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How To Work With Agile User Stories?

In the software industry, the word “user story” is very commonly used. Not a single day goes by when we don’t come across this word during our daily scrum meetings or sprint retrospectives discussions. Our leads and development managers talk about user stories incessantly.  Even when software feature owners or product managers speak to their development or test team or their end customers, their entire focus of conversation is centered around the word, user stories. The word user stories and use cases have existed in the software engineering psyche for almost 30+ years but they found their resurgence especially when the AGILE methodologies, Concepts and Sprints became the bread and butter of entire software industry. In this article on user stories, I would like to bust some myths surrounding this concept and answer the questions that commonly plague even the most experience people of this industry. How am I qualified to write on this topic? While you are welcome to read about my profile in brief at the end of this article; to summarize, I have worked with top companies like Microsoft etc. in the product engineering domain conceptualizing, implementing and supporting multiple products that have been huge success [for example: Windows operating system] and some, not so successful attempts. While it is not easy to credit the success or failure of such software products to just one concept of adequate user stories or lack of them, but they did play an important role in the final outcome of the project. Hence, I am basing this article on my experience with user stories. Let’s Start As official definitions across web, user story is an informal story that depicts how a user will move from one aspect of software product to another. And use cases are defined as informal list of actions and events that will happen once a user starts interacting with the product. But we all know that these are textbook definitions. Yet we all falter at one or the other time while trying to explain these two concepts to someone in our team or during an interview. Isn’t it? Let us try to understand the differences between these two terms and it will become easy once we all grasp the point of why these two concepts were introduced in the software engineering parlance. Why user stories and Use Cases as concepts came into being? As software products grew in scope and complexity, requirement management started becoming a nightmare for all product managers. It became increasingly common to ship products that did not cover 100% of requirements either due to missed requirements while documentation, or due to the fact that not all requirements were understood completely by development team. This problem became prominent when software started being shipped as service and competition became fierce.  Nowadays, if your software does not satisfy user requirements properly, then it is just a matter of time when a better app will take over your market share as we have seen in multiple cases in recent times. This is the reason why products like Google search engine perform so well. Because they somehow understand what a user is looking for while searching and that shows up in its popularity. As this reality dawned, product managers started thinking of ways to make sure customer requirements did not go missing or were implemented exactly as user would have liked to. Things like traceability matrix etc. helped to some extent but did not solve the problem completely. That’s when the concept of user stories and use cases started proving themselves. Someone, or may be a group of intelligent smart people thought, why not capture the requirements, at least the first cut after talking to the customer in the same way as they would have performed the action if they were working with the software as a first person. Boom! That’s how the concept of documenting the requirements as user stories came into being. Hence, in simple terms, user story is a short story of a fictitious character, but with a valid role and responsibility using the software or a feature of it and getting the desired results from it. And use cases are nothing but series of actions that the fictitious character performed with respect to the software or a feature of it with the documented desired output. Hence, it can be summarized that user stories depict the way the end user is going to use the system and use cases are short actions with desired outputs, that when collated become a user story. This means, it is possible to derive use cases from user stories. Every good user story should contain following elements: Actor(s): Every user story should contain few actors in it with specific roles and responsibilities. Actors generally correspond to the users who are going to use the system. Role: Every actor of a user story has a role associated with it. The role refers to the position, responsibility of that actor within that scene. It also lists down the privileges that the actor has or does not have. Scenario: Every user story depicts one scenario where we briefly explain the scene setting of where the user(s) is or are, what they are supposed to do and the intended outcome or direction assigned to them. Storyline: This is actually the user story where we depict, how a particular actor was assigned a task and how they are going to proceed with it. It includes the interactions that they will do through the software or the functionality of the software and what desired outcome they got. User Satisfaction Criteria: The final section of user story contains a brief mention of why user and his stakeholders will be happy upon successful implementation of this user story. I will give you one sample of a good user story and a bad user story. First of all, let us understand how a bad user story looks like. Sample for bad user story: Raj has opened the software and he used the report generation feature of the tool to generate the report. The report looks good and satisfies the purpose of his report generation. He sends this report to his manager and completes the task. Why this is a bad user story? This will look like a decent user story as it covers what the user wants to do; but in reality, this is a classic case of bad user story because it leaves lot of margin for error and misinterpretation by the developer during code implementation. How? 1.) Who is Raj? What privilege does he have? What access does he have to the system?   a. These points are not clarified. Hence, the developer can interpret in his/her own way leading to wrong feature development and customer dissatisfaction or Production bugs b. In this case, it will lead to security issues in the product itself. 2.) It does not specify as to how one should use report generation feature and where to find it on the screen. Moreover, there is no accompanying UX or sample screens for developer to know where to place this feature on the screen. 3.) It does not specify how the report looks like and which format it is in. Is it an excel based report or HTML report? If these things are not clear, it might leave a lot of margin for error for the developer during development phase. There are many more other problems with the above user story.  Now let us check a sample for good user story. Sample for good user story: Raj, is a system admin in the XYZ company. He has the admin access to the report generation server and is the only person to have this access. He gets an email request from his manager for report generation in excel format for the period between 1st Jan to 31st March and is supposed to generate this report in 15 minutes and send it to him. Raj opens the software and clicks on the “report generation” tab on the top header of the screen [as shown in the sample UI] and chooses the required fields such as time period for the report, format of the report and clicks on generate. The report is generated in 1 minute and is available for download and save or directly open. Raj saves it on his desktop and opens it. Verifies the report in his MS Office 2016 suite and emails it to his manager. He was able to complete this task in less than 15 minutes and hence, he and his manager both are happy with this report generation feature of this software. Why is this a good user story? It clearly explains Raj’s role in the system and mentions the privileges that he should have for this activity. It also clarifies who else has this privilege. In this case, no one apart from Raj has this access. User story is clear in the performance aspect of the feature of this software in terms of time constraints. It also shows the sample screen where developer will know how the button should look like, where it should be placed on screen etc. The user story is clear on what all fields are to be filled in by Raj before generating the report The options that should be presented to the user after report generation are also mentioned explicitly in the user story And most important of all, the user story clearly explains why the user and his stakeholder, Raj and his manager in this case, are happy by the usage of this feature. That is known as user satisfaction criteria. What additional information should be provided along with user story? A functional specification document is the one that acts like a holy guide to the development lead and his team for generation of completely flawless development specification document. However, providing following information along with user story does add credit to your user stories in addition to the ones mentioned above. We will take the same report generation example. 1.) List down all possible formats of the report that should be supported by this feature a. Each format will become a separate use case within above described user story. 2.) List down the range of actions supported by the feature of that software. That will be a separate user story. a. And each range will become a unique use case within that user story. 3.)    Provide all the UX assets i.e. samples for UI to be used by the developer. a.This ensures consistency of the UI This leads to another set of questions: 1.) How to know which aspects of the feature should become a separate user story  2.) How to know which aspects of a user story should become a use case within a particular user story. Let us discuss the first question here. I will cover second question in my future post about use cases. How to know which aspect of a functionality should be a separate user story or not? The golden principle that I generally follow to determine this is:  All the actions related to one aspect of the feature [for example: report generation in prescribed format] will be one user story Working with that same example of report generation feature, if we assume that the report generation feature should have following aspects/benefits as desired by our end customers: 1.) The report generation will take less than 15 minutes 2.) The report can be generated for multiple time periods and are customizable by the user 3.) The feature will support 5 different report format types such as excel, word, HTML, notepad, CSV 4.) Only authorized person will be able to generate the report Then I will make 4 user stories out of these. 1.) User story 1: This will tell the story of how the user [Raj I this case, will use this feature to generate report in different formats as per requirement 2.) User Story 2: Here I will showcase, how user should have access to system before using this feature and what happens if the user does not have access. 3.) User story 3: I will focus on the timing aspects of the feature here. 4.) User story 4: I will work with different supported time ranges and what will happen in different combinations including the boundary cases. 5.) User story 5: Here I will focus on how the user will interact with other controls of this feature such as cancel button etc. And finally, out of these 5 stories, I will generate N number of use cases to provide thoroughness in my user specification document; leading to complete clarity for my development team to generate their design. As a golden principle based on my experience-  A user story is a way to tell the development team on how you expect the user to perform the actions and what is allowed, and what is beyond the scope. User stories lead to use cases; use cases lead to user requirements and user requirements lead to development specifications that can finally be broken into sprints and delivered across project milestones.  

How To Work With Agile User Stories?

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How To Work With Agile User Stories?

In the software industry, the word “user story” is very commonly used. Not a single day goes by when we don’t come across this word during our daily scrum meetings or sprint retrospectives discussions. Our leads and development managers talk about user stories incessantly. 

Even when software feature owners or product managers speak to their development or test team or their end customers, their entire focus of conversation is centered around the word, user stories.

The word user stories and use cases have existed in the software engineering psyche for almost 30+ years but they found their resurgence especially when the AGILE methodologies, Concepts and Sprints became the bread and butter of entire software industry.

In this article on user stories, I would like to bust some myths surrounding this concept and answer the questions that commonly plague even the most experience people of this industry.

How am I qualified to write on this topic?

While you are welcome to read about my profile in brief at the end of this article; to summarize, I have worked with top companies like Microsoft etc. in the product engineering domain conceptualizing, implementing and supporting multiple products that have been huge success [for example: Windows operating system] and some, not so successful attempts.

While it is not easy to credit the success or failure of such software products to just one concept of adequate user stories or lack of them, but they did play an important role in the final outcome of the project.

Hence, I am basing this article on my experience with user stories.

Let’s Start

As official definitions across web, user story is an informal story that depicts how a user will move from one aspect of software product to another.

And use cases are defined as informal list of actions and events that will happen once a user starts interacting with the product.

But we all know that these are textbook definitions.

Yet we all falter at one or the other time while trying to explain these two concepts to someone in our team or during an interview.

Isn’t it?

Let us try to understand the differences between these two terms and it will become easy once we all grasp the point of why these two concepts were introduced in the software engineering parlance.

Why user stories and Use Cases as concepts came into being?

As software products grew in scope and complexity, requirement management started becoming a nightmare for all product managers. It became increasingly common to ship products that did not cover 100% of requirements either due to missed requirements while documentation, or due to the fact that not all requirements were understood completely by development team.

This problem became prominent when software started being shipped as service and competition became fierce. 

Nowadays, if your software does not satisfy user requirements properly, then it is just a matter of time when a better app will take over your market share as we have seen in multiple cases in recent times.

This is the reason why products like Google search engine perform so well. Because they somehow understand what a user is looking for while searching and that shows up in its popularity.

As this reality dawned, product managers started thinking of ways to make sure customer requirements did not go missing or were implemented exactly as user would have liked to.

Things like traceability matrix etc. helped to some extent but did not solve the problem completely.

That’s when the concept of user stories and use cases started proving themselves. Someone, or may be a group of intelligent smart people thought, why not capture the requirements, at least the first cut after talking to the customer in the same way as they would have performed the action if they were working with the software as a first person.

Boom!

That’s how the concept of documenting the requirements as user stories came into being.

Hence, in simple terms, user story is a short story of a fictitious character, but with a valid role and responsibility using the software or a feature of it and getting the desired results from it.

And use cases are nothing but series of actions that the fictitious character performed with respect to the software or a feature of it with the documented desired output.

Hence, it can be summarized that user stories depict the way the end user is going to use the system and use cases are short actions with desired outputs, that when collated become a user story.

This means, it is possible to derive use cases from user stories.

Every good user story should contain following elements:

  • Actor(s): Every user story should contain few actors in it with specific roles and responsibilities. Actors generally correspond to the users who are going to use the system.
  • Role: Every actor of a user story has a role associated with it. The role refers to the position, responsibility of that actor within that scene. It also lists down the privileges that the actor has or does not have.
  • Scenario: Every user story depicts one scenario where we briefly explain the scene setting of where the user(s) is or are, what they are supposed to do and the intended outcome or direction assigned to them.
  • Storyline: This is actually the user story where we depict, how a particular actor was assigned a task and how they are going to proceed with it. It includes the interactions that they will do through the software or the functionality of the software and what desired outcome they got.
  • User Satisfaction Criteria: The final section of user story contains a brief mention of why user and his stakeholders will be happy upon successful implementation of this user story.

I will give you one sample of a good user story and a bad user story. First of all, let us understand how a bad user story looks like.

Sample for bad user story:

Raj has opened the software and he used the report generation feature of the tool to generate the report. The report looks good and satisfies the purpose of his report generation. He sends this report to his manager and completes the task.

Why this is a bad user story?

This will look like a decent user story as it covers what the user wants to do; but in reality, this is a classic case of bad user story because it leaves lot of margin for error and misinterpretation by the developer during code implementation. How?
1.) Who is Raj? What privilege does he have? What access does he have to the system?  
a. These points are not clarified. Hence, the developer can interpret in his/her own way leading to wrong feature development and customer dissatisfaction or Production bugs
b. In this case, it will lead to security issues in the product itself.

2.) It does not specify as to how one should use report generation feature and where to find it on the screen. Moreover, there is no accompanying UX or sample screens for developer to know where to place this feature on the screen.

3.) It does not specify how the report looks like and which format it is in. Is it an excel based report or HTML report? If these things are not clear, it might leave a lot of margin for error for the developer during development phase.

There are many more other problems with the above user story. 

Now let us check a sample for good user story.

Sample for good user story:

Raj, is a system admin in the XYZ company. He has the admin access to the report generation server and is the only person to have this access. He gets an email request from his manager for report generation in excel format for the period between 1st Jan to 31st March and is supposed to generate this report in 15 minutes and send it to him.

Raj opens the software and clicks on the “report generation” tab on the top header of the screen [as shown in the sample UI] and chooses the required fields such as time period for the report, format of the report and clicks on generate.

The report is generated in 1 minute and is available for download and save or directly open. Raj saves it on his desktop and opens it. Verifies the report in his MS Office 2016 suite and emails it to his manager.

He was able to complete this task in less than 15 minutes and hence, he and his manager both are happy with this report generation feature of this software.

Why is this a good user story?

  • It clearly explains Raj’s role in the system and mentions the privileges that he should have for this activity.
  • It also clarifies who else has this privilege. In this case, no one apart from Raj has this access.
  • User story is clear in the performance aspect of the feature of this software in terms of time constraints.
  • It also shows the sample screen where developer will know how the button should look like, where it should be placed on screen etc.
  • The user story is clear on what all fields are to be filled in by Raj before generating the report
  • The options that should be presented to the user after report generation are also mentioned explicitly in the user story
  • And most important of all, the user story clearly explains why the user and his stakeholder, Raj and his manager in this case, are happy by the usage of this feature. That is known as user satisfaction criteria.

What additional information should be provided along with user story?

A functional specification document is the one that acts like a holy guide to the development lead and his team for generation of completely flawless development specification document. However, providing following information along with user story does add credit to your user stories in addition to the ones mentioned above. We will take the same report generation example.

1.) List down all possible formats of the report that should be supported by this feature
a. Each format will become a separate use case within above described user story.

2.) List down the range of actions supported by the feature of that software. That will be a separate user story.
a. And each range will become a unique use case within that user story.

3.)    Provide all the UX assets i.e. samples for UI to be used by the developer.
a.This ensures consistency of the UI

This leads to another set of questions:

1.) How to know which aspects of the feature should become a separate user story 
2.) How to know which aspects of a user story should become a use case within a particular user story.
Let us discuss the first question here. I will cover second question in my future post about use cases.

How to know which aspect of a functionality should be a separate user story or not?

The golden principle that I generally follow to determine this is:

 All the actions related to one aspect of the feature [for example: report generation in prescribed format] will be one user story
Working with that same example of report generation feature, if we assume that the report generation feature should have following aspects/benefits as desired by our end customers:

1.) The report generation will take less than 15 minutes
2.) The report can be generated for multiple time periods and are customizable by the user
3.) The feature will support 5 different report format types such as excel, word, HTML, notepad, CSV
4.) Only authorized person will be able to generate the report

Then I will make 4 user stories out of these.

1.) User story 1: This will tell the story of how the user [Raj I this case, will use this feature to generate report in different formats as per requirement
2.) User Story 2: Here I will showcase, how user should have access to system before using this feature and what happens if the user does not have access.
3.) User story 3: I will focus on the timing aspects of the feature here.
4.) User story 4: I will work with different supported time ranges and what will happen in different combinations including the boundary cases.
5.) User story 5: Here I will focus on how the user will interact with other controls of this feature such as cancel button etc.

And finally, out of these 5 stories, I will generate N number of use cases to provide thoroughness in my user specification document; leading to complete clarity for my development team to generate their design.

As a golden principle based on my experience- 

A user story is a way to tell the development team on how you expect the user to perform the actions and what is allowed, and what is beyond the scope.
User stories lead to use cases; use cases lead to user requirements and user requirements lead to development specifications that can finally be broken into sprints and delivered across project milestones.
 

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

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KnowledgeHut is an outcome-focused global ed-tech company. We help organizations and professionals unlock excellence through skills development. We offer training solutions under the people and process, data science, full-stack development, cybersecurity, future technologies and digital transformation verticals.
Website : https://www.knowledgehut.com

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Its mandatory requirement of real-world Agile expertise and a thorough knowledge of Agile practices, tools and techniques means that holders of the PMI-ACP are Agile experts in every sense of the word.The PMI-ACP has huge demand in Agile organizations as it gives holders a 360-degree view of Agile and adds huge value to the skill set of a product owner.Other benefits of the PMI-ACP certification include:Helps you qualify for Agile jobs with expertise in Agile methods like Scrum, FDD, Kanban, etc. which are in demand in the industryEquips you with knowledge of various Agile methodsMakes you marketable as it opens doors to many project development methodologiesGain soft skills to manage your role eloquently  Earn more than your non-certified peers ($109,556)Top companies hiring PMI-ACP professionalsBooz, Allen, and HamiltonAccentureInternational Business Machines (IBM) Corp.Usaa InsuranceAmazon.com IncSource: PayScaleWhere to take training for the PMI-ACP certification: The training must be taken from an Authorized Training Partner (ATP) of PMIWho should take the training for PMI-ACP certification?This course can be taken by:Project ManagersProject PlannersQuality Assurance StaffDevelopers/ProgrammersDesigners, TestersProject ControllersProduct OwnersScrum MastersScrum Team MembersWho is eligible for the PMI-ACP certification?The PMI-ACP requires the following eligibility:Secondary degree21 contact hours of training in agile practices12 months of general project experience within the last 5 years. A current PMP® or PgMP® will satisfy this requirement but is not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.8 months of agile project experience within the last 3 yearsDuration to get certified: Once you complete the required training you must take time out to vigorously prepare for the exam. You then need to set the date and give the 3-hour exam. Once you pass the exam you may refer to yourself as a certification holder although your certificate package can take six to eight weeks to arrive in the mail.Course fee for PMI-ACP certification:The course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 25999  U.S.: USD 1299Canada: CAD 1499Exam fee for PMI-ACP: $435 (for members), $495 (for non-members)PMI-ACP Exam Details:Exam Type: Closed book Format: Multiple Choice Difficulty: Intermediate Time limit: 3 hours Number of Questions: 120 of which 20 are considered pre-test questions and do not affect the score. Passing score: 85%Renewal for PMI-ACP certification: To maintain your PMI-ACP, you must earn 30 professional development units (PDUs) in agile topics every three years.5. Certified SAFe® Product Owner / Product Manager (SAFe® POPM)If scaling Scrum is your forte, then this is the right credential for you. This credential, an offering from the Scaled Agile, Inc., validates your product owner skills in delivering value by applying the principles of Lean to ensure Agile success at the enterprise scale, improving the Agile Release Train and ensuring customer satisfaction while improving bottom line margins.Considering that the Scaled Agile Framework is widely used in Agile organizations, there is a huge demand for SAFe POPM certified professionals, who can deliver continuous value at the enterprise level.Other benefits of the SAFe POPM certification include:Master key SAFe® product ownership/product management concepts like Lean Agile principles and valuesCollaborate with Agile teams to deliver valueMaster Program Increment PlanningOne-year membership to the SAFe Community PlatformOpen yourself upto new opportunitiesSAFe Product Owner/Product Manager (SPOPM) salary ranges from $83,865 to $124,613Access to Meetup groups and events that connect you with other Certified SAFe ProfessionalsTop companies hiring SAFe POPM professionalsBoschLockheed MartinPepsiCoAnthemCiscoStandard CharteredCapitalOneThalesFitBit  AstraZenecaSource: PayScaleWhere to take training for the SAFe POPM certification: The training must be taken from an authorized training partner of Scaled Agile, Inc. Who should take the training for SAFe POPM certification?This course can be taken by:Program or Project ManagersScrum MastersRelease Train EngineersBusiness AnalystsAgile CoachesSAFe Program ConsultantsDevelopment ManagersCTOsConsultantsArchitectsEngineersDirectorsProduct ManagersProduct OwnersDelivery ManagersSolution Train EngineersSoftware DevelopersWho is eligible for the SAFe POPM certification?The SAFe POPM requires the following eligibility:Two-day training from an authorized training provider of Scaled Agile Inc. Experience in Lean and AgileDuration to get certified: Once you complete the mandatory 2-day training you can set a date to take the 1.5 hrs SAFe POPM exam. On passing the exam, you become a Certified SAFe® 5 Product Owner / Product Manager. You will receive your SAFe®️ 5 Product Owner / Product Manager PDF Certificate and Digital Badge within 5-7 working days.Course fee for SAFe POPM certificationThe course fee depends on the training provider and differs from region to region.In India: INR 55999  U.S.: USD 1099Canada: CAD 1395Exam fee for SAFe POPM: First exam attempt is included as part of the course registration fee if the exam is taken within 30 days of course completion.SAFe POPM Exam DetailsExam Type: Closed book Format: Multiple choice, multiple response Difficulty: Intermediate Time limit: 1.5 hours Number of Questions: 45 Passing score: POPM4 = 35 out of 45 (77%); POPM5 = 33 out of 45 (73%)Retake fee for SAFe POPM Exam: Each retake costs $50Renewal for SAFe POPM certification: SAFe POPM needs to be renewed each year by paying a $100 fee and earning a minimum of 10 continuing education/outreach hours (PDUs).SummaryProduct Owners are the rock stars of an Agile team—confident, articulate, sharp, great communicators and problem solvers! A solid Product Owner certification along with these qualities can give your career a total makeover and make you a team favourite. 
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Best Product Owner Certifications in 2022

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

What is the Cost of Top Scrum Certifications in 2022?

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

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

Best Career Paths of Successful Scrum Masters in 2022

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

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

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