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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. To take the CSPO®  certification exam, Scrum Alliance makes it a prerequisite to attend a 2-day class given by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). After completing the 2-day class you are invited to take the online test.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. 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. The pass acceptance score is 24/35 questions (65%). Obviously, this is not particularly difficult to pass, but it’s not meant to be.Certifications issued by scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending training. 1 attempt for the PSPO I online exam costs 200 USD. Passing score: 85%Time limit: 60 minutesNumber of Questions: 80Certifications 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 recommendedPlease bear in mind that the certification is proof of classroom attendance and passing an online test. It’s the start of one’s career as a Product Owner. Next, you can advance your career and take part in advanced training.CSPO®  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! 4. 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. 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!
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How to Become a Certified Scrum Product Owner?

6826
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. To take the CSPO®  certification exam, Scrum Alliance makes it a prerequisite to attend a 2-day class given by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). After completing the 2-day class you are invited to take the online test.

  • 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. 

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. The pass acceptance score is 24/35 questions (65%). Obviously, this is not particularly difficult to pass, but it’s not meant to be.

Certifications issued by scrum.org are obtained by taking an online exam without the prerequisite of attending training. 

  • 1 attempt for the PSPO I online exam costs 200 USD. 
  • Passing score: 85%
  • Time limit: 60 minutes
  • Number of Questions: 80

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

Please bear in mind that the certification is proof of classroom attendance and passing an online test. It’s the start of one’s career as a Product Owner. Next, you can advance your career and take part in advanced training.

  • 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! 

4. 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. 

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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Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project Management

In this fast-moving world, project management has become one of the most important pillars that are helping businesses run without any glitch in their processes. Both small and large scale organizations around the world are exploiting technology and depending on project management systems to deliver the software development project successfully. Whether it is team workflow management or timing, these tools help to ensure that everything is going well without any obstacles. While there are tens of different project management approaches, Agile is considered one of the most practical and flexible software development mechanism that exist today. It is capable of executing a variety of tasks, but what sets it apart from others? Let’s find it out. Here’s a brief comparison of Agile management and traditional project management software:                                                                                                                    Traditional vs Agile Project Management Overview of Agile and Traditional Project Management What is Traditional Project Management? The traditional Project Management (waterfall) approach is linear where all the phases of a process occur in sequence. Its concept depends on predictable tools and predictable experience. Each and every project follows the same life cycle which includes the stages such as feasibility, plan, design, build, test, production, support, as shown in the figure above. The entire project is planned upfront without any scope for changing requirements. This approach assumes that time and cost are variables and requirements are fixed. This is the reason why traditional project management faces budget and timeline issues. What is Agile Project Management? 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The table below shows the major differences between Agile project management and traditional project management.                                                                                Table: Agile project management vs traditional project management Why is Agile Preferred and why not the traditional project management? Agile is preferred by most developers and managers because of a variety of reasons. Let’s have a look at the most common ones: Project complexity Traditional: This method is the best fit for small or less complex projects as it follows linear approach. Sudden changes in the project or any other complexities can block the entire process and make the team go back to step one and start all over again. Agile: This is the best methodology to follow in case of complex projects. A complex project may have various interconnected phases and each stage may be dependent on many others rather than a single one as in simple projects. 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Agile Project Management Vs. Traditional Project M...

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Fixed-length sprints minimize that gap by bringing the product manager and engineers together at a fixed interval. The findings at each sprint guide the Scrum team to incorporate the required changes before the particular task is done, tested & documented.  5. Maximizes Responsiveness to Customer Fixed-length sprints improve the responsiveness to customer requests. True, instant turnaround to customer requests is not possible; yet, it can be addressed quickly at priority. The only way to satisfying the customer at the best is to deliver the new feature or to fix the bug quickly in short fixed-length sprint cycles.  How to Fix the Ideal Sprint Length – 5 Tips:   Ideally, sprint is a fixed time period of 1-4 weeks; it depends upon the team to schedule the sprint. The shorter Sprints spanned for one - two weeks help the Scrum teams identify the problems faster; but sometimes it seems uncomfortable. Many times, Scrum teams decide for the 3 - 4 weeks longer sprints to avoid indulgence towards these problems/ impediments; however, it is not a Scrum-like approach because Scrum principles guide to identify and deal with the problems at the earliest. So, the question is how to fix the ideal sprint length holding the balance between focus and opportunistic adaptiveness. The following 5 tips will help you optimize the sprints schedule:    1. Uncertainty may come in a variety of forms like not properly defined requirements, new technology, high-risk potential, difficult-to-implement interface etc. In case of significant uncertainty, you should go for shorter sprints - the most effective way to refine the project requirements or to try the new technology before getting set for solution development.  2. The volume of tasks and the expected time required affect the selection of sprint length. The team members should be comfortable to accomplish the task to complete a user story during the gap between the two sprints; and, as a Scrum Master, you should have a fair idea of the time required.     3. If you are facing a lot of disruptions, shorten the Sprint length to match the occurrence of disruptions.   4. The project duration is the key deciding factor for Scrum sprint duration. A short-period project such as one of three-month benefits from shorter sprints because of more reviews at shorter periods. If the project is long in duration, continue to look at the other factors. 5. Each Scrum sprint provides an opportunity to the Scrum Master to document the progress to stakeholders. Each sprint provides an opportunity to stakeholders to request for revisions. If you expect the stakeholders to provide input, prefer to set shorter periods for the sprints.   Setting your iterations too short in #scrum can have a damaging effect. "Failed" sprints and poor morale. #agile #teams — John Cutler (@johncutlefish) June 10, 2017 Concluding Thoughts:  Shorter Sprints are preferred because of many reasons as discussed above but these need to be scheduled perfectly at comfortable intervals so that the sprint planning, sprint reviewing, sprint retrospective can be meaningful. Instead of fixing the sprint length to fit the ‘Product Backlog Items’ size, it is better to make the items smaller. The Certifications like CSM and other project management training and courses provide the deep insights into the perfect sprint planning.  
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5 Reasons To Have Fixed-Length Sprints

Should the sprint length in Scrum be fixed or vari... Read More