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Guide to a Successful Career Path with the Scrum Alliance Certifications

Scrum Alliance, a non-profit membership organization, established in 2001, has historically focused on providing Agile and Scrum education and certifications. Further, Scrum Alliance always aims at encouraging Scrum adoption worldwide by transforming the work culture through guiding and inspiring “individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable.” Keeping this aim alive, Scrum Alliance accomplishes its mission by meeting the following three key principles:Inspire: Scrum Alliance inspires support leaders, organizations, and other people during their Agile transformation journey through sharing success stories, new methods, and leveraging training.Enable: This organization lets you succeed by developing various learning and support systems such as webinars, communities and user groups, and events with the help of a global network of practitioners, coaches, and trainers.Guide: That’s not it! Scrum Alliance offers guidance for the career needs of the Agile Practitioners by providing them with certifications at various levels. These certifications promote Agile values, principles, and practices, and support in switching to Agile.Bragging over 750,000 certified practitioners widespread, Scrum Alliance, Inc. currently serves as the World’s largest Agile membership organization reporting considerable growth with 5,000 and above new entrants joining a troupe of certified Agile practitioners monthly.Certifications offered by Scrum Alliance   Scrum Alliance offers 8 Scrum team Role-based certifications which include Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developer certifications track (including foundation and advanced level), 3 Guide level certifications and 2 Agile Leadership certifications. Let us look at the different certifications offered at each level by Scrum Alliance what job roles an individual can play and after which certification, and also will help you to let you know the sequence of the certifications: Fig: Career paths based on roles Before discussing the certifications, let us look at the three categories in which Scrum Alliance certifications are divided: 1. Roles-based certificationsScrum Master track:Certified ScrumMaster®Advanced Certified ScrumMasterCertified Scrum Professional® -ScrumMasterProduct Owner track:Certified Scrum Product Owner®Advanced Certified Scrum Product OwnerCertified Scrum Professional® -Product OwnerDeveloper track: Certified Scrum Developer® Certified Scrum Professional®2. Guide level certificationsCertified Team CoachSM  Certified Enterprise CoachCertified Scrum Trainer®3. Agile Leadership certificationsCertified Agile Leadership I certificationCertified Agile Leadership II certificationNow, let us discuss each of them in details: 1. Roles-based certificationsThere are 3 different roles-based certifications, focussing on the different roles present in an Agile organization. These certifications include:Scrum Master trackScrum Master, as most of the individuals know is a facilitator for the Agile development team. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum team follows an appropriate Scrum process during product development. The Scrum process includes the Choosing the right Scrum framework, implementing it in the project and making sure it is followed in principle and essence correctly by the team, Product Owner, and the Scrum team.Salary of the Certified ScrumMaster® Based on the Ziprecruiter.com, a Certified Scrum Master® earns an average pay of $116,184 per annum. The salary range of the Scrum Master depends on the skills they have earned, work experience as a Scrum Master, etc. The advanced level Scrum Master certifications are also a major factor in deciding a salary of the Scrum Master.a) Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)A Scrum Master owns the Scrum project team and helps them to perform the best at the end of every Sprint. Being a Scrum Master, he/she protects the team from the distractions and aids them in executing the Scrum accurately. With this Certified ScrumMaster® certification (CSM®), you will get more career opportunities across all the industries and show your achievement on the basics of Scrum.Prerequisites required for becoming Certified ScrumMaster®:There is no predefined set of eligibility requirements to attend a Certified ScrumMaster® training as per ScrumAlliance Inc.. It can be taken by any interested professional in order to amplify their Scrum understanding. In order to gain certification, an individual must pass the CSM certification exam with 74% passing score.Steps to achieve CSM certification:Any interested individual can take the CSM course. To acquire this certification, you need to follow these steps:An individual can undergo 16-hours of CSM training from KnowledgeHut, a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) providerPass the CSM exam by answering 37 out of 50 questions correctly in 1-hour.Accept the license agreement and finish your Scrum Alliance membership profile.Target audience of the courseSince Scrum is not just applied to IT and software sector, it is implemented in other industries like government, education, manufacturing, banking, and finance. Therefore, this training can be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters, interested individuals to work in an Agile environment, and other individuals responsible for delivering the products. The target audience include- Software Engineer/Developer/AnalystProduct ManagerProject ManagerTeam Leader/Module LeaderBusiness AnalystDevelopment team memberTestersQuality Assurance ProfessionalsArchitectsUser Experience ProfessionalsAnyone wanting to improve Agile processes in their projectsCareer path of a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)Once this course is done, you can level-up your skills by taking the advanced level certifications viz,  Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®), and Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).b) Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®)Being a Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®), an individual is considered proficient in implementing the Scrum values, practices, and applications. Now, it's time to move ahead with your Agile journey by achieving Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®) certification. A-CSM® is the next level of your journey towards Scrum and Agile after completing your CSM®.With A-CSM certification, you will be able to increase engagement by facilitating communication between the Scrum team members and the Stakeholders. You can further enhance your Scrum implementation skills and knowledge and will be able to show your advanced value as a highly skilled Agile professional to the potential employer.Prerequisites to achieve A-CSM certificationYou just need to hold an active CSM certification from Scrum Alliance and you have at least 12 months of experience working as a Scrum Master.Steps to become Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®)Attend Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®) training from any registered education provider of Scrum AllianceComplete all the learning objectives by the approved educatorAccept the A-CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profileTarget audience of the courseThe target audience of A-CSM course is the professionals who have work experience in Scrum, play the role of the Scrum Master in the Agile organizations and are CSM® certified.Career path of Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM)Once you have upgraded your skills with the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) certification, you are ready to master in Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).Product Owner trackScrum Product Owner is the voice of the Stakeholders and the Customers. The Scrum Product Owner solely owns the product backlog and acts as the cornerstone of the Scrum project. A Product Owner is responsible for increasing the product value and delivers a valuable product at a high speed by strictly following the implementation process.Salary of the CSPO certified professionalsAs per the Payscale.com, the average salary of a CSPO certified professional is $101k per annum. The salary of a Product Owner keeps varying based on the skills an individual has, year/years of experience he/she has, and the most affecting factor is the advanced level certifications for the Product owner to enhance your probability of landing the best jobs in the market. c) Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)A professional, very much interested in handling the business side of the project [such as Earned Value, Return On Investment, Velocity, Backlog calculations etc.], is probably the right person to attain a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification. Being a CSPO, you are responsible for creating a product vision, prioritizing the product backlog, and giving the customers exactly what they are looking for [or intuitively want]Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certificationThere is no prerequisite to attend CSPO training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).Steps to achieve Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certificationThe following steps need to be followed to earn a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification:Attend two days (16 hours) of CSPO course mentored by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)Scrum Alliance will release the certification designating you as a Certified Scrum Product Owner®The certification will be valid for 2-years from the date of issuanceTarget audience of the CSPO courseThis 16 hours of CSPO course is curated for an individual who is responsible for directing a product and setting up finance during a Scrum project implementation. Scrum Masters can also take this training without thinking that the CSM course is a prerequisite to attend the CSPO course. The CSPO certification can be viewed as an alternative to the CSM course. The target audience for this course is:Project ManagersDevelopersProduct OwnersManagers-Software developmentArchitects-Software developmentProduct ManagersSoftware developersSoftware testersTeam leads/Team members interested in learning more about ScrumScrum MastersExecutivesBusiness StakeholdersCareer Path of the CSPO certified professionalsAfter mastering the CSPO course, you can level-up your knowledge with Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPOSM) and then Certified Scrum Professional®-Product Owner (CSP®-PO).d) Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO℠) If you are a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), you are responsible for maximising the product’s business value and understanding the Stakeholder’s requirements to deliver the best at regular intervals [known as Sprints or Iterations]. Now, the next step is to achieve the advanced level certification- Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO℠) certification.Prerequisites to achieve Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner℠(A-CSPO℠) certification A candidate must hold an active CSPO certification to attend Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance and at least 1-year of work experience as a Scrum Product Owner.Steps to become Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner℠ (A-CSPO℠) certification If you have an active CSPO certification, attend an A-CSPO certification training to learn more techniques in managing the Stakeholders and Product BacklogComplete successfully all the educator-designed components of an approved institute.Scrum Alliance will ask you to accept the A-CSPO license agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.You will get A-CSPO certification from Scrum Alliance. Maintain your certification by renewing your certification every two years.Target audience of the A-CSPO courseThis course is targeted towards practicing Product Owners who are looking to upgrade their career with the basic mechanics of the PO role and are CSPO certified.Career Path of the A-CSPO certified professionalsCertified Scrum Professional Product Owner® (CSP-PO®) certification is the next certification in the list after A-CSPO certification.Developer TrackToday, Scrum Developers have more demand in the market because of their specialized Agile and Scrum skills and proficiency in continuous improvement. Earning Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification is expanding the need of the Scrum Developers in Agile enterprises. Today, Scrum Developers are earning an average of $82k per year, playing the roles like .Net Developer, Software Engineer, IT Project Manager, and many more.e) Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD)Certified Scrum Developers® exhibit their knowledge through formal training and technical skills assessments. Being certified, they demonstrate their practical as well as theoretical understanding of Agile and Scrum principles along with Agile Engineering skills. Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certificationAn individual with programming knowledge can attend CSD course. To earn this certification, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of formal CSD training course instructed by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. On the other hand, the certification offers the privilege to the candidates who are CSM certified. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.Steps to earn CSD certificationThe following steps are followed to earn CSD certification:Enroll for 5 days of CSD course taught by the Scrum Alliance approved CSD instructor. It consists of two tracks to get CSD certification and the tracks are:Track 1-Attend CSM course (for 2 days)CSD technical course (for 3 days)Track 2- A basic introductory course (for 1 day)CSD technical course (for 3 days)CSD technical elective course (for 1 day)After successfully completing the course (following track 1/track 2), Scrum Alliance will send you a CSD license agreement.Congrats! You are now CSD certified. The certification will be added to your profile, which will be valid for another 2 years.Maintain your certification by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) and by renewing your certification in every two years.Target audience of the CSD courseThe Certified Scrum Developer® certification is beneficial for the software developers (programmers) building software in the Scrum organizations. This course will benefit ArchitectsDBAsDesigners Developers, Development ManagersDirectors Product ManagersQA Engineers, Software EngineersTechnical Analysts, Technical LeadsTechnical Writers TestersAnyone who wants to be a good developer well aware of top Agile practices such as TDD, Extreme Programming etc.Career path of CSD certified professionalLevel-up your skills with Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certification, once you have mastered this course. f) Certified Scrum Professionals (CSP) certificationsCertified Scrum Professionals let their teams constantly improve the implementation of Agile and Scrum practices and principles applied to the Scrum project. This certification marks CSP’s experience, skills enhanced through training and a proven Scrum knowledge in development after being certified as CSD®. Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certificationsAn individual should hold an active Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification issued by the Scrum Alliance in order to achieve Certified Scrum Professional® certifications. In addition, an individual should:An individual should have at least 36 months of working experience as a Scrum Master/ Product Owner/ Developer/ Other in Agile or Scrum based project in the recent past 5 years.At least 70 SEUs [Scrum education units] in past 3 yearsSteps to earn Certified Scrum Professional® certificationsIf you have an active CSD certification, you are eligible to enroll your name for the Certified Scrum Professional® certification course as per the respective certifications Attend the CSP training to enhance your Agile facilitation and coaching skillsComplete all the educator-designed components. These components may incorporate pre- or post- course work as regraded essential by your Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) to finish the learning objectivesComplete your Scrum Alliance membership profile by agreeing to the CSP-SM/PO/D license agreement and fulfilling a minimum of 36 months of work experience as a Scrum Master/ Product Owner/ Developer respectivelyMaintain your CSP certification by renewing a certification every 2-years.Target audience of the Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) courseThe course is designed for the Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and Developers with working knowledge ready to take the next step in their career learning. Agile leaders, including coaches, consultants, project managers, facilitators, and technical leaders, all can  be benefited from enhancing their skills with the CSP certification.Career Path of the Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP®) certified professionalsAn individual with CSP® certification is expected to demonstrate the practical as well as the theoretical knowledge and a body of knowledge of the Scrum roles, events, and artifacts of the complete Scrum framework. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP®) certification provides a gateway for those who are looking for their future as a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Team Coach, Agile Coach globally.2. Guide Level certificationsGuide level certifications are aimed at professionals who have advanced knowledge and well-qualified coaches, trainers, mentors, and thought leaders who spread their knowledge on Agile practices and Scrum framework among the professionals. Scrum Alliance provides one certification focused on trainers and two certifications in the coaching category. Individuals with Guide level certifications are considered as professional certifications holder from Scrum Alliance. Let’s see Guide or Elevated level certifications as follows:a) Certified Team CoachSM (CTC)The Certified Team Coach (CTC) usually works at the team level with the management, Scrum teams, and Stakeholders. Enterprise hires Certified Team Coaches to provide coaching, facilitation, training, mentoring, impediment removing, and leadership to encourage collaboration, continuous development, and value delivery across multiple teams and departments.  Prerequisites to become CTCAn active Certified Scrum Professional certification 1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum MasterCoaching experience in at least 2 organizations Must be actively participated in at least 5 Agile eventsPractical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.Who can attend CTC training?The Certified Team Coach (CTC) is specifically targeted to the Scrum Evangelist interested in coaching at multiple levels. Also, Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM/PO) is the recommended certification that will make you eligible to gain CTC credential.  Steps to achieve CTC certificationTo earn Certified Team Coach (CTC) certification, an individual need to submit an application with the application feeScrum Alliance will cross-check the application to meet all the prerequisites required to earn this credentialOnce it is approved, individuals are required to pay an annual fee to maintain this certificationb) Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) by Scrum Alliance is skilled at Scrum (both in theoretical and practical knowledge). The Certified Enterprise Coaches (CECs) have years of experience in enterprise Scrum transformations and a detailed understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs guide organizations towards the challenges organizations are facing during Scrum adoption. Prerequisites to become Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)A candidate aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification Working experience in Scrum team rolesCoaching experience in at least three organizations2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach. Who can attend CEC training?This training is aimed at Agile professionals who are looking to guide the organizations in their Agile transformation. Steps to achieve CEC certificationSubmit an application form along with a feeScrum Alliance does a peer assessment, candidates are asked to pay the annual fee.c) Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)The CST® certification is the most sought-after and only trainer-centric certification offered by Scrum Alliance. As a CST, you are the individuals who wishes to transform the way of working of the people and team they work with. Successful completion of the CST course will let you teach CSM or CSPO courses.   Prerequisites to become Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)To become a CST, you should have:In-depth knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principlesAn active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) or Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner™ (CSP-PO™) or CSP® designation from Scrum AllianceHands-on experience in Scrum implementation as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team memberTeaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-Taught to at least 100 candidatesHosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions Respective certifications in order to train on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  Target audience of Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) courseThis certification is for the candidates who are well-versed in executing the Agile practices and desire to train other professionals.Steps to achieve Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) courseIndividuals seeking CST certification need to submit an application with by paying an application feeTrainer Approval Community (TAC) will review this application Once approved by them, Interview and Certification panel will invite those individuals to attend an in-person interviewYour performance in the interview will decide your full CST status or denial of the CST certificationIf approved as a CST, you are requested to sign the CST agreement and pay the annual feeIf canceled, your interview TAC will reschedule the interview3. Agile Leadership certificationsAs the world of work is changing continuously and becomes complex, enterprises and leaders are asked to continuously deliver more innovative products and services, keeping the culture of an organization zestful and gratifying. Agile Leaders produces extraordinary teams, communicate with a clear purpose, and achieve extraordinary business outcomes to the customers and their organizations. There are two Agile Leadership credentials are available:Certified Agile Leader I (CAL I)Certified Agile Leader II (CAL II)These two CAL certifications (CAL I + CAL II) by Scrum Alliance represents unique two-part education and practice-based programs to build Agile leadership competencies. The CAL certifications provides a platform to enhance your leadership skills and will make you a better leader, irrespective of your current role in the organization. We will see them in detail later on.Whom Agile Leadership  training is for?The participants for this program varies according to their professional background and work experience. The key factor here is their wish to transform workplaces into better way by executing Agile values, practices, and metrics. The CAL certifications are designed for anyone participating and interested in leading an Agile transformation. Agile Leadership training are designed for:Coach/ConsultantManagers ExecutivesCrave to play a Leadership roleLet’s take a look at two kinds of CAL certifications:a) Certified Agile Leadership I certificationCertified Agile Leadership I (CAL I) is an introductory professional course that comprises of in-depth leadership development learning objectives across five categories.  Prerequisites to attend CAL I certificationThere are no eligibility criteria to attend CAL I training. This credential can be achieved after successfully completing the set of learning objectives. The certification has no expiry date. The digital badge earned after the certification remarks your start on your agile journey.Career Path after CAL I certificationAfter CAL I certification, you can take CAL II certification to complete your Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) certifications. Career Path after CAL II certificationWith CAL II certification, you will be able to guide leaders in applying, growing, and sharing your Agile leadership journey with the Scrum teams.Prerequisites to attend CAL II certificationTo earn this credential, individuals must have CAL I certification and successful accomplishment of:Advanced Education- additional education on a unique leadership development topic, customized according to your learning journey and taught by an approved CAL educatorValidated Practice- implementing the newly earned skills at work.Renewal Policy of Scrum Alliance certificationsScrum Alliance always aims to keep the certifications and training program updated. According to Scrum Alliance, certification holders need to maintain their certifications by renewing every two years. The fee to renew the level-based certifications are:Foundation level certifications are renewed by paying $100 renewal feeAdvanced level or Professional level certifications are renewed by earning 40 Scrum Education Units (SEUs) and paying $250 as a renewal feeCoach and Trainer based certifications must be renewed annually and are required to meet all the current requirements for each such renewal.Job roles available for Scrum Alliance certified professionalsSome of the common job roles played by the Scrum Alliance certified are transformational leads, transformation coaches, Scrum Masters, developers, managers, engineers, testers, technical writers and architects. Scrum Alliance also maintains its own job panel to assist community members in their job search. If you want to know more about the recent job postings, career news, blogs, and more, you can visit Agile careers section of the Scrum Alliance.    

Guide to a Successful Career Path with the Scrum Alliance Certifications

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Guide to a Successful Career Path with the Scrum Alliance Certifications

Scrum Alliance, a non-profit membership organization, established in 2001, has historically focused on providing Agile and Scrum education and certifications. Further, Scrum Alliance always aims at encouraging Scrum adoption worldwide by transforming the work culture through guiding and inspiring “individuals, leaders, and organizations with practices, principles, and values that create workplaces that are joyful, prosperous, and sustainable.” 

Keeping this aim alive, Scrum Alliance accomplishes its mission by meeting the following three key principles:

  • Inspire: Scrum Alliance inspires support leaders, organizations, and other people during their Agile transformation journey through sharing success stories, new methods, and leveraging training.
  • Enable: This organization lets you succeed by developing various learning and support systems such as webinars, communities and user groups, and events with the help of a global network of practitioners, coaches, and trainers.
  • Guide: That’s not it! Scrum Alliance offers guidance for the career needs of the Agile Practitioners by providing them with certifications at various levels. These certifications promote Agile values, principles, and practices, and support in switching to Agile.

Bragging over 750,000 certified practitioners widespread, Scrum Alliance, Inc. currently serves as the World’s largest Agile membership organization reporting considerable growth with 5,000 and above new entrants joining a troupe of certified Agile practitioners monthly.

Certifications offered by Scrum Alliance   

Scrum Alliance offers 8 Scrum team Role-based certifications which include Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developer certifications track (including foundation and advanced level), 3 Guide level certifications and 2 Agile Leadership certifications. Let us look at the different certifications offered at each level by Scrum Alliance what job roles an individual can play and after which certification, and also will help you to let you know the sequence of the certifications: 

Scrum alliance career roles

Fig: Career paths based on roles 

Before discussing the certifications, let us look at the three categories in which Scrum Alliance certifications are divided: 

1. Roles-based certifications

2. Guide level certifications

3. Agile Leadership certifications

Now, let us discuss each of them in details: 

1. Roles-based certifications

There are 3 different roles-based certifications, focussing on the different roles present in an Agile organization. These certifications include:

  • Scrum Master track

Scrum Master, as most of the individuals know is a facilitator for the Agile development team. The Scrum Master ensures that the Scrum team follows an appropriate Scrum process during product development. The Scrum process includes the Choosing the right Scrum framework, implementing it in the project and making sure it is followed in principle and essence correctly by the team, Product Owner, and the Scrum team.

Salary of the Certified ScrumMaster® 

Based on the Ziprecruiter.com, a Certified Scrum Master® earns an average pay of $116,184 per annum. The salary range of the Scrum Master depends on the skills they have earned, work experience as a Scrum Master, etc. The advanced level Scrum Master certifications are also a major factor in deciding a salary of the Scrum Master.

a) Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)

A Scrum Master owns the Scrum project team and helps them to perform the best at the end of every Sprint. Being a Scrum Master, he/she protects the team from the distractions and aids them in executing the Scrum accurately. With this Certified ScrumMaster® certification (CSM®), you will get more career opportunities across all the industries and show your achievement on the basics of Scrum.

Prerequisites required for becoming Certified ScrumMaster®:

There is no predefined set of eligibility requirements to attend a Certified ScrumMaster® training as per ScrumAlliance Inc.. It can be taken by any interested professional in order to amplify their Scrum understanding. In order to gain certification, an individual must pass the CSM certification exam with 74% passing score.

Steps to achieve CSM certification:

Any interested individual can take the CSM course. To acquire this certification, you need to follow these steps:

  • An individual can undergo 16-hours of CSM training from KnowledgeHut, a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) provider
  • Pass the CSM exam by answering 37 out of 50 questions correctly in 1-hour.
  • Accept the license agreement and finish your Scrum Alliance membership profile.

Target audience of the course

Since Scrum is not just applied to IT and software sector, it is implemented in other industries like government, education, manufacturing, banking, and finance. Therefore, this training can be taken up by the existing Scrum Masters, interested individuals to work in an Agile environment, and other individuals responsible for delivering the products. The target audience include- 

  • Software Engineer/Developer/Analyst
  • Product Manager
  • Project Manager
  • Team Leader/Module Leader
  • Business Analyst
  • Development team member
  • Testers
  • Quality Assurance Professionals
  • Architects
  • User Experience Professionals
  • Anyone wanting to improve Agile processes in their projects

Career path of a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM)

Once this course is done, you can level-up your skills by taking the advanced level certifications viz,  Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®), and Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).

b) Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM®)

Being a Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®), an individual is considered proficient in implementing the Scrum values, practices, and applications. Now, it's time to move ahead with your Agile journey by achieving Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®) certification. A-CSM® is the next level of your journey towards Scrum and Agile after completing your CSM®.

With A-CSM certification, you will be able to increase engagement by facilitating communication between the Scrum team members and the Stakeholders. You can further enhance your Scrum implementation skills and knowledge and will be able to show your advanced value as a highly skilled Agile professional to the potential employer.

Prerequisites to achieve A-CSM certification

You just need to hold an active CSM certification from Scrum Alliance and you have at least 12 months of experience working as a Scrum Master.

Steps to become Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®)

  • Attend Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM®) training from any registered education provider of Scrum Alliance
  • Complete all the learning objectives by the approved educator
  • Accept the A-CSM License Agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile

Target audience of the course

The target audience of A-CSM course is the professionals who have work experience in Scrum, play the role of the Scrum Master in the Agile organizations and are CSM® certified.

Career path of Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM)

Once you have upgraded your skills with the Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) certification, you are ready to master in Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM®).

  • Product Owner track

Scrum Product Owner is the voice of the Stakeholders and the Customers. The Scrum Product Owner solely owns the product backlog and acts as the cornerstone of the Scrum project. A Product Owner is responsible for increasing the product value and delivers a valuable product at a high speed by strictly following the implementation process.

Salary of the CSPO certified professionals

As per the Payscale.com, the average salary of a CSPO certified professional is $101k per annum. The salary of a Product Owner keeps varying based on the skills an individual has, year/years of experience he/she has, and the most affecting factor is the advanced level certifications for the Product owner to enhance your probability of landing the best jobs in the market. 

c) Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®)

A professional, very much interested in handling the business side of the project [such as Earned Value, Return On Investment, Velocity, Backlog calculations etc.], is probably the right person to attain a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification. Being a CSPO, you are responsible for creating a product vision, prioritizing the product backlog, and giving the customers exactly what they are looking for [or intuitively want]

Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification

There is no prerequisite to attend CSPO training. However, in order to earn this certification, an individual need to attend 2-days of CSPO course taught by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).

Steps to achieve Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification

The following steps need to be followed to earn a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) certification:

  • Attend two days (16 hours) of CSPO course mentored by Certified Scrum Trainer (CST)
  • Scrum Alliance will release the certification designating you as a Certified Scrum Product Owner®
  • The certification will be valid for 2-years from the date of issuance

Target audience of the CSPO course

This 16 hours of CSPO course is curated for an individual who is responsible for directing a product and setting up finance during a Scrum project implementation. Scrum Masters can also take this training without thinking that the CSM course is a prerequisite to attend the CSPO course. The CSPO certification can be viewed as an alternative to the CSM course. The target audience for this course is:

  • Project Managers
  • Developers
  • Product Owners
  • Managers-Software development
  • Architects-Software development
  • Product Managers
  • Software developers
  • Software testers
  • Team leads/Team members interested in learning more about Scrum
  • Scrum Masters
  • Executives
  • Business Stakeholders

Career Path of the CSPO certified professionals

After mastering the CSPO course, you can level-up your knowledge with Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPOSM) and then Certified Scrum Professional®-Product Owner (CSP®-PO).

d) Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) 

If you are a Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO), you are responsible for maximising the product’s business value and understanding the Stakeholder’s requirements to deliver the best at regular intervals [known as Sprints or Iterations]. Now, the next step is to achieve the advanced level certification- Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO℠) certification.

Prerequisites to achieve Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner(A-CSPO) certification 

A candidate must hold an active CSPO certification to attend Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner® (A-CSPO®) course from Scrum Alliance and at least 1-year of work experience as a Scrum Product Owner.

Steps to become Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner (A-CSPO) certification 

  • If you have an active CSPO certification, attend an A-CSPO certification training to learn more techniques in managing the Stakeholders and Product Backlog
  • Complete successfully all the educator-designed components of an approved institute.
  • Scrum Alliance will ask you to accept the A-CSPO license agreement and complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile.
  • You will get A-CSPO certification from Scrum Alliance. Maintain your certification by renewing your certification every two years.

Target audience of the A-CSPO course

This course is targeted towards practicing Product Owners who are looking to upgrade their career with the basic mechanics of the PO role and are CSPO certified.

Career Path of the A-CSPO certified professionals

Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner® (CSP-PO®) certification is the next certification in the list after A-CSPO certification.

  • Developer Track

Today, Scrum Developers have more demand in the market because of their specialized Agile and Scrum skills and proficiency in continuous improvement. Earning Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification is expanding the need of the Scrum Developers in Agile enterprises. Today, Scrum Developers are earning an average of $82k per year, playing the roles like .Net Developer, Software Engineer, IT Project Manager, and many more.

e) Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD)

Certified Scrum Developers® exhibit their knowledge through formal training and technical skills assessments. Being certified, they demonstrate their practical as well as theoretical understanding of Agile and Scrum principles along with Agile Engineering skills. 

Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification

An individual with programming knowledge can attend CSD course. To earn this certification, an individual needs to undergo at least 5-days of formal CSD training course instructed by a Scrum Alliance Registered Education Provider (REP) and a Scrum Alliance Authorized Instructor. 

On the other hand, the certification offers the privilege to the candidates who are CSM certified. They can skip the first 2 days and directly join from the 3rd day of the technical training.

Steps to earn CSD certification

Steps to earn CSD certification

The following steps are followed to earn CSD certification:

  • Enroll for 5 days of CSD course taught by the Scrum Alliance approved CSD instructor. It consists of two tracks to get CSD certification and the tracks are:
    • Track 1-
      • Attend CSM course (for 2 days)
      • CSD technical course (for 3 days)
    • Track 2- 
      • A basic introductory course (for 1 day)
      • CSD technical course (for 3 days)
      • CSD technical elective course (for 1 day)
  • After successfully completing the course (following track 1/track 2), Scrum Alliance will send you a CSD license agreement.
  • Congrats! You are now CSD certified. The certification will be added to your profile, which will be valid for another 2 years.
  • Maintain your certification by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) and by renewing your certification in every two years.

Target audience of the CSD course

The Certified Scrum Developer® certification is beneficial for the software developers (programmers) building software in the Scrum organizations. This course will benefit 

  • Architects
  • DBAs
  • Designers 
  • Developers, Development Managers
  • Directors 
  • Product Managers
  • QA Engineers, Software Engineers
  • Technical Analysts, Technical Leads
  • Technical Writers 
  • Testers
  • Anyone who wants to be a good developer well aware of top Agile practices such as TDD, Extreme Programming etc.

Career path of CSD certified professional

Level-up your skills with Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certification, once you have mastered this course. 

f) Certified Scrum Professionals (CSP) certifications

Certified Scrum Professionals let their teams constantly improve the implementation of Agile and Scrum practices and principles applied to the Scrum project. This certification marks CSP’s experience, skills enhanced through training and a proven Scrum knowledge in development after being certified as CSD®.

 Prerequisites to achieve Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) certifications

An individual should hold an active Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) certification issued by the Scrum Alliance in order to achieve Certified Scrum Professional® certifications. In addition, an individual should:

  • An individual should have at least 36 months of working experience as a Scrum Master/ Product Owner/ Developer/ Other in Agile or Scrum based project in the recent past 5 years.
  • At least 70 SEUs [Scrum education units] in past 3 years

Steps to earn Certified Scrum Professional® certifications

  • If you have an active CSD certification, you are eligible to enroll your name for the Certified Scrum Professional® certification course as per the respective certifications 
  • Attend the CSP training to enhance your Agile facilitation and coaching skills
  • Complete all the educator-designed components. These components may incorporate pre- or post- course work as regraded essential by your Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) to finish the learning objectives
  • Complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile by agreeing to the CSP-SM/PO/D license agreement and fulfilling a minimum of 36 months of work experience as a Scrum Master/ Product Owner/ Developer respectively
  • Maintain your CSP certification by renewing a certification every 2-years.

Target audience of the Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP) course

The course is designed for the Product Owners, Scrum Masters, and Developers with working knowledge ready to take the next step in their career learning. Agile leaders, including coaches, consultants, project managers, facilitators, and technical leaders, all can  be benefited from enhancing their skills with the CSP certification.

Career Path of the Certified Scrum Professional® (CSP®) certified professionals

An individual with CSP® certification is expected to demonstrate the practical as well as the theoretical knowledge and a body of knowledge of the Scrum roles, events, and artifacts of the complete Scrum framework. Certified Scrum Professional (CSP®) certification provides a gateway for those who are looking for their future as a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST), Team Coach, Agile Coach globally.

2. Guide Level certifications

Guide level certifications are aimed at professionals who have advanced knowledge and well-qualified coaches, trainers, mentors, and thought leaders who spread their knowledge on Agile practices and Scrum framework among the professionals. Scrum Alliance provides one certification focused on trainers and two certifications in the coaching category. Individuals with Guide level certifications are considered as professional certifications holder from Scrum Alliance. Let’s see Guide or Elevated level certifications as follows:

a) Certified Team CoachSM (CTC)

The Certified Team Coach (CTC) usually works at the team level with the management, Scrum teams, and Stakeholders. Enterprise hires Certified Team Coaches to provide coaching, facilitation, training, mentoring, impediment removing, and leadership to encourage collaboration, continuous development, and value delivery across multiple teams and departments.  

Prerequisites to become CTC

  • An active Certified Scrum Professional certification 
  • 1,000 hours of Agile coaching experience in the last 2 years without considering your role as Scrum Master
  • Coaching experience in at least 2 organizations 
  • Must be actively participated in at least 5 Agile events
  • Practical experience of Scrum implementation and coaching experience in Agile and Scrum framework.

Who can attend CTC training?

The Certified Team Coach (CTC) is specifically targeted to the Scrum Evangelist interested in coaching at multiple levels. Also, Certified Scrum Professional (CSP-SM/PO) is the recommended certification that will make you eligible to gain CTC credential.  

Steps to achieve CTC certification

  • To earn Certified Team Coach (CTC) certification, an individual need to submit an application with the application fee
  • Scrum Alliance will cross-check the application to meet all the prerequisites required to earn this credential
  • Once it is approved, individuals are required to pay an annual fee to maintain this certification



b) Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)

The Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) by Scrum Alliance is skilled at Scrum (both in theoretical and practical knowledge). The Certified Enterprise Coaches (CECs) have years of experience in enterprise Scrum transformations and a detailed understanding of implementing Scrum practices and principles. The CECs guide organizations towards the challenges organizations are facing during Scrum adoption. 

Prerequisites to become Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC)

A candidate aspiring Certified Enterprise Coach (CEC) credential must possess:

  • Knowledge of Scrum practices, proven leadership, and coaching skills 
  • An active CSP-SM™ or CSP-PO™ or CSP® certification 
  • Working experience in Scrum team roles
  • Coaching experience in at least three organizations
  • 2,000 hours over the past 3 years of work experience as a Coach. 

Who can attend CEC training?

This training is aimed at Agile professionals who are looking to guide the organizations in their Agile transformation. 

Steps to achieve CEC certification

  • Submit an application form along with a fee
  • Scrum Alliance does a peer assessment, candidates are asked to pay the annual fee.

c) Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)

The CST® certification is the most sought-after and only trainer-centric certification offered by Scrum Alliance. As a CST, you are the individuals who wishes to transform the way of working of the people and team they work with. Successful completion of the CST course will let you teach CSM or CSPO courses.   

Prerequisites to become Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST)

To become a CST, you should have:

  • In-depth knowledge of the Scrum concepts, practices, and principles
  • An active Certified Scrum Professional ScrumMaster™ (CSP-SM™) or Certified Scrum Professional Product Owner™ (CSP-PO™) or CSP® designation from Scrum Alliance
  • Hands-on experience in Scrum implementation as a ScrumMaster, Product Owner, or Development team member
  • Teaching experience in partnership with any Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) or independently-
    • Taught to at least 100 candidates
    • Hosted at least 10 or more days ScrumMaster training sessions 
  • Respective certifications in order to train on the courses (e.g. if want to train on CSPO, an individual should hold an active CSPO certification.  

Target audience of Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) course

This certification is for the candidates who are well-versed in executing the Agile practices and desire to train other professionals.

Steps to achieve Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST) course

  • Individuals seeking CST certification need to submit an application with by paying an application fee
  • Trainer Approval Community (TAC) will review this application 
  • Once approved by them, Interview and Certification panel will invite those individuals to attend an in-person interview
  • Your performance in the interview will decide your full CST status or denial of the CST certification
    • If approved as a CST, you are requested to sign the CST agreement and pay the annual fee
    • If canceled, your interview TAC will reschedule the interview

3. Agile Leadership certifications

As the world of work is changing continuously and becomes complex, enterprises and leaders are asked to continuously deliver more innovative products and services, keeping the culture of an organization zestful and gratifying. Agile Leaders produces extraordinary teams, communicate with a clear purpose, and achieve extraordinary business outcomes to the customers and their organizations. 

There are two Agile Leadership credentials are available:

  • Certified Agile Leader I (CAL I)
  • Certified Agile Leader II (CAL II)

These two CAL certifications (CAL I + CAL II) by Scrum Alliance represents unique two-part education and practice-based programs to build Agile leadership competencies. The CAL certifications provides a platform to enhance your leadership skills and will make you a better leader, irrespective of your current role in the organization. We will see them in detail later on.

Whom Agile Leadership  training is for?

The participants for this program varies according to their professional background and work experience. The key factor here is their wish to transform workplaces into better way by executing Agile values, practices, and metrics. The CAL certifications are designed for anyone participating and interested in leading an Agile transformation. Agile Leadership training are designed for:

  • Coach/Consultant
  • Managers 
  • Executives
  • Crave to play a Leadership role

Let’s take a look at two kinds of CAL certifications:

a) Certified Agile Leadership I certification

Certified Agile Leadership I (CAL I) is an introductory professional course that comprises of in-depth leadership development learning objectives across five categories.  

Prerequisites to attend CAL I certification

There are no eligibility criteria to attend CAL I training. This credential can be achieved after successfully completing the set of learning objectives. The certification has no expiry date. The digital badge earned after the certification remarks your start on your agile journey.

Career Path after CAL I certification

After CAL I certification, you can take CAL II certification to complete your Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) certifications. 

Career Path after CAL II certification

With CAL II certification, you will be able to guide leaders in applying, growing, and sharing your Agile leadership journey with the Scrum teams.

Prerequisites to attend CAL II certification

To earn this credential, individuals must have CAL I certification and successful accomplishment of:

  • Advanced Education- additional education on a unique leadership development topic, customized according to your learning journey and taught by an approved CAL educator
  • Validated Practice- implementing the newly earned skills at work.

Renewal Policy of Scrum Alliance certifications

Scrum Alliance always aims to keep the certifications and training program updated. According to Scrum Alliance, certification holders need to maintain their certifications by renewing every two years. The fee to renew the level-based certifications are:

  • Foundation level certifications are renewed by paying $100 renewal fee
  • Advanced level or Professional level certifications are renewed by earning 40 Scrum Education Units (SEUs) and paying $250 as a renewal fee
  • Coach and Trainer based certifications must be renewed annually and are required to meet all the current requirements for each such renewal.

Job roles available for Scrum Alliance certified professionals

Some of the common job roles played by the Scrum Alliance certified are transformational leads, transformation coaches, Scrum Masters, developers, managers, engineers, testers, technical writers and architects. 

Scrum Alliance also maintains its own job panel to assist community members in their job search. If you want to know more about the recent job postings, career news, blogs, and more, you can visit Agile careers section of the Scrum Alliance.    

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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2 comments

nandha gopal sharma 06 Aug 2019

I feel very grateful that I read this. The ways of explanation are fabulous. It is very helpful and very informative information about the scrum alliance career path. thanks for this valuable information!

Richard 14 Aug 2019

Good information to enhance the career

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Why Scrum Is Lightweight; Simple To Understand; Difficult To Master?

85 percent of respondents say Scrum continues to improve quality of work life—State of Scrum 2017-2018 We have all heard companies who have adopted Scrum wax eloquent about its advantages and the benefits it brings in to business. Scrum has been adopted because it is supposed to be simple and promotes collaboration and communication. Yet, more organizations attempting the Agile/Scrum transformation often fail and end up abandoning their transformation or get stuck in a limbo. So, is the golden statement that ‘Scrum is lightweight, simple to understand, difficult to master’ true? In this blog we attempt to decipher this statement and understand how Scrum Masters can help make Scrum projects or implementations successful.Where to start?So, what makes Scrum so popular? That it is better suited to the changing market conditions of the present times is well known, but how is it able to do it?  Scrum is an adaptable, iterative framework that helps Scrum teams break down large projects into small chunks called epics and sprints. Goals are defined and timeboxed. Teams are small, self-organized and with a high degree of cross-function. A goal or functionality has to be delivered at the end of each sprint. This helps for quick feedback and gives teams the ability to adapt to changing requirements—a must in times when products have to adapt quickly to please changing user preferences.  The advantages of Scrum include:  More satisfied customers Better managed processes and happier teams Better visibility into projects Better quality products  Projects completed withing time and budget constraints Better adaptability  Motivated teams Lightweight Management ProcessScrum is a lightweight framework because it provides adaptable solutions to complex problems and helps teams and organizations generate value.Why Scrum is considered to be lightweight, easy to understand but difficult to master?Lightweight: Scrum, based on Agile values, has few elements and maximizes responsiveness to customer needs. This makes it lightweight and apt for software development in the modern world.  Easy to Understand: With just three roles, three artifacts, four ceremonies and 12 Agile values, Scrum is pretty easy to understand. Scrum is a collection of practices and concepts that teams use to build processes around. The Scrum Guide which is the Scrum bible is also easy to read and understand. The three scrum roles are: Team, Scrum Master, Product Owner The ceremonies are:  Sprint Planning, Daily Scrum, Retrospective and Sprint Review The three artifacts are: Product Backlog, Sprint Backlog, Burndown chart  Difficult to Master: So, if Scrum is so easy to learn about and understand then why is that it’s difficult to actually implement and master? Let us look at this from the perspective of a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master is a critical part of the Scrum team and is in effect a microcosm of Scrum upholding the Agile values and focusing on creating a self-organizing, highly motivated and collaborative team. Scrum is a not a one-size-fits- all framework. Perhaps that is what makes it difficult to master. It has to be tailored to suit the needs of each project, team and organization. There are several factors that need to be considered before adopting Scrum. The Scrum Master’s role, similarly, needs to be learnt and there are several skills a professional must have or needs to cultivate in order to be a successful Scrum Master. The Scrum Master’s Role in a Successful Scrum Adoption:There are many Scrum teams that have started out in the right way, but soon fall by the wayside as they do not follow Scrum in principle. This is where the Scrum Master plays a very critical role in the success of the team. Despite Scrum being ‘simple to understand and difficult to master’ the Scrum Master is considered to be the expert on all things Scrum.As a coach, guide and mentor, the Scrum Master should facilitate the successful adoption of Scrum, and help others to gain mastery over Scrum principles and values.A Scrum Master must mandatorily follow certain core values and inspire the team to follow them as well. These core values that include openness, commitment, focus, courage and respect bring the team together and promote better work ethics and practices.Besides inculcating Scrum principles and values and guiding a successful adoption, a Scrum Master should also have these attributes:  An Unbiased and Open Mind:  An unbiased and open mind is key to being a good Scrum Master. As part of their portfolio, Scrum Masters have to work with different teams and team members having different personalities. Having an open mind will help the Scrum Master to not look at every team with the same lens and treat each team differently. Solutions that work for one team may not work for other teams or situations. Having an open mind will help you realise this and tweak your decisions based on teams and situations.   Transparency:  Transparency and open communication are the pillars of Scrum. As a Scrum Master your intentions should be open and transparent to everyone including your team and the product owner. The team must at all times know your reasons for doing certain things or taking certain decisions. Being upfront with the team members will help in trust building and lead to better work ethics.   Metrics to Map Progress:There are several tools available to track a team’s progress and the Scrum Master must ensure that these metrics showing the team’s progress be made available to the entire team. This will help the team better plan sprints, work collaboratively and improve working practices in order to ensure better output and value.   Motivation for Team Members: Keeping your team members happy and motivated is a Scrum Master’s main job. This includes removing obstacles that may impede the team from performing and helping them work according to Scrum values and techniques. The development team develops the product, and a happy team means a well-built product and satisfied customers. Assistance to the Product Owner:  As a Scrum Master, aiding the Product Owner is a major part of your responsibility. The Product Owner is a major stakeholder in the Scrum team and the Scrum Master aids the product owner in backlog management and by facilitating Scrum events, product planning and by helping the team to identify backlog items. Aiding the Product Owner in issues that they may face with regards to the project, stakeholders or the team will create a positive environment and will make things between the team and the product owner smoother.   Focus on the Challenges: Every Scrum project comes with its set of issues. But an effective Scrum Master will be aware of every challenge or impediment that comes in the way of the development team and takes these problems head on. Focusing on these challenges early on and resolving them is paramount to the success and progress of the team and the project. Appreciation for Achievements:  The focus of daily sprints and retrospectives is often to celebrate achievements and give the development team proper appreciation. A Scrum Master encourages and motivates and this they also do by respective current achievements. While giving advise on how things should be done is necessary, appreciating the team on its achievements is equally important.   Respect for Others: Your team members all have different personalities and each brings their own uniqueness and expertise to the team. No one team member is less or more important than the other. An effective and efficient Scrum Master will recognise this early on and treat every team member with the same amount of respect.  Understanding of Situations in the Right Context:  Not all things are as what they appear. The sooner a scrum master understands this, the better. Situations in context to teams, individuals and even the organization are not always black and white and the Scrum Master must consider the baggage of organizational culture, current systems, internal politics, etc before coming to a conclusion about a team or a team members. Instead, one must attempt to form close relationships with the team and understand the workings of the team and the organizations before passing judgement. Ability to Have Tough Conversations :  You as a Scrum Master are often seen as a problem solver, friend and mentor. But don’t let this image of yours come in the way of making tough decisions or having tough conversations. As a Scrum Master you must have the courage to do the right thing and if this means having difficult but necessary conversations with either the team members, the product owner or the stakeholders, then you must do it.    Courage to Protect the Team:  More often than not, there are unreasonable demands made on the development team. 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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servant-Leader!

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum Master. But what does it mean? The Scrum Master is a servant leader in Agile projects, but servant leadership goes far beyond Agile, and Scrum Masters serve more than just the team.In this blog we attempt to look at the Scrum Master’s role as a servant leader, what the role entails and the responsibilities of the Scrum Master beyond the team, in context to the organization. What is servant-leadership?The term servant leadership was first coined by Robert Greenleaf in his article “The Servant as Leader”, in which he defined a servant leader as: The Servant-Leader is servant first. It begins with the natural feeling that one wants to serve, to serve first. Then conscious choice brings one to aspire to lead. That leader significantly differs from one who is leader first, may be due to the need to acquire power, material belonging, control and authority within the organization. Servant leadership is something very different from traditional leadership, which places the leader at the top of the hierarchy and the employees in the lower rung. Servant leadership, in a sense, is the opposite of traditional leadership, as it places the leader at the bottom of the hierarchy while employees are on the higher rungs. The leaders, in this case, are serving the people above them. Servant leadership refers to leaders who believe in serving people and the community that they are a part of, rather than accumulating power for themselves. This style of leadership emphasizes on helping subordinates better themselves, empowering employees and helping others perform to the best of their abilities.Servant leadership does not prescribe telling employees what to do, instead it helps the workforce find their sense of ownership and unlock their potential to reach their goals. Servant leadership is all about empowering others, which when consistently done can raise morale, enhance productivity and reduce employee attrition.Servant Leadership and ScrumScrum, in a way, is the very essence of servant leadership. Unlike traditional project management methodologies, it does not follow a top-down, hierarchical approach. Instead, decisions are lateral and happen with the involvement of the whole team. Scrum is the perfect approach in which to practice the concept of servant leadership. The 5 Scrum values of Openness, Respect, Commitment, Courage, and Focus, adhere to the philosophy of Servant Leadership. The Scrum Master plays a key role in the development of the product, the team and the organization. The Scrum Guide defines the servant leadership a Scrum Master’s role has to perform in context to the roles mentioned above. The Scrum Values that a Scrum Master practices have a ripple effect throughout the organization. The Scrum Master is seen as an evangelist for practicing and promoting Scrum in the enterprise.The Agile Manifesto and servant-leadershipThe Agile Manifesto states that one must value: Individuals and interactions over Process and tools Working software over Comprehensive documentation Customer collaboration over Contract negotiation Responding to change over Following a plan These again align with the values of servant leadership, which is all about putting people or employees first. The Agile Manifesto describes focusing on building projects around motivated individuals and giving them an environment of support, trust and collaboration—all characteristics of servant leadership.Who Are These Servant Leaders?The Scrum Guide defines the service provided by the Scrum Master as servant leadership. The Scrum Master selflessly provides servant leadership to the development team, product owner and the whole organization. By serving these entities, the Scrum Master can create a high performing team, a valuable product and an efficient organization that is able to meet business objectives and keep customers happy.  Though the term Scrum Master may be deceptive, the Scrum Master is not a master of the team but in fact serves the team in order to ensure smooth functioning and productivity.Servant Leadership and Scrum Master Roles of Servant LeadershipServant leadership:The day-to-day activity of a Scrum Master involves servant leadership. Servant leadership in a scrum team involves performance planning, coaching, helping the team self- organize, resolving conflicts through conflict management, removing obstacles that hinder progress and serving the team. The Scrum Master, while practicing servant leadership, helps the team grow and mature and become independent enough to make their own decisions. Servant leadership in Scrum is all about making the team self-reliant, so they can cope with the pressures of the role. As a servant leader the Scrum Master creates a high performing team, helps them become collaborative and high performing in order to achieve goals and meet the requirements of the customer.  Service to the Scrum Team: As a servant leader, the primary responsibility of the Scrum Master is to help the development team perform. They help the team perform to the best of their abilities by giving them an environment that is conducive to work in, encouraging them, guiding them and removing obstacles that may hinder progress. As a coach, the Scrum Master will guide the team on scrum processes and help them adhere to Agile values during the development of the product. The Scrum Master is responsible for the scrum team’s effectiveness, and they work tirelessly to ensure that the team is motivated, encouraged, creative and innovative. The Scrum Master through servant leadership helps the team improve Scrum practices which helps them become more productive and generate value. The Scrum Team’s role in motivating and helping the team comes through in the daily stand-up meetings that are arranged as part of the sprint. The Scrum Master encourages team members to share their grievances and progress made through the sprint. Team members can talk about obstacles that may be hindering their work and due cognizance will be taken up by the Scrum master to ensure that these obstacles are removed.  According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Development Team by: Coaching the team in becoming self-organized and cross-functional Helping the Scrum Team focus on creating high-value increments by removing impediments Helping the team deliver within the timeframe of the sprint Service to the Product Owner: The Scrum Master is a servant leader not just for the development team but also the Product Owner. While the Product Owner is primarily responsible for the product backlog, they cannot do this alone. The Scrum Master aids the development team and the Product Owner with effective product backlog management.The Scrum Master is involved at every stage of the product backlog grooming, helping the product owner with Scrum events, product planning and to identify backlog items along with the development team. The Scrum Master helps the Product Owner define the product vision to the team.   According to the Scrum Guide, the Scrum Master helps the Product Owner by: Helping in Product Goal definition and Product Backlog management Helping the Scrum Team understand manage the Product Backlog items Setting up empirical product planning in complex environments and, Managing and facilitating stakeholder collaboration.Service to the Organization: The Scrum Master is a coach and motivator not just for the development team but goes beyond the team to spread the awareness of Scrum in the entire organization. Scrum Masters coach and help teams and departments understand Scrum and develop an Agile mind-set. Besides servant leadership to the team a Scrum Master is also involved in promoting the ideas and values of Scrum. An organization can get an agile mind-set only if the entire organization adopts Scrum and not just a few teams. This is where the Scrum Master comes in, helping other teams not involved with Scum to gain the Agile mind-set, through training and coaching. The Scrum Master is an Agile evangelist and promotes Scrum enterprise-wide.According to Scrum.org the Scrum Master serves the organization by: Leading, training, and coaching the organization in adopting Scrum Planning and advising Scrum implementations within the organization Coaching employees and stakeholders in the way Scrum works Helping stakeholders work with Scrum TeamsSome Servant-Leader Behaviours for every Scrum MasterBeing empathetic: This is the foremost personality trait required for anyone wanting to become a Scrum Master. Your empathy will shine through in your interactions with the team members and your dealings with the stakeholders. You should be able to see problems from the point of view of each party and work towards solving these problems. Caring: As a caring and empathetic Scrum Master, your team will feel free to approach you and share their concerns. Providing a listening ear will make you more approachable. You will be able to more clearly understand the impediments that are stopping project progress and work towards providing a solution.  Managing Conflicts: Not all team members will get along with each other and this can cause disruptions and problems within the team, lowering their productivity. As a Scrum Master you need to be great at conflict management, help others solve their problems, work with each other and create a high performing and harmonious team. Building relationships: You need to build a rapport with your team, the product owner and the stakeholders. This will help you communicate freely and help others approach you with their problems and issues. You need to build that relationship of trust and take everyone along on the journey of success.  Being ethical: Ethics play an important role in software development, especially since software now controls every aspect of our lives. The product created should be free of malice and fraud. The Scrum Master should guide the team in delivering the product at a value and standard that is expected and agreed upon with the stakeholder. There should not be any shortcuts or concessions made on the quality of the product delivered as this will affect not just the Scrum Master and the team’s reputation but will cause a dent in the reputation of the organization.   Conclusion  Servant leadership and the Scrum Master’s role is the backbone of Scrum. The Scrum Master as a servant leader re-emphasizes the values of Scrum and helps to enhance teamwork, collaboration, motivation and value. Under the able servant leadership of the Scrum Master, individual members and the team will grow, become more confident and help in delivering value.  
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Scrum Master – The Scrum Team’s Servan...

The term servant leader is synonymous with a Scrum... Read More

A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small teams. But the true benefits of Agile can only be reaped if Agile and Scrum are scaled at the enterprise level. However, this is easier said than done. According to statistics, 47% of Agile transformations are not successful. While this is a worrying trend, there are still hundreds of organizations who have got it right and are able to survive the competition by innovating faster, delivering value and adapting to changing markets. How are they doing it? By using scaled Scrum.There are several tools and frameworks available for scaling Scrum at the enterprise level. In this blog, we attempt to look at a few of these.  Scaling Scrum with NexusNexus is among the most popular frameworks for scaling Scrum. According to the Nexus Guide, “Nexus is a framework for developing and sustaining scaled product delivery initiatives. It builds upon Scrum, extending it only where absolutely necessary to minimize and manage dependencies between multiple Scrum Teams while promoting empiricism and the Scrum Values.” How is Nexus different from Scrum? Scrum defines three primary roles: The Product Owner, the Scrum Master and the development team. These three roles work together in one team.The Nexus framework consists of several Scrum teams that work together toward a common product goal and defines the Nexus Integration Team as an additional accountability.  Nexus helps to build on the values of Scrum and also solves the collaboration and dependency challenges that tend to occur between teams in Scrum.Benefits of using Nexus Nexus extends Scrum in the following ways:  Accountabilities: Nexus introduces the Nexus Integration Team, which consists of the Scrum Master, Product Owner, and members. This team is accountable for delivering a workable product at the end of each sprint.  Events: Nexus events aim to add to or supplement Scrum events and serve not just individual teams but also the Nexus Integration Team. The objective of a sprint is to achieve the Nexus sprint goal. Artifacts: Although the teams are different, within the Nexus framework they all work towards a single goal and follow a single product backlog. There’s a high amount of transparency and work is allocated to each team. The Nexus Integration TeamAccording to the Nexus Guide, “the Nexus Integration Team exists to coordinate, coach, and supervise the application of Nexus and the operation of Scrum so the best outcomes are derived.” The Nexus Integration Team or NIT comprises of the Scrum Master, the Product Owner and Nexus integration team members. There are generally three to nine Scrum teams working together in Nexus. All of them follow a single product backlog and work towards delivering a single product. The Nexus Integration Team forms an essential role within Nexus and is tasked with providing transparent accountability among the teams in Nexus.Product OwnerThe Product Owner is accountable for maximizing the product value and the work carried out in Nexus. Their primary task is to order and refine the product backlog. Being a member of the Nexus Integration Team, the product owner will work with all the Scrum teams in the Nexus Integration team. The product owner and the teams work towards better defining and refining the product backlog.Scrum MasterJust like in regular Scrum, the Scrum Master in the Nexus Integration Team is also responsible for ensuring that the Nexus framework is understood by everyone on the team as prescribed by the Nexus Guide.   MembersThe members of the Nexus Integration Team are the Scrum team members who aid the Scrum teams in adoption of tools and practices that will help the team and members deliver value at the end of each sprint that meets the definition of done. Nexus Integration Team membership should be considered more important than the individual Scrum Team membership and members should work towards first fulfilling their Nexus team responsibilities.What are the Events in Nexus?Nexus adds or augments the events as defined by Scrum. The Nexus event durations are like Scrum event durations and are guided by the Scrum Guide.  Nexus events consist of: Sprint- A Nexus sprint is the same as in Scrum, at the end of which a single increment is delivered.  Cross team refinement- The aim of Nexus is to enhance collaboration and reduce cross team dependencies. Cross team refinement helps to make dependencies and responsibilities more transparent. This makes it easier for Scrum teams within the Nexus to clearly identify and deliver their allocated tasks.  Nexus Sprint Planning- Nexus sprint planning will involve the participation of the Product Owner and concerned teams' members from each team. The purpose of the Nexus Sprint Planning is to assign and co-ordinate activities for a single sprint.  Nexus Daily Scrum- This is like the daily stand up in Scrum. Nexus daily scrum is used to identify any issues and track progress. Any issues are immediately prioritized and solved so that they do not hinder the work of the developers.  Nexus Sprint Review- This event is held at the end of sprints to provide feedback on the increment that has been built and on any future updates that have to be made. Nexus Sprint Retrospective- Like in Scrum, Nexus retrospectives are an important part of the project and are used to reflect on how quality and consistency can be improved.  Some Nexus ArtifactsNexus artifacts are the same as Scrum artifacts and when implemented correctly ensure transparency and value maximization. Every artifact is designed to give a commitment. For example, the product backlog is the artifact and its commitment is the product goal. Other artifacts and their commitments include: Nexus Sprint Backlog-Nexus Sprint Goal Integrated Increment-Definition of Done Along with Nexus, LeSS is another popular framework for scaling agile.  Scaling Scrum with LeSS The Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) framework is an offering from Atlassian and is a framework for scaling Scrum to multiple teams that are working on the same product. The idea behind LeSS is to start with a single Scrum team as defined in the Scrum Guide and then replicate it to multiple teams who are working on a single product. LeSS has earned the label of being “barely sufficient” as it is a simple framework to apply and uses the basic concepts of Scrum to scale.  How do Sprint Planning meetings in LeSS work?  LeSS generally carries out sprint planning in two stages. Sprint Planning One focuses on selecting items that are of topmost priority, solving unanswered issues and defining the sprint goal. The Sprint Planning Two is like the sprint plan of regular Scrum and focuses on creating a plan of action for getting things done.  Daily meeting  The daily Scrum meeting in LeSS is similar to how it is done in normal single Scrum teams and involves team members discussing the work accomplished and the work to be done during the day. It is a time-boxed meeting and helps teams address any issues that may be hindering work.   Sprint Delivery Meeting (Review) The sprint review meeting is an essential part of LeSS and helps teams and stakeholders review the product built during the sprint and suggest changes and new ideas.   Retrospective The retrospective for LeSS is similar to one team Scrum. These retrospectives held at the end of the sprint will help teams to reflect on the progress of tasks, and identify the obstacles that may hinder or impede the overall project.  Let’s take a look at some of the other frameworks that are used for scaling agile. Scaling Scrum with SAFe®The Scaled Agile Framework, SAFe in short, follows the principles of lean and agile and helps in scaling Scrum to the enterprise. It helps to manage alignment, collaboration, and delivery from multiple agile teams to ensure enterprise success. It systematically focuses on applying Scrum at each level of the enterprise, to maximize value and ensure a successful agile transformation.A successful SAFe adoption ensures end-to-end business agility with significant improvements in strategy, delivery, execution and business competencies. It helps organizations overcome competition and ensure innovative business solutions to gain customer trust and partnership. The SAFe framework is continuously improvised in order to help organizations cope with the digital age and ensure that business outcomes are delivered.Scaling Scrum with the Scrum@Scale frameworkAnother framework that allows organizations to implement Scrum at scale is the Scrum@Scale framework. This framework expands on the core principles of Scrum and helps to scale Scrum over a wide range of industries and sectors, ensuring customer satisfaction and creation of successful products. It promotes communication across all teams and departments, and optimizes resources, removes roadblocks and ensures creation of innovative products.A Final Word By driving Agile at the organizational level, companies can gain all the benefits of team-level Scrum at scale. More often than not the principles of team level Scrum are not sustainable at the enterprise level and the transformation fails. Tested and proven Agile scaling frameworks are now able to turn this around, and help organizations scale up the principles and practices of Scrum to become more adaptable, flexible and responsive. Professionals can master these frameworks and help their organization adopt the culture, mind-set and principles of Scrum and agile.  
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A Guide to Scaling Scrum

Scrum has been proven to work well for small tea... Read More

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