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What Is Iteration Planning and How to Do It Effectively?

Iteration planning is considered as the lifeline of Agile framework and plays an important role in the cadence delivery of the product in incremental releases. It is very critical to do iteration planning effectively to ensure we remain productive and add business value with each sprint. An Iteration Preparation Meeting is a crucial ceremony during an IT project development stage for every Agile team that uses Scrum. It's where the team gets together in the next Iteration to chat about work and is structured to help provide a consistent focus and direction for the work ahead. Iteration Planning (Overview)Iteration planning is one of the important ceremonies in the Agile framework. The aim of iteration planning is to set a few high-level goals for what to achieve during the iteration, to create a sufficiently comprehensive plan detailing who needs to do what to achieve those goals, and to determine how to measure what you have achieved. Iteration planning is usually conducted at the start of an iteration with the entire team in a group, including key stakeholders, generally lasting one to a few hours. It means that the whole team knows what needs to be achieved, and they are committed to the results of the team.  In certain cases, it is preferred to allow a smaller subset of individuals, such as the project manager, an architect and an analyst to meet in advance with a draft iteration plan. For the team to complete the collection of top-ranked product backlog products, the iteration planning plays an important role. Based on the duration of iteration and team velocity, this is a time-boxed arrangement. A crucial feature of an iteration is to concentrate the team on a measurable benefit that is deliverable in the short term. To make sure that you do not lose concentration on what to achieve during the iteration, document 1-5 high-level targets. Usually, for each iteration, the project plan may specify one or more goals, and those goals are used as a starting point. If you need to explain the goals when you prepare your iteration, do so. Inputs to IP & Planning the Iteration :   The IP goals are typically based on the following factors: Critical risks not yet mitigated: Iteration priorities also involve the most significant risks being pushed down.  The time allocated to the iteration: Iterations are timeboxed, so the Project Manager must ensure that the iteration priorities are achievable in relation to the time and resources allocated to the iteration.  The highest priority features: To ensure that the essential features of the application are built and checked early on, specifications are prioritized. Iteration Planning Steps- Before starting, make sure, the user story in the product backlog have been sized by the team and a relative story point value has been assigned. The product backlog is stacked to reflect the product owner 's preferences. For these rated backlog products, there is a general understanding of the acceptance requirements. Per iteration, there is an iteration plan that can describe who will execute the work item for how long a time.  Since iterations are time-boxed, by calculating how many hours of real work can be taken on, we need to consider how big our 'box' is. Let's say you have 6 team members, and you have 15 working days in your iteration, and you can do 5 real hours of work per person and day on average. This will earn you 6x15x5h = 450 real work hours. Notice that only 4-6 hours of actual project work every day is done by the average team member, with the remainder being consumed by e-mails, meetings, and other routine tasks not specifically related to the project. For all the high-priority items in the Work Items List, the team can then review and amend priorities to ensure that a significant work item is not skipped, which will otherwise fall far below the list of what can be taken on in this iteration. The essential features for a product backlog item for the purpose of iteration planning are:  The iteration is small enough to be done.  We can check whether it was correctly implemented or not. There are two steps in designing the contents of an iteration: deciding how many user stories will fit into the iteration, then breaking down those stories into assignments and appointing owners. Sizing refers to a user story's relative reach, which is normally performed in relative points. When it is first developed, during backlog refining sessions, and before the planning meeting, the team regularly estimates the size of a user story. The team should know what story at the top of the backlog will fit into the iteration by the time preparation starts. Estimation refers to the breakdown of tasks into a user narrative. When the steps taken to produce a user story are established, an hourly estimate is provided for each mission. This figure keeps the team updated on how close it is to completing a mission. The team also recognizes how many task hours each member of the team has available in the iteration (known as capacity) to avoid overburdening of individuals. In planning sprints, there are two general approaches: velocity-driven planning and capacity-driven planning. Velocity driven Sprint Planning  Let 's start with velocity-driven sprint planning since it's the simplest to explain. Velocity-driven sprint preparation is based on the idea that in the next sprint, the amount of work a team can perform is approximately equal to what they have done in previous sprints. This implies, of course, that the team is working on similar work from sprint to sprint, consistent sprint lengths, and so on, such as a constant team size. Each of these assumptions is usually true and violations of the assumptions are easily recognized that is, the team knows this in advance when a sprint switches from 10 to nine working days, as in the case of a holiday.The following are the phases in velocity-driven sprint planning:  Determine the historical average velocity for the team.  Select the number of items for the product backlog equal to that velocity.Most teams stop there. Others include an extra step:  Identify the activities involved in the user stories chosen to see if it feels like the correct amount of work.  And there will be some teams moving even further to:  Estimate the assignments to see if the task total is in line with previous sprints. Capacity driven planning The product owner, the Scrum Master and all members of the agile team are involved in a capacity-driven sprint planning meeting. The product owner brings into the meeting the top-priority product backlog items and presents them to the team, usually beginning with a summary of the high-priority items collection.After a high-priority item has been selected, team members discuss the work involved and determine the activities needed to produce the product backlog item. The hours for each item would also be approximately calculated by most teams. These figures are tentative since the figures can only be used to impact the number of items that are brought into the sprint and the product backlog. Estimates do not need to be accurate to do so. Do not ask or expect a team to think about any job that will be completed during the sprint. That is not only unlikely, it is needless, too.The team members ask themselves, "Should we commit to this?" after they have defined tasks and approximately calculated the hours for that one product backlog item. When the team decides that a product backlog item can be shipped, they pick another item and repeat the procedure. And they continue to repeat it until anyone says that they are unable to commit to the product backlog item chosen. If someone is unable to complete the item in the sprint, team members can normally address the situation and see if someone else is available to help. Maybe a DBA with rudimentary JavaScript expertise will assist an exhausted developer of JavaScript. You may have noted that no story point or velocity has played a role in the process so far. Although I still recommend providing rapid, high-level estimates of product backlog items in story points.  Iteration Planning Attendees: These are the below attendees for IP ceremonies: Scrum Master: The scrum master serves as an agile distribution team facilitator.  Product Owner: The product owner deals with the comprehensive view and approval conditions of the product backlog.  Agile Team : Agile implementation determines their objectives and sets the estimates of effort necessary for the commitment to be met. Iteration Planning Agenda : The following is an example agenda for iteration planning:  Measure the iteration's available team capacity.  Discuss each story, discuss extensive acceptance requirements, and use story points to provide estimates.  When the team runs out of capacity, preparation ends. Determine and settle on the objectives for iteration. All should be committed to their goals.  Criteria for acceptance are created through dialogue and cooperation with the product owner and other stakeholders. The Product Owner may adjust the rating of the story based on the story's estimates. Velocity Calculation Velocity is a measure of the amount of work that a team can do during a single sprint and is Scrum 's main metric. Velocity is determined by summing the points for all completely completed User Stories at the end of the Sprint. Dividing the total number of story points completed by the number of sprints includes the real velocity. For instance, if a total of 70 points were achieved by the development team over two sprints, the actual velocity of the team will be 35 points per sprint. Capacity planning The agile team quantifies their capacity to do work. Each member of the team decides their availability, considers time off and other possible responsibilities. Other standing responsibilities, such as maintenance, are also taken into account in this operation, which is distinct from the creation of new stories. Using their historical velocity as a starting point, the team makes changes to assess the actual potential for the iteration based on the unavailable time and team members. Story Analysis & EstimationThe team backlog is checked once the team capacity has been identified. Each story, covering relative difficulty, scale, complexity, ambiguity, technical challenges, and requirements for acceptance, is addressed. In order to maintain a common understanding of the individual behavior of each story, teams also use Behavior-Driven Production (BDD). Finally, for the story, the team agrees to a size estimate. Usually, there are also other types of stories on the team backlog, including enablers that might represent infrastructure work, POC, and architectural improvements, as well as work and defect refactoring. They also prioritize and estimate these things. In Scrum, the estimation of the story point of the team, and the resulting velocity, is usually a local and independent matter. The fact that a small team might estimate their velocity to be 50 in such a way, while another larger team estimates that their velocity is 13, is typically not a concern. However, in SAFe, the calculation of the story point must be standardized, so that assessments of features or epics that require the help of several teams are based on the same concept of the story point, allowing a common economic decision-making basis Relative Estimating, Velocity, Capacity, and Normalizing Story Point Estimating- In order to reasonably estimate a story, Agile teams use story points. With relative estimation, the size (expected effort) is compared to another story for each story. An eight-point story, for instance, is four times the effort of a two-point story. The pace of the team is equivalent to the historical average of all completed stories per iteration. The starting point for estimating the potential of a team for a future iteration is velocity. Knowing the skill of a team helps with preparation and helps to restrict Work in Process (WIP). Teams should not take on more stories than their previous pace would imply. Velocity, which is also forecast in story points, is also used to estimate how long it takes to deliver features or epics. Develop/commit to Iteration GoalsWhen the iteration backlog is known, the team turns its focus to synthesizing one or more iteration priorities that outline the work in that iteration that the team intends to achieve. They are based on the iteration backlog from the PI planning case, as well as the team and program PI goals. The closer the PI planning session is to the IP version, the more likely the PI targets will stay unchanged. When the potential of the team has been met, no more stories are taken from the team backlog in terms of committed stories. At this point, the product owner and the team settle on the final list of stories that will be chosen, and the iteration priorities will be revisited and reaffirmed. The entire team then agrees to the objectives of the iteration, and for the duration of the iteration, the nature of the work remains set. Guidelines for Effective IP Some tips for holding an iteration planning meeting are given below: Keep an eye of duration of this event. It should be timeboxed to 4 or less hours. It should be organized by the team and for the team alone. We should keep a check on the historical velocity of team before over-committing the team’s capacity. Source. ConclusionIt is important to ensure that the way you will assess progress at the end of the iteration is transparent to all team members and other stakeholders. The obvious criterion for success should be that you can verify the implemented features. Iteration preparation, either on the first day or a week before the iteration starts, should be performed once per iteration. You should give about 12 hours to finish the process as a facilitator, but there is really no fixed time, it's all about whatever works for your team. Most notably, have fun and remember to celebrate the previous success of Iteration! 

What Is Iteration Planning and How to Do It Effectively?

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  • by Ashish Kumar
  • 21st Dec, 2020
  • Last updated on 17th Mar, 2021
  • 11 mins read
What Is Iteration Planning and How to Do It Effectively?

Iteration planning is considered as the lifeline of Agile framework and plays an important role in the cadence delivery of the product in incremental releases. It is very critical to do iteration planning effectively to ensure we remain productive and add business value with each sprint. An Iteration Preparation Meeting is a crucial ceremony during an IT project development stage for every Agile team that uses Scrum. It's where the team gets together in the next Iteration to chat about work and is structured to help provide a consistent focus and direction for the work ahead. 

Iteration Planning (Overview)

Iteration planning is one of the important ceremonies in the Agile framework. The aim of iteration planning is to set a few high-level goals for what to achieve during the iteration, to create a sufficiently comprehensive plan detailing who needs to do what to achieve those goals, and to determine how to measure what you have achieved. Iteration planning is usually conducted at the start of an iteration with the entire team in a group, including key stakeholders, generally lasting one to a few hours. It means that the whole team knows what needs to be achieved, and they are committed to the results of the team.  

In certain cases, it is preferred to allow a smaller subset of individuals, such as the project manager, an architect and an analyst to meet in advance with a draft iteration plan. For the team to complete the collection of top-ranked product backlog products, the iteration planning plays an important role. Based on the duration of iteration and team velocity, this is a time-boxed arrangement. Product Backlog   Iteration Backlog

A crucial feature of an iteration is to concentrate the team on a measurable benefit that is deliverable in the short term. To make sure that you do not lose concentration on what to achieve during the iteration, document 1-5 high-level targets. Usually, for each iteration, the project plan may specify one or more goals, and those goals are used as a starting point. If you need to explain the goals when you prepare your iteration, do so. 

  • Inputs to IP & Planning the Iteration   

The IP goals are typically based on the following factors: 

Critical risks not yet mitigated: Iteration priorities also involve the most significant risks being pushed down.  

The time allocated to the iteration: Iterations are timeboxed, so the Project Manager must ensure that the iteration priorities are achievable in relation to the time and resources allocated to the iteration.  

The highest priority features: To ensure that the essential features of the application are built and checked early on, specifications are prioritized. 

  • Iteration Planning Steps- Before starting, make sure, the user story in the product backlog have been sized by the team and a relative story point value has been assigned. The product backlog is stacked to reflect the product owner 's preferences. For these rated backlog products, there is a general understanding of the acceptance requirements. Per iteration, there is an iteration plan that can describe who will execute the work item for how long a time.  

Since iterations are time-boxed, by calculating how many hours of real work can be taken on, we need to consider how big our 'box' is. Let's say you have 6 team members, and you have 15 working days in your iteration, and you can do 5 real hours of work per person and day on average. This will earn you 6x15x5h = 450 real work hours. Notice that only 4-6 hours of actual project work every day is done by the average team member, with the remaindebeing consumed by e-mails, meetings, and other routine tasks not specifically related to the project. For all the high-priority items in the Work Items List, the team can then review and amend priorities to ensure that a significant work item is not skipped, which will otherwise fall far below the list of what can be taken on in this iteration. The essential features for a product backlog item for the purpose of iteration planning are:  

  • The iteration is small enough to be done.  
  • We can check whether it was correctly implemented or not. 

There are two steps in designing the contents of an iteration: deciding how many user stories will fit into the iteration, then breaking down those stories into assignments and appointing owners. Sizing refers to a user story's relative reach, which is normally performed in relative points. When it is first developed, during backlog refining sessions, and before the planning meeting, the team regularly estimates the size of a user story. The team should know what story at the top of the backlog will fit into the iteration by the time preparation starts. Estimation refers to the breakdown of tasks into a user narrative. When the steps taken to produce a user story are established, an hourly estimate is provided for each mission. This figure keeps the team updated on how close it is to completing a mission. The team also recognizes how many task hours each member of the team has available in the iteration (known as capacity) to avoid overburdening of individuals. 

  • In planning sprints, there are two general approaches: velocity-driven planning and capacity-driven planning. 
  • Velocity driven Sprint Planning 

 Let 's start with velocity-driven sprint planning since it's the simplest to explain. Velocity-driven sprint preparation is based on the idea that in the next sprint, the amount of work a team can perform is approximately equal to what they have done in previous sprints. This implies, of course, that the team is working on similar work from sprint to sprint, consistent sprint lengths, and so on, such as a constant team size. Each of these assumptions is usually true and violations of the assumptions are easily recognized that is, the team knows this in advance when a sprint switches from 10 to nine working days, as in the case of a holiday.

The following are the phases in velocity-driven sprint planning:  

  • Determine the historical average velocity for the team.  
  • Select the number of items for the product backlog equal to that velocity.

Most teams stop there. Others include an extra step 

  • Identify the activities involved in the user stories chosen to see if it feels like the correct amount of work.  

And there will be some teams moving even further to 

  • Estimate the assignments to see if the task total is in line with previous sprints. 

Capacity driven planning 

The product owner, the Scrum Master and all members of the agile team are involved in a capacity-driven sprint planning meeting. The product owner brings into the meeting the top-priority product backlog items and presents them to the team, usually beginning with a summary of the high-priority items collection.

After a high-priority item has been selected, team members discuss the work involved and determine the activities needed to produce the product backlog item. The hours for each item would also be approximately calculated by most teams. These figures are tentative since the figures can only be used to impact the number of items that are brought into the sprint and the product backlog. Estimates do not need to be accurate to do so. Do not ask or expect a team to think about any job that will be completed during the sprint. That is not only unlikely, it is needless, too.

The team members ask themselves, "Should we commit to this?" after they have defined tasks and approximately calculated the hours for that one product backlog item. When the team decides that a product backlog item can be shipped, they pick another item and repeat the procedure. And they continue to repeat it until anyone says that they are unable to commit to the product backlog item chosen. If someone is unable to complete the item in the sprint, team members can normally address the situation and see if someone else is available to help. Maybe a DBA with rudimentary JavaScript expertise will assist an exhausted developer of JavaScript. 

You may have noted that no story point or velocity has played a role in the process so far. Although I still recommend providing rapid, high-level estimates of product backlog items in story points.  

  • Iteration Planning Attendees: These are the below attendees for IP ceremonies: 
  • Scrum MasterThe scrum master serves as an agile distribution team facilitator. 
  •  Product Owner: The product owner deals with the comprehensive view and approval conditions of the product backlog. 
  •  Agile Team : Agile implementation determines their objectives and sets the estimates of effort necessary for the commitment to be met. 
  • Iteration Planning Agenda : The following is an example agenda for iteration planning:  
    • Measure the iteration's available team capacity.  
    • Discuss each story, discuss extensive acceptance requirements, and use story points to provide estimates.  
    • When the team runs out of capacity, preparation ends. 
    • Determine and settle on the objectives for iteration. All should be committed to their goals.  

Criteria for acceptance are created through dialogue and cooperation with the product owner and other stakeholders. The Product Owner may adjust the rating of the story based on the story's estimates. 

  • Velocity Calculation 

Velocity is a measure of the amount of work that a team can do during a single sprint and is Scrum 's main metric. Velocity is determined by summing the points for all completely completed User Stories at the end of the Sprint. Dividing the total number of story points completed by the number of sprints includes the real velocity. For instance, if a total of 70 points were achieved by the development team over two sprints, the actual velocity of the team will be 35 points per sprint. 

  • Capacity planning 

The agile team quantifies their capacity to do work. Each member of the team decides their availability, considers time off and other possible responsibilities. Other standing responsibilities, such as maintenance, are also taken into account in this operation, which is distinct from the creation of new stories. Using their historical velocity as a starting point, the team makes changes to assess the actual potential for the iteration based on the unavailable time and team members. 

  • Story Analysis & Estimation

The team backlog is checked once the team capacity has been identified. Each story, covering relative difficulty, scale, complexity, ambiguity, technical challenges, and requirements for acceptance, is addressed. In order to maintain a common understanding of the individual behavior of each story, teams also use Behavior-Driven Production (BDD). Finally, for the story, the team agrees to a size estimate. Usually, there are also other types of stories on the team backlog, including enablers that might represent infrastructure work, POC, and architectural improvements, as well as work and defect refactoring. They also prioritize and estimate these things. 

In Scrum, the estimation of the story point of the team, and the resulting velocity, is usually a local and independent matter. The fact that a small team might estimate their velocity to be 50 in such a way, while another larger team estimates that their velocity is 13, is typically not a concern. However, in SAFe, the calculation of the story point must be standardized, so that assessments of features or epics that require the help of several teams are based on the same concept of the story point, allowing a common economic decision-making basis 

  • Relative Estimating, 

Velocity, Capacity, and Normalizing Story Point Estimating- In order to reasonably estimate story, Agile teams use story points. With relative estimation, the size (expected effort) is compared to another story for each story. An eight-point story, for instance, is four times the effort of a two-point story. The pace of the team is equivalent to the historical average of all completed stories per iteration. The starting point for estimating the potential of a team for a future iteration is velocity. Knowing the skill of a team helps with preparation and helps to restrict Work in Process (WIP). Teams should not take on more stories than their previous pace would imply. Velocity, which is also forecast in story points, is also used to estimate how long it takes to deliver features or epics. 

  • Develop/commit to Iteration Goals

When the iteration backlog is known, the team turns its focus to synthesizing one or more iteration priorities that outline the work in that iteration that the team intends to achieve. They are based on the iteration backlog from the PI planning case, as well as the team and program PI goals. The closer the PI planning session is to the IP version, the more likely the PI targets will stay unchanged. When the potential of the team has been met, no more stories are taken from the team backlog in terms of committed stories. At this point, the product owner and the team settle on the final list of stories that will be chosen, and the iteration priorities will be revisited and reaffirmed. The entire team then agrees to the objectives of the iteration, and for the duration of the iteration, the nature of the work remains set. 

  • Guidelines for Effective IP 

Some tips for holding an iteration planning meeting are given below: 

  • Keep an eye of duration of this event. It should be timeboxed to 4 or less hours. 
  • It should be organized by the team and for the team alone. 
  • We should keep a check on the historical velocity of team before over-committing the team’s capacity. 

Source. 

Conclusion

It is important to ensure that the way you will assess progress at the end of the iteration is transparent to all team members and other stakeholders. The obvious criterion for success should be that you can verify the implemented features. Iteration preparation, either on the first day or a week before the iteration starts, should be performed once per iteration. You should give about 12 hours to finish the process as a facilitator, but there is really no fixed time, it's all about whatever works for your team. Most notably, have fun and remember to celebrate the previous success of Iteration! 

Ashish

Ashish Kumar

Senior Technology Specialist

Ashish is working as a Senior Technology Specialist in leading financial bank has more than 13 years of experience in developing enterprise applications

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The A-CSPO validates your ability to manage multiple projects and stakeholders and deliver business value. A-CSPO being an advanced level certification is much sought after by organizations who want to hire professionals with advanced Product Owner abilities.Other benefits of the A-CSPO certification include:Training by Scrum Alliance approved Certified Scrum Trainers® (CSTs)2-year membership with Scrum AllianceAccess to a number of local groups of Scrum users and social networksGain enhanced Agile Scrum implementation skillsSet yourself apart from others in the marketplaceAs a highly trained Agile professional, show advanced value to your employerEarn high salaries - 111033 USD (average)Top companies hiring A-CSPO professionalsSAP LabsSalesforceAdobeWikispeedOracleVisteonGEBBCMicrosoftBarclaysRobert BoschWhere to take training for A-CSPO certification?The training must be led by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and delivered by a Registered Education Provider (REP) or a Certified Agile Coach of Scrum Alliance.Who should take the training for A-CSPO certification?Professionals in the following job roles can take this course:Project ManagersDevelopersProduct OwnersManagers-Software developmentArchitects-Software developmentProduct ManagersSoftware developersSoftware testersTeam leads/Team members interested in learning ScrumWho is eligible for the A-CSPO certification?The A-CSPO requires the following eligibility:At least 12 months of work experience specific to the role of Product Owner (within the past five years) and an active CSPO credentialDuration to get A-CSPO certified: All participants need to attend the 2-day in-person or 14 hours live online A-CSPO training from a CST, at the end of which they will receive their credential.Course fee for A-CSPO certificationThe course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 41999U.S.: Will be updated shortlyCanada: Will be updated shortlyExam fee for A-CSPO certification: No exam needs to be taken in order to earn the A-CSPO credential. Attending a 2-day/14-hour course along with the required experience is mandated to earn the credential.Renewal fee for A-CSPO certification: $175, every 2 years3. Professional Scrum Product Owner™ (PSPO™) TrainingProfessional Scrum Product Owner™ Level I (PSPO™) is a credential offered by the Scrum.org. While the certification does not require you to take a training, an assessment needs to be cleared in order to get certified. The PSPO is a reflection of your ability to maximise skills, enhance product value and use Agile perspectives to deliver successful products.The PSPO is highly regarded in the industry as it is a rigorous exam and is based on the objectives outlined in the Scrum Guide.   Other benefits of the PSPO certification include:Own the product visionMaximize your team’s ROIImprove business value and ROIMotivate and lead Agile teams and team membersValidate your commitment to continued excellence and qualityDemonstrate your proficiency in ScrumGrow your career in Scrum with confidence Ace your interviews and get noticed for promotions at your current jobCommand higher salaries than your non-certified peersBe part of a network of industry leaders and Agile professionalsGain a stepping stone for the advanced level Professional Scrum Product Owner™ II Certification (PSPO™ II)Get the PSPO I logo that you can use to identify your achievementGet your name listed on Scrum.orgEarn salaries in the range of $98,612Top companies hiring PSPO professionalsJ.P. Morgan Chase & Co. (JPMCC)Cisco Systems IncImproving EnterprisesUnitedHealth GroupBank of America Corp. (BOFA)Source: PayScaleWhere to take training for the PSPO certification: Take the training from Scrum.org’s Professional Training Network under the guidance of certified Professional Scrum Trainers (PSTs).Who should take the training for PSPO certification?This course can be taken by:Project ManagersDevelopersProduct OwnersManagers-Software developmentArchitects-Software developmentProduct ManagersSoftware developersSoftware testersTeam leads/Team members interested in learning ScrumLeadership Team Who is eligible for the PSPO certification?There are no eligibility requirements for the PSPO certification.Duration to get certified: If you opt for training, you will have to attend two days or 16 hours of PSPO™ I training under a Professional Scrum Trainer (PST). You will then receive a key to the PSPO™ I Assessment. Once you pass the Assessment, you are declared PSPO™ I certified and can download your certificate.Course fee for PSPO certificationThe course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 25999  U.S.: USD 1299Canada: CAD 1499Exam fee for PSPO: $200 USD per attemptPSPO Exam DetailsExam Type: Closed book,Format: Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/FalseDifficulty: IntermediateLanguage: English onlyTime limit: 60 minutesNumber of Questions: 80Passing score: 85%Retake fee for PSPO Exam: $200 USD for each re-take attempt. Participants of Scrum.org classes get free retakes if they take and fail the assessment within a certain time frame. Renewal for PSPO certification: Your PSPO certification has a lifetime validity and does not require renewal4. PMI-ACP® Certification TrainingThe Project Management Institute (PMI)® a world-renowned body known for its flagship project management credentials, now offers professionals a chance to hone their agile skills with the PMI- Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® credential. Its mandatory requirement of real-world Agile expertise and a thorough knowledge of Agile practices, tools and techniques means that holders of the PMI-ACP are Agile experts in every sense of the word.The PMI-ACP has huge demand in Agile organizations as it gives holders a 360-degree view of Agile and adds huge value to the skill set of a product owner.Other benefits of the PMI-ACP certification include:Helps you qualify for Agile jobs with expertise in Agile methods like Scrum, FDD, Kanban, etc. which are in demand in the industryEquips you with knowledge of various Agile methodsMakes you marketable as it opens doors to many project development methodologiesGain soft skills to manage your role eloquently  Earn more than your non-certified peers ($109,556)Top companies hiring PMI-ACP professionalsBooz, Allen, and HamiltonAccentureInternational Business Machines (IBM) Corp.Usaa InsuranceAmazon.com IncSource: PayScaleWhere to take training for the PMI-ACP certification: The training must be taken from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMIWho should take the training for PMI-ACP certification?This course can be taken by:Project ManagersProject PlannersQuality Assurance StaffDevelopers/ProgrammersDesigners, TestersProject ControllersProduct OwnersScrum MastersScrum Team MembersWho is eligible for the PMI-ACP certification?The PMI-ACP requires the following eligibility:Secondary degree21 contact hours of training in agile practices12 months of general project experience within the last 5 years. A current PMP® or PgMP® will satisfy this requirement but is not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.8 months of agile project experience within the last 3 yearsDuration to get certified: Once you complete the required training you must take time out to vigorously prepare for the exam. You then need to set the date and give the 3-hour exam. Once you pass the exam you may refer to yourself as a certification holder although your certificate package can take six to eight weeks to arrive in the mail.Course fee for PMI-ACP certification:The course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 25999  U.S.: USD 1299Canada: CAD 1499Exam fee for PMI-ACP: $435 (for members), $495 (for non-members)PMI-ACP Exam Details:Exam Type: Closed book Format: Multiple Choice Difficulty: Intermediate Time limit: 3 hours Number of Questions: 120 of which 20 are considered pre-test questions and do not affect the score. Passing score: 85%Renewal for PMI-ACP certification: To maintain your PMI-ACP, you must earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) in agile topics every three years.5. Certified SAFe® Product Owner / Product Manager (SAFe® POPM)If scaling Scrum is your forte, then this is the right credential for you. This credential, an offering from the Scaled Agile, Inc., validates your product owner skills in delivering value by applying the principles of Lean to ensure Agile success at the enterprise scale, improving the Agile Release Train and ensuring customer satisfaction while improving bottom line margins.Considering that the Scaled Agile Framework is widely used in Agile organizations, there is a huge demand for SAFe POPM certified professionals, who can deliver continuous value at the enterprise level.Other benefits of the SAFe POPM certification include:Master key SAFe® product ownership/product management concepts like Lean Agile principles and valuesCollaborate with Agile teams to deliver valueMaster Program Increment PlanningOne-year membership to the SAFe Community PlatformOpen yourself upto new opportunitiesSAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (SPOPM) salary ranges from $83,865 to $124,613Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other Certified SAFe ProfessionalsTop companies hiring SAFe POPM professionalsBoschLockheed MartinPepsiCoAnthemCiscoStandard CharteredCapitalOneThalesFitBit  AstraZenecaSource: PayScaleWhere to take training for the SAFe POPM certification: The training must be taken from an authorized training partner of Scaled Agile, Inc. Who should take the training for SAFe POPM certification?This course can be taken by:Program or Project ManagersScrum MastersRelease Train EngineersBusiness AnalystsAgile CoachesSAFe Program ConsultantsDevelopment ManagersCTOsConsultantsArchitectsEngineersDirectorsProduct ManagersProduct OwnersDelivery ManagersSolution Train EngineersSoftware DevelopersWho is eligible for the SAFe POPM certification?The SAFe POPM requires the following eligibility:Two-day training from an authorized training provider of Scaled Agile Inc. Experience in Lean and AgileDuration to get certified: Once you complete the mandatory 2-day training you can set a date to take the 1.5 hrs SAFe POPM exam. On passing the exam, you become a Certified SAFe® 5 Product Owner / Product Manager. You will receive your SAFe®️ 5 Product Owner / Product Manager PDF Certificate and Digital Badge within 5-7 working days.Course fee for SAFe POPM certificationThe course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 55999  U.S.: USD 1099Canada: CAD 1395Exam fee for SAFe POPM: First exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion.SAFe POPM Exam DetailsExam Type: Closed book Format: Multiple choice, multiple response Difficulty: Intermediate Time limit: 1.5 hours Number of Questions: 45 Passing score: POPM4 = 35 out of 45 (77%); POPM5 = 33 out of 45 (73%)Retake fee for SAFe POPM Exam: Each retake costs $50Renewal for SAFe POPM certification: SAFe POPM needs to be renewed each year by paying a $100 fee and earning a minimum of 10 continuing education/outreach hours (PDUs).SummaryProduct Owners are the rock stars of an Agile team—confident, articulate, sharp, great communicators and problem solvers! A solid Product Owner certification along with these qualities can give your career a total makeover and make you a team favourite. 
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Best Product Owner Certifications in 2022

The one person responsible for maximising the prod... Read More

What is the Cost of Top Scrum Certifications in 2022?

Over the past few years, the job market has witnessed an exponential growth in the demand for Scrum Master professionals.  LinkedIN listed Scrum Master as among the top 10 most promising careers in 2019. Two years on, the popularity for Scrum and Agile related roles is at an all-time high.  Getting a certification to demonstrate your capabilities will help you reach milestones in your Scrum Master career. As a certified professional, you can increase your employability, rise up the career ladder and earn high remunerations.There are a number of Scrum Master certifications available from world renowned accreditation bodies. These certifications are accepted all over the world and give you the unique benefits associated with holding an acclaimed credential.As a certified Scrum Master, you will be able to:Validate your commitment to continued excellence and quality in Scrum,  Demonstrate proficiency in Scrum values, principles, and tools,Advance your career in Scrum with confidence,  Stand out at interviews and leverage on career growth opportunities,  Earn higher than experienced non-certified peers,Become part of the global Scrum and Agile community,Network with industry leaders and Scrum professionals, and  Advance your Scrum journey with each certification.To help you understand the Scrum Master certification cost and other details, we bring you a compilation of the most popular Scrum Master certifications that are available.The following table lists different certifications with their cost and renewal cost.Sr. No.CertificationScrum Master certification CostRenewal Cost1.CSM2-day CSM training cost: INR 24999 in India, USD 1295 in US and CAD 1495 in Canada, includes examination feeRetake at no cost for the first 2 attempts within 90 days after you receive your welcome email.  You will be charged a minimum of $25 each from the third attempt or after completing 90 days post training.$100 and 20 SEUs, every two years2.PSMTraining cost: INR 25999 in India, USD 1299 in US and CAD 1899 in Canada, includes examination fee$150, if opting for the examination without trainingNot required, has lifetime validity.3.SAFe® Scrum MasterTraining cost: INR 55999 in India, USD 1099 in US and CAD 1395 in Canada. Includes examination fee.Each retake after the first attempt costs $50.Not required, has lifetime validity.4.A-CSMTraining cost: INR 41999 in India, USD 1299 in US and CAD 1499 in Canada. Includes certification fee.$175 and 30 SEUs, every two years5.Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM)Training costs will be updated shortlyCourse fee covers one exam attemptRetake costs US$150.$50 USD annual renewal fee and 7 hours of professional development (minimum 5 Disciplined Agile hours) are required each year for maintaining the credential6.Scrum Inc. Scrum Master™ CertificationTraining costs will be updated shortly$100, every year.Read along to know more on the Scrum Master certifications listed above in the table. The main objective of the same is to provide you with an in-depth knowledge of the various Scrum Master Certification costs as well as their renewal costs.1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is the most widely acknowledged Scrum Master certification. This entry level credential is a great way to start and maintain your career in Scrum. To gain the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification, you will be required to attend a 2-day classroom training, following which you will have to take an online test.Certified ScrumMaster Certification CostDepending on where you choose to get your training from, the 2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course costs around $1295. This cost covers the following:A 2-day instructor led live training / 16-hour instructor-led online courseFirst two years of certification  Two attempts to take the exam (within 90 days of attending the course)  Course materials will be provided by the instructor in the class  Two-year membership to the Scrum Alliance communityCertified ScrumMaster (CSM) Renewal costEvery two years, you need to renew your CSM credentials by paying a renewal fee of $100 and earning 20 Scrum Educational Units (SEUs). This renewal fee includes the Scrum Alliance membership fee, which has a validity of two years.CertificationCost of CertificationRenewal CostCSM2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course costs around $1295 (costs can vary) depending on the region you train from$100 and 20 SEUs, every two years2. Professional Scrum Master™ (PSM)Offered by Scrum.org, Professional Scrum Master™ certification is highly sought after by Scrum Masters who want to lead more efficient and effective teams. This 2-day course covers the principles and processes of the Scrum framework, and helps aspirants understand the advanced thinking behind servant leadership and empiricism. The Professional Scrum Master™ assessment is available for anyone who wishes to exhibit their fundamental level of Scrum mastery.Professional Scrum Master™ Certification CostIf you feel that you have good knowledge of Scrum, understand the Scrum Guide and know how to apply Scrum within Scrum Teams, then taking the course is optional. You can take the PSM I assessment directly, which costs $150 per attempt.But if you choose to attend the 2-day training, then the exam fee will be included in the course fee, which costs around $1299, depending on the training provider. You’ll have two attempts to clear the exam if you choose to attend the training, as opposed to the one chance that you will get when attempting the exam without any training.Professional Scrum Master™ Renewal CostCertifications provided by Scrum.org hold a lifetime validity. Hence, PSM certification does not require any additional payment or renewal.CertificationCost of CertificationRenewal CostPSM$1299, depending on the training provider$150, if opting for the examinationNot required, has lifetime validity.3. SAFe® Scrum MasterSAFe ®  is a framework that helps scale agile to the enterprise. The SAFe® Scrum Master credential is a validation of the holder’s ability to be an effective Scrum Master in the SAFe environment. By attending the 2-day course, you can master the responsibilities of a Scrum Master in a SAFe® environment, learn ways to execute the Program Increment successfully and learn proven approaches to become a servant leader and coach in order to build high performing Agile teams.The SAFe® Scrum Master certification is accredited by Scaled Agile, Inc.SAFe® Scrum Master Certification CostThe course registration fee includes the first attempt of the exam, provided the exam is taken within 30 days of completion of the course, after which each retake attempt costs $50.The certification costs around $1099, which includes the mandatory course fee as well.SAFe® Scrum Master Renewal CostSAFe® certifications are valid for one year. After completion of the first year, you will have to get your certification renewed by paying a renewal fee of $100.CertificationCost of CertificationRenewal CostSAFe® Scrum Master$1099, depending on the region you train fromEach retake after the first attempt costs $50.Not required, has lifetime validity.4. A-CSMThe Advanced Certified ScrumMaster℠ (A-CSM℠), is the next step after the CSM in your evolution as a Scrum Master. While the CSM is a great entry level certificate, the A-CSM is an advanced level credential that displays your proficiency in scaling Scrum, coaching Agile teams and being an exceptional Scrum Master/servant leader.A-CSM Certification CostThe A-CSM workshop fee which includes your certification fee costs around $1099 and includes:2 Days Live Instructor-Led Online Training16 PDUs and 16 SEUs2-year Scrum Alliance MembershipYou have to attend a 2-day workshop conducted by a Scrum Alliance REP or Certified Scrum Trainer and complete all the learning objectives in order to gain the A-CSM credential.A-CSM Renewal costsEvery two years, you are required to log in 30 SEUs and pay a renewal fee of $175 to keep your certification in good standing.CertificationCost of CertificationRenewal CostA-CSM2-day A-CSM course costs around $1299 depending on the region you train from$175 and 30 SEUs, every two years5. Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM)Offered by the globally recognized PMI®, the DASM is a perfect certification for those who want to be efficient Scrum Masters, improve processes and drive results with the help of the Disciplined Agile toolkit. Ensure business outcomes and gain a reputation in your organization by successfully meeting goals and bringing together enterprise architecture, portfolio management, vendor management and finance together.DASM Certification CostThe course fee for DASM certification includes the exam fee. Your training should be conducted by an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMI®.DASM Renewal costTo keep your DASM credential active, you are required to pay the annual renewal fee of $50 and log in a minimum of 7 PDUs.CertificationCost of CertificationRenewal CostDisciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM)Training fee will be updated shortly$50 USD annual renewal fee and 7 hours of professional development (minimum 5 Disciplined Agile hours) are required each year for maintaining the credential6. Scrum Inc. Scrum Master™ CertificationThis course and subsequent credential approved by Dr. Jeff Sutherland, the co-creator of Scrum and inventor of Scrum@Scale, is among the most respected credentials in the Scrum world. It helps you understand Scrum principles, techniques and processes of creating high performing teams and make a mark for yourself in your team and organization as an exceptional Scrum Master.Scrum Inc. Scrum Master™ Certification CostThe designation is offered by Scrum Inc.™ to practitioners who successfully complete training by an authorized training provider and demonstrate their understanding by passing the exam. The training fee includes the cost of the examination, and training material approved by Dr. Jeff Sutherland. Participants need to successfully complete the course and pass the exam to gain the credential.Scrum Inc. Scrum Master™ Certification Renewal CostCredential holders must renew their Scrum Inc. Scrum Master™ certificate annually within one month from the expiration date. The renewal fee for Scrum Inc. Scrum Master™ certification costs $100 (USD).CertificationCost of CertificationRenewal CostScrum Inc. Scrum Master™ CertificationTraining fee will be updated shortly  $100, every year.What’s Your Next Step?In this article, we’ve introduced you to the most popular Scrum certifications in the industry, and compared the costs of getting certified as a Scrum Master to help you make an informed decision.  While the cost certainly is an important consideration, you should also keep in mind your primary objectives for getting certified before you make your choice. Which is the certification that will add value to your resume and help to take your career places? Or, which is the certification that is most prized by your organization? What are the skills that you’re looking to gain, and what outcomes do you hope to accomplish?  Choose wisely, and take the right steps in your Scrum Master journey!
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What is the Cost of Top Scrum Certifications in 20...

Over the past few years, the job market has witnes... Read More

Best Career Paths of Successful Scrum Masters in 2022

In this post pandemic world, more than ever before, organizations have realized the benefits of adopting agile. There’s a huge demand for Scrum Masters who can help departments go agile, increase the efficiency of teams, and help organizations respond to rapidly changing market conditions.  Having Scrum Masters on-board means better products, shorter time to market, satisfied customers and a happier workforce. As a Scrum Master, you will be sure of a career trajectory that is long and successful.  Let’s look at the best career paths for Scrum Master for 2022. Scrum master role:A Scrum Master is an indispensable part of a Scrum team because of the responsibilities that they undertake.  These include:Servant leadership:   Foremost, a Scrum Master is a servant leader and is involved in performance planning, coaching, self- organization, removing obstacles, resolving conflicts and serving the team. As a servant leader, the Scrum Master is the man Friday for the team and makes sure that development never stops and innovation continues.     Helping team members with Scrum:   The team looks up to the Scrum Master for guidance in implementing Scrum processes. If the development team is following the Scrum principles and values, then the Scrum Master needs to guide them and ensure that development is being carried out strictly in adherence to Scrum. Creates an environment conducive to innovation:Happy teams translate to better developed products; which in turn lead to satisfied customers. The Scrum Master creates an environment that helps teams work free of distractions. In such an environment, the team is more empowered to innovation and research. The Scrum Master makes sure that such an environment is provided to the team.  Daily stand-up meetings An essential part of Scrum projects are the daily stand-up meetings where issues are addressed and goals are discussed. These sprints keep the team updated and help to bring to the fore any problems that members may be facing. The Scrum Master arranges meetings and makes sure everything is on track.  Assists the Product Owner The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner in the effective management of the product backlog. This involves facilitating Scrum events, identifying backlog items and product planning.   Coaching and mentoring A scrum master will always be passionate about promoting scrum in the enterprise. Being a change leader and working towards Scrum adoption is a huge part of the Scrum Master’s responsibility. Scrum Masters mentor and coach not just teams on the principles and processes of Agile and Scrum, but departments and organizations.  Scrum Master SalaryThe role a Scrum Master in an Agile organization is irreplaceable. This all-important role is what keep development teams motivated and gives them direction in Scrum and delivering value.  The need for certified and knowledgeable Scrum Masters has driven their market value as a result of which Scrum Masters earn lucrative salaries. Let’s look at Scrum Master salaries. Average salary in USD: $92,298/ year. Entry level Scrum Masters earn $68k/year; mid-career Scrum Masters earn $100k/year while experienced Scrum Masters earn $115k/year.Job roles after Scrum MasterThe career progression of a Scrum Master can be satisfying, enriching and lucrative. 1. Product OwnerScrum Masters who are interested in the business side of the product become great product owners.  2. Senior Scrum MasterIf you are a Scrum Master committed to delivering the best value, helping an organization reach business objectives and leading multiple teams through critical resource intensive projects, then continuing on the Scrum Master journey in order to become a senior scrum master will be apt for you. Senior Scrum Masters earn huge salaries and benefits.  3. Agile Coach: A skilled Agile coach can steer the organization through the spectrum of challenges it faces and help to maximize the ROI through the different aspects of Enterprise coaching. Becoming an agile coach is among the most popular aspirations of Scrum Masters who like to motivate, teach and nurture Agile adoption in an enterprise.  Agile coaches are change leaders who promote quality improvement, increase productivity and aid in adoption of enterprise-wide agility.  4. Project ManagerThough a Scrum Master is different from a Project Manager, he or she can play the role of a project manager in non-Agile projects. These are different roles with different ways of working but a Scrum Master can transition into the role of a project manager with seniority and experience.  5. Chief Information OfficerA good Scrum Master brings out the best in the team, the project and the organization. Scrum Masters with a wealth of experience make great CIOs as they have the passion and commitment to excel, improve relentlessly and bring out the best in others.  Future of Scrum MasterLike all roles associated with Agile and Scrum, the future for the Scrum Master role is also bright and full of opportunities. From being listed as one of the top emerging jobs in product development by the World Economic Forum, and LinkedIn to being labelled as the this century’s most lucrative job roles in the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, the Scrum Master’s role is here to stay.  Scrum Master roles have transcended the IT industry and are now available in finance and insurance, consulting and professional services, engineering and technology, telecommunications transportation, healthcare, manufacturing, media, defence and more.  According to the  2019 Scrum Master Trends by Scrum.org, in organizations with 10,000 employees and less, Scrum Masters made up 18% of the total employee count.  All these statistics indicate the importance that Scrum Masters play in agile transition and in removing impediments to enable organizational growth and value. Their importance in an organization directly translates to number of jobs. On a daily basis, there are hundreds of new job listings for Scrum Master and related roles all over the world.  The acceleration of Agile adoption across organizations has increased the demand for Scrum Masters and this trend is likely to continue in the near future.How Certifications Can Help There are several certification paths that can help you on your Scrum Master journey. For example, the Scrum Alliance certification path offers certifications at every pitstop of your Scrum Master journey starting from a Certified ScrumMaster to a Certified Scrum Trainer to Certified Agile Leader credentials meant for the C-suite.    Conclusion A Scrum Master is to an Agile project what a project manager is to a waterfall project. They drive innovation, team harmony, productivity and the establishment of the Agile culture.  The Scrum Master role does not need to be static—it is evolutionary, and Scrum Masters can go on to don several hats based on their experience and expertise. While some choose to be in the thick of it all leading projects and engaging with stakeholders; some prefer to drive change in human habits by coaching team members in the adoption of Agile, culture change and transformation. As a Scrum master, your options are limitless. You have the power to drive success and aid in value creation.  
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Best Career Paths of Successful Scrum Masters in 2...

In this post pandemic world, more than ever before... Read More