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CSM or CSPO: Which Certification Fits Your Requirement?

Agile methodology has been gaining a lot of clout in the IT Industry recently. With so much attention and talks around it all companies big and small are making themselves agile ready to deliver better sooner. Some common Certificate courses on Scrum methodology have also gained popularity because Scrum is the least restrictive of all agile approaches. CSM and CSPO are two such known Certifications that are often thought of as next steps in career progression introspection analysis. While both grant the benefit of knowledge, it is important to analyse what Certification makes more sense and can help better in future growth. CSM Certification: It is for professionals seeking the Certified Scrum Master Certification. Its course work is educative to learn about how Scrum methodology works. Moreover, all the principles and practices around scrum are discussed in detail to lay a sound foundation of its conceptual framework. This certification is beneficial to gain an understanding of Scrum for all present and future scrum projects. Gaining a CSM Certification would benefit individuals who would rather want a Certification that validates their scrum knowledge. Hiring decisions based on Certifications are usually a motivator for professionals pursuing the Certification. This could also lead to challenging opportunities in a space that may interest professionals. Also, professionals seeking to change their present roles can also benefit from this certification to project their interest in this field. Other benefits of CSM could be acceptance in scrum based teams based on scrum knowledge. Also since a lot of organisations tend to portray to their respective client base they own the skills and knowledge to deliver, they also rely on certified professionals to join them so that they may use this as their asset over competitors. Another reason to pursue CSM could also be to expand ones’ knowledge of scrum methodology to be at par with peers. Since existing technical courses do not teach these new methodologies in courseware, pursuing a course about Scrum can help deliver work better if you have recently joined a scrum team or if you plan to join one. So, it is beneficial not only for professionals seeking knowledge as fresher but also for experienced professionals who seek work in scrum space. CSPO Training: CSPO is a common IT Certification acronym for Certified Scrum Product Owner. CSPO Certification is beneficial for professionals who are closer to business.  This course is also useful to give an end to end view of the feature that traverses from conceptualisation to deployment or ideation to a minimum viable product. Also, aspects related to understanding stakeholder interests in each functionality are reiterated in this course. Also, because a Product Owner’s role is critical for any organisation they tend to seek candidates who can genuinely guide the team well. While Certification is a way to project, that relevant knowledge is present and make way for a baseline to set that a candidate has genuine interest in the area and that they are focused on continuous growth. A Certified Scrum Product Owner training is also a good to have training to be able to handle the work as a Product Owner better. While a lot of professionals learn on the job, this certification is from the very Scrum Alliance dedicated to set guidelines that can help smoothen the learning curve. A Certification decision is hence usually based on career goals, present career role, and future possible roadmap. Having knowledge is always good and to keep refreshing basics helps revisiting decisions and making teams and individuals in scrum space more effective.

CSM or CSPO: Which Certification Fits Your Requirement?

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CSM or CSPO: Which Certification Fits Your Requirement?

Agile methodology has been gaining a lot of clout in the IT Industry recently. With so much attention and talks around it all companies big and small are making themselves agile ready to deliver better sooner. Some common Certificate courses on Scrum methodology have also gained popularity because Scrum is the least restrictive of all agile approaches. CSM and CSPO are two such known Certifications that are often thought of as next steps in career progression introspection analysis. While both grant the benefit of knowledge, it is important to analyse what Certification makes more sense and can help better in future growth.

CSM Certification:

It is for professionals seeking the Certified Scrum Master Certification. Its course work is educative to learn about how Scrum methodology works. Moreover, all the principles and practices around scrum are discussed in detail to lay a sound foundation of its conceptual framework. This certification is beneficial to gain an understanding of Scrum for all present and future scrum projects.

Gaining a CSM Certification would benefit individuals who would rather want a Certification that validates their scrum knowledge. Hiring decisions based on Certifications are usually a motivator for professionals pursuing the Certification. This could also lead to challenging opportunities in a space that may interest professionals. Also, professionals seeking to change their present roles can also benefit from this certification to project their interest in this field.

Other benefits of CSM could be acceptance in scrum based teams based on scrum knowledge. Also since a lot of organisations tend to portray to their respective client base they own the skills and knowledge to deliver, they also rely on certified professionals to join them so that they may use this as their asset over competitors.

Another reason to pursue CSM could also be to expand ones’ knowledge of scrum methodology to be at par with peers. Since existing technical courses do not teach these new methodologies in courseware, pursuing a course about Scrum can help deliver work better if you have recently joined a scrum team or if you plan to join one. So, it is beneficial not only for professionals seeking knowledge as fresher but also for experienced professionals who seek work in scrum space.

CSPO Training:

CSPO is a common IT Certification acronym for Certified Scrum Product Owner. CSPO Certification is beneficial for professionals who are closer to business.  This course is also useful to give an end to end view of the feature that traverses from conceptualisation to deployment or ideation to a minimum viable product. Also, aspects related to understanding stakeholder interests in each functionality are reiterated in this course. Also, because a Product Owner’s role is critical for any organisation they tend to seek candidates who can genuinely guide the team well.

While Certification is a way to project, that relevant knowledge is present and make way for a baseline to set that a candidate has genuine interest in the area and that they are focused on continuous growth. A Certified Scrum Product Owner training is also a good to have training to be able to handle the work as a Product Owner better. While a lot of professionals learn on the job, this certification is from the very Scrum Alliance dedicated to set guidelines that can help smoothen the learning curve.

A Certification decision is hence usually based on career goals, present career role, and future possible roadmap. Having knowledge is always good and to keep refreshing basics helps revisiting decisions and making teams and individuals in scrum space more effective.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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2 comments

michael kors handbags 12 Aug 2017

After study a few of the blog posts on your website now, and I truly like your means of blogging. I bookmarked it to my bookmark website record and will probably be checking back soon. om.co

Vaibhav 21 Nov 2017

Hi, I am BA and have worked for around 6 months in Agile project. Can I do CSPO if I have working knowledge of Agile but havent done CSM or thorough Agile study ?

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How to Use Scrum Board for Agile Development

What is a Scrum Board?A Scrum Board or an Agile Board is a visual representation of the work planned, progressed, and completed by a scrum team in a sprint or iteration at any given point of time. The board is comprised of columns that represent various successive states of the workflow progressing from left to right. 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In the event of an interruption (like production issue, any new or changed requirements, changed priorities), it helps Business to reprioritize the work items quickly looking at the current state of the planned items in the Sprint.   It also keeps reinforcing road blocks and impediments faced by the team to all the major stakeholders. Any number of written and verbal communication may not be able to visually represent the state of the entire sprintas a whole as effectively as this visual radiator.Scrum board allows teams to manage the flow of work across the sprint as it helps in avoiding multi-tasking, overloading one person because everything is visible and traceable. How to organize a Scrum Board Physical and Virtual Scrum Boards Teams that are entirely collocated can benefit from physical boards that caneven just be a whiteboard placed near their work cubicles. A physical board could also be on a wall having coloured tape for columns and sticky notes for cards.  Team members typically swarm around the board /agile wall/task wallduring their daily stand up or whenever there is a need. Image 2: A typical physical scrum boardImage 3: A typical Jira scrum boardDistributed teams on the other hand find virtual boards easy to use. There are many tools available in the market to set up Scrum Boardssuch asJira , Rally , Monday.com etc.  In some companies, the Scrum boards are displayed on giant monitors placed near the teams work cubicles. Cards and Columns are the two basic entities on the scrum board.Card is the entity on the board that represents a “Work Item”. A Card can be a User story /Production Bug/Technical Task. During the course of the Sprint these cards travel through the board from left ,“To-Do” to right “Done”.  A Simple Scrum Board for Beginner Teams The Scrum Board below is an example of a typical team board in a software project. Image 4: Typical scrum board for a software projectThe items on the Product Backlog are discussed and as per priority and their readiness, pulled into the “To Do” or “Ready” column during Sprint Planning. At the beginning of a Sprint all items in the “To Do” or “Ready” column comprises the Sprint Backlog of the team. As the Sprint progresses, the items move into the downstream columns until “Done” is reached. A clear “Definition of Done” helps to conclude if the story / task is completed. Usually beginner teams build the board translating the current workflow of their work items into columns on the board. As the teams evolve, they adjust the board accordingly. Effective Visual Representation of data  Information on the Cards Physical Cards usually are post-it notes or sticky notes that carry the User Story/Description, Acceptance Criteria and the Story Points as a minimum. Using post-it notes is a deliberate attempt to keep the story small and avoid loading a lot of work into one story.  In a Virtual board, cards can have exclusive fields to carry information like Project Name/Assignee/Reporter/Created Date etc. These might serve multiple purposes like metrics/reports. Colour-Coded Cards Colour coding is an excellent technique used to convey important information to the audience at the first quick glance.Cards can be colour coded based on their work type like User Story/ Technical Task/Production Bugs. Cards could also be flagged (in the case of a Virtual board) or overlaid with a (preferably) Red coloured card to convey a risk/dependency that needs attention. Swim lanes Defining Swim lanes is a very useful mechanism to categorize the work items on a Scrum Board. They are horizontal rows on the board that carry a specific type of work that is different from the normal/ work categorized by a certain parameter. For e.g. a team that has to resolve emerging high priority production bugs would prefer to use a “Fast Track” swim lane to progress the bug and then continue with their original Sprint work. A team that works on hardware, firmware and software components in a sprint might want to use different swim lanes for each component.  Swim lanes are for the teams. Creating a swim lane for each team member may not be a good idea since the basic guideline for scrum is to work as a team and this representation might affect a team’s mindset. In the board below blue cards are User Stories and green Cards are tasks. Red cards are Production bugs. Some cards are flagged red indicating risks or impediments. Image 5: Example of scrum board with colour-coded cards and swim lanesAspects of Kanban in Scrum BoardA common challenge encountered in projects is when tasks accumulate or pile up in a phase or stage of the workflow. There could be several reasons why that happens. But identifying them is the key to solving that challenge and the Scrum Board effectively helps in this. Assume that Cards D, E, F, G have completed development and ready for testing. Cards B, C are being tested. 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This will set the stage for a “Pull” mechanism at every stage in the workflow of a story.  Introducing “WIP Limit” or “Work in Progress” Limit at the columns ensures multiple work items do not pile up at one stage of the process, do not get “pushed” downstream but rather gets “pulled” by downstream process and there is a steady flow created in the system. Considering the team is at day 6 of the iteration, it is recommended the team “stops starting and starts finishing”.  If the team swarms and completes the testing of D, E,F,G there could  be more business value delivered rather than starting development of H and I and having only few of the Development complete cards partially tested. In this scenario, a WIP Limit of 4 at development prevents the team from bringing in more work items into the development phase. The team can now swarm to complete the testing of the developed items taking them to completion.  Image 7: Scrum board with WIP limits and columns split into “In progress” and “Ready”Effective use ofthe Scrum Board  Updating and maintaining the Scrum Board Scrum board is owned by the team and it is the team’s responsibility to update the board to reflect the reality.The team also has the responsibility to evolve the board to suit the need of the project by experimenting on concepts of WIP Limit. How best to use the information on the Board Scrum Board can be used to identify bottlenecks in the flow of work. If bottlenecks are identified in one stage of the workflow, the team can resort to Swarming or enforcing WIP Limits. Seeing the work items move through the Scrum board and reach “Done” during the Sprint provides the team a sense of accomplishment. Challenges and ways to overcome them Easier said than done, updating the board is one of the biggest challenges faced especially in beginner teams. Not every team member will be prompt in updating the board. To overcome this challenge, updating the board could be one of the team ground rules with non-compliance attracting fun consequences decided by the team, such as the defaulter treating the team with chocolates/coffee or updating everyone’s scrum board the next day. The Scrum Master can immensely help the team realize the power of the board by using it during agile ceremonies like planning, stand up and retrospectives. Facilitating the scrum by traversing the board from right to left (i.e.“Done” to “To-Do”) is another tactic to keep reinforcing the value of the board and motivating the teams.Having conversations in stand-ups by traversing the board from right to left will first bring up cards that are done or almost done and helps see what has been accomplished in the sprint.  What a Scrum Board is not A Scrum Board cannot replace the conversations and interactions that are always encouraged in Agile projects. Flagging a card on the scrum board / posing queries on a card should not solely replace the conversations around these. A Scrum Board is not for executives to monitor the team’s progress and efficiency, but it is for the team to monitor their sprint items as a whole. Key takeaway A Scrum Board is an excellent tool for the team to visualize their work, look at everyday progress, identify bottlenecks, make immediate course corrections, so that they can meet their Sprint goals. Used rightly, it will serve the team and benefit them. However, if it is used by management to monitor the team or if the team members consider it as a tool to update management then it loses its purpose and becomes just another overhead. 
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What is the Difference Between PSM1 and PSM2?

Many of our students want to take a recognized certification to show that they have the skills, knowledge, and experience to excel in the role of Scrum Master.  A popular choice for people wanting Scrum certifications is Professional Scrum Master™. Certificate holders are entitled to use a logo to identify their achievement, along with the certification. If you’ve seen these, or you have colleagues who hold the certification, you might be wondering what the difference is between the two most common levels: PSM I and PSM II.In this article, we’ll explain the concept of PSM I vs PSM II so you can choose the right option for you at this point in your career.What is PSM™?PSM™ is Professional Scrum Master, a certification scheme maintained and managed by Scrum.org.It is made up of 3 levels.PSM I: for those who wish to demonstrate a fundamental level of Scrum mastery.PSM II: for those who wish to prove their underlying knowledge of Scrum principles and show that they can apply these in the real world.PSM III: for those who hold a deep understanding of Scrum practices and can apply them in a variety of complex organizational settings.We’re focusing today on the first two levels as these are the most common. At the time of writing, there are nearly 160,000 PSM I holders and the number continues to grow. Figures from Scrum.org show that only around 1% of PSM I holders go on to take the PSM II assessment, which means this certification can really set you apart from the competition.As more and more projects choose to use Agile and Scrum techniques, there is a growing demand for people skilled in these approaches and who understand the principles required for successful delivery.Core Differences Between PSM I and PSM IIPSM I is perfect for people who want to understand the basics of Scrum thoroughly. The training and study required prior to the assessment make sure that you are comfortable using internationally recognized terminology for Scrum approaches.The assessment tests your ability to understand the Scrum Guide and the concepts of applying Scrum. This level gives you the fundamentals in a way that you can evidence and use.PSM II is the next step for people who want to take it further. It goes beyond being able to evidence that you understand Scrum, and shows that you can use it in the workplace.PSM II holders have a deep knowledge and understanding of the Scrum principles and processes. They understand what sits behind the Scrum framework. And they can apply it all in a complex business context to help drive delivery.Both certificates are industry-recognized and demonstrate your ability to act in the role of Scrum Master on a Scrum team.PSM I focuses on the ‘material knowledge’, whereas PSM II focuses on the ‘practice and real-world situations’.Differences Between PSM I and PSM II Subject AreasAs you’d expect the two certificates do cover different topics. PSM II covers more content and looks at additional areas for Scrum Masters.The table below shows a summary of the categories tested in the assessment by PSM level.CategoryCovered in PSM I AssessmentCovered in PSM II AssessmentScrum frameworkYYScrum theory and principlesYYCross-Functional,self-Organizing TeamsYYCoaching and FacilitationYYDone and UndoneYMaximizing valueYProduct backlog managementYScaling fundamentalsYHere is some more information about each of these category areas.Scrum FrameworkThis topic covers the foundational knowledge of Scrum theory and the major concepts like roles, rules, and time-boxing. This category draws heavily on the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters not only have to know these details, they also have to be able to explain them to others and facilitate their use on the Scrum team.Scrum Theory and PrinciplesThe questions in the assessment that relate to this topic will test your understanding of the theory of Scrum, principles, and values.TeamsThis topic goes in-depth into the working of cross-functional and self-organizing teams. Scrum Masters need to understand how to get the best out of team members through collaboration, cooperation and continuous reflection and development.Coaching and FacilitationYou’ll learn how the role of the Scrum Master is fundamentally different to a project manager or team leader. Questions on this topic will test your understanding of how to coach and facilitate teams to help them do their best work.Done and Undone (PSM II only)This category tests your understanding of what it means to be ‘done’. This underpins the Scrum purpose of creating in increments.Maximizing Value (PSM II only)Questions on the assessment drawn from this category look at your knowledge of the role and responsibilities of the Product Owner. This person is responsible for maximizing value, and you can best serve him or her as a Scrum Master if you understand the principles of optimizing for value.Product Backlog Management (PSM II only)The product backlog is the source of work for a product and backlog management is an important aspect of the Scrum team’s responsibilities.Scaling Fundamentals (PSM II only)The questions in the assessment that link to scaling test your knowledge of how to scale Scrum in your environment while maintaining technical excellence.Prerequisites for PSM I and PSM IIThere are no prerequisites for candidates who wish to sit the PSM I online assessment. However, it makes sense for you to have done some Scrum Master training so that you have a solid understanding of the fundamentals and the terminology used.PSM I is a prerequisite for taking the PSM II assessment. The second Professional Scrum Master level builds on what is assessed at Level 1, so you need to have successfully taken and passed the PSM I assessment before moving on to the PSM II exam.PSM I and PSM II: Exam DifferencesUnlike some Agile and Scrum courses, there is an online assessment – you can’t simply turn up to the training and walk away with a certificate. This is what makes the PSM certificates so valuable. Employers know that candidates who hold these certificates can use their Scrum knowledge and apply it in situations, and have achieved at least the minimum pass rate on an exam to test exactly that.As we’ve seen, the two Professional Scrum Master certifications cover different topic areas in the assessments. There are other differences in the exams too.The table below summarizes the differences and similarities between the PSM I and PSM II assessments.PSM IPSM IIPassing score85%85%Duration60 minutes60 minutesNumber of questions80 questions80 questionsDifficulty levelIntermediateIntermediateQuestion formatMultiple choice;multiple answer;True/FalseMultiple choice;multiple answer;True/FalseExam format85%85%Exam language85%85%Summary: Scrum Master CertificationsPSM I and PSM II build on each other. While there are differences, they reflect the knowledge and understanding that you have to have at each level. As you’d expect, PSM II builds on what is assessed at the PSM I level. This makes both certificates complementary to each other and a perfect way to advance your career as a Scrum Master.Both certificates have high industry value amongst employers, especially in the IT industry and the area of software delivery. If you work in these fields, and you operate in Scrum teams, having a Professional Scrum Master certification will show your employer that you are committed to professional development and to getting the best possible project results for your business.Find local courses close to you in our online course catalog. You could soon be on your way to a new career as a certified Scrum Master.
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