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How to Become a Certified Scrum Product Owner?

Who is a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO® )?A Product Owner is a role defined in Scrum. Scrum is a framework for complex product development (*). The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing 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)A Certified Scrum Product Owner is a certification issued by the Scrum Alliance for the Product Owner role.Roles and Responsibilities of the Certified Scrum Product Owner :A Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product (or service, …) being built. The Product Owner is responsible for WHAT will be built by the development teamThe role of the 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 for 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. The strategic significance of the CSPO®The Product Owner role in Scrum is a role, both with a tactical, strategic and operational aspect. The Product Owner is the personification of the end-users, customers, business stakeholders. He or she represents the different views, perspectives and he or she is finally accountable for maximizing value.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.Sometimes, a Product Owner is a role given to a person, as an additional role to his/her existing function. To my experience, a Product Owner requires at least half the time of a normal day job. I have seen Product Owners who were not involved in the necessary activities. Given below are the duties crucial to any Product Owner.Do’sTreat requirements as a hypothesis, focus on learningEnsuring Product Backlog items are clearly expressedKeep slicing for value (use techniques as user story mapping)Create a shared understanding by visualizationChallenge the team by asking open questionsChallenge your stakeholders by repeatedly asking “Why?”Engaging with end-users to get feedback, treat the sprint review at the last responsible moment to get feedbackFacilitating Product Backlog Refinement (necessary to ensure items are ready to be planned in an upcoming sprint)Treat estimates as estimates, not commitments, trust the teamFeed the team with problems not only solutionsFocus on goals (long-term and short-term)Communicate uncertainty to stakeholders, as uncertaintyUnderstanding Lean Product DevelopmentDo engage in retrospectivesBe fair about what’s done and not doneSet an example, act and speak according to Scrum Values and Agile PrinciplesTips to consider for becoming CSPO® What is CSPO®  certification?CSPO®  stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. It’s the initial (entry-level) certification of a Product Owner. Scrum Alliance is the accredited body of the CSPO® . Now, let’s see the steps for becoming CSPO® . Prerequisites to become a CSPO® There are no specific prerequisites to attend a course. You can attend a live online or in-person course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC). After successfully completing the course, you will be asked to accept the CSPO License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.Who can take up this CSPO®  course?Anyone interested in the Product Owner can take up this course.Why you should become a CSPO®  certified?A CSPO®  certification is accreditation and a proof of a body of knowledge at a specific point in time. The industry is asking for certifications, so if you want to take up the Product Owner role, a certification can give you this extra accreditation.Difference between CSPO®  and 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. 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 training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended. You can study the PSPO Subject Areas.Importance of the CSPO®  certification for an individual to boost his/her career as a successful Product OwnerYou need to decide for yourself if you think certifications are an added value. Eventually, it’s about a hands-on experience in the role. I do think that classroom course offers an added valueIn case you want to take up the role of a Product Owner, and you have not much knowledge yet, a classroom course is recommendedIn case you already are working as Product Owner, and you want to refresh your knowledge, take an updated perspective, a classroom course is recommendedCSPO®  certification validityCertification gives you access to a renewable, two-year membership with Scrum Alliance. The certification is 2 years valid. You can read here how it works to renew your certification.Step-by-step process to become a CSPO®  1. Find a Certified Scrum Product Owner course on the Scrum Alliance website2. Prepare for the trainingRead and understand the Scrum GuideRead and understand the manifesto for agile software development3. Attend the 2-day course. Enjoy!Salary and career growth of Certified Scrum Product Owner vs Non-certified Scrum Product OwnerHere, you can see an overview of the certifications path offered by the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org. According to the 12th state of the Agile report by VersionOne, the chapter is about “Agile Methods and Practices”, having a dedicated customer or product owner is a technique indicated by 63% of the respondents. In the 2017 State of Scrum report (by Scrum Alliance), 40% of certifications are Certified Scrum Product Owner. 81% agree that certification improves practice.ConclusionBeing a product owner is a satisfying job! If you get a certification it will add an extra line on your curriculum which will catch the eye of recruiters. Besides that, it’s a learning journey and you’ll only understand the traits of the job by experience. Get your CSPO® certification today.Have a successful career ahead!

How to Become a Certified Scrum Product Owner?

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How to Become a Certified Scrum Product Owner?

Who is a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO® )?

A Product Owner is a role defined in Scrum. Scrum is a framework for complex product development (*). The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing 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)

A Certified Scrum Product Owner is a certification issued by the Scrum Alliance for the Product Owner role.

Roles and Responsibilities of the Certified Scrum Product Owner :

A Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product (or service, …) being built. The Product Owner is responsible for WHAT will be built by the development team

The role of the 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 for 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. 

The strategic significance of the CSPO®

The Product Owner role in Scrum is a role, both with a tactical, strategic and operational aspect. 

The Product Owner is the personification of the end-users, customers, business stakeholders. He or she represents the different views, perspectives and he or she is finally accountable for maximizing value.

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.

Sometimes, a Product Owner is a role given to a person, as an additional role to his/her existing function. To my experience, a Product Owner requires at least half the time of a normal day job. 

I have seen Product Owners who were not involved in the necessary activities. Given below are the duties crucial to any Product Owner.

Do’s

  • Treat requirements as a hypothesis, focus on learning
  • Ensuring Product Backlog items are clearly expressed
  • Keep slicing for value (use techniques as user story mapping)
  • Create a shared understanding by visualization
  • Challenge the team by asking open questions
  • Challenge your stakeholders by repeatedly asking “Why?”
  • Engaging with end-users to get feedback, treat the sprint review at the last responsible moment to get feedback
  • Facilitating Product Backlog Refinement (necessary to ensure items are ready to be planned in an upcoming sprint)
  • Treat estimates as estimates, not commitments, trust the team
  • Feed the team with problems not only solutions
  • Focus on goals (long-term and short-term)
  • Communicate uncertainty to stakeholders, as uncertainty
  • Understanding Lean Product Development
  • Do engage in retrospectives
  • Be fair about what’s done and not done
  • Set an example, act and speak according to Scrum Values and Agile Principles

Step-by-step process to become CSPO

Tips to consider for becoming CSPO® 

  • What is CSPO®  certification?

CSPO®  stands for Certified Scrum Product Owner. It’s the initial (entry-level) certification of a Product Owner. Scrum Alliance is the accredited body of the CSPO® . Now, let’s see the steps for becoming CSPO® 

  • Prerequisites to become a CSPO® 

There are no specific prerequisites to attend a course. You can attend a live online or in-person course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®), or receive private coaching from a Certified Agile Coach (CAC). After successfully completing the course, you will be asked to accept the CSPO License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.

  • Who can take up this CSPO®  course?

Anyone interested in the Product Owner can take up this course.

  • Why you should become a CSPO®  certified?

A CSPO®  certification is accreditation and a proof of a body of knowledge at a specific point in time. The industry is asking for certifications, so if you want to take up the Product Owner role, a certification can give you this extra accreditation.

  • Difference between CSPO®  and 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. 

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 training to learn, and to experience what Scrum is about, is always highly recommended. You can study the PSPO Subject Areas.

  • Importance of the CSPO®  certification for an individual to boost his/her career as a successful Product Owner

You need to decide for yourself if you think certifications are an added value. Eventually, it’s about a hands-on experience in the role. I do think that classroom course offers an added value

  • In case you want to take up the role of a Product Owner, and you have not much knowledge yet, a classroom course is recommended
  • In case you already are working as Product Owner, and you want to refresh your knowledge, take an updated perspective, a classroom course is recommended
  • CSPO®  certification validity

Certification gives you access to a renewable, two-year membership with Scrum Alliance. The certification is 2 years valid. You can read here how it works to renew your certification.
Stakeholder Management

Step-by-step process to become a CSPO®  

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

2. Prepare for the training

Read and understand the Scrum Guide

Read and understand the manifesto for agile software development

3. Attend the 2-day course. Enjoy!

Salary and career growth of Certified Scrum Product Owner vs Non-certified Scrum Product Owner

Here, you can see an overview of the certifications path offered by the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org. According to the 12th state of the Agile report by VersionOne, the chapter is about “Agile Methods and Practices”, having a dedicated customer or product owner is a technique indicated by 63% of the respondents. 

In the 2017 State of Scrum report (by Scrum Alliance), 40% of certifications are Certified Scrum Product Owner. 81% agree that certification improves practice.

Conclusion

Being a product owner is a satisfying job! If you get a certification it will add an extra line on your curriculum which will catch the eye of recruiters. Besides that, it’s a learning journey and you’ll only understand the traits of the job by experience. Get your CSPO® certification today.

Have a successful career ahead!

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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1 comments

Maricruz 07 Jan 2019

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KnowledgeHut Editor 23 Jan 2019

Thank you so much Maricruz.

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He or she is also the person with whom the business owners and members of the ART (Agile Release Train) connect. POs always have the needs of their own Agile team in focus.  Product Owners and Product Managers work together collaboratively to understand the customer’s needs and work toward fulfilling them. The flow of information is from the customer to the PM, and then down to the POs and their team members. The POs and PMs meet up at all ART or PO planning and sync up events and stay aligned with the same set of overarching goals. As we have seen, one person cannot undertake the roles of the SAFe Product Owner and the SAFe Product Manager at the same time. POs and PMs must at all times be connected, and work in tandem to deliver a successful product; however, having one person playing both roles is a sure route to disaster!  The last word… The SAFe Product Owner plays a role that is at the core of SAFe, setting up the product strategy, getting deep into customer requirements, and prioritizing the features as per their importance. They hold the responsibility of ensuring customer delight, even as they keep a pulse on the economic value that is to be derived from the product.  In the end, SAFe is all about giving the larger enterprise a framework for scaling Agile — to build better products, respond to volatile markets, and keep in step with emerging technologies — and without the Product Owner’s expertise, all this will fall short. 
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What Is a Safe Product Owner?

The Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®) is, in the... Read More

Scrum Software for the Ultimate Project Management

Technology has made our lives easier. The number of tools and devices we have at our disposal has made our lives more productive and our work more efficient. The Agile software development methodology has been adopted by several organizations to improve their adaptability, responsiveness, and productivity.  How can we improve the way we incorporate Agile Scrum into our projects? Scrum tools can be the answer. Just like the other gadgets in our lives, Scrum software and tools help improve the productivity of our teams, keep stakeholders happy and help us deliver better products. Before we jump into the use and needs of Scrum software and tools let us understand more about Scrum roles and how they work.Three essential roles for Scrum successThe Scrum Guide defines three pillars of a Scrum team, which include:The Scrum MasterThe Product OwnerThe Development TeamThe Scrum team is a small unit which is self-organised and works towards achieving the same goal; that is, the development and deployment of the product and customer satisfaction.The Scrum Product OwnerThe Scrum Product Owner is among the most essential roles in the Scrum team and acts as a bridge between the stakeholders and the development team. More involved with the business side of the software development process, the PO represents the customer and can be considered as their proxy.  The Product Owner defines the product vision, and, along with the Scrum Master and the development team works towards delivering a product that matches stakeholder needs.The Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master is the servant leader whose main responsibility is to ensure that the Scrum team can perform to the best of its abilities. They do this by overseeing the day-to-day activities of the Scrum team and removing any impediments that may hinder the productivity of the development team. The Scrum Master facilitates stakeholder collaboration along with the product owner and ensures that teams can handle complex environments and deliver projects successfully.The Scrum development teamThe development team generally consists of three to nine people, according to the Scrum Guide. These would include developers, testers, designers and more. The team is allowed to take decisions and decide the length of the sprint and how they will go about it. The development team collaborates to create a high-quality product increment at the end of each sprint that is as per the expectations of the stakeholders.Scrum ceremonies or eventsScrum has five formal events as defined by the Scrum Guide. These events help to validate the Scrum artifacts and implementing them helps enhance transparency. The events are also called ceremonies and are:Sprint PlanningDaily ScrumSprint ReviewSprint RetrospectiveThe SprintWhat Does A Scrum Tool Do?What would you need a good Scrum tool to do? Make your life easier by making processes more efficient and less cumbersome, help you deliver quality products without making a huge dent on your budget, right?  With Scrum topping the popularity charts for Agile project management methodologies, the need for efficient Scrum tools has risen. There are plenty of Scrum tools available that fit the bill and provide interfaces that help teams seamlessly follow Scrum processes and reap its benefits. These tools help:Increase productivityIn task management, daily scrum management  Increase team collaborationIn progress tracking and risk managementScrum Software for the Ultimate ProjectThere are several Scrum software tools that aid in project development using Scrum; not just in technical environments, but in non-technical sectors as well. Software like JIRA, Infinity, TargetProcess, QuickScrum, Wrike etc provide:User friendly GUICompetitive pricingProduct backlog managementTime tracking and calendar tools for schedulingScrum metrics and chartsSprint planning toolsThird party tools for integrationUser story mappingBurnup and Burndown chartsand many more features that will help Agile teams serve their customers better, improve return on investment, reduce costs, enhance collaboration and ensure stakeholder satisfaction. These tools help team uphold the values of Agile and make implementing the Scrum framework easier.Best Scrum ToolsHere are some of the best Scrum tools available in the market:1. JIRAJira is a popular tool used by large organizations to manage their Scrum projects. It has numerous features including customizable scrum boards, reporting features and more. Here’s how teams benefit from this toolCustomizable Scrum and Kanban boardsRoadmaps to communicate with team and with stakeholdersAccess to tools for Agile reportingView of code and deployment statusEnd to end DevOps visibilityEasy scalabilitySecure deploymentDeveloper tool integrationRich APIs to automate processes2. TargetProcessThis tool has been especially designed for teams that want to scale agile. It offers a number of customizable features that make it easy to work with scrum and agile.  Here’s how teams benefit from this tool(Source: Targetprocess Agile Portfolio and Work Management Tool)IdeationBuilt in reports to analyse data and uncover trendsGather ideas across sourcesCloud hosting and on-premise hostingEnterprise grade securityCollaborate across the enterprise  Collaborate with DevOps tools including GitLab, Azure DevOps, GitHub etc3. VivifyScrumThis tool is marketed as an all-in-one solution to manage projects, collaborate and track. Here’s how teams benefit from this tool (Source: Agile Project Management Software - VivifyScrum)Tools to manage agile projects—organize, manage, track and deliverCollaboration boards to effectively collaborate with team and stakeholdersCreate invoices to track and manage business and clientsManage teams and track tasks4. InfinityThis tool is among the most popular in Agile and Scrum organizations due to the many customizations and features it provides. Its various tools help reduce time to market, ensure better quality, improve collaboration and enable customer satisfaction.Here’s how teams benefit from this tool Source: Infinity | Customizable Work Management Platform (startinfinity.com)How Can Scrum Apps Benefit Your Team?The number of Scrum apps and software available in the market for Scrum projects is mind boggling. Which one you choose depends on the requirements of your team and project, and each comes with its own benefits. Some of these benefits include:They help teams, organizations and the product being createdThey ensure better quality by providing the right framework, support mechanism and the right processesAllow for continual improvement by putting in place a feedback loop and sprint reviews by stakeholdersHelp solve impediments and daily issues by incorporating daily testing and product owner feedback into the development processEnsure upfront documentation and help prioritise high value items in the product backlog, thus decreasing time to market.  Quick feedback also helps improve the product and thus helps in continuous improvement.The faster marketing of products increases return on investment, helps tap the market demand and ensures long term benefits for the customer and thus earns their trust for the organizationThe primary tenet of Agile is team collaboration. Scrum software tools help in high level collaboration between the Scrum Master, Product Owner and the development team. Teams can organise, review, plan and discuss everyday tasks, meetings, impediments and more.How to Pick the Best Tool for Your Team?With so many options available, choosing the right Scrum tool for your team can be a tricky task. What you need to do is go through the features of the best tools and see which one best fits your requirements. While the number of features you get will be directly proportional to the money you are ready to pay for the tool, there are some basic requirements your tool must satisfy.Backlog creation:  The very basic format of a Scrum project lies in the creation of a product backlog which sets the pace for the entire project. The backlog is primarily created by the Product Owner with assistance from the Scrum Master and the development team. The tool you choose should help you create the product backlog so that you can prioritise items, define the sprints and identify sprint goals.Implement feedback:  Scrum projects are based on the Agile values of continuous feedback. Your scrum tool should have features which will make your customer’s feedback and requirements easily accessible to you. This will help you implement these changes at the earliest. This continuous feedback loop will help keep customers happy.Sprint creation:  Scrum is iterative and adaptive and works by breaking down projects into small sized sprints. Your tool must aid you in the creation of sprints and burndown charts. These help you keep track of your progress on the project and are essential components of a Scrum project.The other things your tool should be able to do include:Plan and trackCustomise process templatesCustomise dashboards and reportsHelp in time managementHelp create epics and storiesProvide collab and reporting toolsProvide review toolsAnd just like you will create a product that is user friendly, the tool you use also needs to be user friendly for the team. If your team is happy using it, and it makes your life easier and your projects better, then you have the right tool!
Scrum Software for the Ultimate Project Management

Technology has made our lives easier. The number o... Read More

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