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CSM®️ or PSM™ - Which Certificate Is More Valuable?

What is Scrum?The source of a correct definition of Scrum is the official Scrum Guide, authored and maintained by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schaber. Scrum has its roots in software development, but nowadays Scrum is applied in several contexts and industries.From the Scrum Guide:“Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. Scrum is not a process, technique, or definitive method. Rather, it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques. Scrum makes clear the relative efficacy of your product management and work techniques so that you can continuously improve the product, the team, and the working environment."The latest update to the Scrum Guide also lists possible uses for Scrum:- Research and identify viable markets, technologies, and product capabilities;- Develop products and enhancements;- Release products and enhancements, as frequently as many times per day;- Develop and sustain Cloud (online, secure, on-demand) and other operational environments for product use; and,- Sustain and renew products.Origin of ScrumScrum is a process framework that has been used to manage work on complex products since the early 1990s. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland worked on Scrum until 1995, when they co-presented Scrum at the OOPSLA Conference in 1995. This presentation essentially documented the learning that Ken and Jeff gained over the previous few years, and made public the first formal definition of Scrum.The Scrum Guide documents Scrum as developed, evolved, and sustained for 20-plus years by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.  Both, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber were present at the event when the Agile Manifesto was written.Scrum was one of the several lightweight processes presented at that gathering in 2001. The Scrum Alliance - a non-profit organization promoting Scrum, was also founded in 2009.Throughout the years Scrum has evolved, and in fact, has been become simpler, but therefore not more easy to apply and practice. In case you're interested, you can look at the Scrum Guide revision history, and see the changes since 2010. To me personally, the beauty of Scrum lays in its simpleness, although some people would advocate they still find Scrum too complicated in terms of process.Scrum Alliance vs Scrum.orgIn 2001, Ken Schwaber left the Scrum Alliance and found Scrum.org. There was a bad impression of the Scrum Master about implementing a Scrum in the organization. The Scrum Masters misinterpreted that the 2-day Scrum Alliance CSM®️ certification course is enough to certify them as a Scrum Master.  Even organizations took amiss that those who attended 2-day training are the Scrum experts.The PSM™  certification of Scrum.org is different than CSM®️ certification. For PSM™ certification, attending a workshop is not mandatory. But, it is little harder to clear the PSM™  assessments which at least assures a precise level Scrum understanding. Note: The Scrum.org assessments are based on the Scrum Guide (fabricated by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland).Let’s see these two certifying bodies in details and figure out the difference between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org.Scrum Alliance- The CSM®️ certifying BodyFounded in 2001, Scrum Alliance® is the largest membership and certification organization in the Agile community. The Scrum Alliance is a non-profit organization and is governed by the Board of Directors. The Scrum Alliance has certified more than 750,000 practitioners worldwide, clearly contributing a lot to the spreading of Scrum worldwide. But, the Scrum Alliance is not simply a company providing training. The Scrum Alliance also organizes twice a year a global gathering and several regional gatherings and supports agile community events.From the Scrum Alliance website:"Scrum Alliance’s vision is to “Transform the World of Work” with a mission to guide and inspire individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable."Scrum Alliance certificationsAs there are 3 roles in Scrum, the Scrum Alliance offers 3 entry-level (foundational) certifications - there are CSM®️ (Certified Scrum Master), CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner), and CSD (Certified Scrum Developer). Next, you could apply for a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), after indicating your practical experience with Scrum.Recently, the Scrum Alliance has changed the certification path and added an "advanced" certification and course. Today, the Certified Scrum Professional is specific for either Scrum Master, Product Owner, or Developer.These are the certifications:- Certified Scrum Master: CSM®️ --> Advanced CSM®️ --> CSP-SM- Certified Scrum Product Owner CSPO --> Advanced CSPO --> CSP-PO- Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)Next, you can obtain so-called "elevated" certifications, which involves a more rigorous screening and test to validate your knowledge, experience.The elevated certifications target to be an accredited trainer or coach:- CST (Certified Scrum Trainer) - people with this certification can provide official training in Scrum, on behalf of the Scrum Alliance. Trainers go through a rigorous process of co-training, and an application in order to pass the bar of becoming a CST.- CTC (Certified Team Coach) - to be recognized and accredited as a coach on the team level- CEC (Certified Enterprise Coach) - to be recognized and accredited as a coach on the enterprise levelThe coaching certifications involve more than Scrum, but agile & lean coaching in general.The Scrum Alliance also provides an Agile Leadership track - this is relatively new and split into two levels:- Certified Agile Leadership I- Certified Agile Leadership IIThe Agile Leadership courses increase your leadership effectiveness and learn how to be a better leader, no matter what your role.The Scrum Alliance provides also "extended" continuing education, courses.The Scrum Alliance is taking a broad view of how to transform the world of work (e.g. also applications of Scrum outside IT).Scrum.org- The PSM™  certifying BodyIn 2002, Ken Schwaber with others founded the Scrum Alliance and set up the Certified Scrum accreditation series.  Ken Schwaber left the Scrum Alliance in late 2009 and founded Scrum.org which oversees the parallel Professional Scrum accreditation series.On the Scrum.org website, there's a page called "Why Scrum.org?" explaining Ken Schwaber's motivation to separate from the Scrum Alliance and found Scrum.org. These are the motivations as formulated by Ken Schwaber:- I would create a new organization, Scrum.org, to continue developing and sustaining the Scrum Developer program.The program would lead to assessments and certifications based on a body of knowledge.- I would also redevelop a new, more advanced version of the Scrum courseware. This courseware, called Scrum-In-Depth, would focus on how to use Scrum in advanced circumstances. I would publish the Scrum body of knowledge on Scrum.org and formulate beginner, intermediate, and advanced assessments and certifications based on this body of knowledge.- I would form a new group of Scrum Trainers who welcomed openness and transparency.Scrum.org  aims to improve the Profession of Software Delivery and targets its courses and certifications in that area. The Scrum Alliance focuses on Scrum, and takes a broader view, as the Scrum Alliance's slogan is to "transform the world of work".Scrum.org certificationsThe certifications provided by Scrum.org are similar to the certifications of the Scrum Alliance. The certifications are called "Professional" The certification path is as following:- Professional Scrum Master: PSM™  level I --> level II --> level III- Professional Scrum Product Owner: PSPO- Professional Scrum Developer: PSD- Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS), based upon Scrum.org Nexus framework for scaling Scrum- Professional Scrum with Kanban (PSK I): to validate knowledge of how Scrum Teams can use Scrum with Kanban ability to support value creation and delivery. Kanban is a lean method to streamline work. Scrum has its foundations in lean, so it does make a lot of sense for teams to learn and apply Kanban. In fact, agile & lean are blending philosophies.- Professional Agile Leadership (PAL-I): Agile Leadership trackThere’s an optional (non-mandatory) PAL-E (Professional Agile Leadership - Essentials). The workshop provides a foundation for the role that leaders play in creating the conditions for a successful agile transformation.In summary,In a comparison to Scrum Alliance, remember the following practical points when you consider one or the other certification:Scrum.org certifications have no expiration date.Scrum.org certifications can be obtained by taking an online test. Physically attending a classroom course is not required.Scrum.org offers “open assessments” which are interesting for anyone to validate your Scrum knowledge, regardless of if you intend to get certified or not.To know more about various Agile and Scrum certifications and paths to learning these certifications to make a career move, you can refer certification pathway.Choosing between the best Scrum Master Certifications: CSM®️ vs PSM™ Agile and Scrum are today’s latest trends. Not only IT-based organizations but also non-IT organizations hire individuals who know the concepts of Scrum framework and its applications. Scrum is the Agile framework, focuses on the complex projects.Initially, the Scrum framework was used for software development, but today it is used as any other projects to get the fastest results. So, there is a rising demand for Agile-Scrum professionals in the organizations.CSM®️ and PSM™  are two major Scrum Master certifications. CSM®️ stands for Certified Scrum Master. CSM®️ is a certification issued by the Scrum Alliance. CSM®️ is a first (entry-level) certification for the Scrum Master. PSM™  stands for Professional Scrum Master. PSM™  is a certification issued by Scrum.org. PSM™  and PSM™  both are the entry-level certifications for the Scrum Master.    PSM™  by Scrum.org has a different approach than CSM®️ by Scrum Alliance in the following ways:- According to Scrum.org, there's no need to attend a class, to be able to take an online test to get certified. A practice assessment is available online, called "Scrum Open"- According to Scrum.org, a certification is a proof of knowledge and therefore has no certification dateLet’s see the differences between the CSM®️ and PSM™  in the tabular form.Certified Scrum Master (CSM®️)FeaturesProfessional Scrum Master (PSM™)50 multiple-choice questions, usually with four possible answersExam Pattern- Number of Questions: 80- Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/FalsePassing score: 74%Passing gradePassing score: minimum 85%Time limit: 60 minutesExam durationTime limit: 60 minutesEvery 2 yearsCertification renewal durationNo expiration (Lifetime certification)Fee: $1000 (cost of training and 1 attempt)Certification costFee:PSM I- $150PSM II- $250PSM III- $500(1st free attempt is given to those who attend the PSM training)The exam is easy once you attend the two-day CSM®️ training program. Also, you can practice with CSM®️ practice test/mock test, to know which areas you need to improve and pass the test with a good score.Level of the examDifficulty: IntermediatePSM assessments are difficult to pass. But, attending PSM training is highly recommended in order to pass the exam with a fair score, though it is not mandatory. Also, prepare with the Scrum practice tests to get a fair idea on this.Attending a 2-day CSM®️ course taught by a Scrum Alliance's Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)®️PrerequisiteNo prerequisite for taking the test$119,040  per yearSalary$100,500 per yearFinal ThoughtA search on “Scrum Master”, in the job title with as prerequisite “Certified Scrum Master” gives more than 1000 jobs results. If you want to get an idea of what companies and organizations ask in terms of Certified Scrum Master, you can have a look at the AgileCareers website (by Scrum Alliance). (there are mainly USA based jobs listed)This is all about the comparison between the CSM®️ and PSM™  and various certifying bodies like Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org that offer these certifications.In the end, knowledge matters whether it is CSM®️ or PSM™  certification. Both certificates have the same value in the job market. Also, both programs are highly compatible. It is very crucial what you earned during the certification process and the trainer will definitely help you to make the difference there.To know in-detail about the Scrum master certification benefits, roles, salaries and many more refer: Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide
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CSM®️ or PSM™ - Which Certificate Is More Valuable?

6200
CSM®️ or PSM™ - Which Certificate Is More Valuable?

What is Scrum?
The source of a correct definition of Scrum is the official Scrum Guide, authored and maintained by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schaber. Scrum has its roots in software development, but nowadays Scrum is applied in several contexts and industries.


From the Scrum Guide:

“Scrum is a framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products. Scrum is not a process, technique, or definitive method. Rather, it is a framework within which you can employ various processes and techniques. Scrum makes clear the relative efficacy of your product management and work techniques so that you can continuously improve the product, the team, and the working environment."


The latest update to the Scrum Guide also lists possible uses for Scrum:
- Research and identify viable markets, technologies, and product capabilities;
- Develop products and enhancements;
- Release products and enhancements, as frequently as many times per day;
- Develop and sustain Cloud (online, secure, on-demand) and other operational environments for product use; and,
- Sustain and renew products.

Origin of Scrum
Scrum is a process framework that has been used to manage work on complex products since the early 1990s. Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland worked on Scrum until 1995, when they co-presented Scrum at the OOPSLA Conference in 1995. This presentation essentially documented the learning that Ken and Jeff gained over the previous few years, and made public the first formal definition of Scrum.

The Scrum Guide documents Scrum as developed, evolved, and sustained for 20-plus years by Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber.  Both, Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber were present at the event when the Agile Manifesto was written.

Scrum was one of the several lightweight processes presented at that gathering in 2001. The Scrum Alliance - a non-profit organization promoting Scrum, was also founded in 2009.


Throughout the years Scrum has evolved, and in fact, has been become simpler, but therefore not more easy to apply and practice. In case you're interested, you can look at the Scrum Guide revision history, and see the changes since 2010. To me personally, the beauty of Scrum lays in its simpleness, although some people would advocate they still find Scrum too complicated in terms of process.

Scrum Alliance vs Scrum.org

In 2001, Ken Schwaber left the Scrum Alliance and found Scrum.org. There was a bad impression of the Scrum Master about implementing a Scrum in the organization. The Scrum Masters misinterpreted that the 2-day Scrum Alliance CSM®️ certification course is enough to certify them as a Scrum Master.  Even organizations took amiss that those who attended 2-day training are the Scrum experts.

The PSM™  certification of Scrum.org is different than CSM®️ certification. For PSM™ certification, attending a workshop is not mandatory. But, it is little harder to clear the PSM™  assessments which at least assures a precise level Scrum understanding.

 Note: The Scrum.org assessments are based on the Scrum Guide (fabricated by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland).

Let’s see these two certifying bodies in details and figure out the difference between the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org.

Scrum Alliance- The CSM®️ certifying Body

Founded in 2001, Scrum Alliance® is the largest membership and certification organization in the Agile community. The Scrum Alliance is a non-profit organization and is governed by the Board of Directors. The Scrum Alliance has certified more than 750,000 practitioners worldwide, clearly contributing a lot to the spreading of Scrum worldwide. But, the Scrum Alliance is not simply a company providing training. The Scrum Alliance also organizes twice a year a global gathering and several regional gatherings and supports agile community events.

From the Scrum Alliance website:

"Scrum Alliance’s vision is to “Transform the World of Work” with a mission to guide and inspire individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable."

Scrum Alliance certifications

As there are 3 roles in Scrum, the Scrum Alliance offers 3 entry-level (foundational) certifications - there are CSM®️ (Certified Scrum Master), CSPO (Certified Scrum Product Owner), and CSD (Certified Scrum Developer). Next, you could apply for a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP), after indicating your practical experience with Scrum.

Recently, the Scrum Alliance has changed the certification path and added an "advanced" certification and course. Today, the Certified Scrum Professional is specific for either Scrum Master, Product Owner, or Developer.

These are the certifications:
Scrum Alliance certifications- Certified Scrum Master: CSM®️ --> Advanced CSM®️ --> CSP-SM
- Certified Scrum Product Owner CSPO --> Advanced CSPO --> CSP-PO
- Certified Scrum Developer (CSD)
Next, you can obtain so-called "elevated" certifications, which involves a more rigorous screening and test to validate your knowledge, experience.

The elevated certifications target to be an accredited trainer or coach:

CST (Certified Scrum Trainer) - people with this certification can provide official training in Scrum, on behalf of the Scrum Alliance. Trainers go through a rigorous process of co-training, and an application in order to pass the bar of becoming a CST.
- CTC (Certified Team Coach) - to be recognized and accredited as a coach on the team level
- CEC (Certified Enterprise Coach) - to be recognized and accredited as a coach on the enterprise level

The coaching certifications involve more than Scrum, but agile & lean coaching in general.

The Scrum Alliance also provides an Agile Leadership track - this is relatively new and split into two levels:
- Certified Agile Leadership I
- Certified Agile Leadership II
The Agile Leadership courses increase your leadership effectiveness and learn how to be a better leader, no matter what your role.

The Scrum Alliance provides also "extended" continuing education, courses.
The Scrum Alliance is taking a broad view of how to transform the world of work (e.g. also applications of Scrum outside IT).

Scrum.org- The PSM™  certifying Body

In 2002, Ken Schwaber with others founded the Scrum Alliance and set up the Certified Scrum accreditation series.  Ken Schwaber left the Scrum Alliance in late 2009 and founded Scrum.org which oversees the parallel Professional Scrum accreditation series.
On the Scrum.org website, there's a page called "Why Scrum.org?" explaining Ken Schwaber's motivation to separate from the Scrum Alliance and found Scrum.org. These are the motivations as formulated by Ken Schwaber:
- I would create a new organization, Scrum.org, to continue developing and sustaining the Scrum Developer program.
The program would lead to assessments and certifications based on a body of knowledge.
- I would also redevelop a new, more advanced version of the Scrum courseware. This courseware, called Scrum-In-Depth, would focus on how to use Scrum in advanced circumstances. I would publish the Scrum body of knowledge on Scrum.org and formulate beginner, intermediate, and advanced assessments and certifications based on this body of knowledge.
- I would form a new group of Scrum Trainers who welcomed openness and transparency.

Scrum.org  aims to improve the Profession of Software Delivery and targets its courses and certifications in that area. The Scrum Alliance focuses on Scrum, and takes a broader view, as the Scrum Alliance's slogan is to "transform the world of work".

Scrum.org certifications

The certifications provided by Scrum.org are similar to the certifications of the Scrum Alliance. The certifications are called "Professional" The certification path is as following:

Scrum.org certifications- Professional Scrum Master: PSM™  level I --> level II --> level III- Professional Scrum Product Owner: PSPO
- Professional Scrum Developer: PSD

- Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS), based upon Scrum.org Nexus framework for scaling Scrum

- Professional Scrum with Kanban (PSK I): to validate knowledge of how Scrum Teams can use Scrum with Kanban ability to support value creation and delivery. Kanban is a lean method to streamline work. Scrum has its foundations in lean, so it does make a lot of sense for teams to learn and apply Kanban. In fact, agile & lean are blending philosophies.

- Professional Agile Leadership (PAL-I): Agile Leadership track
There’s an optional (non-mandatory) PAL-E (Professional Agile Leadership - Essentials). The workshop provides a foundation for the role that leaders play in creating the conditions for a successful agile transformation.

In summary,
In a comparison to Scrum Alliance, remember the following practical points when you consider one or the other certification:
Scrum.org certifications have no expiration date.
Scrum.org certifications can be obtained by taking an online test. Physically attending a classroom course is not required.
Scrum.org offers “open assessments” which are interesting for anyone to validate your Scrum knowledge, regardless of if you intend to get certified or not.

To know more about various Agile and Scrum certifications and paths to learning these certifications to make a career move, you can refer certification pathway.

Choosing between the best Scrum Master Certifications: CSM®️ vs PSM™ 

Agile and Scrum are today’s latest trends. Not only IT-based organizations but also non-IT organizations hire individuals who know the concepts of Scrum framework and its applications. Scrum is the Agile framework, focuses on the complex projects.

Initially, the Scrum framework was used for software development, but today it is used as any other projects to get the fastest results. So, there is a rising demand for Agile-Scrum professionals in the organizations.

CSM®️ and PSM™  are two major Scrum Master certifications. CSM®️ stands for Certified Scrum Master. CSM®️ is a certification issued by the Scrum Alliance. CSM®️ is a first (entry-level) certification for the Scrum Master. PSM™  stands for Professional Scrum Master. PSM™  is a certification issued by Scrum.org. PSM™  and PSM™  both are the entry-level certifications for the Scrum Master.    

PSM™  by Scrum.org has a different approach than CSM®️ by Scrum Alliance in the following ways:
- According to Scrum.org, there's no need to attend a class, to be able to take an online test to get certified. A practice assessment is available online, called "Scrum Open"
- According to Scrum.org, a certification is a proof of knowledge and therefore has no certification date

Let’s see the differences between the CSM®️ and PSM™  in the tabular form.

Certified Scrum Master (CSM®️)
Features
Professional Scrum Master (PSM™)

50 multiple-choice questions, usually with four possible answers

Exam Pattern

- Number of Questions: 80
- Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/False

Passing score: 74%
Passing grade
Passing score: minimum 85%

Time limit: 60 minutes
Exam duration

Time limit: 60 minutes

Every 2 years

Certification renewal duration

No expiration (Lifetime certification)

Fee: $1000 (cost of training and 1 attempt)

Certification cost

Fee:
PSM I- $150
PSM II- $250
PSM III- $500
(1st free attempt is given to those who attend the PSM training)

The exam is easy once you attend the two-day CSM®️ training program. Also, you can practice with CSM®️ practice test/mock test, to know which areas you need to improve and pass the test with a good score.
Level of the exam

Difficulty: Intermediate
PSM assessments are difficult to pass. But, attending PSM training is highly recommended in order to pass the exam with a fair score, though it is not mandatory. Also, prepare with the Scrum practice tests to get a fair idea on this.

Attending a 2-day CSM®️ course taught by a Scrum Alliance's Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)®️

Prerequisite
No prerequisite for taking the test
$119,040  per year

Salary

$100,500 per year


Final Thought

A search on “Scrum Master”, in the job title with as prerequisite “Certified Scrum Master” gives more than 1000 jobs results. If you want to get an idea of what companies and organizations ask in terms of Certified Scrum Master, you can have a look at the AgileCareers website (by Scrum Alliance). (there are mainly USA based jobs listed)

This is all about the comparison between the CSM®️ and PSM™  and various certifying bodies like Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org that offer these certifications.

In the end, knowledge matters whether it is CSM®️ or PSM™  certification. Both certificates have the same value in the job market. Also, both programs are highly compatible. It is very crucial what you earned during the certification process and the trainer will definitely help you to make the difference there.

To know in-detail about the Scrum master certification benefits, roles, salaries and many more refer: Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

Frederik

Frederik Vannieuwenhuyse

Blog Author

Frederik is an experienced consultant, professional facilitator, coach and trainer. Frederik is constantly looking to help organisation to gain more agility and to create happy workplaces

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Why Do We Use Fibonacci Series for Estimation

In this article, my focus is on sharing my experience as a Trainer/Mentor/Coach to Agile teams with respect to Agile estimations; and on using the Fibonacci sequence as scale to size the Story. What will you learn in this article? Agile practitioners mostly use Story points as a measure for estimation, typically using the Fibonacci scale. In this article we are going to understand the top reasons why we use the Fibonacci series for estimation, and how it works in practice. Before we get to the details, let us try to understand some of the fundamentals. Why do we need to estimate?Estimates help the project team to: Identify the time & effort required to arrive at the project schedule Identify the right number of people required to do the work Arrive at the budget by rolling up the cost of all activities required to complete the work; and Prioritize the work in conjunction with the value that will be delivered. Some software developers fear to provide effort estimates as they are accountable to complete their work within the time.  Hence, they take so much time to get into the details to make sure they have enough information to provide the estimates. This sometimes may not be possible during the beginning of the project as the team may not have enough information on hand to provide the effort estimates for all the tasks to be performed. Hence the order of magnitude (ROM, Budget or Definitive) will be applied at various stages during the project based on the available information to predict the effort needed to complete the activities. Agile Estimation  Typically, in traditional project management, effort estimations may or may not be agreed upon by the entire team. Estimates may either be given by the Project Manager/Tech Lead to the team or the developers/testers may estimate for the piece of work that they have been assigned. This way of estimating a project does not provide an opportunity for the team to collaborate. There may be a difference of opinion with the team members in the effort that need to be spent on an activity. The way the estimations are done within an Agile team is little different. It is just not about the measure used to estimate the effort (for example Story Points), but ensures that the team collaborate among themselves, thus providing an opportunity for knowledge sharing. This helps the accuracy of the estimates when compared to doing individual vs group estimates as the team members come from different backgrounds and roles (developers, testers, quality analysts, business analysts). An Agile team effort estimate focuses on relative sizing of user stories and does not focus on the duration; hence it is faster. The team learns to size the story relatively and accurately over a period of a few iterations (sprints), thus improving the predictability (arrived through establishing consistent velocity over a period of few iterations) as well.  Planning Poker is commonly used as the planning exercise for the team to collaborate and size the stories. Planning Poker uses Fibonacci sequence to assign a value to the epic/feature/story. What is Fibonacci Series?  According to Oxford dictionary, Fibonacci Series is : “ a series of numbers in which each number ( Fibonacci number ) is the sum of the two preceding numbers. The simplest is the series 1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, 89, 144 etc” The formula to arrive at a Fibonacci sequence is: Xn = Xn-1 + Xn-2 This sequence will be slightly modified when used in Agile estimations: typically, it will not have values beyond 100 and may have 0, ½, 1, 2, 3, 5,8, 13, 20, 40, 100. Some teams limit the highest value as 21 and use 0, 1/2, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21. Top 3 Reasons Why Using the Fibonacci Sequence Will Make You Better at Estimating Tasks  1. Weber–Fechner law: “The Weber–Fechner law refers to two related hypotheses in the field of psychophysics, known as Weber's law and Fechner's law. Both laws relate to human perception, more specifically the relation between the actual change in a physical stimulus and the perceived change. This includes stimuli to all senses: vision, hearing, taste, touch, and smell” Applying the law to Numerical Cognition,  “Psychological studies show that it becomes increasingly difficult to discriminate between two numbers as the difference between them decreases. This is called the distance effect. This is important in areas of magnitude estimation, such as dealing with large scales and estimating distances. It may also play a role in explaining why consumers neglect to shop around to save a small percentage on a large purchase, but will shop around to save a large percentage on a small purchase which represents a much smaller absolute dollar amount”  (source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weber%E2%80%93Fechner_law) The Fibonacci sequence very well corresponds to Weber’s law. The values in the Fibonacci sequence are about 60% higher than the previous value, and hence applying relative sizing is much easier. It is very challenging to distinguish the size of two numbers which are adjacent to each other, by just looking at the objects. Let us take an example of a football and cricket ball. The approximate diameter of a cricket ball would be 2.8 to 2.86 inches whereas the diameter of a football would be 8.66 inches. It is easy to distinguish the relative size of these two (i.e., approximately the diameter of a football is 3 times that of a cricket ball). However, it is very challenging to distinguish between two cricket balls that vary 1 inch in diameter, unless you measure both. If you look at the Fibonacci sequence, the relative size between two adjacent numbers is more than 60% and this helps us to be able to size them accordingly.   2. Reflect Uncertainty The smaller value assigned from the Fibonacci sequence to a user story usually means that the story is well understood, and the user story follows INVEST (Independent, Negotiable, Valuable, Estimable, Small and Testable) guidelines. Whereas the largest value denotes the story is not well understood or it needs to be broken down further. Smaller stories can be confidently estimated by the team in detail. A general practice from matured Agile teams is that the Fibonacci sequence is restricted up to 21 (0,1,1,2,3,5,8,13,21) and any story which is of size beyond 21 will have to be broken down further. This ensures that the team is not giving any room for greater uncertainty and good practice for the team to write better stories under the INVEST guidelines. 3. Comparison Though it is not mandatory to use Fibonacci sequence for story point estimations, the sequence is easier to understand and adoptable by the team. Individuals are better at comparison than estimation.  The easy sequence and distinguishable values of Fibonacci sequence helps to estimate by not measuring the objects but by comparison. How Does Fibonacci Agile Estimation Work in Practice?  When do you think is the right time for the Agile team to estimate user stories that are prioritized by the Product Owner in the product backlog? In my experience, I would say that the estimates (story point sizing) should happen during the Iteration/Sprint backlog grooming sessions. This gives the team the time to go through the user stories in detail, collaborate and mutually agree using the Planning Poker exercise.  Then what do we do in Sprint Planning? – This ceremony should be used to pick the stories from the product backlog (fulfils Definition of Ready), that can be completed within the iteration/sprint and then breakdown the stories into tasks and do one more level of estimation which is effort estimation denoted in hours. Let us say a team is assigned a task to estimate a reporting module to be developed: The team would agree that it is a difficult task to provide an effort estimation and it would take a longer time to complete; but how long will it take? Using Simple, Medium and Complex categorization would simply mean that the estimate falls into the Complex category; but how complex is it? Breaking down the requirement into granularized tasks, getting to the minute details and then arriving at an effort estimation would be a complex process and time consuming as well. Can the team take linear sequence (1,2,4,8,10,12,14,16….) and size them for a high-level estimation? Is it possible to size between 50 and 52? What can be defined as the highest scale? Using Fibonacci series helps the team to size the stories which have a distinguishable value and as discussed earlier, matured Agile teams use modified Fibonacci series and have highest scale of 21 to size a story. As discussed above, the Fibonacci numbers are 60% above than the previous number, and that helps in relative sizing. Summary There are various methods to estimate user stories, like T-Shirt sizing, Dot voting, Affinity Mapping etc. Story points is the widely used measurement for sizing the user stories. Fibonacci series helps the team to compare between two stories; and its very nature of distinguishable values helps them to fit the story into the right size that reflects uncertainties, which further helps the team to refine the story to remove those uncertainties. Hope this article was useful to you.
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Why Do We Use Fibonacci Series for Estimation

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Top Agile Methods for Better Productivity

When a Scrum development team works on the productivity of a team using the Agile methodology, the first thing that comes to attention is the metric used to measure how much work the team does in an iteration: velocity. On the contrary, using velocity helps a Scrum development team to determine a team’s average capability on a normal sprint followed by how much they will agree to achieve in the next sprint iteration. The velocity is not preferred to determine the team’s productivity as it is just a simple indicator based on past sprints.The thing that matters at the end is the result and what the team has produced. A team is not recommended to be pushed to fasten its velocity. In the end, the outcome might be unpredictable as the team might economize on acceptance testing, avoid fixing bugs, or minimize restructuring to reach the target velocity. The key to increasing the velocity of the team is to resort to focusing on optimal velocity over time instead of maximized velocity. This also determines the overall quality of the finished product. Here are the top Agile methods involved in Scrum to allow the team to be more productive over time. 1. Eradicating obstaclesOne of the most important duties of a Scrum Master is to get rid of obstacles early and throughout the development process. This begins with asking appropriate questions while User Stories are being written. This gives developers space and time to do their work. While they are working, a Scrum Master also protects the development team from any disturbances from the stakeholders.In situations when the team does get interrupted, it is recommended for the team members to contact the Scrum Master to get their queries and issues resolved. Having a clear and focused mind is the key to operating at the highest level.The most obvious step is to avoid distractions as they are the primary reason for decreasing a team’s productivity. The team is unable to focus when they are asked to clarify why their productivity went down.2. Daily scrum meetings An efficient team always has a small group of professionals, the numbers can go to a maximum of 9. Anything more than that leads to communication issues and more consumption of time in meetings or huddles. A bigger team, in cases, can be split into two or more. A big team leads to more complications and misunderstandings and hence, is not a good idea. A larger team means more loss in information while exchanging thoughts and ideas and that will result in everybody in the team spending more time and effort to get any message or data across. 3. Team Capacity It is a known fact that all the team members must attend the daily scrum every day. The meeting can last for not more than 15 minutes every day to get an overview of the proceedings and the advancement of the undertaken work. All the concerns and ideas put across and need solutions during the meetings can be parked so that all of them can be addressed together. Any topic not related to the purpose of the meeting can be talked about at a fixed but separate time of the day.Furthermore, communicating with each other during the meeting will help in exchanging more information.4. Product backlog The backlog is the key to knowing where a product goes and what needs to be created on priority. So, everything in a project must be kept and properly maintained via a backlog. User Stories should have enough details and can be reordered in case of a change in priority. More accurate User Stories lead to less time consumption for the development team to understand them.An up to date and well-maintained backlog during an Agile project should have enough User Stories for at least one or two sprints.5. Constantly improving mindsetScrum is a continuous method that involves development because the whole method can be changed, not just the software. The point is to find something that requires alterations and to achieve it in the next sprint. This allows the team to tackle one issue at a time and move forward.Finding a clear move in the sprint retrospective to support the team is necessary. Someone must take ownership to act and make things work. This can be achieved by initiating small, easy actions that are less time-consuming first. During a sprint retrospective, it is recommended to take suggestions from each attendee and go for the most appropriate one. After that, a plan will be laid out to realize the chosen idea.6. Interruption bufferWhile running an application in production, it is necessary to keep maintaining and providing new features. However, there can be interruptions, like a bug that needs to be reported urgently or another team needing a developer for assistance. The point is, Sprints will be prone to interruptions, and provisions must be made to deal with these problems. A capable Scrum Master will log all these interruptions noting the number of interruptions, the time consumed in dealing with them and then add them to the next sprint.7. Have a vision of the task at handThe team works more efficiently in getting the deliverables when the Scrum Master already has laid out a blueprint to work on. This also includes having metrics and other relevant charts displayed, doing which will also let stakeholders and colleagues track the production rate.Refreshing the burndown chart daily and displaying the desired sprint result will reflect the customer or team satisfaction. Furthermore, a roadmap showing the working of the product will further enhance the vision of the team. There are multiple ways of sharing information to give everybody the idea of how things are going on while working on the product.To concludeWhen looking at the broader picture of the correct way to motivate a team to get the desired output, a successful team follows a very realistic and simple approach by using plain common sense that is instilled by the Scrum Master. Understanding how the team works and realizing the working style of each team member is one of the most important observations of an adept Scrum Master. It is a collaborative effort that cannot be done by one person but needs responsible efforts from every working member on the task. After all, it is not about ‘Me’ but ‘Us’ that helps in building a product successfully on time.
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Top Agile Methods for Better Productivity

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How Does an Agile Mindset Pave the Way for Professional Success?

In the days before the advent of Agile, most large organizations were run with a bureaucratic mindset. Even as Agile has taken over the world of work today, a large number of professionals and organizations are yet to embrace the Agile mindset as they are stuck in the traditional paradigm.  Traditionally, the primary focus of managers in a top-down hierarchy has been on bringing in funds for the organization and its investors, even as they are sorting out work in line with the rules, jobs, and criteria that have been pre-determined. The existence of a bureaucratic mindset, therefore, promotes hierarchy over collaboration. When the workforce has a bureaucratic attitude, the productivity at an organizational level gets impeded. This is especially the case in situations that are subject to rapid changes concerning business needs,opportunities, or challenges.. What is an Agile mindset? An Agile mindset is a mentality of having a positive, feedback-based,and flexible perspective. This mindset places high regard on mutual respect, collaboration, improvement, iterative construction, and learning cycles. It takes pride in ownership, lays focus on delivering value, and has the inherent ability to adapt to change. An agile mindset is critical to cultivating high-performing teams, capable of delivering amazing value for their customers. The Characteristic Traits of An Agile Mindset An agile mindset can be identified by certain behavioral traits. These are applicable at the level of an individual, team, and enterprise at large.  High degree of collaborative efforts: Teamwork is crucial to foster an Agile mindset. Those who wish to cultivate this mindset should have a thorough understanding of objectives, deliverables, and ownership. Tolerance, mutual respect, and a team-player’s attitude are essential for effective collaboration. Self-motivated: A certain sense of motivation will be displayed by professionals having this mindset. They are often driven enough to execute tasks until completion and even develop better strategies to perform tasks. Self-motivated teams are empowered teams as they are capable of driving success with their efforts while taking responsibility for their actions at the same time. Customer-focused and outcome-driven: Delivering value to customers within the stipulated deadlines and budget is second nature to those with an Agile mindset. Customer’s needs are top priority and an outcome-based approach will be followed to meet them.Speed and Transparency: A quick turnaround time is a hallmark of Agile environments. Work is often done in small increments over time while the feedback loops are shortened to boost progress and reduce errors. Transparency is a trait that every member of the team should possess so that work can be entrusted to them without a second thought. Getting Ahead with An Agile Mindset  A significant aspect of having an Agile mindset is an individual’s willingness to remain unfazed in failure, yet open to learning and growing to prevent the same mistakes. As a professional in the dynamic digital age, one has no option but to embrace changes.  With new technologies, work processes and customer demands emerging daily, cultivating an Agile mindset has become imperative for professional growth. Farsighted organizations have already embarked on their Agile journeys, with 92% senior executives globally believing that organizational agility is critical to business success.  This calls for the need of an Agile workforce and translates into greater opportunities for skilled professionals with an Agile mindset. The true adoption of the Agile mindset cannot happen over-night, it takes a gradual shift in perspectives which will eventually guarantee lasting returns. Attending workshops led by Agile experts is a great way to get started with one’s journey towards developing an Agile mindset. Not only will it help shape one’s mindset but also open doors to exciting opportunities in Agile. 
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How Does an Agile Mindset Pave the Way for Profess...

In the days before the advent of Agile, most large... Read More