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Why and How to Pass the PSPO Exam?

The role of the Product Owner is in high demand in the current market. It has consistently appeared among LinkedIn's most promising jobs. Agile and Scrum methodologies have overtaken the traditional methods of building software and managing projects, as they have been consistently proven to give better results than traditional project management methods.In this article, you will learn about PSPO, among the most sought-after Product Owner certifications around the world. PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner and this certification is offered by Scrum.org.  Before jumping into the details, let’s get to know about the accreditation body, that is Scrum.org, that offers the PSPO certification. Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum, who founded Scrum.org in 2009 as a global organization, has been dedicating himself to improving best practices in the world of Scrum. Unlike other training and certification organizations, Scrum.org is focused on improving professionalism in complex product delivery and that drives everything they do. For getting the Professional Scrum Product Owner certification, you would be required to demonstrate your familiarity, understanding and capability to apply Scrum fundamentals in the real world. All training materials are collaboratively maintained and improved by the community of Scrum experts and the founder Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum.Prove your Product Owner KnowledgePSPO is offered in 3 levels—I, II, and III. Before signing up for the training and certification for any of the three levels, Scrum.org gives you a chance to assess your readiness, and prove your knowledge, understanding and ability to apply Scrum in the real-world. This can be done with the free assessment offered by Scrum.org.  The assessments are available to anyone who wishes to validate their knowledge of the Scrum framework and ability to support value creation and delivery. Scrum.org has decoupled the certification assessments from the training. Although each Scrum.org training class includes a free attempt at a Scrum.org assessment, you would still need to prove your knowledge by passing the assessment test with a score of 85% or better to receive the associated Professional certification. Those who pass the assessment receive the industry recognized PSPO I, II and III Certification to demonstrate their mastery of the content. However, Scrum.org highly recommends that you should take a Professional Scrum Product Owner course. This is not mandatory, and participants can attempt any of the three certifications after self-study also.Prepare for the assessmentTo prepare for the certification assessment, you should be thorough with the multiple focus areas as defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies.Here are the Professional Scrum competencies and the key terms that you should learn:Understanding and Applying the Scrum FrameworkDeveloping People and TeamsManaging Products with AgilityDeveloping & Delivering Products ProfessionallyEvolving the Agile OrganizationEmpiricismScrum ValuesScrum TeamEventsArtifacts\DoneScalingSelf-Managing TeamsFacilitationLeadership StylesCoaching & MentoringTeachingForecasting & Release PlanningProduct VisionProduct ValueProduct Backlog ManagementBusiness StrategyStakeholders & CustomersEmergent Software DevelopmentManaging Technical RiskContinuous QualityContinuous IntegrationContinuous DeliveryOptimizing FlowOrganizational Design & CulturePortfolio PlanningEvidence Based ManagementDetails To navigate through the preparation, you should: Be very familiar with the Scrum Guide. Read it at least 4-5 times Understand the Product owner Learning path As the Product Owners work closely with Scrum masters, hence it is required for Product owners to understand the Scrum Master Learning Path Go through various blogs available here Read and understand at least 4-5 times:  Scrum Glossary Evidence Based Management Guide Evidence Based Management Nexus Guide is also a valuable resource You can take Open assessments as many times you wish. Find out why you got an answer wrong and read up on the answers in the Scrum Guide. My advice would be that you should not attempt the real assessment unless you have scored 100% at least three times in a row in the open assessments.CertificationLet’s understand the various levels of the PSPO certification. There are 3 levels:Details are available at.For this certification, there are steps and preparation that you should follow and this article will take you through all you need to be a PSPO.Exam Fee, Passing Score, Time limit, Number of Questions, Exam Format, Difficulty and LanguageExam FeePassing ScoreTime limit# of QuestionsExam formatDifficultyLanguagePSPO I Assessment$20085%1 hour80Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/FalseIntermediateEnglishPSPO II Assessment$25085%1 hour40Multiple Choice, Multiple AnswerAdvancedEnglishPSPO III Assessment$50085%2 hours35Multiple Choice and essayExpertEnglishOnce you pay the exam fee for the respective assessment, you would receive the password for attempting the assessment in 1 business day. Assessment passwords do not expire and remain valid until used.  PSPO Subject Areas To clear PSPO certification, you should have thorough understanding of the Subject areas. The Subject areas for PSPO are: Agile Product Management: The role of a Product Owner in Agile Product Management is to maximize the value of the product developed by the implementation team. From the certification point of view, you should understand the importance of the role of Product owner, which is an internal facing role and requires gathering technical requirements, grooming the product backlog, and detailing user stories. Additionally, while reading you should keep focussing on how a product owner envisions a product’s life in an agile environment. You should also learn the techniques of building a Business Model Canvas, writing a business case and creating the value proposition. Eventually, that will help you in defining the customer segments, value proposition, and major activities that you should perform during the agile product lifecycle. You should also understand the core responsibilities carried out by the Product Owner in the Agile product management as part of Product Strategy-understanding the customer needs, creating the product roadmap, prioritizing the features, understanding customer experiences and measuring the product success.Value Driven Development The primary motto of Agile is to satisfy the customer needs through early and continuous delivery of software. The Product Owner should focus on delivering the maximum value at the earliest in Value driven development. You should have sound understanding about user stories and should follow the INVEST rule, that is user stories should be: I - Independent N - Negotiable V - Valuable E -Estimable S - Small T - Testable Each of the user stories should have a clear story point. You should also have an understanding of the business value so that Return of Investment can be calculated. The KPI i.e., Return of Investment helps the Product Owner to perform prioritization in the Value Driven Development.Scrum Theory and Empiricism The Scrum Values are the foundation for behaviour and practices in Scrum. They are closely related to the theory and first principles of Scrum and support teams in their work.  The Scrum Team can always fall back on these essentials.  The Product Owner should demonstrate following 5 attributes: Courage: Product Owner should help in encouraging the scrum team members to do the right thing and work on tough problems. Focus: Product Owner should ensure that scrum members focus on the work of the Sprint and goals of the Scrum team. Commitment: Product Owner should create the environment where Scrum team members should personally commit to achieve the goals of the Scrum team. Respect: Team members in the Scrum team should respect each other. Openness: Team members in the Scrum team and the stakeholders should be open about the work and associated challenges.Scrum Framework As a Product Owner, you should have a great understanding of the Scrum framework and the constituting team members--Developers and Scrum Master.  You should also understand about the artifacts used in the Scrum framework such as Product Backlog, Sprint backlog and Increments. Various events take place in Scrum like Sprint, Sprint planning, Daily scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective meetings. An understanding of the entire framework is highly recommended for the prospective Product Owners and for this certification.Product Backlog Management You should have a decent understanding about product backlog management. While you prepare the backlog, you should keep the following in mind: Your backlog should be the single source for delivery of valuable items It should possess transparency to the scrum team and stakeholders It should follow the prioritization and should be ordered based on the value, dependencies, and risk You should always keep an eye on the estimates for the product backlog items Your product backlog should be a point for starting conversations with the team members Ensure that the items in your product backlog contain specifications, mock-ups, architecture models, user acceptance criteria etc Release Management Product Owners can follow different release strategies. The releases can be Major, Minor or functional releases.  A major release can contain many large changes. They should be infrequent as they are often aligned with the organization timelines. While a major release is in progress, other works should be frozen, as a major release incurs high customer absorption costs and high business risks. A minor release can contain broad changes. They should be pre-scheduled as they often align with the sprint boundaries. Minor release should contain bug fixes and patches. A functional release can contain individual functionalities. Functional releases offer immediate value to the stakeholders. They incur low customer absorption costs and have minimal or no business risks.Required Course There are various courses available online for undertaking product owner certifications. You should pick the course based on your needs and the level of expertise you expect to achieve.  Recommended Course: PSPO PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) from Scrum.org is one of the recommended certification courses for Product Owners because it gives following benefits: PSPO assessment from Scrum.org requires you to have a good knowledge of Scrum and the passing score is high i.e., 85%, ensuring that your level of understanding is sound  It is not required to renew the certification once you have passed it, as it has a lifetime validity Once you have cleared the certification, your name would be added to the Scrum.org website and anyone can verify your credentialsWays to learn more to help you prepare Here are the tips that you can follow to clear the PSPO certification: 1. Ensure that you give equal importance to all the subject areas as questions would arise from all of them. However, the weightage varies roughly as below. Please note these are based on the inputs taken from various PSPO takers: Agile Product Management: 20% Value Driven Development: 20% Scrum Theory and Empiricism: 15% Scrum Framework: 15% Product Backlog Management: 15% Release Management: 10% Miscellaneous from Open Assessment in Scrum.org: 5% 2. Make sure you are alert and focused when you are taking the exam. Take the exam according to your convenience, at a time that suits you.  When you are taking the exam, move to a silent place so that you are uninterrupted. 3. Read the questions carefully and then answer. They may trick you by asking questions which contain ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘not’ or ‘which of the following cannot be available’ option. So, pay extra attention to the keywords in the questions. 4. There are multiple choice questions as well in the exam, make sure you have read all of the options and then answer. 5. Be very attentive about the questions related to specific subject areas. Conclusion   PSPO is among the more difficult certification exams for Product Owners. Ensure that you have given yourself sufficient time to prepare, around 4-6 weeks.  Remember, that PSPO is a very valuable certification in the Product Owner profession and as of January 2021, there are only 97,208 PSPO 1, 1906 PSPO II and 347 PSPO III certified holders around the globe. This certification can be a great way for you to be noticed by potential recruiters. Also, this is a great way to validate your skills and knowledge of Product Owner responsibilities and demonstrate your expertise to your employer.

Why and How to Pass the PSPO Exam?

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Why and How to Pass the PSPO Exam?

The role of the Product Owner is in high demand in the current market. It has consistently appeared among LinkedIn's most promising jobs. Agile and Scrum methodologies have overtaken the traditional methods of building software and managing projects, as they have been consistently proven to give better results than traditional project management methods.Product owner structure

In this article, you will learn about PSPO, among the most sought-after Product Owner certifications around the world. PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner and this certification is offered by Scrum.org.  

Before jumping into the details, letget to know about the accreditation body, that is Scrum.org, that offers the PSPO certification. 

  • Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum, who founded Scrum.org in 2009 as a global organization, has been dedicating himself to improving best practices in the world of Scrum. 
  • Unlike other training and certification organizations, Scrum.org is focused on improving professionalism in complex product delivery and that drives everything they do. 
  • For getting the Professional Scrum Product Owner certification, you would be required to demonstrate your familiarity, understanding and capability to apply Scrum fundamentals in the real world. 
  • All training materials are collaboratively maintained and improved by the community of Scrum experts and the founder Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum.

Prove your Product Owner Knowledge

PSPO is offered in 3 levels—I, II, and III. Before signing up for the training and certification for any of the three levelsScrum.org gives you a chance to assess your readiness, and prove your knowledge, understanding and ability to apply Scrum in the real-world. This can be done with the free assessment offered by Scrum.org.  The assessments are available to anyone who wishes to validate their knowledge of the Scrum framework and ability to support value creation and delivery. 

Scrum.org has decoupled the certification assessments from the training. Although each Scrum.org training class includes a free attempt at a Scrum.org assessment, you would still need to prove your knowledge by passing the assessment test with a score of 85% or better to receive the associated Professional certification. Those who pass the assessment receive the industry recognized PSPO I, II and III Certification to demonstrate their mastery of the content. 

However, Scrum.org highly recommends that you should take a Professional Scrum Product Owner course. This is not mandatory, and participants can attempt any of the three certifications after self-study also.

Prepare for the assessment

To prepare for the certification assessment, you should be thorough with the multiple focus areas as defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies.

Here are the Professional Scrum competencies and the key terms that you should learn:

Understanding and Applying the Scrum FrameworkDeveloping People and TeamsManaging Products with AgilityDeveloping & Delivering Products ProfessionallyEvolving the Agile Organization
  • Empiricism
  • Scrum Values
  • Scrum Team
  • Events
  • Artifacts\Done
  • Scaling
  • Self-Managing Teams
  • Facilitation
  • Leadership Styles
  • Coaching & Mentoring
  • Teaching
  • Forecasting & Release Planning
  • Product Vision
  • Product Value
  • Product Backlog Management
  • Business Strategy
  • Stakeholders & Customers
  • Emergent Software Development
  • Managing Technical Risk
  • Continuous Quality
  • Continuous Integration
  • Continuous Delivery
  • Optimizing Flow
  • Organizational Design & Culture
  • Portfolio Planning
  • Evidence Based Management

Details 

To navigate through the preparation, you should: 

Certification

Let’s understand the various levels of the PSPO certification. There are 3 levels:

Certification

Details are available at.

For this certification, there are steps and preparation that you should follow and this article will take you through all you need to be a PSPO.

Exam Fee, Passing Score, Time limit, Number of Questions, Exam Format, Difficulty and Language


Exam FeePassing ScoreTime limit# of QuestionsExam formatDifficultyLanguage
PSPO I Assessment$20085%1 hour80Multiple Choice, Multiple Answer and True/FalseIntermediateEnglish
PSPO II Assessment$25085%1 hour40Multiple Choice, Multiple AnswerAdvancedEnglish
PSPO III Assessment$50085%2 hours35Multiple Choice and essayExpertEnglish

Once you pay the exam fee for the respective assessment, you would receive the password for attempting the assessment in 1 business day. Assessment passwords do not expire and remain valid until used.  

PSPO Subject Areas 

To clear PSPO certification, you should have thorough understanding of the Subject areas. The Subject areas for PSPO are: 

  • Agile Product Management: 

The role of a Product Owner in Agile Product Management is to maximize the value of the product developed by the implementation team. From the certification point of view, you should understand the importance of the role of Product owner, which is an internal facing role and requires gathering technical requirements, grooming the product backlog, and detailing user stories. Additionally, while reading you should keep focussing on how a product owner envisions a product’s life in an agile environment. You should also learn the techniques of building a Business Model Canvas, writing a business case and creating the value proposition. Eventually, that will help you in defining the customer segments, value proposition, and major activities that you should perform during the agile product lifecycle. 

You should also understand the core responsibilities carried out by the Product Owner in the Agile product management as part of Product Strategy-understanding the customer needs, creating the product roadmap, prioritizing the features, understanding customer experiences and measuring the product success.

  • Value Driven Development 

The primary motto of Agile is to satisfy the customer needs through early and continuous delivery of software. The Product Owner should focus on delivering the maximum value at the earliest in Value driven development. You should have sound understanding about user stories and should follow the INVEST rule, that is user stories should be: 

  • I - Independent 
  • N - Negotiable 
  • V - Valuable 
  • E -Estimable 
  • S - Small 
  • T - Testable 

Each of the user stories should have a clear story point. You should also have an understanding of the business value so that Return of Investment can be calculated. The KPI i.e., Return of Investment helps the Product Owner to perform prioritization in the Value Driven Development.

  • Scrum Theory and Empiricism 

The Scrum Values are the foundation for behaviour and practices in Scrum. They are closely related to the theory and first principles of Scrum and support teams in their work.  The Scrum Team can always fall back on these essentials.  

The Product Owner should demonstrate following attributes: 

  1. Courage: Product Owner should help in encouraging the scrum team members to do the right thing and work on tough problems. 
  2. Focus: Product Owner should ensure that scrum members focus on the work of the Sprint and goals of the Scrum team. 
  3. Commitment: Product Owner should create the environment where Scrum team members should personally commit to achieve the goals of the Scrum team. 
  4. Respect: Team members in the Scrum team should respect each other. 
  5. Openness: Team members in the Scrum team and the stakeholders should be open about the work and associated challenges.
  • Scrum Framework 

As a Product Owner, you should have a great understanding of the Scrum framework and the constituting team members--Developers and Scrum Master.  

You should also understand about the artifacts used in the Scrum framework such as Product Backlog, Sprint backlog and Increments. 

Various events take place in Scrum like Sprint, Sprint planning, Daily scrum, Sprint Review and Sprint Retrospective meetings. An understanding of the entire framework is highly recommended for the prospective Product Owners and for this certification.

  • Product Backlog Management 

You should have decent understanding about product backlog management. While you prepare the backlog, you should keep the following in mind: 

  1. Your backlog should be the single source for delivery of valuable items 
  2. It should possess transparency to the scrum team and stakeholders 
  3. It should follow the prioritization and should be ordered based on the value, dependencies, and risk 
  4. You should always keep an eye on the estimates for the product backlog items 
  5. Your product backlog should be a point for starting conversations with the team members 
  6. Ensure that the items in your product backlog contain specifications, mock-ups, architecture models, user acceptance criteria etc 
  • Release Management 

Product Owners can follow different release strategies. 

The releases can be Major, Minor or functional releases.  

A major release can contain many large changes. They should be infrequent as they are often aligned with the organization timelines. While a major release is in progress, other works should be frozen, as a major release incurs high customer absorption costs and high business risks. 

A minor release can contain broad changes. They should be pre-scheduled as they often align with the sprint boundaries. Minor release should contain bug fixes and patches. 

A functional release can contain individual functionalities. Functional releases offer immediate value to the stakeholders. They incur low customer absorption costs and have minimal or no business risks.

Required Course 

There are various courses available online for undertaking product owner certifications. You should pick the course based on your needs and the level of expertise you expect to achieve.  

Recommended Course: PSPO 

PSPO (Professional Scrum Product Owner) from Scrum.org is one of the recommended certification courses for Product Owners because it gives following benefits: 

  • PSPO assessment from Scrum.org requires you to have a good knowledge of Scrum and the passing score is high i.e., 85%, ensuring that your level of understanding is sound  
  • It is not required to renew the certification once you have passed it, as it has a lifetime validity 
  • Once you have cleared the certification, your name would be added to the Scrum.org website and anyone can verify your credentials

Ways to learn more to help you prepare 

Here are the tips that you can follow to clear the PSPO certification: 

1. Ensure that you give equal importance to all the subject areas as questions would arise from all of them. However, the weightage varies roughly as below. Please note these are based on the inputs taken from various PSPO takers: 

  • Agile Product Management: 20% 
  • Value Driven Development: 20% 
  • Scrum Theory and Empiricism: 15% 
  • Scrum Framework: 15% 
  • Product Backlog Management: 15% 
  • Release Management: 10% 
  • Miscellaneous from Open Assessment in Scrum.org: 5% 

2. Make sure you are alert and focused when you are taking the exam. Take the exam according to your convenience, at a time that suits you.  When you are taking the exam, move to a silent place so that you are uninterrupted. 

3. Read the questions carefully and then answer. They may trick you by asking questions which contain ‘never’, ‘always’, ‘not’ or ‘which of the following cannot be available optionSo, pay extra attention to the keywords in the questions. 

4. There are multiple choice questions as well in the exam, make sure you have read all of the options and then answer. 

5. Be very attentive about the questions related to specific subject areas. 

Conclusion   

PSPO is among the more difficult certification exams for Product Owners. Ensure that you have given yourself sufficient time to prepare, around 4-6 weeks.  Remember, that PSPO is very valuable certification in the Product Owner profession and as of January 2021, there are only 97,208 PSPO 1, 1906 PSPO II and 347 PSPO III certified holders around the globe. This certification can be a great way for you to be noticed by potential recruiters. Also, this is a great way to validate your skills and knowledge of Product Owner responsibilities and demonstrate your expertise to your employer.

Shashank

Shashank Jain

Author

Shashank Jain is a Senior Consultant with 13+ years of experience in IT industry and 9+ years’ experience in Business Analysis, Product Owner, Scrum Master, Consulting & Project Management roles. Shashank is Certified Product Owner, Scrum Master and holds Certified Business Analysis Professional credentials. He specializes in transforming the conversation between the business and IT, resulting in maximizing business value realization. He has practised Agile-Scrum for more than 8 years which consist of more than 20 initiatives with consistent achievement of 85%+ team goals.

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Developing these solutions requires different roles, artifacts, events, and coordination.Portfolio SAFe®The Portfolio SAFe®  configuration is the most miniature set of competencies and methods that can ultimately enable business agility, as intimated by the blue ‘Business Agility’ bar at the top. This bar also incorporates a link to Measure & Grow for guidance on managing SAFe®  business agility assessments. Portfolio SAFe®  contains two additional competencies, Organizational Agility and Lean Portfolio Management, exceeding the three core competencies of Essential SAFe®. Lean Portfolio Management adjusts portfolio execution to enterprise strategy and organizes development around the flow of value through one or more value streams. Organization Agility extends Lean thinking and practice throughout the enterprise and enables strategy agility. Continuous Learning Culture describes how everyone in the organization learns together, relentlessly improves, and builds innovation into the culture. In addition to the competencies, Portfolio SAFe®  provides principles and practices for portfolio strategy and investment funding, Agile portfolio operations, and Lean governance.Full SAFe®Full SAFe®  is the most extensive configuration, including all seven core competencies needed for business agility. The world’s most extensive enterprises typically use it to maintain portfolios of large and complex solutions.SAFe®  Lean-Agile PrinciplesSAFe®  has ten permanent, underlying Lean-Agile principles. These systems inform the roles and practices of SAFe®.Take an economic viewAddressing the most high-grade value and quality for people and society in the shortest sustainable lead-time requires a fundamental understanding of building systems' economics. The SAFe®  framework highlights the trade-offs between risk, Cost of Delay (CoD), manufacturing, operational, and development costs. Moreover, every development value stream must operate within the context of an approved budget and be compliant with the guardrails which support decentralized decision-making.Apply systems thinkingThe workplace challenges and the marketplace demands knowledge of the systems within which workers and users work. Such systems are complicated, and they consist of many interrelated segments. To update, everyone must understand the broader aim of the system.  In SAFe®, systems thinking supports the development of the organization that builds the system.Assume variabilityTraditional design and life cycle practices assist in choosing an individual design-and-requirements option early in the development process. If the starting point proves to be the incorrect choice, then future arrangements take amazingly long and lead to a suboptimal design. A more dependable path is to manage multiple requirements, and empirical data is assumed to narrow the focus, resulting in a format that generates optimum economic results.Build incrementally with fast, integrated learning cyclesDeveloping solutions incrementally in a series of small iterations allow for more immediate customer feedback and mitigates risk. Subsequent increments build on the previous ones. Since the 'system always runs,' some increments may serve as prototypes for market testing and validation; others become minimum viable products (MVPs). Still, others extend the system to new and valuable functionality.  This early feedback helps determine when to change to an alternate action course.Base milestones on an objective evaluation of working systemsBusiness owners, developers, and customers have a distributed responsibility to guarantee that investment in the latest solutions will benefit economically. The sequential, phase-gate development model meets this challenge, but experience proves that it does not decrease risk as expected. In Lean-Agile development, integration features provide objective milestones to evaluate the solution during the development life cycle. Regular evaluation offers financial, technical, and fitness-for-purpose governance to ensure that a progressive investment will deliver a proportionate return.Visualize and limit WIP, reduce batch sizes, and manage queue lengthsLean enterprises endeavour to accomplish a state of continuous movement, where new system inclinations move swiftly and visibly from concept to cash.Keys to implementing flow are  Envision and restrict the quantity of work in process (WIP).  Overcome the batch sizes of work to expedite fast and more stable flow.  Manage queue lengths to decrease the delay periods for new functionality.Apply cadence, synchronize with cross-domain planningCadence creates predictability and executes a rhythm for development. Synchronization induces varied viewpoints to be understood, solved and integrated at the same time. Implementing development cadence and synchronization, joined with periodic cross-domain planning, provides the mechanisms required to function efficiently in the proximity of the inherent development ambiguity.Unlock the intrinsic motivation of knowledge workersLean-Agile leaders recognize that creativity, innovation, and employee commitment are not generally triggered by individual incentive compensation. Such personal causes can create internal competition and destroy the cooperation necessary to achieve the system's larger aim. Implementing autonomy and purpose, reducing constraints, generating an environment of mutual influence, and better understanding compensation's role is key to higher employee engagement levels. This procedure yields more desirable outcomes for people, customers, and the organization.Decentralize decision-makingObtaining quick value delivery necessitates decentralized decision-making. This subdues delays, increases product development flow, allows more instantaneous feedback, and generates more innovative solutions devised by those closest to the local knowledge. However, some choices are essential, global, and have economies of scale that justify centralized decision-making. Since both types of decisions occur, producing a solid decision-making framework is critical in guaranteeing a quick flow of value.Organize around valueMany organizations today revolve around principles developed during the last century. In the digital age, the only sustainable aggressive advantage is the pace with which an organization can respond to its customers' needs with new and innovative solutions. Business Agility demands that enterprises build around value to deliver more quickly. And when market and customer desires change, the enterprise must seamlessly and quickly reorganize around that new value flow.Choosing the Best Suited Agile frameworkThere are numerous Agile frameworks like Scrum, Kanban, XP, Crystal, FDD, etc., to contemplate businesses with various teams working on an identical product. But often, the most excellent solution is one that compounds best practices from varied scaling frameworks. The truth is, organizational leaders must approach Agile as a process that is tailored to fit the needs rather than a dormant solution.SAFe®  vs. Scrum@ScaleThe Scaled Agile FrameworkThe Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe® ) is the most successful and popular framework for scaling Scrum in big organizations. It is essential to note that SAFe®  is intended to accommodate DevOps, a process frequently deemed for future-proof Agile organizations.SAFe®  is a method that describes a highly structured framework to embrace and engage an Agile value stream in an enterprise setting. It is most desirable for large organizations to retain as much organizational and process structure as possible while reaping the advantages of a decentralized Agile method. SAFe®  is not as efficiently customizable as Scrum at Scale, so an in-depth interpretation of value creation processes is essential for planning an Agile transition process using this framework.Scrum@ScaleScrum at Scale, created by Dr. Jeff Sutherland and Alex Brown, is the newest addition to Agile scaling frameworks and was publicly launched at Agile 2014 in Orlando. Hence, it is relatively untested and undocumented compared to SAFe®, making it less suitable for extensive enterprise adoption. To be specific, it's a modular method to scaling the well-known Scrum framework.  Scrum at Scale can support scaling the framework. It is a manageable solution for organizations of all sizes. Scrum@Scale is a working model and skeleton within which Scrum teams’ networks work consistently with the Scrum Guide and can approach complicated large-scale problems and productively deliver products of high value. Scrum@Scale extends the core Scrum framework to deliver hyper-productive results across organizations.  The Scrum@Scale structure is easily manageable but hard to master. It is made up of 2 cycles, the Scrum Master cycle and Product Owner cycle, and 12 components necessary to execute Scrum at scale.SAFe®  vs. Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS)Scaled Agile FrameworkSAFe®  performs flawlessly in organizations with several hundred teams. Hence, it’s an exceptional framework for big companies. It provides these businesses with a highly reliable method for outlining, performance, and delivery through Agile Release Trains.    ARTs work on a steady flow of Program Increments lasting from eight to 12 weeks. Each Increment starts with a cross-functional team devising sessions to recognize what they’ll present, and this helps to identify and address cross-team dependencies and possible hindrances.Benefits of SAFe®Assists in resolving problems on business aspects, which other Agile frameworks fail to address  Teams perform at the highest value in the least amount of time    Synchronization across multiple teams reduces scaling issues  Outstanding assistance through educational training courses and role-based certifications  SAFe®  separates business strategies into actions, then features, then stories of work at the team level, and maps the pathway.Drawbacks of SAFe®The implementation pathway is required to be tweaked to meet the requirements of your organization. Association with economic-driven Lean development would demonstrate challenges from a cultural aspect.SAFe®  is a comprehensive solution that discusses not only team agility but also portfolio and business agility. Therefore, it is an excellent option for firms to achieve total enterprise agility with a highly disciplined approach to deliverables.Large Scale Scrum (LeSS)LeSS is the large-scale implementation of essential principles and elements of Scrum beyond cross-cultural teams. A necessary characteristic of LeSS comprises redirecting team awareness over the entire organization. However, fulfilling this can prove to be the principal impediment to scaling.    LeSS consists of a couple of frameworks:    Including eight teams    It also estimates for more than eight teams. Both frameworks are reliant profoundly upon the Product Owner.  LeSS Huge includes Product Owners that operate amidst their smaller areas. For leaders who follow Lean Economics, LeSS can be more effective due to its importance on systems thinking, doing more with LeSS, and queuing theory.Benefits of LeSSComfortable and flexible due to its Scrum origins    Sets more strain on system-wide thinking    Parks more Locus on a product preferably than a project    Massively reliant on a single Product Owner and backlogLimitations of LeSSScaling only works for an organization which has an extensive Scrum foundation    LeSS is formed around Scrum and is not a straightforward extension of other methodologies.    A single Product Owner may attempt to control multiple teamsChoose the Most Appropriate Agile framework.There are numerous assorted Agile frameworks to consider for organizations that have diverse teams operating on similar products. But often, to get the best results, the best practices from different scaling frameworks are merged. The truth is, organizational leaders must consider Agile as a process they tailor to suit their requirements rather than an inert solution. Hopefully, this SAFe®  vs LeSS comparison makes your decision-making process a little more comfortable.SAFe®  vs SpotifySpotify: a lightweight frameworkUnlike SAFe®, the Spotify model is not considered an extensive toolbox. The Spotify model contributes a relatively lightweight framework that stresses the necessity to generate many interactions to limit the silo side formed by teams.It would be essential to determine how every team must work in a standard way or have 100% freedom provided to the groups. Moreover, the Spotify model doesn’t deliver any solution to control the Portfolio like SAFe®. We could associate the Spotify model’s philosophy with Scrum, as it is a lightweight framework in which the teams would have to produce the details.SAFe®  a heavy frameworkSAFe®  extends a comprehensive and complete framework. Experts view it as a framework that is too detailed. So, the question that arises is: Is SAFe®  an agile framework? SAFe®  empowers to work, to coordinate, to train, to put in place its processes whether it suits the organization or not. It is hence a complete solution. Unlike the Spotify model, everything is already fixed, and only an expert can be expected to have the imagination to improve it.Challenges of scaling agile principles and practicesThe Scaled Agile Framework discusses the obstacles encountered when scaling agile beyond a single team.  SAFe®  supports collaboration, coordination, and delivery across a vast number of agile teams.This framework leverages three primary bodies of knowledge:Agile software methodological development  Lean product methodological development  System thinkingHurdles in Scaling AgileThere are several hurdles that an organization faces when it is required to scale agile principles and practices.Long term planning absence The development team implementing agile principles usually enhances/improves their product backlog to two to three iterations.  In huge organizations, the product marketing team would like to release the products in the market, and the teams would perform at a high-level roadmap of 12-18 months. They then cooperate on plans for three months of work.  The agile development teams would refine product backlog for 2-3 iterations and have detailed task plans ready, and often new changes are limited to the subsequent iterations.Lack of agile practicesThe agile development teams operate within the framework to help determine how to be elegant, but work is deficient for agile methods at the management level. The cross-functional units that can manage complicated levels of accountability and planning are missing.Delegated authority handlingIn the Scrum framework, the Product Owner accepts the product life cycle’s charge accompanied by investment return.  The Product Owner is fully accountable for the completion/ performance of the product. On a large scale, there is a requirement to have a view of multiple team backlogs. A Product Manager is usually accountable for controlling multiple team backlogs. There is still a barrier as the Product Owner is separated from the development of the organization.Lack of synchronizationAgile frameworks provide freedom to development teams to create their ways of work. There are hundreds of development teams at a large scale, and it proves to be a hurdle for the teams to be entirely self-organized.  The self-organized teams operating on identical products will face a challenge to synchronize their deliverables and deliver them together.Absence of InnovationWith large organizations working in agile, a need arises for an additional iteration after a release that improves their practices. This assists in planning for the next planning increment.  A large-scale agile model also requires testing everything that is operating concurrently till the end.  SAFe®  is a framework that helps organizations to handle the barriers they face while scaling agile and lean. To use the Scaled Agile Framework effectively, it is essential to know and understand its principles.ConclusionSAFe®  5.0 brings the necessary changes required for organizations to grow and not lose their core focus, i.e. customers. Companies can now create value streams for their overall growth with business agility rather than each department individually.The two new core competencies will allow the organizations to create a learning culture to promote constant improvement in innovative solutions, performance, and growth and change or adapt strategies according to the change in market trends. Overall, SAFe®  5.0 brings the main focus back into the picture without losing it in the hierarchical structure of organizations.Frameworks like SAFe®  provide a viable option for helping businesses achieve their business outcomes: Jira, an enterprise agile planning platform, is built for SAFe®. Jira can improve visibility, strategic alignment, and enterprise adaptability to accelerate your digital transformation.
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SAFe® vs Agile frameworks: Scrum@Scale vs LeSS...

The new updates to SAFe® 5.0 are a significant st... Read More

Best Product Owner Certifications in 2021

The one person responsible for maximising the product value, representing the stakeholders, prioritizing the backlog, empowering the team, maintaining Agile and Scrum processes and defining the product vision—who is that one superstar on an Agile team who does all this? The Product Owner!Product Owner roles have seen a sharp rise in recent years. If you see yourself as a Product Owner, managing business and stakeholders, then it is prudent that you validate your skills with a Product Owner certification and set yourself up for career success.Product Owners with industry recognised credentials earn upwards of $105,845, significantly more than their peers who are not certified.Irrespective of whether you are a seasoned Product Owner or are just sinking your teeth into the world of Agile and Scrum, a credential in your toolkit will greatly enhance your career prospects. So, here’s a roundup of the most valued Product Owner certifications you can choose from and get ready for 2021.CSPO®A-CSPO®PSPO™PMI-ACP®SAFe® Product Owner Product ManagerCSPO®The Certified Scrum Product Owner certification is an offering from Scrum Alliance. Among the most popular Product Owner certifications, this credential is a validation of your knowledge of Scrum, the scope of the Product Owner’s role and skill in maximizing value and the Scrum team’s work.CSPOs are in great demand across industries as they have the credibility to lead product development initiatives.Other benefits of the CSPO certification include:Training led by Scrum Alliance approved Certified Scrum Trainers® (CSTs)Get a 2-year membership with Scrum AllianceGain access to a number of local groups of Scrum users and social networksQualify for higher certifications such as the A-CSPO®Widen the scope of your career with the knowledge of popular Agile practices.Enhance your repertoire with in-demand Scrum skills and demonstrate your Scrum knowledge.Actively engage with the community of Agile practitioners dedicated to continuous Scrum practice and improvement.Create a better product by leading and implementing Scrum in the team.Define the product vision and direct team members to yield high value at the end.Ensure smooth communication between the stakeholders and team members.Earn higher salaries than your non-certified counterparts (USA: $105,845)Top industries hiring CSPO professionalsFidelity InvestmentsCapital One Financial CorpAmazon.comT-Mobile, IncAmerican ExpressSource: PayScaleWhere to take training for certificationThe training must be taken from a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or Registered Education Provider (REP) or a Certified Agile Coach of Scrum Alliance.Who should take the training for CSPO certification?This course can be taken by:Project Managers Developers Product Owners Managers-Software development Architects-Software development Product Managers Software developers Software testers Team leads/Team members interested in learning ScrumWho is eligible for the CSPO certification?There are no eligibility requirements for the CSPO certification.Duration to get CSPO certifiedAll participants need to attend the 2-day in-person or 14 hours live online CSPO training from a CST, at the end of which they will receive their credential. Course/Training fee for CSPO certificationThe course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 24999  U.S: USD 1295Canada: CAD 1495Exam fee for CSPO certification: No exam needs to be taken in order to earn the CSPO credential. Attending a 2-day/14-hour course is mandated to earn the credential.Renewal fee for CSPO certification: $100, every 2 yearsA-CSPO℠The Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner℠ (A-CSPO℠) credential is also offered by the Scrum Alliance, and as the name suggests is an advanced course to be pursued after gaining the CSPO. 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 industries 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 yearsPSPO™Professional 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 industries 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 renewalPMI-ACP®The 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 industries 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.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 industries 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 2021

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

Combination Of Agile & DevOps – The Roots

Agile and DevOps are two notions that originate from the same schools of thought, but whose paths now have digressed. However, a major amount of confusion still remains within the IT services industry with regards to the relationship between the two and has emerging agile & devops trends in 2017. Hence, it is of value to look at the origins of each and to clarify the disparities between them. ‘Tell me what you want, what you really really want!!’ Does the tune ring a bell? Back in the 1990s, the Spice Girls were expressing to the world what they really really wanted, and similarly business owners and corporate leaders were doing pretty much the same, indicating what they wanted to software developers who were working on enabling these organizations through technology. Unfortunately, these business owners were not as lucky as the Spice Girls. More often than not they really didn’t get what they wanted. By the time business requirements were properly understood, validated and finally realized through software products the business requirements more or less had changed.  This was mainly due to the ‘application delivery lag time period’ that sometimes went up to three years. The result of the aforementioned delay from concept to realization meant that a large proportion of projects were stopped before completion. Even then, those that eventually reached the finish line more often than not did not meet the end users’ expectations.  The introduction of Agile – The change-driven management approach The search was on for a more lightweight approach to solution delivery and the result was ‘agile’ – a project management approach with a series of new concepts with regards to collaboration between business owners and the implementation team including UI / UX engineers, developers and even QA engineers. Instead of eliciting, documenting and signing off all the requirements up front and getting it signed off before work began, the focus shifted to delivering value through increments of functional software that would evolve over time. The results indicated that the software implementation team had become more productive, businesses could be more responsive in responding to queries of the implementation team, and user demands could be met more efficiently. However, problems remained. The agile approach didn’t always deliver on the promise of continuous, seamless software development. Blockers continued to exist. So, what is DevOps? The first thing to note is the fact that DevOps is not an individual tool or a suite of solutions but more of a philosophy whose primary purpose is to reduce the distance between the worlds of software development and IT operations. It defines how the original concepts of agile have moved downstream to the level of infrastructure and operations. The DevOps concept sounds relatively straightforward, but in reality it is a little bit more complicated. Software development and IT operations have historically had very different approaches. Software developers appreciate the ability to change things quickly and often they do end up changing things rapidly. In the meantime IT operators focus on stability and on minimizing alteration. This philosophical disparity has often resulted in conflicts. Thus, one of the main challenges of DevOps is to ensure that this conflict decreases before it affects the businesses. Importance of DevOps Principles For this very reason indicated above, it is very important to consider and act up on the core principles of DevOps. They are, Close collaboration and communication between developers, system operators and software testers Continuous integration that requires developers and operators to commit to changes more frequently Continuous delivery to increase the team’s speed and efficiency while enabling early detection of bugs Continuous deployment to ensure new developments can be released without system downtime The DevOps philosophy goes hand-in-hand with the delivery processes described in ITIL Framework in terms of support and IT services management. DevOps can therefore be seen as a way to implement ITIL processes in such a manner that meets the demands placed on systems today.  
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Combination Of Agile & DevOps – The Roots

Agile and DevOps are two notions that originate fr... Read More