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Who Is a CSPO? - Roles and Responsibilities

1.1 What is a Product Owner?A Product Owner is a role defined in Scrum. Scrum is a framework for complex product development (*). The Product Owner is responsible for maximising the value of the product resulting from the work performed the Development Team. The role exists in Scrum to have 1 person with a clear accountability of WHAT product or service will be built. The Product Owner role is also used as a title outside Scrum, in other frameworks, but if you want to understand the definition of the role and responsibilities of a Product Owner, you need to start to look and to understand it in the scope of a Scrum Team. (*) (“product”, to be defined in context, this is a generic term for the product or service being developed for the end-users)(*) (“development”, also to be defined in context, this is a generic term for all activities needed to create and deliver value to the end-users)1.2 What’s the job profile of a Product Owner?The Product Owner role is Scrum is a role, both with a tactical, strategical and operational aspect. The Product Owner role is critical as the role is kept by 1 person (and 1 person only) for a specific product. Having 1 person holding the role simplifies the accountability in terms of having 1 spokesperson for product ownership and accountability of maximising value. This doesn’t mean that all activities are to be done by the Product Owner; otherwise the Product Owner could become a bottleneck. The Product Owner does remain accountable at all times. To be able to do the job, the Product Owner has business (domain) knowledge, affinity with end-users, affinity with “development” (activities needed to deliver a piece of value), and knowledge of how to do agile product management. Product management is a multi-disciplinary job, and it involves to understand, empathise, quickly inspect & adapt, each time with the accountability to make the right choices in terms of what to built next, in order to continuously (incrementally) deliver value to end-users. In order to better understand what kind of profile is needed to fulfil the product owner role, it’s valuable to list skills required and activities performed.When looking for a Product Owner, you’re looking for a profile with generic product management skills and product-specific skills.  The generic skills are needed to be able make decisions on a strategic and tactical level.People skills a Product Owner must have:A Product Owner also needs people skills:To empathise with users of the productTo build connections with stakeholders and to create a healthy working relationship with the team building the product. These people skills include- to be able to listen (to stakeholders, end users, team members), to translate information (between people with a different background), to be able to make  informed decisions without undermining longer-term objectives, etc.The product-specific skills are defined by the product or service that’s being built. This includes all the activities to understand the market, the needs, the job the product or service will fulfil, user-journeys, also more technical product-specific knowledge, legislation (if applicable), financial implications and any other constraintIn his book Product Mastery “From Good to Great Product Ownership”, Geoff Watts describes the skills of Product Owners with the acronym “1.3 Product Owner role and responsibilitiesThe role of Product Owner can be quite challenging and high-demanding. When reading The Scrum Guide, it says that product backlog management is the main activity for a Product Owner. The product backlog is a tool to ensure it’s clear what’s needed in the product and what’s the most valuable thing to build next. Managing a backlog, and refining items on the product backlog is a continuous activity.  The Product Owner often serves as the spokesperson of the product. This means he/she needs to be able to answers questions appropriately, for example regarding product vision, roadmap, planning, why certain choices have been made, etc. This also includes NOT answering certain questions, because the Product Owner knows the development team is in a more appropriate position to answer the question more accurately, and as well to facilitate a conversation with the development team involved.Go through other roles and responsibilities of Product Owner here.1.4 How does a Product Owner manage various stakeholders desires for the product?The Product Owner has the challenging task to manage requirements and desires of stakeholders. Each stakeholders will certainly advocate his/her demands are the most important. Here are some recommendations on how a Product Owner can deal with this:Treat requirements & desires as “desirements”, meaning, until by learning or by end-user feedback has been proven that the “desirement” is valuable, treat it as a hypothesisKeep the product backlog and its ordening as transparent as possible to all stakeholdersDon’t be seduced to prioritising in categories such as high, medium, low priority. A product backlog is ordered, no two items can have the same priority.Use techniques to prioritise impacts (impact mapping), simulations to learn stakeholders to prioritise (e.g. buy a feature), techniques to slice for value (user story mapping) 1.5 CSPO vs PSPO CSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Product Owner role. PSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Profession Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by scrum.org, specifically for the Product Owner role.In my opinion, both certifications are equivalent and define a high-quality standard. There’s a difference in the way of obtaining certifications and how to maintain this. Certifications issued by Scrum Alliance are obtained by taking an online exam after mandatory attending a 2-day training given by a Certified Scrum Trainer.Certifications issued by scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending a training. Certifications issued by scrum.org do not expire. Of course, to test and validate your knowledge, having a decent understanding of the product owner role is mandatory, therefore preparation and study are key. Participating in a training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended.1.6 Product owner in agile software development The manifesto of agile software development does not specify anything about the Product Owner role. Therefore, it’s perfectly possible to have an agile team without a Product Owner.The manifesto for agile software development does state a few principles which illustrate how we want to work regarding product and value delivery, for example:“Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software;”“Welcome changing requirements, even late in development;”“Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale;”“Business people and developers must work together daily; ““Working software is the primary measure of progress;”You can interpret these principles as following, in what you should NOT be doing…Waste time & effort creating long-term plans, long cycle times, etc without actually delivery usable product increments to the end-users, …Waste time & effort on unnecessary specifications; unfinished product (“inventory”); or unvalidated requirements (which are assumptions in disguise), …Waste time & effort on unnecessary handovers between business people and development teams, …Waste time & effort on assuming what’s valuable for the end-users, and not verifying this by letting end-users try out working software and based upon their feedback, inspect & adapt, improve the product together, …Wasting time & effort in demanding upfront detailed estimates for unreasonable long periods (e.g. all estimates for the next year…)Wasting time & effort on detailed long-term planning, fixing agreements, treating change as evil, …1.7 Product owner in Scaling AgileLets first make the statement that you need to consider it twice before blindly scaling up any development efforts. In general, we are trying to deliver value by keeping things simple, simplify working processes, and collaborate to maximise effectiveness and customer satisfaction. In case you need to align several development teams to work together on the same product, take the following into account:A product has 1 product owner, this means in case of several teams developing on the same product, there’s 1 product ownerA product is defined as something meaningful and valuable for a customer or end-user, not a technical componentA product has 1 product backlog, as long the product lives, the product backlog existsA product owner can delegate areas of the product to other product owners, but take care to not have “proxy” product owners, with a mandate to decide. The ‘chief’ product owner remains accountable for overall prioritisation. Some scaling frameworks make a distinction between “product management” and “product ownership”, in any case ensure there’s alignment regarding product management, no conflict in priorities, and no unnecessary handovers of information.1.8 Who is accountable for the business value delivered by a Scrum team?The Product Owner is responsible for maximising the value. A Scrum Team collaborates to deliver value together. The Product Owner remains  accountable.1.9 What exactly is the role of the Product Owner during the Daily Scrum?The Product Owner is not required to attend the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is an inspect & adapt time-boxed event for the development and performed by the development. This is defined in this way because otherwise the Daily Scrum will quickly be run as a status meeting (and not a daily planning event). Of course, the Product Owner can be present during the Daily Scrum, as it’s a great moment to check-in with a team, listen how a team is synchronising, ask and answer questions - after the Daily Scrum. The Product Owner, nor the Scrum Master should be leading the Daily Scrum. They can be present, but the Daily Scrum is an activity (‘Scrum’ metaphor of Rugby), for and by the development team. The Product Owner defines a sprint goal (a sprint is a time-boxed iteration to deliver a potentially shippable product increment); the Development Team inspects its progress on a daily basis towards that sprint goal, using the sprint backlog.1.10 What are certain anti-patterns regarding Product Owner?Some example anti-patterns regarding Product Owners; this can be used in an exercise to coach Product Owners. Ask what should be done to be the WORSE Product OwnerIdentify what’s actually being done of that listIdentify what should be STOPPED doing, in order to improveSome anti-patterns of Product Ownership Becoming a bottleneck in communication, so that’s there’s a delay in the flow of value between the development team, end-users, and stakeholders, …Taking decisions in isolation, so that the reason why decisions are taken are not known, nor understood, …Specifying technical solutions, and not articulating the business value, … (technical solutions are the responsibility of a development team)Pressuring the speed of delivery, resulting in less quality and inability to validate if value is being delivered, …Not listening to the product development team’s recommendations, not engaging in any healthy dialogue, …Not articulating the product’s vision, and/or strategy, resulting in development teams functioning as “feature factory”, without investigating what’s valuable and what’s not, …Inadequate product backlog management, resulting in unready items to plan, long inventory, unclear prioritisation, …Not accepting or rejecting work according to the definition of done, resulting in unclear standards of what’s a done product increment, …Not thinking how to delivery slices of value, forcing development teams to deliver components, instead of ready-to-use product increments, …Not facilitating a sprint reviewNot participating in any retrospectiveNot updating any forecast after finishing a sprintNot engaging with end-users / customers to get feedback etc2 What is the process to get a CSPO certificate?You can also follow the below steps to understand clearly.Find a Certified Scrum Product Owner course on the Scrum Alliance websiteRead and understand the Scrum GuideRead and understand the manifesto for agile software developmentRead and understand the learning objectives of a CSPO courseAttend the 2-day CSPO courseComplete the online CSPO exam, the fee is included in the course price. After completing the course, your Scrum Trainer will upload your user information into the system of Scrum Alliance, next you’ll receive an invite to do the online exam. Recommended books and material to read and further prepare:Articles by Roman Pichler,Book Product Mastery, by Geoff Watts,  Path forward after CSPO at Scrum AllianceCertification gives you access to a renewable, two-year membership with Scrum Alliance. As a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO™), you can continue your educational development to become an:Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO™)Certified Scrum Professional - Product Owner (CSP-PO™)Certified Team Coach (CTC™)Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC™) Certified Scrum Trainer (CST™)Remember, if you’re starting as Product Owner, the CSPO certification is only the start of your journey!ConclusionBeing a product owner is a satisfying job! You are the main spokesperson for the product. You act as a catalyst between the Development Team and the outside world. You take decisions to maximise product value while taking into account various constraints.Scale-up your Scrum Journey with our live online CSPO® training. Check it out here.

Who Is a CSPO? - Roles and Responsibilities

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Who Is a CSPO? - Roles and Responsibilities

1.1 What is a Product Owner?

A Product Owner is a role defined in Scrum. Scrum is a framework for complex product development (*). The Product Owner is responsible for maximising the value of the product resulting from the work performed the Development Team. The role exists in Scrum to have 1 person with a clear accountability of WHAT product or service will be built. The Product Owner role is also used as a title outside Scrum, in other frameworks, but if you want to understand the definition of the role and responsibilities of a Product Owner, you need to start to look and to understand it in the scope of a Scrum Team. 

(*) (“product”, to be defined in context, this is a generic term for the product or service being developed for the end-users)

(*) (“development”, also to be defined in context, this is a generic term for all activities needed to create and deliver value to the end-users)

1.2 What’s the job profile of a Product Owner?

The Product Owner role is Scrum is a role, both with a tactical, strategical and operational aspect. The Product Owner role is critical as the role is kept by 1 person (and 1 person only) for a specific product. Having 1 person holding the role simplifies the accountability in terms of having 1 spokesperson for product ownership and accountability of maximising value. This doesn’t mean that all activities are to be done by the Product Owner; otherwise the Product Owner could become a bottleneck. The Product Owner does remain accountable at all times. 

To be able to do the job, the Product Owner has business (domain) knowledge, affinity with end-users, affinity with “development” (activities needed to deliver a piece of value), and knowledge of how to do agile product management. Product management is a multi-disciplinary job, and it involves to understand, empathise, quickly inspect & adapt, each time with the accountability to make the right choices in terms of what to built next, in order to continuously (incrementally) deliver value to end-users. 

In order to better understand what kind of profile is needed to fulfil the product owner role, it’s valuable to list skills required and activities performed.

When looking for a Product Owner, you’re looking for a profile with generic product management skills and product-specific skills. 

 The generic skills are needed to be able make decisions on a strategic and tactical level.
Job profile of a Product owner

People skills a Product Owner must have:

A Product Owner also needs people skills:

  • To empathise with users of the product
  • To build connections with stakeholders and to create a healthy working relationship with the team building the product. 

These people skills include- to be able to listen (to stakeholders, end users, team members), to translate information (between people with a different background), to be able to make  informed decisions without undermining longer-term objectives, etc.

The product-specific skills are defined by the product or service that’s being built. This includes all the activities to understand the market, the needs, the job the product or service will fulfil, user-journeys, also more technical product-specific knowledge, legislation (if applicable), financial implications and any other constraint

In his book Product Mastery “From Good to Great Product Ownership”, Geoff Watts describes the skills of Product Owners with the acronym “

Product Owner skills
1.3 Product Owner role and responsibilities
Product Owner role and responsibilities

The role of Product Owner can be quite challenging and high-demanding.

 When reading The Scrum Guide, it says that product backlog management is the main activity for a Product Owner. The product backlog is a tool to ensure it’s clear what’s needed in the product and what’s the most valuable thing to build next. Managing a backlog, and refining items on the product backlog is a continuous activity. 

 The Product Owner often serves as the spokesperson of the product. This means he/she needs to be able to answers questions appropriately, for example regarding product vision, roadmap, planning, why certain choices have been made, etc. This also includes NOT answering certain questions, because the Product Owner knows the development team is in a more appropriate position to answer the question more accurately, and as well to facilitate a conversation with the development team involved.

Go through other roles and responsibilities of Product Owner here.

1.4 How does a Product Owner manage various stakeholders desires for the product?

The Product Owner has the challenging task to manage requirements and desires of stakeholders. Each stakeholders will certainly advocate his/her demands are the most important. 

Here are some recommendations on how a Product Owner can deal with this:

  • Treat requirements & desires as “desirements”, meaning, until by learning or by end-user feedback has been proven that the “desirement” is valuable, treat it as a hypothesis
  • Keep the product backlog and its ordening as transparent as possible to all stakeholders
  • Don’t be seduced to prioritising in categories such as high, medium, low priority. A product backlog is ordered, no two items can have the same priority.
  • Use techniques to prioritise impacts (impact mapping), simulations to learn stakeholders to prioritise (e.g. buy a feature), techniques to slice for value (user story mapping) 

1.5 CSPO vs PSPO 

CSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Product Owner role. 

PSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Profession Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by scrum.org, specifically for the Product Owner role.

In my opinion, both certifications are equivalent and define a high-quality standard. There’s a difference in the way of obtaining certifications and how to maintain this. 

Certifications issued by Scrum Alliance are obtained by taking an online exam after mandatory attending a 2-day training given by a Certified Scrum Trainer.

Certifications issued by scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending a training. Certifications issued by scrum.org do not expire. Of course, to test and validate your knowledge, having a decent understanding of the product owner role is mandatory, therefore preparation and study are key. Participating in a training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended.

1.6 Product owner in agile software development 

The manifesto of agile software development does not specify anything about the Product Owner role. Therefore, it’s perfectly possible to have an agile team without a Product Owner.

The manifesto for agile software development does state a few principles which illustrate how we want to work regarding product and value delivery, for example:

  • “Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software;”
  • “Welcome changing requirements, even late in development;”
  • “Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale;”
  • “Business people and developers must work together daily; “
  • “Working software is the primary measure of progress;”

You can interpret these principles as following, in what you should NOT be doing…

  • Waste time & effort creating long-term plans, long cycle times, etc without actually delivery usable product increments to the end-users, …
  • Waste time & effort on unnecessary specifications; unfinished product (“inventory”); or unvalidated requirements (which are assumptions in disguise), …
  • Waste time & effort on unnecessary handovers between business people and development teams, …
  • Waste time & effort on assuming what’s valuable for the end-users, and not verifying this by letting end-users try out working software and based upon their feedback, inspect & adapt, improve the product together, …
  • Wasting time & effort in demanding upfront detailed estimates for unreasonable long periods (e.g. all estimates for the next year…)
  • Wasting time & effort on detailed long-term planning, fixing agreements, treating change as evil, …

1.7 Product owner in Scaling Agile

Lets first make the statement that you need to consider it twice before blindly scaling up any development efforts. In general, we are trying to deliver value by keeping things simple, simplify working processes, and collaborate to maximise effectiveness and customer satisfaction. 

In case you need to align several development teams to work together on the same product, take the following into account:

  • A product has 1 product owner, this means in case of several teams developing on the same product, there’s 1 product owner
  • A product is defined as something meaningful and valuable for a customer or end-user, not a technical component
  • A product has 1 product backlog, as long the product lives, the product backlog exists
  • A product owner can delegate areas of the product to other product owners, but take care to not have “proxy” product owners, with a mandate to decide. The ‘chief’ product owner remains accountable for overall prioritisation. 
  • Some scaling frameworks make a distinction between “product management” and “product ownership”, in any case ensure there’s alignment regarding product management, no conflict in priorities, and no unnecessary handovers of information.

1.8 Who is accountable for the business value delivered by a Scrum team?

The Product Owner is responsible for maximising the value. 

A Scrum Team collaborates to deliver value together. The Product Owner remains  accountable.

1.9 What exactly is the role of the Product Owner during the Daily Scrum?

The Product Owner is not required to attend the Daily Scrum. The Daily Scrum is an inspect & adapt time-boxed event for the development and performed by the development. This is defined in this way because otherwise the Daily Scrum will quickly be run as a status meeting (and not a daily planning event). 

Of course, the Product Owner can be present during the Daily Scrum, as it’s a great moment to check-in with a team, listen how a team is synchronising, ask and answer questions - after the Daily Scrum. The Product Owner, nor the Scrum Master should be leading the Daily Scrum. They can be present, but the Daily Scrum is an activity (‘Scrum’ metaphor of Rugby), for and by the development team. The Product Owner defines a sprint goal (a sprint is a time-boxed iteration to deliver a potentially shippable product increment); the Development Team inspects its progress on a daily basis towards that sprint goal, using the sprint backlog.

1.10 What are certain anti-patterns regarding Product Owner?

Some example anti-patterns regarding Product Owners; this can be used in an exercise to coach Product Owners. 

  • Ask what should be done to be the WORSE Product Owner
  • Identify what’s actually being done of that list
  • Identify what should be STOPPED doing, in order to improve

Some anti-patterns of Product Ownership 

Product Owner Anti Patterns

  • Becoming a bottleneck in communication, so that’s there’s a delay in the flow of value between the development team, end-users, and stakeholders, …
  • Taking decisions in isolation, so that the reason why decisions are taken are not known, nor understood, …
  • Specifying technical solutions, and not articulating the business value, … (technical solutions are the responsibility of a development team)
  • Pressuring the speed of delivery, resulting in less quality and inability to validate if value is being delivered, …
  • Not listening to the product development team’s recommendations, not engaging in any healthy dialogue, …
  • Not articulating the product’s vision, and/or strategy, resulting in development teams functioning as “feature factory”, without investigating what’s valuable and what’s not, …
  • Inadequate product backlog management, resulting in unready items to plan, long inventory, unclear prioritisation, …
  • Not accepting or rejecting work according to the definition of done, resulting in unclear standards of what’s a done product increment, …
  • Not thinking how to delivery slices of value, forcing development teams to deliver components, instead of ready-to-use product increments, …
  • Not facilitating a sprint review
  • Not participating in any retrospective
  • Not updating any forecast after finishing a sprint
  • Not engaging with end-users / customers to get feedback etc

2 What is the process to get a CSPO certificate?

 process to get a CSPO certificate

You can also follow the below steps to understand clearly.

Find a Certified Scrum Product Owner course on the Scrum Alliance website

Read and understand the Scrum Guide

Read and understand the manifesto for agile software development

Read and understand the learning objectives of a CSPO course

Attend the 2-day CSPO course

Complete the online CSPO exam, the fee is included in the course price. After completing the course, your Scrum Trainer will upload your user information into the system of Scrum Alliance, next you’ll receive an invite to do the online exam. 

Recommended books and material to read and further prepare:

Articles by Roman Pichler,

Book Product Mastery, by Geoff Watts,  

Path forward after CSPO at Scrum Alliance

Certification gives you access to a renewable, two-year membership with Scrum Alliance. As a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO™), you can continue your educational development to become an:

  1. Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO™)
  2. Certified Scrum Professional - Product Owner (CSP-PO™)
  3. Certified Team Coach (CTC™)
  4. Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC™) 
  5. Certified Scrum Trainer (CST™)

Path forward after CSPO at Scrum Alliance

Remember, if you’re starting as Product Owner, the CSPO certification is only the start of your journey!


Conclusion

Being a product owner is a satisfying job! You are the main spokesperson for the product. You act as a catalyst between the Development Team and the outside world. You take decisions to maximise product value while taking into account various constraints.


Scale-up your Scrum Journey with our live online CSPO® training. Check it out here.

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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2 comments

Sowmya 20 Aug 2019

very good understanding of product owner roles & responsibilities, thanks for the informational blog

Dayananda 20 Aug 2019

Well written useful and easy understanding about rules & responsibilities of product owner article thanks.

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Knowledge of Scrum Artifacts This certification includes concepts like the product backlog, sprint backlog, burndown charts etc. which are the pillars of a Scrum project. These Scrum concepts will be an advantage for the organizations to deliver the project in iterations. 5. Be admissible and catch your market The certifications will provide you with an in-depth practical knowledge to improve your career. It makes you relevant and marketable in your field. CSM certifications will improve your career growth across any organization or industry that engages with Agile values. This certification proves that you have an Agile mindset and knowledge of Agile concepts. 6. Certified Scrum Masters are assets to the workforce It is difficult for any organization to adopt a new methodology as it affects the entire structure of the organization including: Processes Management People Clients In this regard, it is quintessential for all the customers to achieve some tangible and real benefits in the early stage with self-managing teams and incremental iterations. If you are not a certified member, you might miss the opportunity to establish yourself as an effective Scrum master in your organization. 7. Strengthening teamwork We have a few organizations that consider Scrum master certification a must for different departments. This certification generally has a positive result when it comes to working with your peers. As a certified Scrum Master, you will have the potential to build and strengthen the core understanding of Scrum while working with your peers. With multiple Scrum experts present in various organizational departments, there is successful execution of Agile and Scrum methodologies which translates to organizational benefits. 8. Establish your basic Scrum knowledge to peers The Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification shows your expertise and knowledge of Scrum that makes you capable of working within the organization. You don’t need to waste your time to show your credibility in your workplace, your certification speaks volumes. 9. Qualified employees drive successful projects Scrum teams that have members trained in Agile & Scrum are more likely to drive a project towards success. Clients would be able to recognize the potential value of a Scrum team that works together to apply Scrum in a productive way. 10. A feather in your cap A certification is a proof of your mettle. For professionals, it’s a validation of their passion and dedication to their respective fields. 11. Succeed as a servant leader As a Certified ScrumMaster, you have the ability to motivate and lead your teammates. You will guide them and help the team work together smoothly. 12. A badge of honour Along with an improvement in your marketability, a Scrum Master Certification is also a badge of honour. Your employees would never doubt your eligibility as a mentor and will become more open towards your ideas. Scrum is not a static methodology in any sense- it is a living, changing and continuously evolving framework which has to be understood in depth before implementation. A Scrum Master Certification helps you to do just that, all the while improving your position in the organization. 13. Be apart from the crowd The CSM credential demonstrates to your employees that you have the experience and skills to lead an agile team to success. It serves as a differentiator showing potential employers that you have an edge over your non-certified counterparts. It shows that you know the goals to be achieved and has a clear vision of what it will take to succeed. You know the quality that is needed to be delivered, and ensure that the team works towards it, ensuring project success and client satisfaction. 14. Iron out glitches in your project In case there are any impediments in the way of project progress, the CSM will negotiate, address any such challenges and build a positive work culture. 15. Ability to judge risks Scrum teams are known to release better products at lower risks, and as a CSM you can be the first to spot any red flags that could lead to potential disaster. 16. Ability to prioritize Prioritizing is the first step towards Scrum success; a CSM will be able to prioritize tasks efficiently. 17. Be a team player A CSM is, above all, a good team player. You will listen to your teammates, accept their suggestions and address any challenges they may be facing. 18. Become a better communicator By keeping channels of communication and collaboration open, you will share all relevant reports, calendars and deadlines with the team so that you can work together towards project success. 19. Adopt an Agile mindset Scrum being an Agile methodology, training and certifications will help people in your team embrace the Agile practices. And having a consistent Agile mindset in a team will lead to lesser disagreements, better team collaboration and ultimately delivering successful projects. 20. Stay marketable All industries adopting Agile practices will have excellent career opportunities for candidates with Scrum certification. This certification will prove that you have an Agile mindset and core knowledge of Agile practices. 21. An asset to your organization If there are skilled and proven Agile professionals in an organization, the management might benefit from it by adopting Agile methodology as it will effectively influence all the aspects of the business processes. 22. Learn a range of Skills The Scrum Master Certification helps you to focus on your actual experience and skill set because you have shown that you completely comprehend the principles that are needed for managing a scrum team. Many companies are constantly looking for ways to become more Agile and there are not enough people out there with the required experience to compete with the high demand for scrum masters. If you have a Scrum Master certification, you not only stand a greater chance of getting a job, but you also have an opportunity to earn higher salaries and excel in your career. 23. Expand your professional network A huge benefit of getting a Scrum Master Certification is the network you build — you get to be a part of a select community of recognized Scrum experts. These experts have been working to improve all the areas of Scrum implementation, including its methodology, and you can seek their advice if you are ever in a tight spot. Once you are a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) you can mingle with authorized Scrum experts committed to ensuring continuous improvements with an Agile approach. Scrum Alliance is the official body that issues the CSM and has Scrum Masters across the global. This community actively engages in Scrum events, discussions, forums and other activities that keeps you up to date and knowledgeable.   Being a certified Scrum Master, helps you join a community of recognized Scrum experts, practitioners and trainers. This global network will give you exposure to deepen your Scrum knowledge, acquire guidance whenever necessary and also enable you to provide solutions to other problems. An example is Scrum.org, which actually features a global network of Scrum trainers as well as practitioners. There are few things in the Agile world that this community cannot help you with, and a Certification helps you gain the privilege of their guidance. 24. Influence your organization to adopt Agile If your organization has well-trained Agile professionals, the management would be more comfortable to invest in adopting the Scrum methodology. The CSM certification shows the management that you have the knowledge to work with Scrum and implement it with success. A professional study of Scrum means that you have to study its methods from all angles: this can help you gain a fresh perspective, along with a strong working knowledge of the implementation of Agile methods. You will be able to pass on the Agile mindset you gain among your teammates; this increases the cohesion and cooperation of the team by leaps and bounds. The team’s unity, as we all know, is in direct proportion to the success of any project. Getting a Scrum Master certification is definitely a great addition to your resume. A Scrum professional knows how an organization works, and since the framework is used in almost all industries, your career options expand considerably. If you’re already employed, you have a great shot at bringing in benefits to your organization- with the requisite knowledge you receive, you can turn yourself into a company asset. Summary If you have any certified Agile workers among your colleagues, a certification helps you improve your working relationship with them. Even if your peers have studied or adopted a different Agile methodology, the underlying ideas do not change. You will be able to converse and exchange ideas with them, and in the process strengthen the Agile culture within your company. The work environment is improved, since you can understand how your colleagues work, or even think, to some extent.  Passing a Scrum Master examination is no mean feat — it requires you to study and have expertise in various aspects involved in implementing a Scrum methodology.  All the points discussed above are very compelling reasons to explore this certification further. Advance your career with the Scrum Master certification from Scrum Alliance, and sign up for a CSM training workshop led by the best minds in the business.
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Top 24 Career Benefits of a Certifed Scrum Master

As the Agile methodology is taking the world b... Read More

CSPO Vs PSPO: Deciding Between the Two Scrum Certifications

As Mike Cohn puts it:“The Scrum product owner is typically a project's key stakeholder. Part of the product owner responsibilities is to have a vision of what he or she wishes to build and convey that vision to the scrum team. This is key to successfully starting any agile software development project. The agile product owner does this in part through the product backlog, which is a prioritized features list for the product.”In other words, a product owner is a leader responsible for maximizing the value of the products created by a scrum development team.The expertise of product owner is centered around the following:It’s about the productIt’s about understanding product benefitsIt’s about customer experienceIt’s about design thinkingIt’s about collaborationAs Scrum.org puts it:“Product ownership is about more than mechanics: it’s about taking accountability and focusing on value in everything you do. The role of a product owner is to identify, measure, and maximize value throughout your entire product lifecycle.”CSPO® and PSPO™ are two of the premier and globally accepted certifications that help validate the holder’s expertise and skills as a product owner in the Scrum framework. Both relate to product ownership which in turn requires business acumen and competency on product vision and roadmap aspects.The training leading up to each of the two certifications offers a learning of wide array of principles, rules, practices, techniques and practical tools that help product owners become effective and successful.So, how exactly are the two different? Let’s have a lookIf you’re someone who is comfortable with the "business side" of projects, you are probably the right person to aim for a Certified Scrum Product Owner® certification.-Scrum AllianceWhat is CSPO?As defined by the Scrum Alliance, a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) is someone who has been taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer about the Scrum terminology, practices, and principles that will enable them to fulfill the role of Scrum Product Owner.What is PSPO?PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. The Scrum.org mission is “To Improve the profession of Software Development”.Differences between CSPO and PSPOAs we saw above, CSPO is an abbreviation which stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner and it is a certification offered by the Scrum Alliance, specifically for the Product Owner role.PSPO is an abbreviation for Profession Scrum Product Owner. This is a certification offered by Scrum.org, specifically for the Product Owner role.In my opinion, both certifications are equivalent and define high- standards of quality. The differences between the two lies in the way of obtaining the two certifications and maintaining/renewing them.Certifications issued by Scrum Alliance are obtained by taking an online exam after mandatory completion of a 2-day training given by a Certified Scrum Trainer. Certifications issued by Scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending a training. Certifications issued by Scrum.org do not expire. Of course, to test and validate your knowledge, having a decent understanding of the product owner role is mandatory, therefore preparation and study are key. Participating in a training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended.While it is quite easy for the people who are very involved in the Agile community to identify the most recognized certifications, it is not a simple task for those who just forayed into the Agile world.Through this blog, I aim to give you a short overview on the differences between CSPO and PSPO credentials to help you make an informed decision.The CSPO workshop is usually informative about Scrum and Agile although the quality may be variable and would depend, on a large part, on the specific instructor and the materials they provide.The basic Comparison of CSPO and PSPOCSPOPSPOCSPO is offered through Scrum AlliancePSPO is offered through Scrum.orgCSPO has continuing education credit requirements every three years and is renewable.PSPO never has to be renewedAccreditation BodyThe accreditation body of the CSPO and PSPO certifications are as follows:PSPO - Scrum.orgCSPO - Scrum AllianceRenewal of CSPO and PSPO CertificationsPSPO - once earned, credential does not expire and does not require renewal.CSPO - once earned, credential valid for two years. Starting Feb 2019, renewal would require 20 Scrum educational units(earned in last 2 years only) and a renewal fee of USD 100 PricePSPO - 200 USD for certification license only. Attending the workshop could cost around 500 USD.CSPO - 500 USD. The cost varies based on the location from which you attend the workshop.Need for training PSPO - No need to take up a training course.CSPO - To earn CSPO certificate, you must attend 2 days CSPO classroom training from  a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) from Scrum Alliance.After Exam CertificationOnce you pass the PSPO I exam, you will get industry-recognized "PSPO I" certification, along with a PSPO I logo that you can use to identify your achievement. There is no exam for CSPO, and you will get a certificate from Scrum Alliance on completing the 14-16 hour training from a CST.Passing ScorePSPO - 85%CSPO - None. Activities to be completed to achieve the credential is at trainer discretion. Time limit: PSPO - 60 minutesCSPO - NoneNumber of Questions: PSPO - 80CSPO - NoneFormat: PSPO - Multiple Choice, Multiple Answers and True/FalseCSPO - NoneLanguage: PSPO - EnglishCSPO - NoneDifficulty levelPSPO - IntermediateCSPO - NonePSPO has subsequent complexity levels in the form of PSPO I, II, IIICSPO has subsequent complexity level in the form of A-CSPO. Password Expiration DatePSPO - When you purchase a password, it is set up in Scrum.org system and emailed to you within one business day. All Students completing a PSPO course are emailed a password upon completion of the course (typically within 3-5 business days). No expiration date for passwords.CSPO - Depends on the online workflow set up by the Certified Scrum Trainer.MembershipPSPO - Membership of Scrum.org and the membership do not expireCSPO - 2 Year Membership with Scrum Alliance. You are eligible to join local user groups and social networks, enjoy discounts on global events, search for careers on our online job board, and more.Other benefitsPSPO:  Once you get certified, your name will be listed on Scrum.org.CSPO: Once you receive the credential, your name is listed on Scrum Alliance portal.The verdict:The main aim of the CSPO certification is to understand the working of Scrum and the role of the Product Owner playing in a Scrum team. While the objective of the Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) certification is to develop a solid understanding of the Product Owner to maximize the value of the software products and systems.PSPO has a level of difficulty associated with it. The things which I like about PSPO certification is that the certification does not mandatory require you to attend an in-person workshop. You can prepare all on your own and directly proceed to the examination. Also, PSPO has a lifetime validity. once acquired, no need to renew the certificate. To evaluate the value of any certification we need to consider:How knowledge or competency in a subject is evaluated by the certification assessmentHow rigorous is the assessment processThe cost involved with attaining the certificationThe validity of the certificationBut before you make up a decision on whether to pursue the CSPO or PSPO, remember that while earning certifications is the best way to get noticed by potential recruiters, get your skills endorsed and demonstrate your willingness and commitment to self-improvement, it is also important to prove your worth to your employers by being productive, confident and self- reliant.Note: Please note that the opinions expressed here reflect my personal views only.
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CSPO Vs PSPO: Deciding Between the Two Scrum Certi...

As Mike Cohn puts it:“The Scrum product owner is... Read More

Who is the Target Audience for Certified Scrum Master Certification Course?

Who is the target audience for Certified Scrum Master certification course? It is easy to understand the Scrum rules, but it is difficult to implement it in real-time projects. CSM course is the best to learn both in detail. It not only teaches you the principles and practices of Scrum but empowers and energizes you to make meaningful changes. Certified Scrum Master course focuses mainly on the Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Team in a software development company. Who will be benefited from this course? Certified Scrum Master course is helpful for everyone who wants to become smart in implementing Scrum in their organizations. Doing a certification course in Scrum strengthens the Scrum Master's experience.  This learning event is highly productive and effective for both leaders and members. As the course is completely revolving around the Scrum Master role, individuals who are planning to take up this role will get benefited more from this course. There is one reputed company in Denmark that sends all the employees from receptionists to senior management to the Scrum training, in order to make them knowledgeable about Scrum concepts and enhance operations throughout their company.  Target Audience There is no such fixed set of target audience for the Scrum Master Certification course. It is designed not only for Scrum Masters but also for the complete project or product delivery teams and anyone interested to work with the Agile teams. You may be a- Software Engineer Product Manager Project Manager Team Leader Business Analyst Development team member Testers etc. Irrespective of your current designation, there are a few basic qualities you should have as a Certified Scrum Master.    It is best for organizations or teams who need memorable and practical instructions. Even students can join this course to get real-time work experience in Scrum by Certified Scrum Trainers (CST) such as: Understanding Scrum framework Building a backlog Estimating a project Different techniques to improve team productivity Effective, project-proven exercises You will also find a CFO, CIO, or CEO in the Certified Scrum Master training classes and others as well who are intended to expand Scrum throughout their organizations. The State of Scrum in 2017 The 2017 state of Scrum report by Scrum Alliance suggested that most of the successful businesses are using Scrum irrespective of the sizes. Agile and Scrum are not limited to only software and IT departments, they are being applied to different industries such as government, education, manufacturing, banking, and finance. Moreover, some other departments such as human resources, finance, and accounting, sales and marketing reported their ongoing Scrum projects. Here are 3 statistics by Scrum Alliance: 89% of Agile users said that they use Scrum approach. 86% reported that they hold a daily Scrum meeting.  83% reported that Scrum was responsible and important to improve the team’s quality of work. Taking a 2-day CSM course, qualifying the CSM exam, and accepting a license agreement primarily establishes you as a Certified Scrum Master. This certification is a way to tell your peers and the world that you have strong knowledge of Scrum and are fit to work as a Scrum Master.  After all, in the Agile confines, CSM certification is the ultimate answer and the way forward.
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Who is the Target Audience for Certified Scrum Mas...

Who is the target audience for Certified Scrum Mas... Read More

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