credential awarded to those who are able to display expertise and knowledge of Scrum processes and practices. It validates their knowledge of the Scrum framework and their ability to successfully lead projects.The CSM is awarded by the Scrum Alliance, an internationally renowned organization, and requires candidates to display their knowledge by clearing the comprehensive CSM exam.Agility is a continuous process and the CSM certification is the first step towards achieving excellence in this field. It starts you on a journey of self-excellence, serving as a stepping stone for higher Scrum certifications.Benefits of CSM CertificationThe CSM is issued by the Scrum Alliance, a reputed organization known for its high standards and commitment to further Scrum and Agile adoption across industries through dedicated trainings, seminars and teachings.According to the 2020 Robert Half Technology Salary Guide, the Certified ScrumMaster credential is among the most valuable certifications in IT today. The CSM is an entry level certification useful for those who are just getting started into Scrum or have been asked to manage Scrum projects.As a CSM holder, you will be able to perform all the responsibilities expected from a Scrum Master of an agile project. You will be able to:Perform as a Servant Leader who assists the team to succeed with the Scrum frameworkRemove impediments that hinder the work of the development teamHelp create an environment where the team can grow and foster innovationCreate good communication channels between the team, the product owner and external stakeholdersEnsure that all processes of Scrum are followed to maximise benefitsEnjoy high salaries. The latest Payscale salary trends show professionals with CSM certification in India earning an average salary of INR 1,256,944. In America, the Certified ScrumMaster salary on an average is $136k.Eligibility Requirements for the CSM ExamIf you want to become a Certified ScrumMaster you have to fulfil certain criteria that include training from a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) and clearing a test. Let’s look at the eligibility requirements to gain the CSM credential as mentioned by Scrum Alliance.You need to attend a face-to-face course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC)Have 14 hours of live online or 16 hours of in-person training with your CST, or 25 hours of face-to-face interaction with your CACAttending the course does not have any prerequisites, anyone with an interest in Scrum and who wants to gain the CSM credential can attend the training.The Certification ProcessYour certification process starts with identifying a training provider and completing the mandatory training period for CSM as stipulated by the Scrum Alliance. The steps to gain the CSM certification are as mentioned:Step 1: Take the 16 hour or 2-day CSM® course delivered by a CST® from a Global Registered Education Provider of Scrum Alliance. Step 2: On successful completion of the course, you will receive a welcome email containing a link to activate your Scrum Alliance® certification account. The email also contains your login credentials Step 3: Login to Scrum Alliance and complete your profile Step 4: Select My Dashboard and click on "Take CSM test"Step 5: Select your preferred language and take the Scrum Master certification online exam. CSM is an open book, 1-hour online test with 50 MCQs. Step 6: To pass the test, correctly answer 37 out of the 50 questions within the 60-minute time limit. The passing score is 74%.Step 7: On successfully passing the test, you will receive Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) designation from Scrum Alliance. You will also receive a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance.CSTs and Authorized Training CentreScrum Alliance Certified Scrum Trainers, as the name suggests, are trainers of Scrum who have been rigorously vetted by Scrum Alliance. Scrum trainers have to undergo stringent certification requirements in order to be certified as CSTs.According to Scrum Alliance, CSTs “turn learning from ‘informational to transformational’ and actively contribute to a passionate community of change agents around the world.”In the world of Scrum Alliance, authorized training centres are called Registered Education Providers. These Institutes are rigorously screened and after an extensive evaluation are awarded the REP status by Scrum Alliance.Scrum Alliance also regularly evaluates REPs to ensure that they are maintaining standards set by Scrum Alliance which include high quality instructors who imbibe the values of Scrum Alliance and courseware that matches the exam objectives.CSM Exam FormatOnce you complete the course, you are allowed to take the CSM exam.Scrum Alliance’s Certified ScrumMaster exam is an online test, consisting of 50 multiple choice questions. You will have 1-hour (60 minutes) to finish it. You need to score a minimum of 74% in the exam to pass the Scrum Master Certification exam and obtain the certification.The CSM exam fee is generally included in the training cost if you opt to train from a REP.What if one fails to pass the CSM in one go?If you fail the CSM in your first attempt, Scrum Alliance allows you to retake the exam at no cost for the first 2 attempts within 90 days after you receive your welcome email. You will however be charged a minimum of $25 every time you attempt, from the third attempt onwards or if you attempt the exam 90 days after receiving the welcome email.How does one complete the CSM evaluation and receive Scrum Alliance Certificate?On completing your training under a Certified Scrum Trainer, you are eligible to give you exam. You need to correctly attempt 37 out of the 50 questions within the 60-minute time limit to pass.Once you complete the test, you can download your CSM certification by following these steps:Login to Scrum Alliance Go to Settings (top right hand corner) Select 'Certification Dashboard' Under 'Actions,' select 'Print Certificate' Select 'Size' Click 'Generate ScrumMaster / Scrum Product Owner Certificate'Remember that your certificate will be available for download only after you have accepted the ‘License Agreement’.You must renew your CSM certification every two years. You can do this by paying $100 and logging in 20 SEUs (Scrum Educational Units) every two year period.SEUs can be clocked by completing approved educational training, or taking part in various learning activities. You can also earn SEUs by providing non-compensated professional Scrum services and giving back to the community.Ready to get CSM certified? Check our schedules and take the first step on your Scrum journey!
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Best Agile and Scrum Certifications in 2021
By Susan MayScrum and Agile jobs continue to dominate the recruiting landscape in 2021. LinkedIN listed Scrum Master and Product Owner as among the most promising jobs of 2019. 2 years on, the popularity for Scrum and Agile related roles is at an all-time high. Agile and Scrum certifications go a long way in helping professionals establish themselves in a competitive job market and land lucrative job roles.This article presents the best agile certifications in 2021 along with an in-depth look at Certified ScrumMaster® certification, SAFe® Agile certifications, Scum Alliance® Certifications, along with agile certification costs.Why Agile Certifications?Agile and its frameworks are being widely implemented in organizations across the world. They provide proven solutions to the otherwise slow and unresponsive project management methodologies that were used for product development before. Fast paced technology, digitization, and evolving markets have hastened the adoption of Agile and frameworks like Scrum that provide quick marketing times and fast response to customer requirements.Although agile implementation requires a certain level of expertise barring which its adoption often goes south. This is why there is a huge demand for certified professionals who can lead and maintain agile transformations and reap its benefits.Agile certifications are a way to assess the capability of the professional in bringing about Agile transformations. These are provided by world renowned certification bodies like the Scrum.org, Scaled Agile Inc and Scrum Alliance that facilitate agile scrum master certifications.These credentials are obtained on passing rigorous exams that one needs to pass after attending a hands-on workshop or self-study. These exams test one’s knowledge of Agile, Scrum and its various practices and principles. Market studies have shown that agile and scrum certified professionals earn more than their non-certified peers.Who can take up this training?Typically, the eligibility for taking up certification exams depend on the certification being pursued. Entry level certifications like Certified ScrumMaster® or Certified Scrum Product Owner® do not have any prerequisites and the training can be pursued by anyone who wants to master the key agile and scrum principles and practices. Other certifications such as Certified Scrum Developer®, Certified Scrum Professional®, Advanced-CSM, Advanced-CSPO etc can be considered as next level expertise and can be taken by professionals who have some experience in Agile and Scrum.Typical audience for these courses would include: Project ManagersDevelopersProduct OwnersManagers-Software developmentArchitects-Software developmentProduct ManagersSoftware DevelopersSoftware CodersSoftware TestersTeam Leads/Team MembersAgile CoachesProject ManagersDelivery ManagersScrum MastersDevelopment ManagersAgile coach certifications such as ICP-ACC, help professionals to pursue careers as Agile coaches.Benefits of Scrum and Agile CertificationsThere are several benefits that come along with gaining Scrum and Agile certifications. Besides giving you a great platform to launch your career from, they also help you learn about Scrum and Agile best practices that can be implemented in diverse sectors and organizations.These certifications will help you:Validate your commitment to continued excellence and quality in Agile and Scrum Demonstrate proficiency in Agile and Scrum Advance your career in Scrum with confidence Stand out at interviews and leverage on career growth opportunities Earn higher than experienced non-certified peersBecome part of a greater Scrum and Agile communityNetwork with industry leaders and Agile professionals Advance your agile journey with each certificationTop Agile and Scrum certifications to consider with key points of the certification like eligibility, target audience, budget, popularity, efforts etc.CertificationEligibilityTarget audienceCost in North America in USDPopularityEffort requiredCertified ScrumMaster®No eligibilitySoftware EngineersProduct ManagersProject ManagersTeam LeadersBusiness AnalystsDevelopment team membersTestersAnyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum Master84933%2 days training plus additional study hoursProfessional Scrum Master™ INo eligibilityProject ManagersScrum MastersScrum team membersDevelopersProduct OwnersSoftware development managersSoftware ArchitectsProduct ManagersSoftware DevelopersSoftware CodersSoftware TestersTeam Leads/Team Members99953%2-days training plus additional study hoursCertified SAFe® Program Consultant5+ years of experience in software development, testing, business analysis, product, or project management3+ years of experience in AgileOne or more relevant Agile certificationsProgram or Project ManagerScrum MasterRelease Train EngineerBusiness AnalystAgile CoachDevelopment ManagerProfessional Services ConsultantConsultantDirectorManagerProduct ManagerProduct OwnerAgile Change AgentSoftware Engineer9%4 days training plus additional study hoursPSPO INo eligibilityProject ManagersDevelopersProduct OwnersManagers-Software developmentArchitects-Software developmentProduct ManagersSoftware developersSoftware testersTeam leads/Team members interested in learning ScrumLeadership Team 99916%2 days training plus additional study hours.CSPONo eligibilityProject ManagersDevelopersProduct OwnersManagers-Software developmentArchitects-Software developmentProduct ManagersSoftware developersSoftware testersTeam leads/Team members interested in learning Scrum99911%2 days training plus additional study hours.PMI-ACP2000 hours of working on project teams within the last 5 years or having an active PMP®/PgMP® credential1500 hours of working on Agile Project Teams or with Agile Methodologies, in addition to “General Project Experience” above;21 contact hours earned in Agile PracticesProject ManagersProject PlannersQuality Assurance StaffDevelopers/ProgrammersDesigners, TestersProject ControllersProduct OwnersScrum MastersScrum Team Members8995.05%3 days training plus additional study hoursTraining + certification exam cost offered by KnowledgeHutAs per the 2019 Scrum Master trends by Scrum.orgHow to choose the best Agile CertificationAccording to the 2019 Scrum Master trends by Scrum.org, the top three certifications among survey participants were Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I), Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and Professional Scrum Product Owner I (PSPO I).One thing common among these certification holders according to the survey, was that 51% of the participants who earned more than $150,000 USD, had undergone training. This emphasizes the need for training from certified coaches and accredited training institutes who can guide you through the concepts and best practices and help you aim for a first time pass of the exams.ConclusionWhen it comes to Scrum vs Agile certification, you may be wondering which to pursue. Since Scrum is a framework under the Agile umbrella and imbibes all the principles and values, it makes sense to first understand Agile and gain proficiency in it by undertaking an Agile certification. Also, most Scrum certifications will require you to have Agile knowledge, so having a good foundation can help you not only in entry level Scrum certifications, but also advanced.
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What Is Agile Scrum Methodology?
By Susan MayThe 9th Global Project Management Survey by PMI revealed some astounding facts. 71%, which means 7 out of 10 companies, reported that they were using Agile methods in one way or another in their projects. This indicates the popularity of Agile and Scrum as a framework that companies are adopting as a proven approach to realising business benefits.So, what is the agile methodology and why use the agile scrum methodology? We have attempted to answer some of these questions to help you better understand the agile scrum methodology meaning and its impact on organizations.History of Agile The Agile movement can trace its origin back to 2001. 17 engineers who had experimented with software development using iterative and incremental procedures got together and created the Agile Manifesto, which outlined the 4 values and 12 principles of software development the Agile way. “We are uncovering better ways of developing software by doing it and helping others do it. Through this work we have come to value”—Agile Manifesto What is Agile? Agile is a philosophy, and a way of working that represents a culture change from the traditional project management. It encompasses a set of frameworks that focus on iterative development of a product. Introduction to Agile Methodology The Agile methodology is a method of software development that is based on continuous iterations and incremental development and testing of a product. It follows the principle of ‘failing fast’, which helps cut losses as the defect is recognized early and corrected.The Agile methodology focuses on 4 core Agile values that encourage fast responses to change by focusing on collaboration, continuous planning and learning and early delivery.Agile Values The Agile Manifesto lays out the four core Agile values that need to be followed during the software development lifecycle. These values outline how software development using Agile is fundamentally different from the traditional waterfall method in terms of flexibility, response to change and individuals. The agile values lay emphasis on: Individuals and Interactions, over Processes and Tools Working Software, over Documentation Customer Communication and Collaboration, over Contract Negotiation Quick Response to Change, over Sticking to a PlanWhat are the 12 principles of agile? The Agile Manifesto also defines 12 principles. These principles along with the Agile values help teams and organizations successfully transition to Agile.The 12 Agile principles are encapsulated in the image below.What are the various Agile Methodologies?The most popularly-practiced Agile methodologies include: Agile Scrum Methodology Lean Software Development Kanban Extreme Programming (XP) Crystal Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) Feature Driven Development (FDD) These methodologies may differ in the way they are implemented but they all share the core philosophies of Agile.What is Scrum?Scrum stands for “Systematic Customer Resolution Unraveling Meeting”. Scrum is a framework that uses an iterative and incremental structure for project management used in Agile software development. In other words; it delivers large projects in small chunks. The Scrum framework has brought in immense benefits in creating, delivering and managing complex projects/products that are of the highest value. According to Scrum Alliance, Scrum is the most widely used Agile framework. Who can benefit from Scrum? The benefits of Scrum are not just confined to the IT sector. Industries across sectors are now realising the benefits of the Scrum approach in delivering results on time and being adaptive enough to change when needed. Some of the industries using the Scrum framework include: Education Military Marketing Automotive Governments InfrastructureIntroduction to Scrum Methodology Scrum methodology refers to using the Scrum framework in the agile development process. Scrum methodology steps follow the incremental approach outlined by Agile and helps address the issues that arise when working with complex project problems. Scrum iterations are called Sprints. Each sprint is around two-to-four weeks in duration, and focuses on coming up with a deliverable product.With each successive sprint more features of the product get built and improved upon by taking continuous feedback from the customer.What are the benefits of Agile Scrum methodology? The incremental and iterative approach of Scrum helps bring in a lot of benefits: Helps break down complex projects into small chunks called sprints Creates self-organizing teams Helps complete work efficiently on time and budget Helps implement customer feedback at the time of development Testing is conducted concurrently with development Daily Scrum meetings give visibility to all team members You can learn more about the benefits of this methodology by accessing the Scrum Guide™ (agile scrum methodology pdf.) What are the different roles in Agile Scrum methodology? Scrum Project Management involves 3 roles: Product Owner: Represents the business and helps the development team understand what is to be built. Scrum Master: Is the servant leader and Agile coach, who removes impediments that may hinder the development team’s work. Development team: Represent the engineers who do the actual work of building, designing and testing.Activities Done in SCRUM Methodology Scrum requires that every sprint must have some essential activities called events. These five events are: Sprint Planning Daily Scrum Sprint Review Sprint Retrospective The Sprint Using the Scrum Process Flow, teams can minimize risks and enhance product quality and delivery. Every event is needed for the smooth functioning of a Scrum event What are Scrum requirements? Scrum handles requirements very differently from traditional project management. There are no extensive documentations prepared for requirements, instead Scrum uses product backlog items. These are placeholder requirements and living artifacts, that can be refined and improved upon through the development lifecycle.The most common form of representing product backlog items are user stories that help convey the business requirements.What are the differences between Scrum and Agile? Agile is a mind-set, while Scrum is a framework based on that mind-set. Scrum vs Agile Agile is an umbrella-term for practices, frameworks and methods that are described in the Agile manifesto. The goal of these practices is to make teams and organizations agile with quick innovation, fast response and quality end products. Scrum is a framework in the Agile umbrella that helps us implement the Agile philosophy through use of roles, events, artifacts and guidelines.The Agile Umbrella ConclusionThe Agile revolution has swept the business world, helping organizations across sectors reap the benefits of satisfied customers, better products, faster response times and motivated teams. Scrum is the most popular Agile methodology and it is fast becoming the de facto standard for software development. The popularity of these frameworks has driven the need for hiring competent and certified Agile and Scrum professionals who can successfully help an organization transition and become truly Agile. Check out our agile scrum methodology tutorial if you want to pursue among the most lucrative careers of the decade.
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What Is a Scrum Master? A Key Role for Project Success
By Susan MayWhat is a Scrum Master? There are many names for a Scrum Master. Servant leader, facilitator, motivator, change agent, leader, iteration manager. So, which of these best describes a Scrum Master? The classic definition of a Scrum Master according to the Agile Alliance is a “role responsible for ensuring the team lives agile values and principles and follows the processes and practices that the team agreed they would use.” In other words, an ideal Scrum Master should have all the qualities mentioned above; along with being a coach and creating awareness about Scrum.Scrum Master Responsibilities Let’s have a look at the top 7 responsibilities of a Scrum Master. Clears impediments that may hinder work of the development team Creates an environment conducive to innovation Helps the team to maximise productivity Works towards improving team dynamics Works with the Product Owner on the backlog Creates communication channels between the team, the product owner and the stakeholders Protects the team from outside interruptions and distractions. Besides these responsibilities, a Scrum Master also leads the agile & scrum adoption, ensures that the team follows agile values and practices and becomes self-reliant.Scrum Master Roles: Scrum Master vs Project Manager A Scrum Master, is not a project manager but a servant leader. This role requires professionals to lead from the front, have a degree of influence in the system and be a servant-leader. A Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) can perform the role of: Delivery Lead Agile Scrum Master Program Manager Project Manager Agile Coach Automation Engineer Project Lead Scrum Master salaries depend on a variety of factors besides the role, such as experience and geography.Scrum Master Service to the Development TeamWho is the Scrum Master a servant leader for? The development team. A Scrum Master will do all in their power to ensure that the development team can work with a single-minded focus on developing the product.The Scrum Master and the Development Team The Scrum Master’s main responsibilities towards the development team would include: Helping the team self-organize Helping the team implement Scrum practice and principles Creating an environment free from obstacles Helping them communicate with the Product Owner Ensuring smooth project progressScrum Master Service to the Organization Every organization must have a pool of Scrum Masters. According to the State of Scrum by Scrum Alliance, as more and more organizations adopt Agile there is a great demand for hiring professionals with Scrum Master certification who can help bring about enterprise-wide agile transformation.Scrum Master can help an organization by: Guiding team members through the product development Ensuring that quality products are delivered Helping to ensure that stakeholder expectations are understood by the team Acting as a change agent and enabling an organization wide transformation Ushering in a new way of working that will help enhance ROI.The Scrum Master and the Organization Expected Benefits There are plenty of benefits to be had with having a Scrum Master, for both the team and the organization. Self-organized teams work better and are more productive. The team can get their doubts cleared from the Scrum Master. With obstacles removed, the team can focus better on improving the product quality. By scaling Scrum, the organization can ensure satisfied customers, improved time to market and reduced cycle time. The Scrum Master brings about change in culture and mind-set.Common Pitfalls A failed agile transformation is more common than you think. Not all teams and organizations that walk down the agile road meet with success. This is often the result of incorrect application of the Scrum Master’s role which can arise from: Hiring the wrong person to do the job: A project manager who has no experience with Scrum cannot be lead a Scrum team. Micro-managing: Sure, it is the responsibility of the Scrum Master to remove impediments and obstacles. But it is also a Scrum Master’s job to create a self-organizing team. Too much spoon-feeding, in the long run will create an under-confident team that relies too much on the Scrum Master. Not expanding role scope: Taking care of the team is only one aspect of the Scrum Master’s role. It is also important to focus on other areas like enabling organizational change and Scrum coaching. Not trusting the team enough: You may have a solid technical background but it is not your job as a Scrum Master to keep interfering in the development team’s work. Trust your team to do a good job and coach them when needed.Skill Levels Your skill level is defined by how involved you are in implementing Scrum in your team and the organization. According to Agile Alliance, Scrum Masters can be of the following types, depending on their skill level: Rotating Scrum Master: In this, the team does not have a fixed Scrum Master. The responsibilities are rotated among team members on a sprint on sprint basis. Part time Scrum Master: As the name suggests, this level sees a team member take on the additional responsibility of being a Scrum Master, along with carrying out other responsibilities in the same team. Full time dedicated Scrum Master: A team which has newly transitioned into Scrum and is still learning the ropes of Agile will benefit from having a full time dedicated Scrum Master. Full time Scrum Master for multiple teams: This requires a Scrum Master to be involved with multiple teams, full time. Agile Coach: Becoming an Agile Coach can be considered to be the highest skill level in the Scrum Master journey. An agile coach’s job can be to work with multiple teams and guide them on Scrum matters.Top Qualities of a Successful Scrum Master Does the adage “Leaders are born, not made”, hold true for Scrum? While it is true that leadership qualities are inborn, and certain individuals will make better Scrum Masters, it is also a role where one makes mistakes and learns.Qualities such as communication, taking responsibility, neutrality, multitasking and servant leadership are in-born. If you are not born with these, then it is essential that you cultivate them to be a successful Scrum Master.Other essential skills that you will need to develop for this role include: Systems Thinking: Having an understanding of how systems work, relate and perform is a key skill to have as a Scrum Master. This will help you look ahead and plan for contingencies. Change Manager: Your ability to bring about change; in processes and in the mind-set of your team and organization is a true gauge of your effectiveness as a Scrum Master. Trouble-shooter: Your main responsibility towards your team is to be the problem-solver. They will come to you with their problems and you need to ensure that all impediments are solved so that the team can focus on development. A Scrum coach: As a Scrum Master, you also have to ensure that Scrum practices are followed and Agile end-results are realised. Coaching and guiding the team and the organization in all matters Scrum will be your forte as a super successful Scrum Master.Conclusion A recent study Pulse of the Profession® Report published by the Project Management Institute revealed that an astounding 71% organizations have adopted Agile practices to drive their projects. Agile adoption is no longer an option but an imperative, and the recent pandemic has forced organizations to fast-track their transformation journeys. This compounds their need for Scrum Master certified professionals who can coach, lead and motivate teams in the use of Scrum and help reach business goals. This is the perfect opportunity for professionals to expand their Scrum portfolio and reap the benefits of a successful Scrum career. Looking to get CSM certified? Check our schedules and sign up for a class!
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What is a Scrum Master? There are many names for a Scrum Master. Servant leader, facilitator, motivator, change agent, leader, iteration manager. So, which of these ...Continue reading
Scrum Master Vs Project Manager: How Are They Different?
By Susan MayThis is an age-old question that plagues every professional with a “Scrum Master” title. “Am I a Scrum Master or a Project Manager?” or “Will my responsibilities change, now that I am a Scrum Master?” While in many organizations that are still in the process of Agile adoption, these two roles might seem to be mutually inclusive, the truth is, they are as different as apples and oranges. Who is a Scrum Master? The role of a Scrum Master has become among the most critical roles for organizations that are on the path to Agile adoption. A Scrum Master is a servant leader, motivator, agile coach, facilitator, problem-solver, thinker and mentor all rolled into one, whose primary responsibility is to serve the team, product owner and stakeholders.Scrum Master vs Project Manager Here are some key differences between the responsibilities of a Scrum Master and a Project Manager. A Scrum Master: Drives results the Scrum way Improves teams, helps them self-organize Uses a bottom-up, decentralized approach to software development Focuses on innovation Breaks down tasks, focuses on iterations Resolves barriers and controls the Scrum processes Facilitates the Scrum ceremonies Uses Scrum tools to makes sure the project is on track Executes the Product Backlog as per the Product Owner prioritization Solves team conflicts with good communication skills Motivates the team Coaches the team and eventually the organization towards Scrum practices and adoption ….while a Project Manager: Focuses on project completion, on time and within budget Is the authority on the project Follows the traditional command and control, top-down approach Focuses on product development rather than people and processes Sticks to the project plan Works with upper management to ensure a scope and direction of a project. These responsibilities highlight the fact that a Scrum Master is essentially a facilitation role, while a Project Manager is more of a management position. Project Manager vs Scrum Master vs Product OwnerWhile the project manager and scrum master are distinctly different, project managers still exist in Agile development teams. Research suggests that this not only hampers the progress of the agile project but also the overall Agile transformation. Experts suggest that project managers can drive better results being product owners, as the scope of these two roles are more aligned.What is Scrum Project Management?In simple words, it is project management the Scrum way! A part of Agile project management, Scrum project management endorses an iterative and incremental approach to software development. Sprint is the keyword in Scrum Project Management and focuses on frequent delivery of working software. Scrum Project Management involves 3 roles: Product Owner Scrum Master Development team Correctly done, Scrum Project Management can help the organization achieve quality end results and deliver business value while using few artefacts.Scrum Master Roles and Responsibilities The Scrum Master plays a key role in Scrum Project Management. Armed with a Scrum Master certification, a professional can perform the role of: Delivery Lead Agile Scrum Master Program Manager Project Manager Agile Coach Automation Engineer Project Lead A Scrum Master’s responsibilities include: Clearing obstacles that may stop the work of the development team Facilitating adoption of Scrum processes Sprint planning and review Working on product backlog prioritization Working on story point estimation Coaching the team on Scrum and Agile practices Facilitating communication Ensuring delivery of quality products Liaising with Product Owner and StakeholdersWhat is the role of the Project Manager? The project manager’s role is all encompassing; it extends over the entire scope of the project, right from successful initiation, planning and design to closure. The Project Manager plans, organizes, and directs the completion of defined projects for an organization, and makes sure that the work is completed on time, within the allocated budget, and in line with the scope.Responsibilities of a Project Manager These include: Planning, organizing, completing a project Financial reporting Developing project charter Resource management Risk Management Change Management Scheduling Time and Budget management Controlling quality Documentation Tracking performance indicators Vendor management Scrum Master & Project Manager: Are they similar? There are certain areas where both the Scrum Master and the Project Manager must excel. Both should be good communicators, effective leaders, and systematic when it comes to balancing work and activities. Scrum Master & Project Manager: What are the differences? The differences between the roles becomes apparent in the style of functioning of the two. While a Scrum Master is more of a facilitator, a Project Manager can have an autocratic style of functioning. The Scrum Master facilitates the development process while the project manager owns it. The adoption of Scrum processes is the main responsibility of a Scrum Master’s role while a Project Manager focuses more on getting things done. A project manager’s role has a very broad scope. As opposed to that, a Scrum Master’s role is more focused on being a servant leader and helping people understand Scrum.Scrum master vs Project Manager Salary. Who earns more? Both roles are equally rewarding, especially for professionals who are certified. A certified Scrum Master can earn a salary of up to $118,353 a year while a Project Management Professional can earn up to $111,000 on an average. Conclusion Both the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles are indispensable in their own scope. What individuals, teams and organizations need to realise is that the roles are not interchangeable. While there may be some overlap between the skills of these two roles, they are accountable for different goals and need to remain separate for the benefit of the team, and the long-term progress of the organization.
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This is an age-old question that plagues every professional with a “Scrum Master” title. “Am I a Scrum Master or a Project Manager?” or “Wil...Continue reading
Why Do Organizations Adopt Agile?
By Susan MayWhat’s the secret mantra for organizational success in today’s age? An ability to cope with the disruptive market conditions and ever-increasing competition. For most organizations, this means a complete transformation from old processes and tools to new age frameworks and methodologies that help bring the focus back to developing better products, ensuring shorter time to market, satisfied customers and a happier workforce that eventually leads to better ROI and hence survival in tough markets. And the one ideology that provides these solutions---Agile! What is Agile? In this age of digital transformation, where things need to be done at lightning speed in order to succeed, organizations want teams that are high performing and predictable, churning out products that meet customer expectations and timelines. Agile is an embodiment of this speed, enabling high performance to frequently release working software to production.There are many words to describe Agile—framework, process, concept. But more than anything, Agile is a philosophy, a culture change that follows the iterative and incremental approach to development and ensures better adaptability, better value and more satisfied customers. The creators of the Agile Manifesto—the bible of Agile, came up with the twelve principles that would revolutionize software development. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout the project. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation. Working software is the primary measure of progress. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility. Simplicity–the art of maximizing the amount of work not done–is essential. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behaviour accordingly. Top Reasons Why Organizations Are Adopting Agile Increased Efficiency: Why do organizations adopt agile? To overrun old processes that choke efficiency is one of the primary reasons. Breaking down work into chunks helps improve focus and subsequently, efficiency. Efficiency is also improved by eliminating unnecessary processes and boosting productivity.Shorter Time-To-Market: Since Agile encourages testing in parallel, bugs are identified early on, giving developers a chance to fix issues almost instantly rather than waiting till the end. The Agile methodology is based on faster time to market and when implemented correctly, that is exactly what teams get: a product that has been built on superior quality standards by a distributed team. Improved Quality: Why do companies use agile? Because at the end of it all, what defines a company is the product it creates and the value it generates. Agile helps enhance the quality of the product simply because it does not allow any compromises on the quality.The team is expected to deliver a high quality and potentially releasable product within the time frame. The agile methods of cross functional teams, continuous improvement, pair programming, and test-driven development ensure this. Happier Customers:Agile customers are happy campers because they are taken along in the journey. Agile development emphasizes on complete transparency between the team and the stakeholders. The product developed is rooted and refined as per the needs and expectations of the customer.In fact, development progresses as requirements evolve through collaboration. Along with this, fast response times to customer needs and queries, greater flexibility and potentially shippable products of high quality ensure happy customers.At the heart of agile development is testing and this ensures continuous improvement and superior quality product.Faster ROI: Time is money, and no other product framework understands this better than Agile. Leaner teams, faster development and faster shipping of working products ensures faster return on investment.Agile reduces cost while ensuring constant or increased returns. Agile practices such as XP and Scrum have been known to be low cost practices that ensure high rate of returns. Satisfied Employees: Satisfied employees work better and this increase value generation and bottom line margins.Employees are equal contributors in the process of Product development in the Agile process. This increases their sense of ownership and accountability, leading to a greater sense of accomplishment. Agile also encourages employees to be empowered, rather than being order takers, leading to greater satisfaction. This coupled with the fact that Agile encourages constant iteration and faster guest feedback, means that employees can see their work being deployed in production, at regular frequency, leading to a greater sense of accomplishment. Quotes on sayings by top industry leaders Almost three-quarters (71%) of organizations report using Agile approaches sometimes, often, or always--Project Management Institute “…the agile movement in software is part of a larger movement towards more humane and dynamic workplaces in the 21st century.” Rowan Bunning (Australia’s first Scrum Master)Agile is an attitude, not a technique with boundaries. An attitude has no boundaries, so we wouldn't ask 'can I use agile here', but rather 'how would I act in the agile way here?' or 'how agile can we be, here?' - Alistair Cockburn Agility is the ability to adapt and respond to change … agile organizations view change as an opportunity, not a threat-- Jim Highsmith “Agile Manifesto.” It declared the following values: people over processes; products that actually work over documenting what that product is supposed to do; collaborating with customers over negotiating with them; and responding to change over following a plan. Scrum is the framework I built to put those values into practice. There is no methodology.” ― Jeff Sutherland, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time Is Agile feasible for you? Agile is no longer a methodology just employed by start-ups and small enterprises. It has now hit mainstream and is becoming the methodology of choice for implementing complex projects in large organizations. But how would you know if Agile is the right fit for your organization? If your answer is ‘yes’ for the following questions, then you are at the right stage to go in for Agile adoption. The top management in your organization has accepted the idea of Agile adoption. Your teams are co-located and are enthusiastic about working closely with each other to ensure project success. Your customers and suppliers are ready to get their products developed the Agile way. Your entire organization is ready to change the existing culture and adopt an agile mind-set. You are trying to become a product oriented organization.How to make a successful Agile journey?An organization cannot become truly agile by just following agile processes and tools. What is needed to become truly agile is a change in the mind-set. An agile mind-set will lead the way in identifying the right mechanisms to get there; rather than the other way around. The core of Agile starts from people. Agile is all about getting people to behave and think differently. And to bring about this transformation we need coaches who understand what it takes to help overcome the barriers to truly adopting agile. Coaching and mentoring play important roles in helping organizations make this transition. Here are some key points that will help streamline the agile transformation journey and help avoid failures: Get top management buy-in Go slow with scaling Get the best talent to guide the transformation Help your employees assimilate an Agile mindset Final Thoughts: The adoption of Agile has increased as more and more companies realise the potential of what good customer experience can do for their business. What are the top two reasons for adopting agile in an organization? While there are much more than just two, the primary reasons for agile adoption are most definitely cost reduction and faster ROI, both of which are much needed to survive in these tough times.
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What Is Scrum Master's Role in Agile
By Susan MayThe three foundations on which Scrum stands are empiricism, self-organization and continuous improvement. These foundations ensure that Scrum adheres to the principles and values of Agile.In fact, according to the Scrum Alliance, Scrum is the most popular Agile methodology, helping teams and organizations reap huge benefits while keeping customers happy. The success of Scrum depends largely on the people who make up the team and perform the Agile Scrum roles.This blog is an attempt to help you understand about the different Scrum roles and how each role works towards enabling a high-performance team and a successful project.What are the three Scrum roles?Scrum has three roles: Scrum Master Product Owner Development team The Scrum Body of Knowledge Guide (SBOK Guide) defines these specific roles and their responsibilities for successful implementation of Scrum framework and delivery of projects. Scrum Team Roles and Responsibilities The three roles of Scrum work only when there is a high degree of cohesion between them. The Scrum Master role in sprint planning is to liaise with the Product Owner and maximise productivity by motivating and guiding the development team. The Product Owner on the other hand ensures that the development team is clear about what needs to be built and the approach to be taken during development. The development team relies on both the Scrum Master and the Product Owner to guide them in implanting agility while they innovate, create and ensure a superior output.The Scrum master introductionSo, what is a Scrum Master responsible for? A Scrum Master wears many hats. Being a servant leader, facilitator, coach, motivator and more comes under the purview of a Scrum Master’s roles and responsibilities. The Scrum Master's roles and responsibilities The top responsibilities of a Scrum Master include: Encouraging self-organization in a team by being a facilitator and servant leader Helping the team focus on work by ensuring there are no impediments that halt the progress of the project Ensuring that Scrum practices are followed Protecting the team from internal and external distractions Being the go-between the Product Owner and the team and external stakeholders Setting up an environment where the team can perform more effectively Managing the Scrum process in coordination with the Scrum team Conducting retrospective meetings and address team progress Planning Scrum implementations within the organization Senior Scrum Master responsibilities include coaching and leading agile transformations in the organization. The Product Owner introductionOften described as the captain of the ship, a Product Owner represents the business side of the project. Make no mistake…the product owner is not the customer, rather the representative of the customer. A huge part of the Product Owner’s role is to ensure that maximum value is delivered and the customer is happy with the product. Product Owner roles are much sought after and a professional with the right expertise and qualification can be guaranteed of a great career trajectory.The Product Owner roles and responsibilities Besides creating the product roadmap, and defining the vision and goals of the product, the role of Product Owner also includes: Effectively managing the product backlog Helping the team understand what the customer wants Steering the team towards maximum productivity Working with the Scrum Master on the product backlog Ensuring that agility is practiced Facilitating scrum events The Development Team introduction As the name suggests, the development team develops the product as envisioned by the Product Owner. Development teams are usually mid-sized and enjoy a high degree of self-organization, cross functionality and communication between team members.The Development Team roles and responsibilities Be involved in the complete lifecycle of the product from planning, analysis, and design, to programming and testing Build and test the product Deliver a potentially shippable product at the end of each sprint Give cognizance to customer requirements Work with Product Owner to prioritise backlog Scrum roles vs job titles This is something that has plagued Scrum organizations for years. Because organizations have job titles and Scrum has roles, there is always a confusion of how to map titles to roles.For example, you may have project managers, lead architects and testers. How do you map these titles to the three Scrum roles of Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team?The trick that most organizations use for a successful Scrum transition is to map people and not titles to Scrum roles. You know all the responsibilities that a Product Owner carries out in the Scrum team. The best way to fill this role in your Scrum team is to find that one resource who checks all the boxes that an ideal Product Owner should have.While filling roles using this approach rather than just mapping titles may take longer, in the long run it leads to a smoother transition and more motivated employees.ConclusionScrum is fast becoming the de facto agile standard for product development. While it was earlier prominent in software development, it has been implemented with success in the medical, manufacturing, analytics and many other fields and sectors.However, the success of Scrum lies with the team and it is the team’s prerogative that it follows the principles of Scrum and reaps its benefits by tailoring it to suit the needs of the organization. In order to be a successful Scrum resource, it is important to understand the concepts, principles and practices of Scrum and Agile.Becoming truly Agile is the first step towards ensuring a successful career in a Scrum team.
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Top Agile Trends to Watch out for in the next Decade
By Susan MaySince the past decade or so, Agile has completely dominated the product development landscape. From allowing faster development of products to enhancing quality and keeping customers and employees happy, Agile benefits have been realised by companies across sectors.But with the pandemic close to decimating economies and companies having to grapple with uncertain market conditions, will Agile still continue to influence software development? What are the agile trends 2021 and more specifically trends in agile project management? In this article, we attempt to look at some agile adoption statistics and forecast agile trends and future directions. Benefits of agile developmentHelps produce superior output Ensures customer engagement throughout the product development lifecycle Offers quick responses to customer demands Helps in customer satisfaction Gives better control of projects Improves project predictability and outcomes Increases flexibility and lowers risks Aids in continuous improvement Raises team morale and motivationTop 8 Trends in Agile 1. Value Stream Management will not go out of style:Optimizing your value streams to reduce costs and maximise productivity will be all the more important in the next decade. The principles of VSM that work from ideation to production help streamline processes at every stage. Organizations have to reduce waste by identifying value adding processes and eliminating wasteful processes, improving time to market, enhancing product quality and meeting business outcomes. The future is all about minimizing cost and maximising productivity. Agile methodology trends like Scrum and Lean help in value stream management. 2. DevOps, DevOps, DevOps:As the age of digital transformation dawns, things will need to be done at lightning speed to ensure success. The one who gets out the product first to the consumer is the winner.Organizations want teams that are high performing and predictable, churning out products that meet customer expectations and timelines. While Agile helps bring out this speed, it is DevOps which is the perfect backbone to enable this Agile transformation and frequently release working software to production. 3. Focus on Scaling Agility:Agility works great with small teams but in order to deliver complex projects that involve multiple teams, organizations must be able to scale Agile. Scaling agile ensures that application delivery is faster, communication is seamless, overlapping issues are resolved, and a greater governance is brought in to help teams work together to deliver large projects. Formal structures like the Scaled Agile Framework help organizations in scaling Agile practices and helping them remain relevant in the market. 4. Helping employees’ transition with trainings: That Agile has to be learnt is well known. But how do you teach your large workforce to think and act Agile? How do you get them to follow the values and principles that will help them develop the Agile mind-set? The key to this is the right training tools. Since agile is not a ‘one size fits all’, training your employees will help them understand the processes to follow and learn how to tailor it to suit the needs of your organization. Teams have to learn how to self-organize, follow processes and unlearn the traditional ways of working to avoid agile confusion and reap its benefits. So, if you want to succeed as an Agile organization in the next decade, then training your staff would be a good starting point. 5. Making distributed teams work: The ability of organizations to swing this was really tested during the pandemic. While Agile has always been a methodology for co-located teams, remote working is the norm rather than the exception now. And organizations must be able to make teams that are distributed geographically, to work and be productive. 6. Blended Agile development:You cannot achieve agile overnight. It takes time to do it right and hurrying will lead to an agile mish mash which will end up causing your team or organization more loss than gain. You may have started on the right path to agile but often there are obstacles that cannot be avoided. Many organizations, therefore, adopt a hybrid methodology, which blends agile and a traditional methodology such as waterfall. This will help you understand the processes to be adopted without stopping work or productivity. 7. Focus on the customer and faster product delivery:The adage that the ‘customer is king’, will never go out of style. The next decade will be all about ensuring continuous customer satisfaction. How does one that? By focusing on business needs and ensuring that plans go into production fast and there is a finished product that matches customer expectations. There should be an awareness of market trends and a provision to incorporate new ideas and feedback into products to meet customer demands. Fast product delivery that does not compromise on quality or cost will be key to ensure customer satisfaction in the next decade. 8. Culture barrier:Agile culture transformation is a major barrier to agile adoption. Often, a lack of leadership support is a driving factor for agile transformation failure. Agile transformation is not just about implementing frameworks. There also has to be a high degree of employee and management level involvement and knowledge of processes and values to enable this shift. Agile culture adoption is a major factor that will make an organization’s transformation journey smoother with a higher chance of success.How do these trends impact the organizations?Adopting these trends will help organizations: embed security make reliable products bring efficiency in production respond quickly to market changes ensure continuous improvement leading to better customer satisfaction faster product deliveryConclusionThe COVID-19 pandemic was a watershed moment for most organizations. Those that were sitting on the fence about whether or not to adopt agile were pushed into adopting it fast in order to survive in the market. Agile focuses on short iterations and fast response times. These features will define organizations of the future and help them cope with changing customer requirements.
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Since the past decade or so, Agile has completely dominated the product development landscape. From allowing faster development of products to enhancing quality and keeping customers and emp...Continue reading