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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?

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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 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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Failures in Agile Transformation

With the increase in Agile adoption across the organization, the stories are piling up too. Now the question is, are these success stories or the failure stances. Usually, in the conferences or meetups, you get to meet people from various establishments, this is just another way of getting to hear what worked or what not. Even in your own organization, you can feel the pulse of the transformation. There are many reasons why we end up with messy transformation, I have tried elaborating few in the discussion today but there’s more to it. As you read, you might connect with some of the points, let’s start the digging:1. AIMING ON PROCESSES AND NOT PEOPLEThe inclination of Agile is more towards people or individuals, we talk about empowering team, making them self-organized. We even talk about creating high performing teams which can deliver maximum value by the end of every increment. With the adoption of Scrum, where the core values involve Focus, Openness, Respect, Commitment and Courage at the root level, the ‘people’ factor becomes important. Ultimately, it the ‘people’ who work at the ground level for client satisfaction, to achieve this, they adopt processes for smoother workflow. That’s it! Organizations, during their transformation, tend to overlook this critical piece. Their approach becomes more inclined towards processes and they start considering Agile as a process but in fact, Agile is more of a mindset change. Process starts getting priority over people or individuals, always remember, process is just for supporting or helping the individuals with their work. People are not for the processes, even one of the four principles in the agile manifesto says: “Individuals and Interactions over Processes and tools”. I was surprised to hear in one of the trainings’ that people in the same team are using mail to communicate around the stories/deliverables. Can we not give preference to face to face interactions?2. MICROMANAGING THROUGH CEREMONIESSelf-organization is one of entities in Agile, the core says, trust your teams. Micromanagement not only hinders creativity, but it also impacts the morale of agile teams. Management or the scrum master should refrain from getting into the minute details during the scrum ceremonies. Most of the times, it is observed that the daily scrum gets converted into a status meeting either for the scrum master or for the technical lead. As a Scrum Master, you should help the team getting self-organized rather than being directive. One of the principles from Agile talks about giving the space and trust: “The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.” This enables the team to find their own solutions, helps them with innovation and most of all, teaches them the value of being a team. Every ceremony has its own schema and none of the ceremony is to track individual chores. You must trust your teams, remember, trust can do wonders, believe me, if you trust your people, they will never let you down. Here comes another principles’ focusing on the same. “Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need and trust them to get the job done.”3. Hastening the TransformationAny change, whether it is for the system or for an individual, takes time. When was the last time you promised yourself to change one of your habits, was that easy? Almost every individual at the start of the year takes so many resolutions, how many do you think gets accomplished! Same goes with the transformation, it takes time and you will have to give because it is not just about the individual, it is about the organization. When the transformation journey starts, the delivery teams take the maximum heat. They are the ones who are expected to be Agile BUT the management usually lags, they are still in need of mindset to support the change. Just by doing the agile ceremonies is not being Agile, it comes with a wide variety of shift, be it - culture, technical, management or team. You have to accept that it is going to be a challenging journey which will have its own milestones and you cannot skip those. Also, it is long journey with hiccups, be ready to accept the challenges, learn from the mistakes and come up with the action items to improve.4. Scrum Roles Getting a Back SeatWhen teams in agile are formed, some of the roles are asked to play dual. In such scenarios, scrum master roles can be played either by the team lead or by someone who is ready for that extra piece. Though the role gets played, but the essence of this position goes for a toss. The focus just stays on delivery without instilling the purpose.  The organisation needs to acknowledge that scrum master'sis a fulltime job that helps teams in staying on track, motivated and helps them see their own progress through information radiators. Anyone else playing a dual role might not do justice and end up walking on two different tracks - not able to reach the goal in both the positions. The team needs someone who can teach, mentor, train and be with them. Just forming the team is not enough if the organization doesn't follow the best practices, such cases tend to get trapped.5. Lack of support from Middle managementIn my past experiences with the organizations in transformation mode, usually the middle layer is where the problem brews. Transformations get a go ahead from the top layer, but it gets difficult for the middle management to adopt. It is important to ensure alignment among the leaders of the organization on the aspiration and value of the transformation is done before moving ahead with the approach. In another example we can see a project manager being insecure as most of the juggling is being handled by the scrum master. In such cases, to prove their existence, the middle layer starts getting into the little details, this impacts the team as half the time they are functioning as per the project manager. Due to this, we hear a lot about the role of scrum master being questioned on their responsibilities. They are assumed to be just sitting and watching, in other words, doing nothing! According to the research led by AgileTurkey.org in Turkey in 2018, the two major hindrances to agile transformation were found out to be the resistance to transformation and culture transformation. Existing managers have a lot to do in order to manage with these two major challenges, they should be part of the transformation beginning from themselves, their day-to-day actions, and should guide the whole company by being supportive of the process.6. Tools over mindsetWith the transformation comes the need to use fancy tools and abide by ‘laws of the tools. Some feel proud in using the costliest tool, some make it a point to introduce the tool being used by the competitor. But is it worth it? Transformation can be done using ‘MS Excel’, there is no set protocol for focusing on the tool. Though the tools play an important part, but teams should focus on Agility and Scrum framework first and then on tools. You certainly need to track metrics like velocity, burn-down, estimates. But with the right mindset, the goal can be achieved with no trouble. This doesn't mean tools are bad, but it means mindset should be given priority over the extensive use of tools.7. Transformation as a Destination (Thinking Your Transformation Is Done)Many a time, we hear ‘We are now agile, we transformed in so and so year’ and what not. But is agile a destination, NO, it a journey, a never-ending journey. Some teams think just by implementing a bunch of backlogs, doing the ceremonies and tracking metrics, they are Agile. No, they are not!Whatever way out we have today are based on our experience, knowledge and the situation we are in. If any of the factors change, our solutioning will be different. Both the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto point to the continuity of the process. Responding to change over following a plan relates appropriately as much to the processes as to our sprint outputs. We have to understand that process is never whole. You just have to continue reflecting what worked and how to fine tune the process whenever required.8. Misunderstood cross-functional teamEvery time I speak about the delivery teams, at least one of the participants from the audience ask this question “We say it's a cross functional team, but my tester is not ready to code!” Have we understood it correct? None of the processes are bad, it is about how we adopt them that makes a difference. “Cross Functional Doesn’t Mean Everyone Can Do Everything, a cross-functional team has members with a variety of skills, but that does not mean each member has all of the skills.”  – Mike Cohn. This interpretation of cross-functional imposes a pressure on the delivery team which breaks the team apart and is sometimes the cause of conflicts among the members. As per scrum guide – “Cross functional teams are groups consisting of people from different functional areas of the company. – it should be formed not only with technical specialists (Back-end, Front-end developers, QA engineers, etc.), but also consists of member like Business Analysts, Marketing and UX specialists or anyone else taking an active part in the project.”9. Scrum for AllJust because everyone is going that way doesn’t mean that way is for you too! It is necessary to understand the current and what exactly you want it to be once the journey starts.  Scrum is one of the frameworks to help with complex adaptive projects, but it is not for all the products or projects. If you are transforming your IT helpdesk department, scrum might come out as a failure, the support team cannot say that they will be delivering 10 high priority tickets after the end of sprint, where sprint duration ranges from two week to a month. Second scenario can be the team handling production defects. But this does not mean that Scrum is bad, no it is not. It is just that these scenarios are not meant for Scrum.Every story is different and so are the reasons, as said earlier as well, this is not just a complete list, there can numerous other details depending on the situation. I will be happy to hear your viewpoints on the misalignment and disorientation. Lastly, it is significant to focus more on the people, the mindset and the collaboration to get better results.
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Failures in Agile Transformation

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Scrum Master Salary

How much does a Scrum Master earn? How prolific being a Scrum Master is? These are quite relatively simple and common questions but answering them is not that simple. Scrum Master was created around 1992 by Jeff Sutherland and his teams and is quite a new term. Nevertheless, it has not taken long to establish its importance to companies across the world. Scrum Master is currently one of the most promising jobs in the world.In this article, we will cover various aspects of a Scrum Master salary, such as how much a Scrum Master earns, what affects it and how, what the future prospects of a Scrum Master are in terms of salary structure and growth, and why Scrum Masters earn so much.How much does a Scrum Master Earn?According to Payscale, on an entry-level, Scrum Masters in India earn an average of Rs 723,565 per year, going up as high as Rs 1,486,991. In the USA, the average entry-level scrum master salary is $79,309 per year, the highest reaching a six-figure mark of $107,957. However, with more experience, the figures become interestingly better and here is how. Once again, Payscale search results indicate that an experienced Scrum Master in India earns an average of Rs 1,441,276 per annum with the maximum earnings going as high as Rs 2,078,905. Similar reports show that an experienced Scrum Master in the USA earns $103,566 per year on an average, earning as high as $134,203.Below mentioned are statistics from Payscale:Scrum Master Experience/CountryIndiaUSAEntry-Level Scrum MasterRs 723,565 p.a.(Rs 1,486,991 highest)$79,309 p.a.($107,957 highest)Experienced Scrum MasterRs 1,441,276 p.a.(Rs 2,078,905 highest)$103,566 p.a.($134,203 highest)The 2018 research by Glassdoor state that the Scrum Masters are one of the highest paid professionals in the USA, with the average salary being $98,239 and vacancies as high as 1,876. Cities such as New York, Atlanta, Charlotte, Columbus, and Richmond are considered to be the best and most prolific places for the Scrum Masters to work in.Evidently, the figures above are quite staggering and impressive, showing us how fruitful and career aspiring being a Scrum Master is.Here is a table of content for Average Scrum Master salary based on regions:Scrum Master Salary/RegionUSAINDIACANADAGBRAUSTRALIAAverage Scrum Master Salary/yearUS$93,2851,411,000CA$87,000£51,124A$110,000And here is the average salary based on various Scrum certifications:Scrum Master CertificationsSalary in US$/YearCertified Scrum Master (CSM)89,150Professional Scrum Master (PSM )91,000Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)108,000Agile Scrum Master (ASM)115,000Scrum Master Certified (SMC)115,000SAFe Scrum Master114,546Salaries that Top Companies pay the Scrum MastersScrum has become so popular down the years that an incredible number of the major software companies adopt its methodology and ways of solving issues.According to the Scrum Guide, Scrum has been adopted by a vast number of software development companies around the world.Apart from being religiously used in manufacturing, operations, education, marketing and other fields, Scrum has been an important problem-solving tool for all the major software companies.Provided that you have the skills to deal with conflicts and are a proven facilitator, you have a great chance to join any of the top companies who are hiring skilled Scrum Masters like you.Glassdoor job search results in India reveal that the major companies hiring Scrum Masters are:Companies Hiring Scrum MastersAverage Salary in INR/yearCisco Systems2,200,000Capgemini1,487,461Amdocs1,279,001Tata Consultancy Services1,243,340Cognizant Technology Solutions1,242,530Wipro1,019,654Accenture1,000,975And in the USA, Scrum Masters are highly sought after by these major brands:Companies Hiring Scrum MastersAverage Salary in US$/yearTransUnion104,728Thomson Reuters104,130UnitedHealth Group97,904Ciber97,156IBM93,403J.P. Morgan91,786Capital One87,732AT&T85,977In the past few years, the pay structure for Scrum Masters has increased at a relatively quick pace. Although Scrum’s popularity status continues to get better, being a Scrum Master is undoubtedly a tough task because what a Scrum Master needs is more like servant leadership skills, and that is the primary asset a Scrum Master needs to possess. After all, it is all about following the Agile-Scrum tactics to finish projects on time along with keeping the quality of the end product intact.Factors affecting a Scrum Master’s salaryThere are many factors that determine how much a Scrum Master earns. Some of the key ones are:1. ExperienceThis is one of the most important criteria, if not the most important one. Like discussed in the previous section of this article, not only the salary of a Scrum Master increases with experience, the job role and position in an organisation gets better as well. Here are a few of the required skills/experience:In terms of landing a better Scrum master job with high pay package, it is recommended for a professional to have worked as a Scrum Master for a minimum of one year with a software development team, one that was diligently applying Scrum principles, practices, and theoryAdequate skills in and understanding of servant leadership, facilitation, situational awareness, conflict resolution, continual improvement, empowerment, and increasing transparency.2. The skills required by the job roleAnother important one. A Scrum Master’s role is not restricted to particular job designation. The more you know about the other Agile approaches in problem-solving, the better your job role and salary will be. By Agile approaches, we are talking about XP, Kanban, Crystal, FDD, etc3. Awareness of multiple Agile techniquesTo get better job opportunities, it is preferred to have knowledge of widely successful Agile techniques such as:User StoriesATDDTDDContinuous IntegrationContinuous testingPairingAutomated TestingAgile Games4. Applicable knowledge of the technologiesA particular organisation will pay you a better package for a Scrum Master if you have a sound grip over the type of technology they use to run their business. Why? It is simple. If you are aware of the system they work in, then they do not have to work on much in getting you in sync with the way they work in their organisation5. Knowledge of appropriate patterns and techniquesA progressive Scrum Master always thinks of using a variety of relevant well-documented patterns and techniques for filling in the intentional gaps left in the Scrum approach, such as Burndown technologies, various Retrospective formats, handling bugs and many more6. Location of the jobThe salary of a Scrum Master depends massively on where the job posting is. If the living standard of a particular city is high, so are the chances of getting a higher pay package. On the other hand, a city having a comparatively lower standard of living renders the Scrum Masters with a lesser salary range.Reason for Scrum Masters being so valuedWhy are the Scrum Masters paid so much? What do the Scrum Masters have to offer that makes them so vital to organisations? After all, in the past few years, Scrum methods have swiftly brought in a revolutionary change in project handling and problem-solving matters.We are living in times when software needs to be delivered on time after much feedback, changes, supervision. Collaboration with frequent updates and patches. To meet the delivery deadline, it is essential to keep the team members connected and in sync, preferably face-to-face. This is critical as the team working on the project should be well informed, collaborated and kept up to date throughout the project. Failure to execute any one of these steps would lead to a breakdown in software, the end result being loss of business, not to forget the reputation of the relevant organisation being tarnished.Nowadays, companies prefer the Agile workflow and are aware of the importance of a Scrum Master in an organisation. Converting a team into a productive one and self-organised by following the Agile practices without any fail, that’s what Scrum Masters do and that is what makes them special.
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Scrum Master Salary

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Differences Between Agile Coach and Scrum Master

There is an exponential increase in the demand for Agile Coaches in the market. But at the same time, there is a lot of confusion regarding the differences and commonalities between an Agile Coach and Scrum Master. When the teams are already being coached by Scrum Masters, what is the need for an Agile Coach?It is really important to understand that there are many similarities between the two roles. Both Agile Coach and Scrum Masters are responsible to help develop an Agile mindset in their organisations. Even the techniques that they use to support and facilitate their teams are very similar. The difference lies in their scope.In this article, we are going to discuss the key differences between and see how a Scrum Master and Agile Coach complement each other and play important roles.Agile Coach vs. Scrum MasterScrum MasterAgile CoachFocus AreasWorks with one Scrum teamApply the basic Scrum practicesWorks with multiple Agile teamsDefines what has to be done, how, who does it, etc.KnowledgebaseScrum practicesScrum and other frameworks like Kanban, Scaling Methods, etc.ExperienceLess than 5 years in ScrumGreater than 5 years in multiple frameworksSalary$115,766$149,867Now, let us take a deeper and clearer look at the differences between the two roles.The Scrum MasterAs a facilitator of an agile development team, a Scrum Master is responsible for managing the process of how information flows. The Scrum Master is like a leader for his Scrum team and focuses on a single team or at the most, a couple of teams. He is up-to-date with everything that is taking place inside the workplace, and knows the whole team inside out.The Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum MasterMake sure the team is well trained and is working in accordance with the Scrum framework and Agile practices.Impediment solving, that is, anticipate, identify, track, and remove any impediments that the Scrum team faces or might face.Manage and drive the Agile process, that is, scope and timeline of the entire project.The Agile CoachThe Agile Coach is expected to have a deep understanding of multiple Agile methodologies which are beyond the Scrum Framework.The main focus of an Agile Coach is not to support individual team members but rather implement an Agile working method in an organisation. Unlike Scrum Master, an Agile Coach is not a part of a specific Scrum team. The role of being an Agile Coach is independent and has the responsibility to coach various teams or management.An Agile Coach works directly with teams or works via a team’s management. Moreover, they work with Scrum Masters and managers to help increase a team’s agility.The Roles and Responsibilities of an Agile CoachOffer new tools and techniques to promote a healthy group dynamic.Make sure that teams work together effectively. For example, implementation of Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) that requires active coordination at a team and enterprise level.Make the individual employees as well as the various teams aware of their strengths and weaknesses in order to develop a collective Agile mindset.In summaryThe roles of an Agile Coach and Scrum Master are used interchangeably, which is counted as a risky move. Though the roles of Agile Coach and Scrum Master have a lot in common, there are a lot of differences as well. Agile Coaches deal with the process and not the content, and are most in-demand when an organization is transitioning to Agile.You can gain distinct benefits out of both roles, all you need to know is how to leverage their skillsets and make the most out of the same to reap the benefits of Agile adoption.
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Differences Between Agile Coach and Scrum Master

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