Learn the ITIL Ways To Accelerate Digital Transformation In Your Organization
By KnowledgeHut Editor
Digital transformation is omnipresent, and every organization is gearing up for a change. Today the relationship between the physical and virtual world is confined and blurred, so every business needs to go digital. An effectual digital business transformation can leverage technology used in an enterprise and improve the user experience.
While transforming traditional ways to digital, many of the organizations recognized that ITIL service management (ITSM) always implements the change programmes. This change plays a fundamental role in the IT world. ITIL is not only a facilitator but also a business in itself as it is leaping up in every industry. Expanding a digital business is not only a one-time investment but also it needs the continuous involvement of digitization and revolution of the business processes and the software which are used to implement the business.
The top organizations are recently encouraging their employees to opt for the popular ITIL certification programs in order to be a part of the globewide digital transformation.
This marks a transition from traditional business ways to digital approaches without having any company assets. Things like technology, processes and intellectual property are the more important facets of the digitized business if the systems are reliable, responsive, and fast.
Many organizations have moved towards implementing the methodologies like DevOps, Agile and Scrum and this is the first step to go digital. But simply executing these methodologies and frameworks needs a complete guidance on the terminologies about how to integrate with all the processes involved in the company’s working environment. ITIL might not be a solution for everything, still, your organization needs to hook up with ITIL services and processes, as it provides a proper process framework.
To fully understand the role of ITIL in an organization-level digitization, you first need to know the main reasons why ITIL is popular.
How can ITIL help transform businesses to digital?
Here are the 5 ways you can use to accelerate digital transformation using ITIL in your organizations. Businesses should adopt these approaches while sourcing their IT services.
1. Contextualised ITSM:
This framework in ITIL was launched especially to meet the requirements of an individual business and user context. The ITIL technical management system can configure resources automatically so that the employees can get a special access to use standard user levels. Contextualised ITSM modifies different roles and operations to form the contextual framework for the individual business, as a result, businesses can pick the best way to automate their operations to be more efficient.
2.Infrastructure Service Management:
ITSM framework provides the infrastructure of the technology distributors that allows for the planning of the organizational IT services. The Infrastructure service management helps to not only carry out the discussions between the service providers but also coordinate among the organizational data governance activities. The conversation improves the bond between the suppliers, service desk, user services, applications and the consultants. This helps in better service orchestration as the fundamental principles of ITIL are the universally accepted principles that encompass the entire organizational operations.
3. Integrated Performance Management:
Integrated performance management leverages companies to measure how the suppliers are compliant with each service request. This gives you an in-depth business-aligned performance metrics. If a business is failing to process a bill, you can check the entire internal and external business processes and act accordingly.
4. User Experience Engineering:
User experience engineering is a new concept which addresses the gap between the employees and the customers about the system access (such as Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in the larger organizations. Companies expose the customers to their internal systems. So even a delay of 3 seconds can affect the customer service. User experience engineering leverages the smoothly running internal system processes, improving user experience.
5. Business Value Articulation:
ITIL provides the business value articulation to understand the business and financial value of the system which has to be implemented. Also, it gives the clarity to the ITSM practitioners on the service provider based on whether it is external or in-house service.
Several organizations are currently dismissing ITIL as an operations-only framework and are missing out on the opportunities to digitize themselves.
Transforming your old organization into a digitized equivalent can be a complex process. But the ITIL framework will help your organization to transit from expired services to the highly sophisticated IT services. The framework is flexible and more adaptable in nature which can help you follow a digital maturity roadmap.
Scrum provides an iterative framework that helps achieve the project goals in an appropriate manner. Today, Scrum is not just alive as the ongoing workshops and seminars. It is known as the bread and butter of businesses, and there exists Scrum Master who designs Scrum framework for the organizations. Since it is related to an employment, many questions have started coming up on Scrum. One of the questions that most of the people are asking is the difference between the various levels of the Scrum Master Certification.
Let’s move a little back to understand the meaning of the certification. Certification is all about the trust and proficiency. Before proceeding, it is very important to get the true reason for the certification, in order to attain proper options.
“Top-down doesn’t cut it anymore. As our world continues to change, Agile business structure will not only become invaluable but non negotiable. Agile and Scrum present a significant opportunity across industries and roles for companies to work better and create joyful, efficient, and productive workplaces. The 2016 State of Scrum report shows that successful businesses of all types use Scrum.” -Scrum Alliance interim CEO Lisa W. Hershman
Points of Differentiation:
How does any organization figure out the competency level of an employee in a particular domain? The best way is to arrange an assessment program, where an employee can exhibit his knowledge and this is equivalent to many certification programs. Let us compare and contrast the various Scrum certifications like Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Professional Scrum Master (PSM) and Professional Scrum Developer (PSD). This will help you choose the right certification that fits your requirements.
1) What are CSM, PSM, and PSD?
Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is a foundation-level certification that guides the team members on how to use the Scrum principles to achieve a project goal.
Professional Scrum Master (PSM) demonstrates the teams on the Scrum principles to apply it in real-world situations.
Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) details the Scrum principles to build a software successfully.
2) How to get certified?
CSM is a degree program where you have to enrol your name with the institute and attend the classes for two-days (16 hours) and the assignments. In the end, you have to clear the CSM test with a passing score of 24 out of 35 questions in two attempts.
PSM and PSD are entirely different from CSM. These certifications do not require you to attend the classes. You just need to pass the exam with the passing marks of 68 out of 80 questions in 1 hour. It requires additionally paid attempts on failure.
3)What are the different levels of certification?
CSM requires only one level of certification, known as CSM level 1.
PSM consists of the 3 levels of assessment- PSM I, PSM II and PSM III.
PSD entails only one level of certification- PSD I.
4) What is the Exam Format?
The exam format of CSM is quite easy. The test consists of 35 MCQs followed by 2 attempts and the time limit is 90 days.
On the other hand, PSM and PSD certification programs consist of 80 MCQs in a 60-minutes time limit.
If you are looking to build your career as a Professional Scrum Master, you need to learn a few quick hacks to clear the PSM certification exam.
5) How much does it cost?
The Certified Scrum Master Certification costs around $1,000 - $1,300, whereas Professional Scrum Master training costs around $1,000 - $1,300 and the training cost for Professional Scrum Developer is $200 per attempt.
6) What is the certificate renewal duration?
You need to renew your CSM certificate after every two years. For each renewal, you have to pay $250.
On the other hand, talking about the PSM and PSD credential renewal, they have come up with a lifetime validity. Once achieved, these will stay throughout your life.
7) How much is the salary after certification?
Certified Scrum Master
Professional Scrum Master
$53,998 to $1,15,048
Professional Scrum Developer
8) Who are eligible for the certification?
The CSM training and certification is ideal for:
The PSM training course is beneficial for:
People with the knowledge of Scrum practices
Scrum team members
The PSD certification course can be taken by the:
Developers working on JAVA platforms
9) What are benefits of the certification?
Can easily participate in team activities
Can resolve conflicts and tackle challenges
Can build complex software
Creates work environment towards growth
Can lead a team
Can implement Scrum to develop products
Enhanced team performance
Implement Scrum principles in projects
10) Are there any prerequisites for the certification?
To achieve CSM certification, people simply need to have knowledge of Scrum. PSM certification requires 4-5 years of experience as a Scrum Master and for Professional Scrum Developer (PSD) you need to have knowledge of programming.
All the 3 certifications are highly compatible, with their own unique benefits. The PSM course can be more appealing than CSM. But as far as the originality and the history of the CSM program are concerned, it can compete with PSM. However, the features like no renewal, content reliability and the average salary of PSM and PSD, make both of them stand out from the crowd.
PMP or Prince 2 – The Management Certification Suitable For You
By Abhinav Gupta
If you have arrived at this blog and are actually inclined to read it then it is a clear sign that you know what PMP and Prince 2 actually means. And no, it does not refer to the new version of the popular video Game of your college days [Prince]; it is actually the name of the project management certification that has huge followers and fans across the world.
And that’s where the trouble starts.
For its competitor too, boasts of a huge fan following of its own. The PMP certification, I am talking about.
Almost all project management professionals, at least once in their career are in a dilemma about which certification to choose from PMP, Prince2 or ITIL.
I, too, was faced with this confusion and finally, I was able to make an informed decision, thanks to the guidance of my experienced mentors and friends. A few days ago, one of my audience at a seminar asked me which certification to choose between PMP and Prince 2 and it reminded me of my days.
This caused me to think why not write a blog for general audience and in turn, maybe it will help some of you. So I hope my little attempt serves its purpose. Please do let me know likewise or otherwise by leaving comments below this blog.
Brief summary about PMP – So that you know what we are dealing with:
PMP is a trademark certification issued by PMI org and is a world-renowned project management certification that can be practised across domains, industries, and geographies.
PMP stands for Project Management Professional and PMI stands for Project Management Institute
PMP is governed by a framework known as PMBoK [Project Management Book Of Knowledge]
This PMBoK is like a holy grail for PMI members and PMP certified members
It gives tools and techniques for different situations and phases of project and it gives freedom to the project manager to decide which one to use in a particular situation depending upon the circumstances, history and future aspects
PMP places onus on Integrity, Professionalism, Ethics, Communication, and transparency.
PMI guides the project manager on the kind of role he/she should play in the success of projects and this lays down multiple guidance for them to be followed in spirit; the actual implementation may not be a textbook version.
Brief Summary about Prince 2 – So that you know what we are comparing against:
Prince2 stands for “Projects in Controlled Environment” version2
It also can be utilized for any type of project in the world
It clearly lays out the roles and responsibilities of the team members in the project members
The project is clearly divided into smaller manageable groups and has well laid out processes to be followed by the project manager
It has 3 levels of certification: Foundation, Practitioner, and Professional
Practical, to-do format, clear-cut items to be assigned, tracked and delivered are laid out in this AXELOS owned world famous certification.
Hence, the name “Projects In Controlled Environment” ☺
As you must have sensed by now, PMP and Prince2 differ from each other in the following ways:
PMP deals with a broad-level generic framework that believes in empowering you with the best-in-class tools and techniques but leaves the implementation and decision making to you as per your thought process
Prince2 restricts your ability to change things because each and every process is clearly laid out with specific roles for team members and hence, well-defined project success
PMP believes that project manager is an enabler whereas Prince2 visualizes project manager as an enforcer.
PMP needs to be renewed every 3 years through contribution to the field of project management by sharing your knowledge and learning on your own; whereas Prince2 relies on making you appear for examination every 3-5 years.
The terminologies used by each of the certification is different but I think you knew this would happen ☺
Which certification is suitable for you – PMP or Prince 2?
We are clear by now, that both certifications are good, both of them are world renowned and both of them can lead to Project success. So which one should you go for? That was the initial question, isn’t it?
Well, the answer is very simple and it is not related to the technical superiority of the course material for either of them. It is dependent on facts like:
Where you live and work
Where your clients are situated
The kind of work routine that suits you
Yes, strange! But it’s true. It has to come to that. Can you believe that? I couldn’t either when I first got to know about these but it turned out to be true.
See, the thing is:
Prince2 is followed fervently and much respected in Europe, UK and Australia
PMP is adhered to and recommended for certain geographical regions such as North America, South America
The remaining world such as Asia and Africa is neutral to both certifications and that leads to the next question: Where are your clients situated?
And hence, your home address and your client location determine the certification you should go for.
Some often asked questions across different forums:
1) Should I do both the certifications: PMP and Prince?
If you can afford them then why not! They are expensive. Around 600-700 USD for PMP and around 400USD for Prince2 [exact price may vary across countries]. So if your pocket allows, then it will be a good thing to have. Is it really necessary? No. I am PMP certified and I have delivered projects to clients across globe and it has not hurt me.
2) Will my pay package increase with these certifications? If yes, which one gives better yields?
Yes, your package will go up substantially after getting certified because it signifies that you have spent effort in getting familiar with the best-in-class frameworks and techniques. So big clients and companies can rely on you. The positive increase is almost similar for you.
3) Which certification is better for Infrastructure projects? Are they specific to IT or software projects only?
No, they are not specific to IT or software projects.
Yes, they can be used for Infrastructure, manufacturing or service-based projects. Because both the certifications allow you to learn the best techniques to deliver a project. The only difference is in the way they approach success.
While PMP believes that you can do well as long as you know the right way of doing things, Prince2 believes in making sure that you follow the right path.
4) Is there any gender-specific preference in the certifications for PMP or Prince2?
5) If I have clients in the Middle East and Asia, which one should I choose because you just now mentioned that these regions are neutral in terms of preference for project management certifications.
Going by historical data, Arab world has better connect with Europe and in recent times, some countries have developed good business relationships with America. So depending on the client and your profile, you can choose either of them.
However, if you are looking for a safer option and a long-term career in the Middle East, then I recommend that you take both certifications- PMP and Prince 2.
I hope this post was useful to you. By the way, do not forget that KnowledgeHut is a certified recognized provider of training for both the certifications: PMP and Prince2 with a very high success rate.
All the best! ☺
“Guiding Principles” are the set of values and propositions that form the foundation of any principle, theory, framework or business.
They outline those principles that were responsible for a particular framework or business to come into being because the creator(s) wanted to make sure these principles were being implemented and kept in mind by the followers, practitioners or future leaders.
Guiding principles exist and are necessary for every great and useful idea that ever existed.
In this post, I want to share with you the guiding principles that were the source of creation for Scrum and Agile.
While the guiding principles for them were issued by two different groups trying to solve two different problems that existed in the engineering world, their thoughts converged at the same point. And that is where I intend to pick up the thread from.
So that, you as a reader get to know what exactly Scrum alliance and Agile Manifesto team wanted us [The engineers, managers, product owners etc.] to follow from its soul even though our implementation in execution might differ from project to project.
With this thought in mind, I present to you the Guiding Principles of Scrum and Agile.
Guiding Principles of Scrum:
1) Courage: Surprised? I can understand if you are. You might have expected something more technical as a guiding principle and here it sounds like some armed forces training manual!
Here there is no twist in the definition of “Courage”. It remains same as the one outlined in Oxford dictionary.
Courage is the willingness to take on a difficult seemingly impossible challenge and commit to oneself about its completion towards success.
As a Scrum team, taking on a journey to deliver a product or solution has the fearlessness to take on something that has not been solved yet needs “courage”.
2) Focus: The Scrum team has to remain focused on the end goal they have set out to achieve. Never during their journey are they supposed to waver from that goal.
No amount of technical discussions, blockers, challenges etc. will be able to deviate the Scrum team from its goal.
3) Commitment: Scrum teams promise to deliver and adhere to the goal they have set out to achieve. No matter what the challenge or technical blockers that might come; the team will ensure they deliver what they have promised.
The team will always make sure that they deliver what they have promised. This where Courage, Focus, and commitment converge.
The team will be brave enough to promise to deliver what has not been attempted so far and will be unwavering in its approach to deliver what has been promised.
4) Respect: Mutual respect is a very important pillar of any team and no great thing was ever achieved until the team members had mutual respect for each other.
Since Scrum team has already set out to achieve the unimaginable, mutual respect gains all the more importance in the given scenario. How can a team achieve something great if team members do not get along well and trust each other to deliver their assigned tasks to the best of their abilities?
Hence, mutual respect for each other’s capabilities, expertise and shortcomings is an essential part of the Scrum team.
5) Openness:Ask yourself, what is the importance of free, fair and open communication between the team members of a team that wants to achieve the unthinkable with complete focus on delivering the commitment and that too without any official or full-time leader to guide them?
You would have gotten the answer yourself by now! ☺
So this is what Scrum alliance had in mind when they created the idea of Scrum teams for the first time.
Now, let us review the Agile Manifesto and then let’s tie them together into a meaningful picture for us to guide us throughout our project execution.
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The Agile Manifesto in my own words
The Agile team will always ensure and strive to satisfy its customers [whether internal or external] through early and continuous delivery of valuable work i.e. every Sprint will deliver something of value to the customer.
Break big work down into smaller components and hence, Agile team will ensure success by conquering small and continuous pieces of puzzle.
An Agile team will recognize that the best work emerges if the team is self-organizing i.e. the team will proactively take responsibility and act to solve the problems and deliver value without any need for formal guidance at all times.
The product owners and sponsors will provide the motivated Agile team with all the requirements, environment and support as needed.
The product owners will not constantly interfere with the team’s functioning but will always trust them to get the job done.
The Agile team will create processes that will enable the team to work in the form of sustainable efforts.
Agile teams will ensure that they maintain a reasonable and constant velocity towards their end goals without putting extra pressure on resources. The reasonable velocity ensures sustainable growth and provides good amount of visibility to project owners for forecasting.
Agile team will never say no to changing requirements and will accommodate them even late in the game.
The Agile team and its business owners will meet together on daily basis for not more than a quick check of their progress towards the end goal by measuring the value delivered till last night. The meeting came to be known as Scrum meeting when Scrum became the most preferred way to implement Agile.
At regular intervals the team will meet to review the mistakes committed along the way and fix them so as to not repeat them again. This came to be knowns as Sprint retrospective.
The Agile team will be careful to not confuse velocity with Value and will measure the daily progress towards the committed goal with value generated till date.
The Agile team will continue to drive itself to improve towards excellence.
The Agile team will be open to the upcoming changes in business scenarios, technologies and evolving thought process for competitive advantage.
How these guiding principles should lead us to success
If we spend some time with ourselves and think about the guiding principles that we just now discussed then we see an evolving pattern here.
Any team that vows to become an Agile team aiming to deliver excellent products in an iterative fashion using Scrum as its execution tool should have their basic morals right in the place in form of commitment, focus, respect and openness to accept each other. That team should have willingness to improve, to learn from its mistakes, always keep its customer in the sight and knowing that it is the customer they are out to serve, so accepting changes is a part of their program. This is a team that also smartly understands the need to continuously deliver value on a regular basis but at the same time ensures and plans in a way to maintain harmonious balance between work and other aspects of life through reasonable sustainable velocity and supporting processes to help deliver.
With these words of interpretation, I hereby invite you to rethink your Agile execution in project and wish you all the best for a better life, better products and better relationships.
All the best!
As an organization begins its journey to a more nimble way of delivering quality products that customers love, it is important to know the underlying pinning of an agile mindset as a reminder of why you are starting this voyage and also how to use the principles as a litmus test against how well are you actually progressing towards a new way of working. Taking the 12 Principles from the Agile Manifesto is the simplest approach to conducting an assessment of your teamwork, collaboration and user-centered approach to product development.
To that end, I will be posting a different principle to use as a foundation of discussion to grow a community and challenge how products are delivered.
Principle #1: Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through the early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
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Innovations in technology and delivery platforms are rapidly improving and the expectations of customers are increasing and competitors are looking for an opening to disrupt any slow-moving behemoth that has not realized that slow and perfect will put you into early retirement. Speed, with a focus on value-added outcomes and quality are required to keep pace with marketplace and economic demands.
We have to look at ways to optimize our environment and capabilities to decrease lead times and increase customer satisfaction. There are standard practices that help meet these objectives and while it is important to understand and engage in foundational practices (TDD, DevOps, XP/Scrum, etc.), it is more critical to keep a keen eye on the principle and then adjust your practices as you mature and as the environment changes, as long as the principle remains intact.
There are four key points of this principle that I feel can be broken down to:
Our Highest Priority: Not “my” multiple priorities, not “your” lowest priority, “our highest priority”. It is a collective and agreed upon initiative that will move the needle for the business. This takes discipline and focus, which is hard, which is why it easier to put 50 projects in flight so people look busy, but are they productive? Are they moving the needle? Enterprise leaders must set the tone to prioritize the portfolio on a frequent cadence so that teams are executing on the most important strategic initiative and leadership is giving the team what they need to move as quickly as possible and not overburden the team with activities and administrative overhead that adds no value.
Satisfy the Customer: Rid yourself of the “I Think” mode in trying to identify customers’ needs and utilize something the Japanese refer to as “gemba” or “the real place” of where the problem exists. Usability practices fall into this realm in making sure what we deliver is actually meeting the needs and delivers real value that will solve a problem the customer was having and do it in the shortest cycle time possible to start the feedback loop. Getting out and talking with your customers and observing the real issues will give you a much better insight into what work needs to be prioritized to meet the minimal viable product in solving the problem. Until you get a product in customers hands it is all just assumptions, and only the customer can tell you if they are satisfied with what you delivered.
Early and continuous delivery: Learning fast is critical in experimentation and feedback gathering. Getting to a point where we can do multiple releases a day should be our target. Is it hard? Yes! However, if companies do this already, what is keeping you from doing it? One approach to achieving this is Preserving options through set-based design which will reduce variability by looking at more than one option that can meet the need and defer a final decision until enough data is gathered that will allow the right decision point to release. Another is the more familiar building incrementally to start the feedback cycle. Faster the cycle, faster is the learning and lower is the risk of delivering something that does not meet your customer’s needs.
Valuable Software: This really goes hand in hand with satisfying the customer, because if it is not adding value it is not going to satisfy your customer, and the only person that can decide the true value is the customer. Of course, the value can extend beyond your typical “customer” such as if we are delivering a module that will keep the company in compliance which will eliminate fines, adds value and the enterprise is the customer in this scenario. Value can be finicky based on the particular customer and timing as well and as such it can fade quickly which is why we have to deliver fast to capitalize on the value quickly as the image below illustrates:
What can we do to support this principle?
Decrease the time from Identity to Satisfy: When a customer identifies a problem to the time we can satisfy that request is the critical path in our world—the shorter the lead time the better the outcome (at least we hope so), at least the quicker we can learn. We can do this by leveraging micro-services, APIs and other lean processes, such as paper prototyping or interactive prototypes to help us deliver quicker and frequently to satisfy a customer’s needs and meeting them where they are in their customer journey. Inspecting every step of the customer journey to identifying potential waste is a job each of us must do daily. When we encounter a process or step in our cycle, we should ask ourselves the following questions:
Does this help make us more agile?
Does this help us learn quicker?
Does this help deliver more value?
Does this increase quality?
Who is it for?
Who Cares if it we remove it or leave it?
Build Small, Deploy Fast, Learn Quickly: There is generally always a discussion on “How Big Should a Feature Be” and from my perspective the answer is “The smallest amount of value to generate feedback”. Waiting too long because you think you need all the features before you can release, will delay the feedback cycle starting, which is how you will actually learn if what you are building is what will solve the customer’s problem.
What Doesn’t It Support The principle?
Overproduction (Extra Features): Building in too many features that don’t meet the minimal marketable feature definition will cause delays in getting to the marketplace. In every sprint you should be asking yourselves the following questions-
What problem are we trying to solve?
What is the smallest amount of functionality we can deploy at the end of the sprint and start a feedback cycle on?
What is the worst that will happen if we don’t put this feature in?
If we take time and effort to work on this, will this solve the customer problem?
If we take time and effort to work on this, what will the ROI be?
Remember the saying, 20% of features create 80% of the value.
Wait Time (Delays): Large tightly coupled features require long wait times for development, testing, and validation, which in turn increases defects and you run the risk of what you deliver no longer actually solving the problem. This also means our customers are waiting longer for their problem to be solved and that will cause them to look elsewhere.
To determine where your longest delays are, you should start measuring lead time, response time and cycle time and use your retrospective to determine areas and steps to reduce these delay points. Focus on increasing your throughput through smaller batches.
If you are dogmatic about your practices and “checkboxes”, that will always be your focus rather than solving the problem at hand. Don’t get me wrong, you should stand up for what you believe in but keep an open mind towards thinking about what you feel is right and will it actually solve a problem or will an experiment with a different practice be better served as long as the principle remains intact?
Let us know how you are supporting this principle today.
I have had the experience of implementing Agile from scratch in organizations that were using no development methodology at all. And I have also had the opportunity of guiding and supporting several companies in the improvement of their Agile adoption. In both cases, you need to know how deep the company wants to go, what level of adoption they expect and whether they understand the benefits of being Agile (yes, several companies just do it because it’s trendy, but trendy is not enough when it comes to organizational changes).
As a coach, when guiding organizations in their Agile journey you will have in your mind several ideas on what you have to do to be successful. You will revisit those ideas and find out which ones are the most appropriate for your client. There are different approaches you can use, but at a higher level, you will have to choose between the two: let the organization detect what is the best way to meet their objectives, or use your previous experience to tell them what steps they should follow to succeed.
No matter which approach you select, you may probably think that your ideas are considered brilliant. After all, who can say Agile is not good nowadays? You may also think that everybody believes that the change is going to be beneficial for them (if most organizations are using it, why would it be different in this case?). Your work will be really successful!
But guess what? Things may start to get complicated. The steps you chose may make no sense anymore. Agile adoption may no longer be an easy way to go. So, what’s happening? Why are you facing all these challenges and setbacks? Well, the answer is simple: people. People are the major roadblocks when implementing Agile. They offer resistance, even when they do not make it consciously.
The big question is… why?
Even when this may seem a bit exaggerated, many people are afraid. They think they may lose their jobs, may be exposed and at risk for not having had good ideas in the past or not having detected the improvements before.
Lack of understanding
It may happen that people will not understand the approach you are suggesting. They may not be clear on what to do and how to do it. Thus, they feel unsafe, they think they may ruin everything. And don’t forget that all this is really important for the organization (they may feel the pressure, don’t you think?)
“If everything works this way, why should I change?”. This is one of the most commonly heard excuses. But what that generally means is “All this is so new, I don’t know if I’ll be able to do it. Just thinking about it stresses me out!”.
Then, what can you do to help people commit to and collaborate with the change?
1) Show yourself as a peer - you’re not the enemy and they have to know that
Reserve some time to meet people so that they know you. Spend time building relationships, understanding the main concerns of the people involved in the transformation. Tell them why you’re there and what you want to achieve. Let them know that your job is to serve, not to command.
2) Define a clear vision and, most important, the reasoning behind it
If the team has no vision, then they have no north. The vision is the place where they will go every time they lose focus. No matter how busy you are, you must ensure that the whole team knows what the final goal is and why it is important. Most importantly, they need to know why they will benefit from this.
3) Let the team decide their own path
Have the team not only detect their areas of improvement, but also define the specific actions to improve. Doing so, people will feel reinforced, they will believe in their autonomy and they will feel owners of the change.
4) Assign owners, avoid being the “boss”
You will be tempted to do everything on your own. After all, you’re the most experienced person in this journey! This is a tremendous mistake. If you do so, people will see you as the “boss” and all the effort you made to win their trust and to build relationships will be sent to the trash. Instead, remember that people need to feel important, they need to feel that they are adding value and that their work matters. Assign them important tasks, make them feel appreciated and valuable.
5) Guide them in the process of change, since change hurts!
We’re not designed to adapt to change. Our brains are not prepared for that. But the world in which we’re living requires adaptability from us, everything evolves so fast! So, given that it is pretty normal that people feel uncomfortable with change you should be their guide and help them overcome difficulties and deal with their own limitations.
6) Give them wings to fly (and to learn to improve on their own)
You will not always be there for them. The best legacy of a good coach is a person or group of people that can continue your work. Use your time with the team to identify those that have the required skills to support the company and its improvement cycle once you’re gone. Be a personal coach for them as well. This way, you’re job will be complete, you will have guided the company in its initial Agile transformation and you will have left people prepared for future improvements.
Putting together the two words “Scrum Master” might seem unusual if you’re new to Agile. Who in the world would want to be called a Scrum Master? Actually, there are some people who dedicate themselves to this role. What exactly is that role?
I’m glad you asked! This article will explain the role played by an all-powerful Scrum Master. Let’s start by looking at some of the key functions.
What Exactly is Scrum?
For those of you who are not familiar, Scrum is a management process that is designed to slice through complex projects. Teams are formed to get a handle on new requirements and technologies, boosting their ability to deliver work projects in an efficient manner. Scrum itself is the actual framework of efficient team collaboration. The concept is actually quite simple, but the name is what confuses so many people. In short, Scrum is a team equipped with advanced knowledge given the task of collaborating on complex products.
Another big question that you might be asking yourself is, ‘Who on Earth decided to make it Scrum?’
Well that discussion is for another time, but you can check out the Scrum Alliance website for more information.
A Scrum Master is the leader of a Scrum group, being responsible for the entire team’s use of the methodology. They are also called a Scrum Expert by some people. The expert role is performed in a number of different ways. Scrum Masters facilitate meetings, make sure each member of the team knows their role, and ensures that the team has the correct tools.
It’s important that a Scrum Master catches what their team members are doing right and provides positive affirmation while showing them how to improve even further.
Scrums need to be scrubbed clean of obstacles. Okay puns aside, a Scrum Master should identify anything that might be slowing the team down and remove them from the equation. Obstacles can range anywhere from slow response times to outdated hardware.
Scrum teams are dependent on the leader’s ability to plan out their path so that they can focus solely on the tasks in front of them. In short, the Scrum Master ensures that the team can work efficiently.
Another pivotal role is that Scrum Masters must constantly dispense information to project stakeholders and members of the team. They are the gateway of communication between the two. There are several tools that a scrum will use to achieve success, including backlogs and burn down charts. Scrum Masters are tasked with using these tools to communicate to various outside sources.
The term “facilitate” itself means to “make less difficult and help move forward.” A Scrum Master is expected to make tasks as easy as possible for their team. This can be done in a number of different ways such as provide the right tools, help set expectations and communicate an overall vision. Scrum Masters are always at the forefront of the scrum.
Coaches have a deep understanding and appreciation for their goals and are equipped with the knowledge to help guide their team to victory. For most scrums, victory would be the successful launch of a new, complicated project. They should be excitable and have the ability to spread this excitement throughout the team, just as sporting coaches do.
Scrum Masters must fill all of the roles that we have mentioned in this article, but sometimes even more might be expected of them. They must be 100% dedicated to these roles in order for the scrum to successfully achieve the overall vision of a business.
Theagile movement begins in 2001 for thebest management of the software projects with a greater flexibility and teamcollaboration.As the stride of change get accelerated and consumerization impact the whole industry, ‘embracing agile’picked up the pace.
According to the HP research, “Agile has become a new norm and pure agile organizations are on the rise.”
It indicates the state of agile has become an accelerating trend.
Well, it’s about developing software projects using agile, but agile is not just applicable to the development teams while it’s about the whole organization.Making the business to move into a new orbit that’s agile, is yet challenging.
The agile conundrum
The advocates have disseminated different flavors of agile which results in a cacophony. On the other hand, critics consider the several variants of agile is considered as noise and confusion.There are a lot of organizations worldwide that proclaim themselves as agile, but not perfect at its implementation.It becomes difficult to articulate what the true agile is and how it can be distinguished.
The answer is in the genuine agile manifesto- the document that illustrates all the tidbits of doing agileand being agile. Great! At least, it’s clear what exactly agile is and how the agile organizations communicate inside and outside the organization.
There is something more. Many large enterprises are interested in embracing agilebut afraid that poor agile management impacts the team’s performance and productivity because as the enterprise grows, the team will lose the sight of big goals. This is not true in every case.
The companies with agile mindset are highly productive and profitable when they have implemented agile management rightly. In the essence, the agility can be made to run in the veins of any level of the enterprise to reap the benefits. What are the advantages?
Let’s understand it with why agile should be in the bones of the organizations and what the agile organization actually mean in the reality.Here is the answer:
Delight the customers
Making the customers happy is the only way to sustain and progress in the cutting-edge competition. To achieve the goal, businesses are analyzing the users unmet need and adding value to the users on the multitude of devices in anytime, anywhere fashion.It’s not just a trend while becomingan essential for growingthe business by leaps and bounds as the customers are now a big boss.
Agility also helps you do the similar thing. It allows the organizations to make a shift from seller mindset to the buyer mindset and create the strategies that ascend customer attention.
Scaling up with descaling the work
Performing the task in small batches by the different teams and then working collaboratively is extremely taxing.Even more, when it comes to iterating at speed based on the user feedback, the problem grows by manifolds.
That’s where an agile program comes to the rescue. In an agile organization, a project can be disaggregated as sprints consisting of a few user stories, and several teams working on the distinct part of the project can communicate and collaborate seamlessly. Plus, releasing iterations in short cycles becomes a breeze.
Incorporating agile mindset enterprise-wide
As discussed above agile is not just meant for IT, while it has a broad scope.The enterprises are favoring to be agile along with the agile IT software development. In effect, agile thinking is on the rise that’s changing the way strategic decisions are taken, processes executed and workflow managed.
It’s of vital importance for the organizations with rigid institutional bureaucracy to improve flexibility, and the speed at which the operations performed and results delivered.Promote the agile spirit to make the tools flexible enough to customize and use.
Make the organization’s culture agile
There are some industries where rigid and formalized methodologies are employed and regimented culture stays at the core of everything happening in and out of the enterprise, be it communication, personnel management, training, strategy planning or process management.There is a dire need to weave agile DNA is the organizations’ culture to bring joy in the workplace.
The agile program nurtures the culturein the organization by strengthening the entrepreneurial mindset and behavior, instead of tossing away one rule book.
Over to you
In the age of agile, agile journey is a roadmap that allows the organizations gain an edge in the market with the agile mindset, agile thinking, and agile culture.With brilliant agile development, the aim is simple and the same- making the customers happier than ever.
According to the State Of Agile survey, “The 98% of the organizations have realized success with agile projects.”
The implications are clear- understand the true meaning of agile and integrate agility in your organization, no matter it is big, medium-sized or small to gain high-end benefits.
Remote teams have their own pros and cons but managing remote teams can be a big challenge, specially when no working methodology is being followed. Thanks to the frameworks like Agile that the remote teams working in different parts of the world have equal chances of success. When you combine Agile and Remote Teams; you get Remote Agile Teams, which is possibly one of the greatest ease that modern world can offer.
Many businesses are now opting to get their work done via Agile Teams which are flexible, super-fast, dependable and most importantly efficient. There is a constant demand of Agile, especially for the Software development companies. According to the stats released by Atlassian in 2016, about 80% of the software development companies use Agile Software development methodology.
Since Agile is attracting so much businesses, it has become vital for remote teams to follow end to end Agile Development Methodology. Which has given birth to modern Remote Agile Teams.
Let’s look at ways that Agile benefits remote teams.
1. Clear milestones
When working with remote teams the product owners usually don't set out clear milestones. Instead they just assign a project and when things go wrong both parties suffer. While with Agile the product owners and team decide the plan of execution for the project by setting out clear milestones. This way the remote teams even being on different continent know the expectations and goals for any project. Setting out clear milestones also help in avoiding any sort of problems that might come in way by outlining the requirements and deliverables first.
Read suggestions here: Divide Agile Software in clear milestones.
2. Daily and weekly reports
Agile includes concepts like Scrum and Sprint meetings. Sprint meetings are done to plan activities for upcoming weeks. The team and product owner mutually decide the deliverables for upcoming specific weeks. While Scrum meetings are held on daily basis with the team in which every team member reports the progress of their part and any possible hurdles. All these reports are communicated with the product owners to stay on the same page and to avoid any potential issues. Remote teams specifically can benefit from this framework as it doesn't leave any room for confusion and the progress of remote team can be easily tracked with Agile methodology.
Learn more about Scrum and Sprint here.
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3. Diversity support
Remote teams have the best chances to bring diversity and experience into the overall culture of any organization. Your one team might not have the same creative and experienced approach which can be a main foundation of your team. Agile supports the diversity of remote teams because it provides a well organized framework to get the work done according to the requirements. While Agile is always open to changes the team can offer the best solution to any changes, thus highlighting and supporting the diversity of all remote teams.
Learn how Agile can unlock diversity.
Agile promises flexibility! And with the higher affordability of remote teams, it becomes even more promising to go for it. Remote teams have different expertise and usually higher affordability but when you put Agile in the mix all teams can be made flexible, dependable and co-operating because of core Agile principles. Agile Teams and product owners go hand in hand for success of the project and due to flexibility of Agile, any desired or unforeseen circumstances can be catered.
5. Timely Deliveries
Another prominent benefit of Agile is that you get the work done within the project time. When working with Agile you get to set the milestones together with team and still leave room for any extra problem that may come. What can and can’t be achieved is usually cleared out first and then the deadlines are set. However, if any problem comes in the way, the cushion time can be consumed. When the remote teams work on Agile principles, they can meet their deadlines and with the Agile flexibility it becomes even easier for the remote teams to make timely deliveries.
6. Lower Risks
Remote teams have higher risks because of communication gaps and expectation differences.
However, when working with dependable Agile Teams, you thoroughly minimize the risks of failure. These risks range from the investment risks to productivity risks; thanks to Agile these risks are not a problem anymore. Mainly because of constant feedback from the product owners, the risks for any sort of changes afterwards can be thoroughly eliminated. Also, the constant feedback sets out the right way for team to progress, which is very important for remote teams.
Read in detail how Agile helps you reduce risks here.
7. Agile project management tools
Agile took the world by storm because of its strong concepts and that why many realized its potential to help in software development. There are many Agile project management tools available in the market. However, only few are rather detailed and customizable. Two most detailed Agile projects management tools are Jira and Yodiz. Jira is owned by Atlassian and Yodiz is run by Viztrend. Both tools have Agile as core and are very customizable, however Yodiz edges out Jira in terms of cost effectiveness. These tools are a bliss for remote teams and help them work on Agile principles with extensive features support that help in easy Sprint planning and project tracking.
Agile has made lives easier by giving a very easy and flexible framework for project management. This even becomes more interesting when it works even better for remote teams. Remote teams working on Agile methodologies are efficient and productive as compared to non-agile remote teams.
Remote teams working on Agile:
The 7 Highest-Paying IT Certifications Must Do In 2017-18
By Ben Karter
Launching a career in IT takes much more than just college education. You need to be tech-trained and have one of the top IT certifications. Wondering why you need such certifications? Jobs in the IT domain require specific skill sets and having such certifications validate your ability to perform the job. Being certified also works in your favor when you are looking for a job for the first time or need a job change since the hiring managers would know you possess the skills to succeed. From security and networking to cloud computing and virtualization, there exists a wide range of IT certifications that would help you to earn a fat paycheck and launch your dream IT career, or take your career a few notches above in case you are already employed. However, not every certification would help. You need to find the ones that will give you the optimal return on your money. But with a proliferation of a wide range of certifications, each claiming to be better than its competitors, how do you decide which is the best for you? We bring you some help in your endeavor by listing the top seven IT certifications that you must do in 2017-18 to enjoy a rewarding IT career.
1. Certified in Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC)
This certification from ISACA is designed for IT project managers and professionals as well as others whose job needs them to recognize and manage IT and business threats through suitable IS (Information Systems) controls. The CRISC exam covers the whole life cycle, from design and implementation to continuing maintenance, and will fetch you an average yearly salary of $131,298. On our list, this is the highest-paying certification. To get it, you must have a minimum of 3 years’ experience in at least two of the four areas (Identification, Assessment, Control Monitoring and Reporting, and Response and Mitigation) covered by this certification and pass the exam that consists of 150 multiple-choice questions. You can register for this computer-based test on the ISACA website, which will cost you at least $420 (a bit more actually when you add the cost of test materials and preparation to it). In 2017, this exam is offered in three test windows (May 1 - June 30; August 1- September 30; and November 1 to December 30). Every year, you will need CPE (Continuing Professional Education) credits for maintaining your certification.
2. Certified Information Security Manager (CISM)
The primary focus of this certification from ISACA is information security management. Though this certification will let you deal with engineering and designing of security protocols, you will have greater involvement in the company’s security management. This certification will let you earn an average yearly salary of $128,156. To get it, you must have 5 years’ experience in Information Security, a minimum of 3 of which should be as a security manager. This experience of yours must be achieved within the 10-year period prior to your date of application for certification or within the 5-year period from the date of passing the exam. Unlike the CRISC where no exceptions are applicable to the experience requirement, the CISM has some alternatives to the experience requirement. This exam consists of 200 multiple-choice questions. You can register for this computer-based test on the ISACA website, which will cost you about $415 (but a lot more actually when you add the cost of test materials and preparation courses to it). In 2017, this exam is offered in three test windows (May 1 - June 30; August 1- September 30; and November 1 to December 30). Every year, you will need continuing education credits for maintaining your certification.
3. AWS Certified Solutions Architect – Associate
This certification is aimed at people involved in designing and managing applications on the AWS (Amazon Web Services) platform. The exam covers everything from AWS best practices, AWS cost estimation and identification of cost control measures, to AWS system design and deployment. For getting this certification, you need to have hands-on AWS experience (1 year or more) along with proficiency in one high-level programming language. The candidates also need to have the ability to recognize an AWS-based application and define requirements for it together with the experience of deploying hybrid systems with AWS and components on-premises and be capable of providing the best practices for setting up reliable and secure applications on the AWS platform. Kryterion testing centers offer this computer-based exam that consists of 60 multiple-choice questions. The exam registration fee is $150. However, armed with this certification, you will get to earn a yearly average of $125,091.
4. Certified Information Systems Security Professional (CISSP)
This CISSP certification is your ideal choice if you are an auditor, analyst, systems engineer, security consultant, or manager since it gives you the chance to prove your capability of engineering, designing and maintaining the IT security policy of a company. Pearson Vue Testing centers offer this exam against a few of $599. This exam consisting of 250 multiple-choice questions and needs an eligible candidate to have a minimum of 5 years’ of full-time work experience in two or more of the eight domains CISSP CBK (Common Body of Knowledge) domains. Those not having adequate work experience can meet 1 year of required experience with a 4-year college degree (or its regional equivalent), or a credential permitted by the CISSP Prerequisite pathway. As a second alternative, you can earn your (ISC)2 Associate designation by taking and passing the CISSP exam, after which you will have up to 6 years’ time to earn the necessary work experience. You must earn CPE credits every year to stay certified. This certification will give you access to a career that pays an average yearly salary of $121,729.
5. Project Management Professional (PMP)
This is the most renowned project management certification that lets you work in almost any industry, at any location and with any methodology. Project Management Institute (PMI) has created this test and manages it as well. You have to apply at the PMI website to take this exam. After the approval of your application, you would be able to sign up for the actual exam via Prometric. The prerequisites of this exam are having a secondary degree (associate’s degree, high school diploma, or the global equivalent) along with 7,500 hours of project management experience and 35 hours of project management education; or having a 4-year degree together with 4,500 hours of project management experience and 35 hours of project management education. You will need to shell out $405 for taking this test. Every three years, you need to compulsorily earn 60 PDUs (professional development units) for maintaining your PMP. $119,349 is the average yearly salary that this certification will bring your way.
6. Citrix Certified Associate – Networking (CCA-N)
This certification is ideal for systems or network administrators, architects and engineers adept in desktop and app virtualization, who plan to expand their skills to include NetScaler 10.5 for desktop and solutions app. To get certified, you have to prepare with the recommended training that includes two options: taking Citrix NetScaler Essentials and Unified Gateway or CNS-222; or getting prepared with Citrix NetScaler Unified Gateway or CNS-221 in case you’ve already taken the Citrix NetScaler Essentials and Traffic Management or CNS-220. In addition, you have to analyze the preparation guide for Exam 1Y0-250: Implementing Citrix NetScaler 10 for App and Desktop Solutions; and pass Exam 1Y0-250. The exam costs $200 and the certification would stay valid for 3 years. With CCA-N certification, you can aim to earn an average yearly salary of $102,598.
7. ITIL v3 Foundation
It’s the entry-level ITIL certification that offers an extensive knowledge of the IT lifecycle together with the ITIL terminology and concepts. It covers everything from capacity and availability management to incident and change management, along with IT operations and application management. Selection and authorizations of partners are done by ITIL, who in turn provide education, training, and certifications. The ITIL foundation exam consists of 40 multiple-choice questions and costs $150 plus taxes (VUE/Prometric). To pass this exam, you should have knowledge (at the comprehension level) of ITIL service life-cycle, service management as a practice, and the key models as well principles along with awareness level knowledge of generic definitions and concepts, selected processes, roles and functions, as well as technology and architecture, among others. Simply passing this exam is all you need to do to get certified, and once you have this certification, you can expect to earn an average yearly salary of $103,408.
A quick analysis of this list shows that all these top certifications pay more than $100,000 on an average, and are related to the domains that are experiencing a growing demand in the market, namely security, virtualization and cloud computing, together with networking and business. All these IT certifications can help in your career advancement – no matter whether you are a junior-level employee aiming to improve your skills to bag better opportunities in the IT industry, or a tenured employee looking to constantly grow and adapt your skills to meet the fast-changing IT landscape. But since you will come across a huge number of IT certifications that are offered today, it becomes important to research well before taking your pick since a handful are far more valuable than the others.