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How To Prioritise Requirements With The MoSCoW Technique

IntroductionOn most projects, we talk about requirements and features that are either in scope or out of scope. But to manage those requirements effectively we also have to prioritise them. And this is where the MoSCoW technique comes in.Let me explain what M, S, C, and W stand for.M is a must-have requirement. Something that’s essential to the project and that’s not negotiable.S is a should-have requirement. Something we need in the project if at all possible.C stands for could-have. Something that’s nice to have in case we have extra time and budget.W is a will not have requirement. Something that’s out of scope, at least this time around.Why to use MoSCoW technique for requirement prioritization?Using the MoSCoW technique gives us a more granular view of what is in or out of scope of the project, and it helps us deliver the most important requirements to the customer first. In other words, it helps you to manage your client’s expectations. And as you will come to see, the MoSCoW technique can also be used to delegate work and to be explicit about what needs to get done and what doesn't need to get done.Whenever I train people in the fundamentals of project management, I always teach them the MoSCoW technique. And without a fail, it ends up being one of the most useful techniques, due to its applicability and simplicity. It can even be used outside of the project space. And, if you still wonder how we arrived at MoSCoW, then we’ve simply added two o’s to turn the four letters into a memorable city name.How to use MoSCoW technique for requirement prioritization?Let us look at an example of how to use the technique in practice. I would like you to imagine that your job is to project manage an upcoming conference. This is a yearly conference where delegates will come to network and to hear industry experts talk about sustainability in project management.M- MustAs you meet with the organisation behind the event, i.e. your client, you ask them what their must-have requirements are for the conference. You are curious to know everything you must deliver to them for them to be satisfied. Your client responds that the event must be held at an indoor venue within five kilometres of the city centre and that it must be within the allocated budget. It must be able to host 150 people and it must have facilities to serve lunch.S- ShouldYou then ask your client what there should be at the event if at all possible. They answer that you should arrange for three speakers in the morning and three speakers in the afternoon. All of them should be recognised within the industry, if at all possible. In addition, you should make time for the delegates to network with each other during lunch, and lunch should, ideally, be a sit down affair with hot food. Finally, each delegate should receive a goodie bag upon arrival.C-CouldYou furthermore enquire with your client what there could be at the event. i.e. what are some nice to have requirements, which you could incorporate? You’re not promising to deliver those requirements but in case you have extra time and budget you can look into it. It turns out that your client would like to have a famous sports or businessperson open the conference. But it’s not essential and only possible if budget allows. They also think that it would be nice with a panel discussion on sustainability at some point after lunch, but it isn’t essential.W- WouldYou finally ask them what there will not be at this event, i.e. which requirements are firmly out of scope. Your client answers that there will not be multiple tracks of speakers and that there will not be any alcohol served at any point during the day. They also specify that this year there won’t be a second day of in depth workshops taking place.Using the MoSCoW technique in this way to categorise all the project’s requirements is a very user-friendly method, which your client will be able to easily understand. Initially your client may say that everything is a must-have requirement, but when you explain that must-have requirements come with a price-tag they will understand that they can’t have everything unless they increase the budget and give you more time to deliver it.When you plan your project, and put together the project plan, only include the must-have and should-have items. This is what you’re promising to deliver. You’re not promising to deliver the could-have items. They can go on a separate wish list. Also take care to properly document the will-not-have requirements. You may think that you can forget about them because they are out of scope. But, it’s necessary to document them as you may have to refer back to them later.An example of using the MoSCoW technique to describe features of a requirementWhat I really like about the MoSCoW technique is that you can also use it at a more detailed level to describe the features of a requirement. Let’s say for example that you have delegated the goodie-bag-task to one of your team members. That’s the little bag each participant will receive when they arrive at the venue and which normally contains a few freebies. It’s the team member’s job to gather the detailed requirements for the goodie-bag and to physically produce it.As you’re delegating the task, the team members would like to know what your expectations are and what they must deliver to you at the end. You should explain them all the information required clearly, such as:The requirements (M):There must be 150 goodie bagsEach bag must contain a copy of the event programme andBag as well as the event programme must be made out of recyclable materialsThe deliverables (S):There should be two free branded items inside, such as a pen and paper, if at all possible.Furthermore, explain that (C):The bag could contain something sweet, like mints, but only if a suitable sponsor is found.The bag could also contain a small bottle of water as a nice to have.Finally specify that (W):The bags will not contain any alcohol and that the combined weight will not be more than one kg.Whose responsibility is to prioritize?Business Analysts are mainly responsible to take up the most complex requirements and break down them into simple tasks that can be implemented by anyone. But, BA alone can’t do the prioritization alone. He/she needs to bring in several stakeholders  into the process and get their approval on the requirements priority. It is essential for BA to understand the dependencies between the requirements before prioritizing them.Benefits of using MoSCoW technique for Business AnalystsThe BA can make use of any prioritization techniques to prioritize the requirements thoroughly. But, MoSCoW technique is the effective one to use among all the other prioritization techniques available. Some of the benefits of using MoSCoW technique for Business Analysts is shown in the figure below.ConclusionAs we can see that we can prioritise requirements with MoSCoW technique at a high level but also at a low level to specify the detailed requirements, or features, of a product. When you use it at a low level it also helps you to delegate tasks better to team members and to set expectations. Are you ready to give it a go?

How To Prioritise Requirements With The MoSCoW Technique

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How To Prioritise Requirements With The MoSCoW Technique

Introduction

On most projects, we talk about requirements and features that are either in scope or out of scope. But to manage those requirements effectively we also have to prioritise them. And this is where the MoSCoW technique comes in.

Let me explain what M, S, C, and W stand for.

  • M is a must-have requirement. Something that’s essential to the project and that’s not negotiable.
  • is a should-have requirement. Something we need in the project if at all possible.
  • stands for could-have. Something that’s nice to have in case we have extra time and budget.
  • W is a will not have requirement. Something that’s out of scope, at least this time around.
    MOSCOW explanation

Why to use MoSCoW technique for requirement prioritization?

Using the MoSCoW technique gives us a more granular view of what is in or out of scope of the project, and it helps us deliver the most important requirements to the customer first. In other words, it helps you to manage your client’s expectations. And as you will come to see, the MoSCoW technique can also be used to delegate work and to be explicit about what needs to get done and what doesn't need to get done.
Why MOSCOW techniqueWhenever I train people in the fundamentals of project management, I always teach them the MoSCoW technique. And without a fail, it ends up being one of the most useful techniques, due to its applicability and simplicity. It can even be used outside of the project space. And, if you still wonder how we arrived at MoSCoW, then we’ve simply added two o’s to turn the four letters into a memorable city name.

How to use MoSCoW technique for requirement prioritization?

Let us look at an example of how to use the technique in practice. I would like you to imagine that your job is to project manage an upcoming conference. This is a yearly conference where delegates will come to network and to hear industry experts talk about sustainability in project management.
MOSCOW prioritizing requirementsM- Must

As you meet with the organisation behind the event, i.e. your client, you ask them what their must-have requirements are for the conference. You are curious to know everything you must deliver to them for them to be satisfied. Your client responds that the event must be held at an indoor venue within five kilometres of the city centre and that it must be within the allocated budget. It must be able to host 150 people and it must have facilities to serve lunch.

S- Should

You then ask your client what there should be at the event if at all possible. They answer that you should arrange for three speakers in the morning and three speakers in the afternoon. All of them should be recognised within the industry, if at all possible. In addition, you should make time for the delegates to network with each other during lunch, and lunch should, ideally, be a sit down affair with hot food. Finally, each delegate should receive a goodie bag upon arrival.

C-Could

You furthermore enquire with your client what there could be at the event. i.e. what are some nice to have requirements, which you could incorporate? You’re not promising to deliver those requirements but in case you have extra time and budget you can look into it. It turns out that your client would like to have a famous sports or businessperson open the conference. But it’s not essential and only possible if budget allows. They also think that it would be nice with a panel discussion on sustainability at some point after lunch, but it isn’t essential.

W- Would

You finally ask them what there will not be at this event, i.e. which requirements are firmly out of scope. Your client answers that there will not be multiple tracks of speakers and that there will not be any alcohol served at any point during the day. They also specify that this year there won’t be a second day of in depth workshops taking place.
Using the MoSCoW technique in this way to categorise all the project’s requirements is a very user-friendly method, which your client will be able to easily understand. Initially your client may say that everything is a must-have requirement, but when you explain that must-have requirements come with a price-tag they will understand that they can’t have everything unless they increase the budget and give you more time to deliver it.

When you plan your project, and put together the project plan, only include the must-have and should-have items. This is what you’re promising to deliver. You’re not promising to deliver the could-have items. They can go on a separate wish list. Also take care to properly document the will-not-have requirements. You may think that you can forget about them because they are out of scope. But, it’s necessary to document them as you may have to refer back to them later.

An example of using the MoSCoW technique to describe features of a requirement

What I really like about the MoSCoW technique is that you can also use it at a more detailed level to describe the features of a requirement. Let’s say for example that you have delegated the goodie-bag-task to one of your team members. That’s the little bag each participant will receive when they arrive at the venue and which normally contains a few freebies. It’s the team member’s job to gather the detailed requirements for the goodie-bag and to physically produce it.

As you’re delegating the task, the team members would like to know what your expectations are and what they must deliver to you at the end. You should explain them all the information required clearly, such as:

  • The requirements (M):
    There must be 150 goodie bags
    Each bag must contain a copy of the event programme and
    Bag as well as the event programme must be made out of recyclable materials

  • The deliverables (S):
    There should be two free branded items inside, such as a pen and paper, if at all possible.

  • Furthermore, explain that (C):
    The bag could contain something sweet, like mints, but only if a suitable sponsor is found.
    The bag could also contain a small bottle of water as a nice to have.

  • Finally specify that (W):
    The bags will not contain any alcohol and that the combined weight will not be more than one kg.

Whose responsibility is to prioritize?
MOSCOW Prioritize responsibilityBusiness Analysts are mainly responsible to take up the most complex requirements and break down them into simple tasks that can be implemented by anyone. But, BA alone can’t do the prioritization alone. He/she needs to bring in several stakeholders  into the process and get their approval on the requirements priority. It is essential for BA to understand the dependencies between the requirements before prioritizing them.

Benefits of using MoSCoW technique for Business Analysts

The BA can make use of any prioritization techniques to prioritize the requirements thoroughly. But, MoSCoW technique is the effective one to use among all the other prioritization techniques available. Some of the benefits of using MoSCoW technique for Business Analysts is shown in the figure below.
MOSCOW BenefitsConclusion
As we can see that we can prioritise requirements with MoSCoW technique at a high level but also at a low level to specify the detailed requirements, or features, of a product. When you use it at a low level it also helps you to delegate tasks better to team members and to set expectations. Are you ready to give it a go?

Susanne

Susanne Madsen

Blog author

Susanne Madsen is an internationally recognised project leadership coach, trainer and consultant. She is the author of The Project Management Coaching Workbook and The Power of Project Leadership. Working with organisations globally she helps project managers step up and become better leaders.

Prior to setting up her own business, Susanne worked for almost 20 years in the corporate sector leading high-profile programmes of up to $30 million for organisations such as Standard Bank, Citigroup and JPMorgan Chase. She is a fully qualified Corporate and Executive coach, accredited by DISC and a regular contributor to the Association for Project Management (APM).

Susanne is also the co-founded The Project Leadership Institute, which is dedicated to building authentic project leaders by engaging the heart, the soul and the mind.

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Waterfall Vs Agile – Must Know Differences

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It helps to promote productivity while at the same time it helps you communicate and collaborate with your peers in a better manner.Prove and put Scrum knowledge into practice: The process to earn Scrum Certification requires you to go through a rigorous agile scrum master training, which helps you get a better job and career opportunities.Join the community of Scrum experts: With a Scrum Certification, you can connect with various professionals. This ensures continuous improvements that you will learn and achieve with an Agile approach.Enhance sale: Make your Scrum teamwork in a more flexible manner, ensure fast delivery and quick releases. Being Scrum Certified enables you to make this difference for your organisation.How does Scrum work?The Scrum Framework comprises of three categories, which are Scrum Roles, Scrum Events and Scrum Artifacts. The following discusses, in brief, the mentioned three categories.Scrum RolesThe Scrum framework is defined by three core roles: Development team, Scrum Master and Product Owner.Development Team: The Development team is a group of self-organised, cross-functional people, who work together to create products as well as test the incremental releases of the products at the end of each sprint.Scrum Master: The Scrum Master serves as a facilitator for his team members. It is his responsibility to ensure that the Team adheres to the Scrum practices and rules. He acts as a coach to the development team, product owner and stakeholders, and works towards removing the impediments that the team faces.Product Owner: A Product Owner is responsible for conveying the vision of the project to his team members who are building it. He is accountable for managing the product backlog and testing the increment work that is completed.Scrum EventsThe Scrum Events consists of five components, namely Sprint, Sprint Planning, Daily Stand-up, Sprint Review, Retrospective.Sprint: A Sprint is a fixed time period, that is, it is a time-boxed period within which a Scrum Team completes a specific work so that it can be ready for a review. A Sprint can be as short as one week.Sprint Planning: During a Sprint Planning meeting, the tasks which have to be accomplished during a Sprint is decided upon. It discusses the product backlogs which are needed to be delivered and how it can be achieved.Daily Stand-up: It is a short meeting of 15-minutes duration which is conducted on an everyday basis. The main objective behind this short meeting is to make sure that the whole team is on the same page and is aligned to the sprint goal. The tasks covered in the previous 24 hours is discussed and the tasks to be carried out during the next 24 hours is planned out.Sprint Review: A Sprint Review is conducted after Sprint ends. The increment completed and the tasks that have not been completed are discussed during the Sprint Review.Sprint Retrospective: During a Sprint Retrospective, the whole team comes together and reflects on the Sprint process, that is, discuss what tasks were completed and what problems they faced. The main motive behind this is continuous improvement.According to The 13th Annual State of Agile Report, the top 5 Agile Techniques are:Daily standupSprint/Iteration PlanningRetrospectivesSprint/Iteration ReviewShort IterationsScrum ArtifactsScrum Artifacts include product backlog, sprint backlog and product increment.Product Backlog: It is a document which consists of an ordered list of all the product requirements. The Product Owner looks after the Product Backlog, who prioritises them as per the requirement.Sprint Backlog:The Sprint Backlog is a specific list of all the items from the Product Backlog which are to be worked on in a sprint.Product Increment:A product increment is the sum of all the completed product backlogs since the software release.Top Scrum Certifications1. Certified Scrum Master (CSM):CSM is modestly the most used Scrum Master Certification. With the help of this certification process, you can learn about the Scrum framework and get a better understanding of team events, roles and artifacts.Accreditation body: Scrum AlliancePrerequisites: The CSM® course can be taken by any professional who wants to deepen their Scrum understanding. CSM® course is usually taken up by the professionals working in IT and Non-IT industries. Therefore, it is recommended to become familiar with the basics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Who can take up this certification?The following individuals can take this course:Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum MasterTeams transitioning to ScrumManagers of Scrum teamsScrum team members such as product owners and developersIf you are already working as a Scrum Master, then taking this course will help you to strengthen your Scrum knowledge and skills.Certification Procedure: You will have to attend a training of two days duration, after which you will be required to take an online test. The two-day training is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer who has been authorised by the Scrum Alliance.The CSM certification has to be renewed every two years by paying a fee of $100 without any additional examination or training.Job opportunities after Scrum Master Certification: After attaining your Scrum Master Certification, you can act as a Scrum Master. Scrum Masters can opt to become mentors, coaches, managers, product owners or continue being a Scrum Master in more challenging situations.  Cost: Depending on factors like location and trainer, the cost of Scrum Master Certification comes approximately between $700 to $1500. The price bracket of the CSM certification varies across the globe, click here to know more.Average Salary: The average salary of a Certified Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationScrum Master CertificationAccreditation BodyScrum AlliancePrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 50   within an hour; out of which 37 should be answered correctly.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner.Average Salary$100,00 to $130,000Training Cost$1000Cost of Certification$700 to $1500.Average Salary$100,00 to $130,000Renewal Cost$1002. Advanced CSM:If you are a Certified Scrum Master and have a working experience of minimum one year as a Scrum Master, then you can apply for this course. This course will help you get a deeper insight of Scrum along with its practical usage and learns multiple ways to coach the Product owner and the team members.Accreditation Body: Scrum AlliancePrerequisites: As a certified Scrum Master, you should have a minimum of twelve months of working experience to become an Advanced CSM. You should also have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its usage and implementation.Who can take up this certification?The following individuals can take this course:Anyone who would like to build a career as a Scrum Master after completing the CSM courseScrum Team managersTeams which are transitioning to ScrumScrum team members such as product owners and developersAnyone who wishes to distinguish himself in the global market.Certification Procedure: You will have to attend an education offering of certified ACSM to learn techniques and skills which go beyond the basics of Scrum, like interaction, coaching, facilitation and team dynamics. Also, you will be required to have an experience of 12 months as a working Scrum Master in the last five years.The certification has to be renewed every two years by paying a fee of $175 without any additional examination or training.Job opportunities after Advanced Scrum Master Certification: Work towards becoming a more professional practitioner of Scrum Master, learn how to untap the underlying potential of your team. Work as a Scrum Master, coach, mentor or a Product Owner.Cost: Depending on different factors like location and trainer, the cost of Scrum Master Certification ranges approximately between $1295 to $1495.Average Salary: The average salary of an Advance Certified Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationAdvanced Scrum Master CertificationAccreditation BodyScrum AlliancePrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner.Average Salary$100,00 to $130,000Cost of Certification$1295 to $1495Renewal Cost$1753. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM)This course focuses on topics like lean concepts, system thinking, coaching, emotional intelligence, facilitation, deeper understanding of the Scrum Framework and scaling Scrum to big organizations.Accreditation Body: Scrum AlliancePrerequisites:An active A-CSM certification24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five yearsAttend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’.Who can take up this certification?The following individuals can take this course:Scrum team members such as developersTeams transitioning to ScrumManagers of Scrum teamsJob opportunities after Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM) Certification: Work towards becoming a more professional practitioner of Scrum Master for big organisations, learn how to un-tap the underlying potential of different teams. Work as a Scrum Master, coach, mentor or a Product Owner. Get various opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and AgileCost: Depending on various factors, the cost of the certification costs around $1295.Average Salary: The average salary of a Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM)is calculated to be approximately $115,000 across the United States.CertificationCertified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM)Accreditation BodyScrum AlliancePrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.An active ACSM certification24 months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner for big organisations.Average Salary$115,000Cost of Certification$1295Renewal Cost$2504. Professional Scrum Master (PSM)Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM), is a two-day course which covers the theory and principles of the Scrum Framework and the roles of a Scrum Master. This course combines team-based exercises with instructions in order to teach the heart of the Scrum and Agile movement.Accreditation Body: Scrum.orgPrerequisites: The PSM course can be taken by any professional who wants to deepen their Scrum understanding. It is recommended to familiarize with the basics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in a shorter course of time.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM): After being a certified Professional Scrum Master, the candidate can apply for various fields, to name a few:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterProduct OwnerCoachMentorCost: Starts from  $150.Average Salary: $100,500CertificationProfessional Scrum Master Training (PSM)Accreditation BodyScrum.orgPrerequisitesBasics of Scrum to understand the overall framework perfectly in less time.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 80 questions within an hour.Passing score: 80 per cent.Career PathScrum Master, Mentor, Coach, Manager, Product Owner for big organisations.Average Salary$100,500Cost of Certification$1505. SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)It is a two-day course, during which the attendees gain a proper understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in the context of SAFe enterprise while at the same time, prepare them to plan and execute the Program Increment(PI) successfully. PI is an enabler of alignment for all the levels of a SAFe organisation, which includes the facilitation of Scrum in the enterprise and executing the Iteration Planning.This course will validate that you can now perform the role of a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment, which will help you increase your value to organisations and teams which are implementing SAFe.Accreditation Body: Scaled Agile.Prerequisites:Regardless of experience, this course can be attended by anyone. But it is recommended to have the following prerequisites for the ones who intend to take the SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:They should be familiar with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Who can take up this certification?This course can be taken up by Scrum Master who are new to this and need to perform the role. While this course can also be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters who wish to know about their role as a Scrum Master in a SAFe environment.Other than them, Team leads who wish to understand the roles of Scrum Master can also take up this course.Job opportunities after SAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM): Based on the candidates' experience, the candidate can apply for various roles. To name a few:Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerCost: The first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Average Salary: $114,546CertificationSAFe 4.0 Scrum Master (SSM)Accreditation BodyScaled AgilePrerequisitesFamiliarity with Agile concepts and practices.Basic knowledge and awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban.Proper working knowledge of hardware as well as software development processes.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 45 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; out of which 33 should be answered correctly.Career PathScrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterAgile Scrum MasterAgile Project ManagerAgile Project DirectorAgile CoachProduct OwnerAverage Salary$114,546Cost of CertificationThe first attempt of the exam is included in the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days after completing the course. After that, each retake costs $50.Renewal Cost$100; Every one year from the date of certification earned.6. Scrum Master Certified (SMC)The professionals who are certified as Scrum Master Certified (SMC) ensure that the Scrum team is working in an environment which helps them in completing their project successfully. The Scrum Master has the responsibility to ensure that the Scrum process is being followed. He guides the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.Accreditation Body: SCRUMstudyPrerequisites:There are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Who can take up this certification?This course is apt for professionals who are involved in product delivery using the Scrum Framework. It is particularly most beneficial for Scrum Master, Team members and managers, that is, those people who are accountable for getting the most out of Scrum.Job opportunities after Scrum Master Certified (SMC): After completion of the course, you can opt for the following job opportunities:Scrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerCost: $450 USDAverage Salary: The average salary for a Scrum Master Certified professional ranges between $100,00 to $130,00 USD.CertificationScrum Master Certified (SMC)Accreditation BodySCRUMstudyPrerequisitesThere are no particular prerequisites for this certification, but a SDC™certified professional is more preferred.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 100 questions within a duration of two hours.Career PathScrum MasterAssociate Scrum MasterSenior Scrum MasterCoach Scrum MasterProduct Owner/ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$450 USDRenewal CostEarn 40 recertification credits every three years.7. Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The Agile Scrum Master certification combines scrum practices and agile methodologies with practical assignments. It tests the ability of the professional that is required to facilitate, enable and coach a cross-functional Scrum Team as a Scrum Master.Accreditation Body: Exin.Prerequisites: You are required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Who can take up this certification?This certification aims the managerial professionals who are in the fields of IT project management, business management, software development, and IT service management.Job opportunities after Agile Scrum Master (ASM): The professional can look forward to the following job opportunities after completing the Agile Scrum Master course:Scrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerCost: $260 USDAverage Salary: The average salary of an Agile Scrum Master ranges between $100,00 to $130,000 across the United States.CertificationAgile Scrum Master (ASM)Accreditation BodyEXINPrerequisitesThe candidate is required to have successfully completed an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training, which is mandatory.Exam InformationAnswer a set of 40 questions within a duration of 90 minutes; Pass mark being 65%.Career PathScrum MasterAgile CoachAssociate Scrum MasterProgram ManagerAverage Salary$100,00 to $130,00 USDCost of Certification$260 USDWhat is Scrum?Scrum is a lightweight framework with the help of which people can address complex problems to deliver projects of the highest possible value. It is primarily used for software development processes by using iterative and incremental practices to work towards a well-defined goal.It is a subset of Agile as it follows the Agile Manifesto, which expresses a set of values and principles to help make decisions on how to develop higher-quality software in a quicker and better manner. Organisations have benefitted by Agile Scrum process as:It increases the productivity of the team.It increases the quality of deliverable products.Helps in getting a better grip of the project schedule.It provides a better estimate while less time is spent on creating themIt keeps the stakeholders and customers satisfied.How are Scrum and Agile related Scrum and Agile are related, but distinctly. Agile is a methodology that describes a set of guiding principles to build software through iterative development, which is described in the Agile Manifesto.Scrum follows a set of rules while practising agile software development. Even though these two models look similar and function in a similar manner, there are differences as well. Scrum aims for a product team with firm rules and guidelines. It is an incremental and iterative development methodology of Agile, that is, it can be said that it is an agile framework for developing software. Scrum does not state any detailed description or template of the process of software development, unlike many other software development methodologies. It states the desired outcome that is required, leaving it on the agile scrum team to determine the solutions to the problems that they are facing or will come across. It may be used for software maintenance projects or software development. Scrum increases the flexibility and speed of the process of product development. Organisations which have switched to agile processes like Scrum have experienced many benefits like higher stakeholder satisfaction, higher productivity, etc. The benefits experienced are further discussed in detail.Scrum Certifying Accreditation BodiesThe following is a list of a few Scrum Certifying Bodies.Scrum AllianceScrum.orgScaled AgileAPM Group InternationalSCRUMstudy1. Scrum Alliance: Scrum Alliance was founded in the year 2011. Being a globally renowned organisation, it supports Scrum adoption, research and networking, focusing on organisational transformations. It is the largest, most established organisation for Agile membership and certification that has trained more than 750,000 professionals worldwide.2. Scrum.org:Scrum.org provides training, assessments and certifications based on the principles of Scrum and Agile manifesto in order to improve software delivery. They empower people and organisations all around the world to achieve agility through Scrum. The global organisation was found in the year 2009 by Ken Schwaber.3. Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI): Scaled Agile, Inc. (SAI) is the leading provider of SAFe® courses. Being a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile, it uplifts the career growth of an individual as it offers various role-based courses and certifications.4. SCRUMstudy: SCRUMstudy is a globally acknowledged accreditation body for Agile and Scrum certifications. It has a large global partner network of ATPs, Authorized Training Providers, delivering training and certifications. The SBOK™ Guide has been authored by the SCRUMstudy, which is a comprehensive guide to deliver projects successfully using Scrum.5. EXIN: EXIN offers professionals certifications in a wide range of exams in the field of IT qualifications. It innovates in a continuous manner by developing exams in-house. They developed exams are both independent and with partners, which is done in order to enhance its portfolio as well as broaden the scope of the exams that are offered.Summary:Various accreditation bodies provide various Scrum Certifications around the globe. The main objective behind all the Scrum Certifications being making of a Scrum Master which will help his/her organisation achieve the goals following the Scrum framework. Choose the best certification course according to your requirements and make the best out of it!
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Top-paying Scrum Master Certifications to Consider...

Scrum Certification is a course and a series of ex... Read More

Understand the Importance of Having the Product Vision in a Scrum Team

Stories abound of products launched with much fanfare and failing miserably in the market. What does it take to build a software product that sells? Would the best technology, the best architecture and the best brains guarantee a product that will sell?A lot of energy is spent by the Engineering teams on building the product right – bug-free, scalable, reliable and secure. Throughout this journey the teams also need to be confident that they are building the right product – usable (fit for use), serves the purpose (fit for purpose), solves the customer’s problem and delivers value.A popular representation of this relationship is given belowA Product Vision is a well thought through “future state” of the product that serves the customer’s needs as well as furthers the organization’s product strategy. The product vision serves as the “guiding light” that the teams constantly refers, consults and steers towards.This article is about how a good product vision paves the way for scrum teams to build a good product. It is not the only step but definitely one of the first steps to build a product that will sell.Components of a Product Vision  A well thought through and finely articulated Product Vision includes the following components Purpose and Intent – Why are we building the product and what value it brings to the Customer? What problems is the product going to solve for the Customer? Target Market – Who is the Customer(s) / Market Segment that the product is meant for Business Goals – By building this product how are we aligning with the organization’s strategy and goals in the market. Every product offered by an organization should align with the larger goals and strategy so that it fits well with the organization’s product portfolio. Differentiating Factors – How and what features are we offering that is a differentiator in the market and which sets the organization apart from its competitors. Many a product fails to see the light of the day or serve the purpose of the customer if it has failed to justify on any one or more of the above components.  Creating the Product Vision Anyone who is connected to the Product can contribute to the Product Vision. Organizations usually have idea boards and forums to welcome innovative ideas from all employees. But the ownership of defining, communicating and nourishing the product vision lies with the Business Group or Product Management Group. Usually the vision is created through a Workshop involving the right stakeholders who have the expertise to contribute. The stakeholders represent Business, Engineering, Marketing, Sales, Support, Training etc.  Various techniques such as Brainstorming, Affinity grouping, Dot Voting can be employed in the workshop to come up with the final Product Vision. Prior to the workshop findings from Market research on target customers, competitors, information on Personas are made available to the participants so that they are well informed and bring the best to the table. Product Vision Formats The Product Vision board as recommended by Roman Pichler, leading Product Management Expert. The Product Vision Board A Simple template first introduced in the book Crossing the Chasm by Management Consultant and author Geoffery More.Communicating the Product Vision  A great Product Vision will not get realized into the final product unless it is communicated well, not just once but multiple times, to all the important stakeholders – the Senior Leadership, the Engineering teams, Sales, Marketing, Documentation, Training and Support. It is the responsibility of the Head of the Business (e.g Director of Product Management) to introduce and explain the Product Vision to the rest of the organization before the product development is started. A Kickstart All-Hands meeting usually happens when a new Product Vision is ready. The road map and strategy for the immediate future (every Quarter/Release) to realize the vision is also shared in this meeting. It is important that all stakeholders who are participating in building the product gets to hear the same information at the same time from the Head of Business. This All-Hands happens at a defined cadence (every Quarter /Release) where the changes to the product vision, strategy and road map for the next quarter /release is communicated. The Heads of Engineering would also present their plans for the Quarter /Release to further the product vision.  Heads guiding the team It should not be an open and shut communication for a day, but the Product Managers and Owners need to constantly refer and draw from the vision when interacting with the Scrum Teams. When requirements are refined into Epics and User Stories and prioritized the Scrum Teams need to be able to relate them to the Vision. Changes in the Product Vision  So is a Product Vision written on stone never to change? No, because that would defy Agile Principles of continuously seeking feedback, embracing and adapting change.  A learning organization has a pulse on the market and actively seeks feedback. It adapts the product vision according to the changing market, competition and customer feedback. It has a constant sense of Urgency to Fail Fast, has the Courage to Pivot when required and Persevere on the right track as part of the Organization culture.  There are stories of many organizations that have imbibed and practiced this culture and succeeded. Significance of Production Vision within the Scrum Teams A journey without a destination sounds exciting but not practical and not always fruitful. R&D engineers would not have any dearth of imagination to build products that are beautiful and perfect. But would these products serve the customer’s needs? Understand the Larger Purpose: Scrum teams need to understand the big picture and the larger purpose of their everyday work – for whom are they building, for what and most importantly why. During Backlog Grooming sessions, the Product owners can act as ambassadors for the Product Vision helping the teams to refine user stories with end goal in mind. The questions to be constantly asked and validated include  “Are we solving the customer problem?” , “Are we adding value?”, “Are we building the right product?” Product Strategy and Vision to Plan your roadmap Contribute in Product Strategy and Roadmap: Scrum teams can contribute effectively to the product strategy and roadmap if they know and understand the product vision.  Understanding the Priorities: Understanding the Product vision helps the team to identify with the priority put forth by the Product Owner. The Product Owner and the teams can make use of the product vision in the Sprint Planning and Backlog refinement meetings to streamline user stories.  Influence in Sprint Execution: Having the product vision in the back of their minds plays an important role in the story writing, refinement, acceptance criteria, coding and testing.  Knowing the customer problems and target market helps teams to build “just enough” and stop from over engineering and manufacturing unwanted imaginary requirements. Unwanted code is a waste that can cause unwanted testing, bugs and needs to be avoided. Knowing the target Customer / market, purpose and the problems that need to be resolved, helps the teams to  Refine and write better Epics and User Stories . Helps to identify the ‘Must Have’ and ‘Good to Have’ Acceptance Criteria. Helps to architect and design better knowing the immediate priority and the upcoming roadmap. Helps to code incorporating enough customization for reuse and extensions in future. Define and formulate the appropriate test scenarios and data Collaboration: Multiple teams come together to build a product. Having a common Product Vision to refer to improves their collaboration and serves as a good point of reference to manage conflicts and dependencies.  Alignment with the Organization’s Goals: There is also another very important piece of information within the Product Vision - How the Product Vision aligns to their organization’s overall strategy. This is definitely of interest to every employee of the organization. An engaged employee always is curious about how the product he is helping to build today fits and aligns with the organization’s goals. The fact that he/she is contributing towards furthering the Organization’s goals does instil a sense of pride and confidence. Adapting to Changes in the Product Vision: The changes to the vision has to be constantly communicated to all the stake holders especially the Scrum teams who are building it. The teams need to also be told why there has been a change in the Product Vision. Only then would they appreciate and embrace the changes. Tips for your Product Vision: Ideas can come in from unlikeliest of places. Inputs should be encouraged and accepted from all stakeholders and funnelled into the Product Vision creation workshop. Prior to the workshop, sufficient Market research has to be conducted to get information on target customer, personas and the competitor landscape. A vision not shared well remains only that and does not become a reality. Communicate at every opportunity – kickoff meetings, through posters and through dedicated ambassadors -Product Owners , Product Managers , Line Managers. Seek feedback and gauge the market continuously to adapt Do not fear to pivot if needed and change course. Failing early and fast is better. Do not try to address all the “How” and “When” in product vision, but the “What” and “Why”. In conclusion, a Product Vision plays a very important role in the working of a Scrum Team providing the larger purpose of what is being built by them everyday. Only through constant communication about the vision and about the changes to it can the Scrum Teams keep relating to the vision and make the vision a reality - a good product that sells. 
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Understand the Importance of Having the Product Vi...

Stories abound of products launched with much fanf... Read More

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