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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

What is a Scrum Master?The Scrum Master in a Scrum team is responsible for managing the process, while at the same time ensures that the team is observing the Scrum theory, rules and practices. They are not a part of the decision-making process, but they act as a guide for the team, thanks to their experience and expertise. They also help in simplifying complex projects.Scrum Masters act as a facilitator and advisor for the Scrum team and are always on a continuous lookout for the team’s development. Moreover, they make sure that Scrum adoption is successful in their organisation.Roles played by a certified Scrum MasterBroadly speaking, the role of a Scrum Master is challenging as they are responsible for the functioning of the team as well as monitoring the Scrum processes and events. Professionals with a Scrum Master certification, however, are acknowledged to be the masters of the art of facilitation and drive their teams to success.An efficient (and certified) Scrum Master ensures that the Definition of Done (DoD) is being followed, and this helps him maximize the potential of the team.A Scrum Master has several important responsibilities, to name a few:Act as a supervisor for the Scrum TeamKeeps the Scrum Team protected from any external requests or disruptions as well as over-commitmentsAssists the Scrum EventsTake measures to  maximise the productivity of the teamBuild trust and transparency between the teamMake sure that there is proper communication between the Scrum Product Owner and Scrum TeamPromote daily stand-up, as neededThe popularity of the role of a Scrum Master has increased exponentially in the past few years. Glassdoor has included Scrum Master in their list of highest paying jobs, with a rank of 20 and a median salary of $98,239 USD. On top of this, LinkedIn has included Scrum Master in top 2019 most promising jobs list.What are the benefits of Scrum Master certification?Legit concern. If knowledge is the fundamental aspect here, what is the need for a Scrum Master certification at all?Recently certified Scrum Masters will have so many positive anecdotes to share.1. Validation from the industryAs a professional Scrum Master certified by an accreditation body of global repute has a lot to contribute to the industry. Basic benefits aside, a globally valid Scrum Master Certification lets you:Expand your career opportunities across multiple sectors embracing Agile practicesDemonstrate your scrum knowledge and skillsLearn about the fundamentals and scope of ScrumEngage with active Agile practitioners committed to continuous improvement and deliveryScrum Master certifications do not just merit a raise in salary but offer several additional benefits which include but are not limited to the following.Now that you already know the benefits of Scrum Master certifications in terms of knowledge, salary, designation, mindset, and industry value, let us walk you through the roles and responsibilities of certified scrum masters.2. Scrum knowledge and skillsEarning a Scrum Master certification will help you in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in any project that entails scrum. Having a scrum certification will also give you the motivation and confidence to implement Scrum across different sectors and projects.3. Grow in your careerBeing certified as a Scrum Master will make you more marketable and relevant in your field. It equips you with the skills that will help you reach the goals of the business and offer the highest value to the customer. It is the basic validation of an agile mindset, knowledge and skills to apply in organisations.4. Boost team’s collaborationA certified Scrum Master encourages the whole team to work together in a better manner as (s)he has a good understanding of Scrum.5. Change of mindsetMore than doing Agile, being Agile fosters teamwork, avoids conflicts and helps create more successful projects.According to a survey conducted as stated in the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, when asked about their current title, the following response was received by the participants:ChoicesResponses (%)Happy as Scrum Master15.85Happy as Agile Coach10.95I am a Scrum Master now, but want to become an Agile Coach20.65I plan to become a certified trainer or coach22.59I am working to become a Scrum Master11.49Other18.47And when asked about their current titles, the following response was received:ChoicesResponses (%)Scrum Master39.45Agile Coach15.56Development Team Member5.84Product Owner3.15Product Manager9.62Agile Project Manager3.26Product Manager1.24Others21.87Also, about Scrum and facilitation training, it was observed that:83% of participants had formal Scrum training17% of participants had formal facilitation training15% of participants had no certifications45% of participants had more than one certificationAnd, the top three certifications among the participants were:Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)Professional Scrum Product OwnerTM  (PSPO I)Scrum has been adopted by many big organisations like Google, Spotify, IBM, 3M, etc. Moreover, Scrum is no more limited to the fields of the IT sector. According to a State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, participants voted Scrum Master (85%) as the top certification of 2017.The following is a list of departments that use Scrum other than the IT department:Operations or Production - 42%Research and Development - 31%Sales and Marketing - 25%Content Development, Management - 24%Consulting - 22%Human Resources - 19%Financial or Accounting - 18%What is the average salary of a certified Scrum Master?As a certified Scrum Master, salary is the last thing you need to worry about. A Scrum certification alone will boost your salary manyfold.According to a research by Glassdoor in 2018, the role of Scrum Master is one of the highest paid jobs in the United States with a median base salary of $98,239 and with job openings of over 1800. Being certified makes the Scrum Master a more accomplished person for the job, providing prospective employers with acknowledgement of their skills.The following is the average salary of a Scrum Master by region, as per the survey: 2019 Scrum Master Trends.CityAverage SalaryNorth America$113,295Europe$76,889South America$43,505Africa$62,571Asia$40,326Oceania$149,507Top Scrum Master CertificationsHere’s is a globally acclaimed Scrum Master certification programs:Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I) by Scrum.orgSAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) Certification by Scaled AgileEXIN Agile Scrum Master by EXINScrum Master Certified (SMC™) by SCRUMstudyScrum Master Accredited Certification™ by International Scrum Institute™Advanced & related Scrum Master certifications:Advanced-CSM® (A-CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM)  by Scrum Alliance®Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) by Scrum.orgProfessional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III) by Scrum.orgPMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)How do I get a Scrum Master certification?To become a professional Scrum Master, you need to clear an examination or assessment and get certified. This will help you to get a better understanding of the fundamentals of  Scrum framework, values, practices and applications. It also provides a level of expertise and knowledge. Having a certification means an acknowledgement that you hold the core knowledge of Scrum as well as know how to engage with other practitioners for further collaboration and improvement.It is necessary to familiarize with Scrum and understand the prerequisites that are needed to attend any certification course. With various certification courses available in the market, it is equally necessary to research well and choose a certification according to their needs and demand.The procedure for getting certified is roughly the same for all Scrum Master certifications:Step 1: Attend training or take a course, as per the certifying body’s requirement.Step 2: Register for an examination as per the certification.Step 3: Take a test and score at least the minimum required score.Step 4: Get certified.To make things easy for you, we have put together a list of the best Scrum Master certifications which will help you get essential knowledge of the how to get certified and can also help you decide which certification to opt for.1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is the most widely acknowledged Scrum Master certification. To become a Certified ScrumMaster, it is essential to attend a 2-day classroom training, after which you will be required to take an online test. You will acquire the required essential knowledge in this two-day training, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®) authorised by the Scrum Alliance®. The topics of discussion during the training include Scrum frameworks, its usage, User Stories, Estimations and Release Planning.According to the State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, Certified ScrumMaster® is the most popular certification, selected by 84% of the respondents.1.1 Who is the authorised body for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?Scrum Alliance® is the authorised body for the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification.1.2. What is the eligibility & prerequisites for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?There are no eligibility criteria for a CSM certification. But, it is advisable to have familiarity with the Scrum framework. You have to take up a two-day (16 hours) course, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®). This course provides an overview of supporting and organising a Scrum team.Taking a course is mandatory for Certified ScrumMaster® certification.1.3. What is the cost of Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?Cost of 2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course is around $1000 (depends on your training provider), which also includes the cost of certification and examination fee.1.4 How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) with Scrum Alliance®Attend a 2-day Scrum Master course from a Registered Education Provider (REP) like KnowledgeHut.After your course completion, you’ll receive an email with a unique username from Scrum Alliance® to register online. Click on the activation link, log in with the given username and create your own password. Fill in your profile information in all the mandatory fields.Proceed by clicking on “Take CSM® test” form the certification dashboard that can be reached on the settings page. You can take the test within 90 days after completion of the Scrum Master course.Take the test.After passing the test, you can download your internationally valid Certified ScrumMaser® certificate from the certification dashboard (under the “Print Certificate” option). Scrum Alliance® has partnered with BadgeCert Inc. allowing you to display a secure and verifiable digital certification badge on social networks, resumes, email signatures, and websites.1.5. What will the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification exam be like?Take the test, which comprises of 50 multiple-choice questions based on the CSM® learning objectives within a 60 minute time limit. The test can be taken anytime, anywhere and is available to take in English, Spanish (Castilian), Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Danish, Czech, and Russian. You’ll be tested on the types of topics and questions as mentioned in CSM Test Specifications Outline. The passing score is 74% - this means you should have answered 37 questions correctly.1.6. Reattempts for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification examIf you don’t pass your exam in the first attempt, you can take up a second attempt without any extra charge.If you fail the second time as well, you can attempt the exam again by paying a fee of $25 to ScrumAlliance.If you are a Certified ScrumMaster and are wishing to level up, then you can opt for the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification. The Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification has been discussed further in the blog under the advanced certification sectionHow to renew your Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?Every two years, it is necessary to get the CSM certification renewed by paying a fee of $100 as well as earn 20 Scrum Education Units® (SEU®). Learn how to earn SEUs here.2. Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)Professional Scrum Master I is another highly sought after Scrum Master certification offered by Scrum.org, founded by Ken Schwaber — the co-creator of Scrum — after he parted from Scrum Alliance®.Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) is a course with 2-days duration that covers the process theory and the principles of the Scrum framework, also covering the role of the Scrum Master. This course contains instructions as well as team-based exercises, which teaches the core of the Scrum and Agile movement.According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, on Scrum and facilitation training, the maximum number of votes were obtained for PSM I certification, which is 53 % of the participants.Scrum.org says Microsoft uses the PSM I assessment “to validate knowledge as part of its Silver and Gold Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) competencies”.2.1. Who is the accreditation body for Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)?Scrum.org2.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) certification?There are no specific prerequisites for undertaking the examination or attending this course. The Professional Scrum Master training can be attended by professionals who are interested in attending the training and giving the examination. After completion of the course, you will receive a password for PSM I assessment conducted by Scrum.org. Subsequently, you can decide if you should proceed and undertake the PSM II and PSM III assessments.The following individuals can benefit by taking up the Professional Scrum Master training to showcase the fundamental level of Scrum mastery:Professionals who wish to pursue the Professional Scrum Master CertificationScrum Team managersTeams which are transitioning to ScrumScrum Team members such a Product Owners and developersTaking a course is optional for PSM I certification.2.3. What is the cost of the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I)certification? If you are well-versed with Scrum, taking a course is optional. PSM I assessment fee is $150 per attempt.But if you to attend a 2-day training, the exam fee for the certification is included in the course price of around $350 and depends on the training provider. If you have attended the training, you’ve two attempts to clear your exam as opposed to only one chance when attempting the exam without any training.2.4. Here’s how to become a Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) professionalAttend a 2-day PSM training (optional). You’ll need an Assessment Password to take the test - after clearing which you’ll receive the industry recognized PSM I Certification.If you have paid for your PSM course, you’ll receive the Assessment Password to your email address. If you haven’t taken the course, you’ll have to buy PSM I assessment online to receive the Assessment PasswordThe password doesn’t have an expiration date but is valid for one attempt only if you haven’t taken the PSM 1 course, and two attempts you have taken the course.Take the test.After the completion of the assessment, the results will be emailed to you. Here’s an example Scrum.org Assessment Results email.If you have scored at least 85% in your test, your certificate and badge will be added to your member profile on Scrum.org. Your name your name will also be added to the public list of certified professionals on their website.2.5. What will be the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) examination like?With the knowledge of the Scrum Guide (authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland), official Scrum.org resources, and other suggested reading material, you can assess your basic Scrum knowledge before taking the actual assessment that covers topics from multiple Focus Areas defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies.  The PSM examination that can be taken in Enlish language only, consists of a total of 80 questions in the following formats: multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false.PSM exam can be a bit difficult and you’ll have 60 minutes to attempt all the questions, where you’ll have to score a minimum of 85% in order to pass the examination.2.6. How to renew the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) certificationAlong with the PSM certification, any Scrum.org certificate is has a lifelong validity and do not require any additional payments or renewals.3. SAFe® Scrum MasterGain a thorough understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in a SAFe® enterprise by attending a 2-day course. With the help of this course, explore the roles of a Scrum Master at the enterprise level and prepare yourself to plan and execute the Program Increment successfully, which is the primary enabler of alignment through all levels of SAFe® organisation. Discover different approaches to become a servant leader and coach to build high performing Agile teams.  3.1. Who is the authorised body for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?Scaled Agile is the authorised body for SAFe ® Scrum Master certification.3.2. What are the eligibility & prerequisites for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?The course is open to all, regardless of what experience you hold. But, the following prerequisites are recommended for those who wish to take the SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:Insight of Agile concepts and principlesAwareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and KanbanWorking knowledge of hardware and software development processes3.3. What is the certification cost for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?The first attempt of the exam is included as a part of the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days of completion of the course. Each retake attempt costs $50.3.4. Here’s how to become a SAFe® Scrum Master professional:The very first step is to attend a SAFe® Scrum Master course. This is a requirement as this will help you gain access to all the study material as well as the examination.Upon completion of your SAFe® Scrum Master course, you can gain access of the examination within the SAFe® Community Platform.Take the test.After clearing the test, you’ll get a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master PDF certificate or a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master digital badge along with a one-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SSM Community of Practice.3.5. What will the SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination be like?The SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination can be taken in English, consists of a total of 45 questions of the type multiple choice and multiple select, and out of which you are required to score a minimum of 73% (33 out of 45) to obtain your certification. The time duration for the exam is 90 minutes. Here are a few sample test questions.3.6.Reattempts for SAFe® Scrum Master certification examThe first retake, that is the second attempt of the examination can be taken immediately after the first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day wait, while a fourth attempt requires a 30-day wait. Each retake attempt costs $50.3.7. How to renew your SAFe® Scrum Master certification?SAFe® certifications hold the validity for one year. After the completion of first year, you will be required to renew your certification by paying a renewal fee of $100.4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)The EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification is a unique certification that combines the Scrum practices and Agile methodologies along with practical assignments. The certification tests the proficiency of a Scrum Master which is required to coach, facilitate and enable a cross-functional team. The course covers various topics like the role of the Scrum master, Adopting Agile, Agile planning estimation, control, monitoring, etc. This certification can be attained by professionals belonging to fields like business management, IT project management, Software development, IT service management.4.1. What is the accreditation body for the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) certification?EXIN is the accreditation body for Agile Scrum Master (ASM) Certification.4.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for ASM certification?There are no particular eligibility criteria for the Agile Scrum Master course. But it is mandatory for you to successfully complete an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training.This certification is suitable for professionals in the following fields:Business managementSoftware DevelopmentIT Project ManagementIT Service Management4.3. What is the cost of the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination?The cost of the examination comes around $260, without any training course. If you have opted for a training course, it will include the exam fee as well.    4.4. What is the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination like?The  EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification examination consists of a total of 40 multiple choice questions (can be taken in English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Czech, Chinese). The difficulty level for the examination is advanced and the exam duration is 90 minutes. You have to score a minimum of 65% in order to pass the examination and to get the ASM certification.5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)The Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) professionals can ensure that the Scrum Team is provided with the proper environment which helps the team in completing the project successfully. It is the duty of the Scrum Master to make sure that the Scrum process is being followed, while at the same time he is responsible to guide, facilitate and teach the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.5.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)?SCRUMstudy is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)5.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for SMC™ certification?This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master. There aren’t any specific prerequisites needed for this course. But, if you  who have completed the Scrum Developer Certified (SDC™) certification before opting for this certification are highly preferred.Moreover, it is recommended that you attend a 2-day SMC classroom training provided by a SCRUMstudy approved Authorized Training Partner (A.T.P.).5.3. What is the cost of the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination?The cost of the examination is $450.5.4. What is the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination like?The  SMC™ certification examination consists of a total of 100 Multiple Choice questions. The exam duration is 120 minutes. The current pass rate of this examination is 95%.5.5. How do I maintain my Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) certification?You are required to maintain 40 Recertification Units (RCUs) every 3 years in order to maintain your certification.6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™The Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program is an online test examination that can be taken from anywhere around the world. The examination success rate is 98%.6.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?International Scrum Institute™6.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master.6.3. What is the cost of certification for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?The test and certification cost for Scrum Master Accredited Certification is $69, with no other hidden costs or fees involved.The number of re-attempts: you can retake your examination for 10 times, without any additional fee. If you fail at your last attempt, the full amount of registration fee will be refunded to you.6.4. What will the Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ be examination like?The test contains 50 multiple-choice questions that you have attempt within 60 minutes. In order to obtain the certification, you will have to answer at least 60% of your test questions correctly.Summary of comparison between Scrum Master CertificationsCertificationAuthorized BodyDifficulty level Exam  DurationNo. of Questions CostRenewalCertified ScrumMaster (CSM®)Scrum Alliance®EasyNo Duration35$1400 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every 2 yearsProfessional Scrum MasterTM (PSM)Scrum.orgMedium1 hour80$150 (course fee not included -depends on provider)Not required, has a lifetime validitySAFe® Scrum MasterScaled AgileDifficult1.5 hours45$995 – $1,295 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every yearEXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)EXINDifficult1.5 hours40$260Not required, has a lifetime validityScrum Master Certified (SMC™)SCRUMstudyEasy2 hours100$45040 RCUs every 3 yearsScrum Master Accredited Certification™International Scrum InstituteDifficult1 hour50$69Not required, has a lifetime validityAdvanced and Related Scrum Master certifications1. Advanced CSM® (A-CSM®)If you have Certified ScrumMaster certification from Scrum Alliance® and have twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years you can get Advanced CSM® certificate after taking the class and “successfully completing all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”.This course demands that you need to have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its practical usage and implementation. This workshop will help you get a deeper insight into the  Scrum Framework and how it relates to the Agile Manifesto and learn the ways to coach the Product Owner and development team members. You can renew your A-CSM® by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM) The CSP-SM certification is unique and distinct to developers. Along with the certification, the professional get opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and Agile. The certification helps professionals to make an impression on the recruiters as well as attract a higher rate of pay.If you have an active A-CSM® certification with 24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years, and attend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance® approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’, you can get certified after “Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”You can renew your CSP-SM by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) & Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III)The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) and Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III) are advanced-level courses from Scrum.org. You can attend an optional 2-day training for PSM II, while there isn’t any training required for PSM III. If you have cleared the PSM I assessment, can opt for PSM II assessment. If you have cleared the PSM and PSM II assessments and if you wish to gain a distinguished level of Scrum mastery can take up the PSM™ III assessment.PSM II assessment will cost you $250, will have 30 questions to answer in 90 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing to get certified. Whereas, PSM III assessment will cost you $500, will have 34 questions to answer in 120 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing score to get certified.4. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)PMI-ACP acknowledges your knowledge and skill in Agile principles and techniques. The PMI-ACP covers agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD.)If you have 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams along with1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies and 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, you can get PMI ACP certified after clearing the exam having 120 multiple-choice questions within 3 hours. You can renew your PMI-ACP certification every 3 years by earning professional development units (PDUs) in agile topicsThe Career path for a Scrum MasterBeing a certified Scrum Master opens the door for opportunities growth.1. Scrum MasterAfter completing the Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Master gets to perform all the roles that a Scrum Master is assigned to do. They need to work in this position for a minimum duration of one year to five years.2. Senior Scrum MasterAfter Scrum Master, you progress to becoming a Senior Scrum Master. A Senior Scrum Master needs to gather advanced knowledge of the best practices of Scrum and should know how to implement them in teams as well.3. Agile CoachFor the transition to become an Agile Coach from a Senior Scrum Master. It is essential for you to have a minimum of five years of knowledge in being a Scrum Master along with at least one year of experience of coaching and mentoring.Scrum is an Agile development framework which is used to manage the process of product development. The Scrum Master is a person who is responsible for implementing Scrum amongst the team members, remove the obstacles faced by them and make sure that the team members understand Scrum and its principles. He does the planning, takes care of the team backlog, sprint retrospective and sprint demo.Scrum Master certification opens the door to a leap in career growth. There are many certifications options to choose from. With the provided information, we hope you will choose a best Scrum Master certification as per your expectations and requirement work towards your getting your dream job.
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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

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Scrum Master Certification - The Definitive Guide

What is a Scrum Master?

The Scrum Master in a Scrum team is responsible for managing the process, while at the same time ensures that the team is observing the Scrum theory, rules and practices. They are not a part of the decision-making process, but they act as a guide for the team, thanks to their experience and expertise. They also help in simplifying complex projects.

Scrum Masters act as a facilitator and advisor for the Scrum team and are always on a continuous lookout for the team’s development. Moreover, they make sure that Scrum adoption is successful in their organisation.

Roles played by a certified Scrum Master

Roles played by a certified Scrum MasterBroadly speaking, the role of a Scrum Master is challenging as they are responsible for the functioning of the team as well as monitoring the Scrum processes and events. Professionals with a Scrum Master certification, however, are acknowledged to be the masters of the art of facilitation and drive their teams to success.

An efficient (and certified) Scrum Master ensures that the Definition of Done (DoD) is being followed, and this helps him maximize the potential of the team.

A Scrum Master has several important responsibilities, to name a few:

  • Act as a supervisor for the Scrum Team
  • Keeps the Scrum Team protected from any external requests or disruptions as well as over-commitments
  • Assists the Scrum Events
  • Take measures to  maximise the productivity of the team
  • Build trust and transparency between the team
  • Make sure that there is proper communication between the Scrum Product Owner and Scrum Team
  • Promote daily stand-up, as needed

The popularity of the role of a Scrum Master has increased exponentially in the past few years. Glassdoor has included Scrum Master in their list of highest paying jobs, with a rank of 20 and a median salary of $98,239 USD. On top of this, LinkedIn has included Scrum Master in top 2019 most promising jobs list.

What are the benefits of Scrum Master certification?

Legit concern. If knowledge is the fundamental aspect here, what is the need for a Scrum Master certification at all?

Recently certified Scrum Masters will have so many positive anecdotes to share.

1. Validation from the industry

As a professional Scrum Master certified by an accreditation body of global repute has a lot to contribute to the industry. Basic benefits aside, a globally valid Scrum Master Certification lets you:

  • Expand your career opportunities across multiple sectors embracing Agile practices
  • Demonstrate your scrum knowledge and skills
  • Learn about the fundamentals and scope of Scrum
  • Engage with active Agile practitioners committed to continuous improvement and delivery

Scrum Master certifications do not just merit a raise in salary but offer several additional benefits which include but are not limited to the following.

Now that you already know the benefits of Scrum Master certifications in terms of knowledge, salary, designation, mindset, and industry value, let us walk you through the roles and responsibilities of certified scrum masters.

2. Scrum knowledge and skills

Earning a Scrum Master certification will help you in acquiring the knowledge and skills needed in any project that entails scrum. Having a scrum certification will also give you the motivation and confidence to implement Scrum across different sectors and projects.

3. Grow in your career

Being certified as a Scrum Master will make you more marketable and relevant in your field. It equips you with the skills that will help you reach the goals of the business and offer the highest value to the customer. It is the basic validation of an agile mindset, knowledge and skills to apply in organisations.

4. Boost team’s collaboration

A certified Scrum Master encourages the whole team to work together in a better manner as (s)he has a good understanding of Scrum.

5. Change of mindset

More than doing Agile, being Agile fosters teamwork, avoids conflicts and helps create more successful projects.

According to a survey conducted as stated in the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, when asked about their current title, the following response was received by the participants:

ChoicesResponses (%)

Happy as Scrum Master

15.85

Happy as Agile Coach

10.95

I am a Scrum Master now, but want to become an Agile Coach

20.65

I plan to become a certified trainer or coach

22.59

I am working to become a Scrum Master

11.49

Other

18.47

And when asked about their current titles, the following response was received:

ChoicesResponses (%)

Scrum Master

39.45

Agile Coach

15.56

Development Team Member

5.84

Product Owner

3.15

Product Manager

9.62

Agile Project Manager

3.26

Product Manager

1.24

Others

21.87

Also, about Scrum and facilitation training, it was observed that:

  • 83% of participants had formal Scrum training
  • 17% of participants had formal facilitation training
  • 15% of participants had no certifications
  • 45% of participants had more than one certification

And, the top three certifications among the participants were:

  • Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)
  • Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)
  • Professional Scrum Product OwnerTM  (PSPO I)

Scrum has been adopted by many big organisations like Google, Spotify, IBM, 3M, etc. Moreover, Scrum is no more limited to the fields of the IT sector. According to a State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, participants voted Scrum Master (85%) as the top certification of 2017.

The following is a list of departments that use Scrum other than the IT department:

List of departments that use Scrum

  • Operations or Production - 42%
  • Research and Development - 31%
  • Sales and Marketing - 25%
  • Content Development, Management - 24%
  • Consulting - 22%
  • Human Resources - 19%
  • Financial or Accounting - 18%

What is the average salary of a certified Scrum Master?

As a certified Scrum Master, salary is the last thing you need to worry about. A Scrum certification alone will boost your salary manyfold.

According to a research by Glassdoor in 2018, the role of Scrum Master is one of the highest paid jobs in the United States with a median base salary of $98,239 and with job openings of over 1800. Being certified makes the Scrum Master a more accomplished person for the job, providing prospective employers with acknowledgement of their skills.

The following is the average salary of a Scrum Master by region, as per the survey: 2019 Scrum Master Trends.

CityAverage Salary

North America

$113,295

Europe

$76,889

South America

$43,505

Africa

$62,571

Asia

$40,326

Oceania

$149,507

Average salary of a Certified Scrum Master by region

Top Scrum Master Certifications

Here’s is a globally acclaimed Scrum Master certification programs:

  1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®
  2. Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I) by Scrum.org
  3. SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) Certification by Scaled Agile
  4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master by EXIN
  5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) by SCRUMstudy
  6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ by International Scrum Institute™

Advanced & related Scrum Master certifications:

  1. Advanced-CSM® (A-CSM®) by Scrum Alliance®
  2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM)  by Scrum Alliance®
  3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) by Scrum.org
  4. Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III) by Scrum.org
  5. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)

How do I get a Scrum Master certification?

To become a professional Scrum Master, you need to clear an examination or assessment and get certified. This will help you to get a better understanding of the fundamentals of  Scrum framework, values, practices and applications. It also provides a level of expertise and knowledge. Having a certification means an acknowledgement that you hold the core knowledge of Scrum as well as know how to engage with other practitioners for further collaboration and improvement.

It is necessary to familiarize with Scrum and understand the prerequisites that are needed to attend any certification course. With various certification courses available in the market, it is equally necessary to research well and choose a certification according to their needs and demand.

The procedure for getting certified is roughly the same for all Scrum Master certifications:

Step 1: Attend training or take a course, as per the certifying body’s requirement.

Step 2: Register for an examination as per the certification.

Step 3: Take a test and score at least the minimum required score.

Step 4: Get certified.

To make things easy for you, we have put together a list of the best Scrum Master certifications which will help you get essential knowledge of the how to get certified and can also help you decide which certification to opt for.

1. Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®)

Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is the most widely acknowledged Scrum Master certification. To become a Certified ScrumMaster, it is essential to attend a 2-day classroom training, after which you will be required to take an online test. You will acquire the required essential knowledge in this two-day training, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®) authorised by the Scrum Alliance®. The topics of discussion during the training include Scrum frameworks, its usage, User Stories, Estimations and Release Planning.

According to the State of Scrum Report 2017-2018, Certified ScrumMaster® is the most popular certification, selected by 84% of the respondents.

1.1 Who is the authorised body for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

Scrum Alliance® is the authorised body for the Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) certification.

1.2. What is the eligibility & prerequisites for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

There are no eligibility criteria for a CSM certification. But, it is advisable to have familiarity with the Scrum framework. You have to take up a two-day (16 hours) course, which is conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST®). This course provides an overview of supporting and organising a Scrum team.

Taking a course is mandatory for Certified ScrumMaster® certification.

1.3. What is the cost of Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

Cost of 2-day Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) course is around $1000 (depends on your training provider), which also includes the cost of certification and examination fee.

1.4 How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) with Scrum Alliance®How to become a Certified Scrum Master (CSM®) with Scrum Alliance®

Attend a 2-day Scrum Master course from a Registered Education Provider (REP) like KnowledgeHut.

  1. After your course completion, you’ll receive an email with a unique username from Scrum Alliance® to register online. Click on the activation link, log in with the given username and create your own password. Fill in your profile information in all the mandatory fields.
  2. Proceed by clicking on “Take CSM® test” form the certification dashboard that can be reached on the settings page. You can take the test within 90 days after completion of the Scrum Master course.
  3. Take the test.
  4. After passing the test, you can download your internationally valid Certified ScrumMaser® certificate from the certification dashboard (under the “Print Certificate” option). Scrum Alliance® has partnered with BadgeCert Inc. allowing you to display a secure and verifiable digital certification badge on social networks, resumes, email signatures, and websites.

1.5. What will the Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification exam be like?

Take the test, which comprises of 50 multiple-choice questions based on the CSM® learning objectives within a 60 minute time limit. The test can be taken anytime, anywhere and is available to take in English, Spanish (Castilian), Portuguese, French, Italian, German, Japanese, Simplified Chinese, Danish, Czech, and Russian. You’ll be tested on the types of topics and questions as mentioned in CSM Test Specifications Outline. The passing score is 74% - this means you should have answered 37 questions correctly.

1.6. Reattempts for Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification exam

If you don’t pass your exam in the first attempt, you can take up a second attempt without any extra charge.

If you fail the second time as well, you can attempt the exam again by paying a fee of $25 to ScrumAlliance.

If you are a Certified ScrumMaster and are wishing to level up, then you can opt for the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification. The Advanced Certified ScrumMaster certification has been discussed further in the blog under the advanced certification section

How to renew your Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM®) certification?

Every two years, it is necessary to get the CSM certification renewed by paying a fee of $100 as well as earn 20 Scrum Education Units® (SEU®). Learn how to earn SEUs here.

2. Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)

Career path of PSM
Professional Scrum Master I is another highly sought after Scrum Master certification offered by Scrum.org, founded by Ken Schwaber — the co-creator of Scrum — after he parted from Scrum Alliance®.

Professional Scrum Master I (PSM I) is a course with 2-days duration that covers the process theory and the principles of the Scrum framework, also covering the role of the Scrum Master. This course contains instructions as well as team-based exercises, which teaches the core of the Scrum and Agile movement.

According to the 2019 Scrum Master Trends, on Scrum and facilitation training, the maximum number of votes were obtained for PSM I certification, which is 53 % of the participants.

Scrum.org says Microsoft uses the PSM I assessment “to validate knowledge as part of its Silver and Gold Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) competencies”.

2.1. Who is the accreditation body for Professional Scrum MasterTM I (PSM I)?

Scrum.org

2.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) certification?

There are no specific prerequisites for undertaking the examination or attending this course. The Professional Scrum Master training can be attended by professionals who are interested in attending the training and giving the examination. After completion of the course, you will receive a password for PSM I assessment conducted by Scrum.org. Subsequently, you can decide if you should proceed and undertake the PSM II and PSM III assessments.

The following individuals can benefit by taking up the Professional Scrum Master training to showcase the fundamental level of Scrum mastery:

  • Professionals who wish to pursue the Professional Scrum Master Certification
  • Scrum Team managers
  • Teams which are transitioning to Scrum
  • Scrum Team members such a Product Owners and developers

Taking a course is optional for PSM I certification.

2.3. What is the cost of the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I)certification? 

If you are well-versed with Scrum, taking a course is optional. PSM I assessment fee is $150 per attempt.

But if you to attend a 2-day training, the exam fee for the certification is included in the course price of around $350 and depends on the training provider. If you have attended the training, you’ve two attempts to clear your exam as opposed to only one chance when attempting the exam without any training.

2.4. Here’s how to become a Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) professional

  1. Attend a 2-day PSM training (optional). You’ll need an Assessment Password to take the test - after clearing which you’ll receive the industry recognized PSM I Certification.
  2. If you have paid for your PSM course, you’ll receive the Assessment Password to your email address. If you haven’t taken the course, you’ll have to buy PSM I assessment online to receive the Assessment Password
  3. The password doesn’t have an expiration date but is valid for one attempt only if you haven’t taken the PSM 1 course, and two attempts you have taken the course.
  4. Take the test.
  5. After the completion of the assessment, the results will be emailed to you. Here’s an example Scrum.org Assessment Results email.
  6. If you have scored at least 85% in your test, your certificate and badge will be added to your member profile on Scrum.org. Your name your name will also be added to the public list of certified professionals on their website.

2.5. What will be the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM I) examination like?

With the knowledge of the Scrum Guide (authored by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland), official Scrum.org resources, and other suggested reading material, you can assess your basic Scrum knowledge before taking the actual assessment that covers topics from multiple Focus Areas defined by the Professional Scrum Competencies.  

The PSM examination that can be taken in Enlish language only, consists of a total of 80 questions in the following formats: multiple choice, multiple answers and true/false.

PSM exam can be a bit difficult and you’ll have 60 minutes to attempt all the questions, where you’ll have to score a minimum of 85% in order to pass the examination.

2.6. How to renew the Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM) certification

Along with the PSM certification, any Scrum.org certificate is has a lifelong validity and do not require any additional payments or renewals.

3. SAFe® Scrum Master

Gain a thorough understanding of the roles of a Scrum Master in a SAFe® enterprise by attending a 2-day course. With the help of this course, explore the roles of a Scrum Master at the enterprise level and prepare yourself to plan and execute the Program Increment successfully, which is the primary enabler of alignment through all levels of SAFe® organisation. Discover different approaches to become a servant leader and coach to build high performing Agile teams.  

3.1. Who is the authorised body for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

Scaled Agile is the authorised body for SAFe ® Scrum Master certification.

3.2. What are the eligibility & prerequisites for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

The course is open to all, regardless of what experience you hold. But, the following prerequisites are recommended for those who wish to take the SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:

  • Insight of Agile concepts and principles
  • Awareness of Scrum, eXtreme Programming (XP) and Kanban
  • Working knowledge of hardware and software development processes

3.3. What is the certification cost for SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

The first attempt of the exam is included as a part of the course registration fee, provided the exam is taken within 30 days of completion of the course. Each retake attempt costs $50.

3.4. Here’s how to become a SAFe® Scrum Master professional:

  1. The very first step is to attend a SAFe® Scrum Master course. This is a requirement as this will help you gain access to all the study material as well as the examination.
  2. Upon completion of your SAFe® Scrum Master course, you can gain access of the examination within the SAFe® Community Platform.
  3. Take the test.
  4. After clearing the test, you’ll get a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master PDF certificate or a Certified SAFe® 4 Scrum Master digital badge along with a one-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform, which includes access to the SSM Community of Practice.

3.5. What will the SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination be like?

The SAFe® Scrum Master certification examination can be taken in English, consists of a total of 45 questions of the type multiple choice and multiple select, and out of which you are required to score a minimum of 73% (33 out of 45) to obtain your certification. The time duration for the exam is 90 minutes. Here are a few sample test questions.

3.6.Reattempts for SAFe® Scrum Master certification exam

The first retake, that is the second attempt of the examination can be taken immediately after the first attempt. The third attempt requires a 10-day wait, while a fourth attempt requires a 30-day wait. Each retake attempt costs $50.

3.7. How to renew your SAFe® Scrum Master certification?

SAFe® certifications hold the validity for one year. After the completion of first year, you will be required to renew your certification by paying a renewal fee of $100.

4. EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)

The EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification is a unique certification that combines the Scrum practices and Agile methodologies along with practical assignments. The certification tests the proficiency of a Scrum Master which is required to coach, facilitate and enable a cross-functional team. The course covers various topics like the role of the Scrum master, Adopting Agile, Agile planning estimation, control, monitoring, etc. This certification can be attained by professionals belonging to fields like business management, IT project management, Software development, IT service management.

4.1. What is the accreditation body for the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) certification?

EXIN is the accreditation body for Agile Scrum Master (ASM) Certification.

4.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for ASM certification?

There are no particular eligibility criteria for the Agile Scrum Master course. But it is mandatory for you to successfully complete an EXIN Accredited Agile Scrum Master Training.

This certification is suitable for professionals in the following fields:

who should opt for ASM certification?

  • Business management
  • Software Development
  • IT Project Management
  • IT Service Management

4.3. What is the cost of the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination?

The cost of the examination comes around $260, without any training course. If you have opted for a training course, it will include the exam fee as well.    

4.4. What is the Agile Scrum Master (ASM) examination like?

The  EXIN Agile Scrum Master certification examination consists of a total of 40 multiple choice questions (can be taken in English, French, Brazilian Portuguese, Japanese, Latin American Spanish, Dutch, German, Polish, Czech, Chinese). The difficulty level for the examination is advanced and the exam duration is 90 minutes. You have to score a minimum of 65% in order to pass the examination and to get the ASM certification.

5. Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)

The Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) professionals can ensure that the Scrum Team is provided with the proper environment which helps the team in completing the project successfully. It is the duty of the Scrum Master to make sure that the Scrum process is being followed, while at the same time he is responsible to guide, facilitate and teach the Scrum practices to everyone who is involved in the project.

5.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)?

SCRUMstudy is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)

5.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for SMC™ certification?

This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master. There aren’t any specific prerequisites needed for this course. But, if you  who have completed the Scrum Developer Certified (SDC™) certification before opting for this certification are highly preferred.

Moreover, it is recommended that you attend a 2-day SMC classroom training provided by a SCRUMstudy approved Authorized Training Partner (A.T.P.).

5.3. What is the cost of the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination?

The cost of the examination is $450.

5.4. What is the Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) examination like?

The  SMC™ certification examination consists of a total of 100 Multiple Choice questions. The exam duration is 120 minutes. The current pass rate of this examination is 95%.

5.5. How do I maintain my Scrum Master Certified (SMC™) certification?

You are required to maintain 40 Recertification Units (RCUs) every 3 years in order to maintain your certification.

6. Scrum Master Accredited Certification™

The Scrum Master Accredited Certification Program is an online test examination that can be taken from anywhere around the world. The examination success rate is 98%.

6.1. Who is the accreditation body for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?

International Scrum Institute™

6.2. What are the eligibility requirements & prerequisites for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?

This certification is suitable for anyone who is interested in becoming a Scrum Master.

6.3. What is the cost of certification for Scrum Master Accredited Certification™?

The test and certification cost for Scrum Master Accredited Certification is $69, with no other hidden costs or fees involved.

The number of re-attempts: you can retake your examination for 10 times, without any additional fee. If you fail at your last attempt, the full amount of registration fee will be refunded to you.

6.4. What will the Scrum Master Accredited Certification™ be examination like?

The test contains 50 multiple-choice questions that you have attempt within 60 minutes. In order to obtain the certification, you will have to answer at least 60% of your test questions correctly.

Summary of comparison between Scrum Master Certifications

CertificationAuthorized BodyDifficulty level Exam  DurationNo. of Questions CostRenewal
Certified ScrumMaster (CSM®)Scrum Alliance®EasyNo Duration35$1400 (including a mandatory course fee)$100, every 2 years
Professional Scrum MasterTM (PSM)Scrum.orgMedium1 hour80$150 (course fee not included -depends on provider)Not required, has a lifetime validity
SAFe® Scrum MasterScaled AgileDifficult1.5 hours45
$995 – $1,295 (including a mandatory course fee)
$100, every year
EXIN Agile Scrum Master (ASM)EXINDifficult1.5 hours40$260Not required, has a lifetime validity
Scrum Master Certified (SMC™)SCRUMstudyEasy2 hours100$45040 RCUs every 3 years
Scrum Master Accredited Certification™International Scrum InstituteDifficult1 hour50$69Not required, has a lifetime validity

Advanced and Related Scrum Master certifications

Advanced and Related Scrum Master certifications ​

1. Advanced CSM® (A-CSM®)

If you have Certified ScrumMaster certification from Scrum Alliance® and have twelve months of working experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years you can get Advanced CSM® certificate after taking the class and “successfully completing all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”.

This course demands that you need to have a basic understanding of Scrum along with its practical usage and implementation. This workshop will help you get a deeper insight into the  Scrum Framework and how it relates to the Agile Manifesto and learn the ways to coach the Product Owner and development team members. You can renew your A-CSM® by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.

2. Certified Scrum Professional®-ScrumMaster (CSP®-SM) 

The CSP-SM certification is unique and distinct to developers. Along with the certification, the professional get opportunities to attend exclusive CSP events along with many other leaders in Scrum and Agile. The certification helps professionals to make an impression on the recruiters as well as attract a higher rate of pay.

If you have an active A-CSM® certification with 24 months of experience as a Scrum Master in the last five years, and attend a CSP-SM workshop which is conducted by the Scrum Alliance® approved ‘Path to CSP Educator’, you can get certified after “Successfully complete all educator-designed components of an approved educational offering”

You can renew your CSP-SM by earning Scrum Education Units® (SEUs) every two years.

3. Professional Scrum MasterTM II (PSM II) & Professional Scrum MasterTM III (PSM III)

The Professional Scrum Master II (PSM II) and Professional Scrum Master III (PSM III) are advanced-level courses from Scrum.org. You can attend an optional 2-day training for PSM II, while there isn’t any training required for PSM III. If you have cleared the PSM I assessment, can opt for PSM II assessment. If you have cleared the PSM and PSM II assessments and if you wish to gain a distinguished level of Scrum mastery can take up the PSM™ III assessment.

PSM II assessment will cost you $250, will have 30 questions to answer in 90 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing to get certified. Whereas, PSM III assessment will cost you $500, will have 34 questions to answer in 120 minutes, and needs at least 85% passing score to get certified.

4. PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)® from Project Management Institute (PMI)

PMI-ACP acknowledges your knowledge and skill in Agile principles and techniques. The PMI-ACP covers agile approaches such as Scrum, Kanban, Lean, extreme programming (XP) and test-driven development (TDD.)

If you have 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams along with1,500 hours working on agile project teams or with agile methodologies and 21 contact hours of training in agile practices, you can get PMI ACP certified after clearing the exam having 120 multiple-choice questions within 3 hours. You can renew your PMI-ACP certification every 3 years by earning professional development units (PDUs) in agile topics

The Career path for a Scrum MasterThe Career path for a Scrum Master

Being a certified Scrum Master opens the door for opportunities growth.

1. Scrum Master

After completing the Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Master gets to perform all the roles that a Scrum Master is assigned to do. They need to work in this position for a minimum duration of one year to five years.

2. Senior Scrum Master

After Scrum Master, you progress to becoming a Senior Scrum Master. A Senior Scrum Master needs to gather advanced knowledge of the best practices of Scrum and should know how to implement them in teams as well.

3. Agile Coach

For the transition to become an Agile Coach from a Senior Scrum Master. It is essential for you to have a minimum of five years of knowledge in being a Scrum Master along with at least one year of experience of coaching and mentoring.

Scrum is an Agile development framework which is used to manage the process of product development. The Scrum Master is a person who is responsible for implementing Scrum amongst the team members, remove the obstacles faced by them and make sure that the team members understand Scrum and its principles. He does the planning, takes care of the team backlog, sprint retrospective and sprint demo.

Scrum Master certification opens the door to a leap in career growth. There are many certifications options to choose from. With the provided information, we hope you will choose a best Scrum Master certification as per your expectations and requirement work towards your getting your dream job.

KnowledgeHut

KnowledgeHut

Author

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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3 comments

Kisha 19 May 2019

I wanted to thank you for this great read!! I absolutely loved every bit of it. I have you bookmarked to check out new things you post?

Jeffery 24 Jul 2019

Great article! Thank you :)

bindu reddy A 06 Aug 2019

Hi, Thanks for the wonderful explanation about Scrum Master Certification. I learned scrum master roles and salary and complete guide was awesome. Thank you knowledgehut for a great article!

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Capacity directly impacts the output as a team and helps them during Sprint commitment.  Sprint Planning checklist While Agile development is more of a mindset than a methodology, checklists can help guidetheproduct owner, the development team, and the scrum master as they plan and execute sprints. Sprint planning preparation A few days out from the actual sprint planning meeting: Review product roadmap and vision.  Ask team members to update boards and focus on moving tickets to done.  Run sprint review and retrospective.  Groom product backlog: Make sure every user story has a clear priority, is fully formed, and up to date with context and estimates.  Choose sprint goal.  Create a sprint backlog of enough user stories to fill two sprints. Sprint planning meeting Ensure your entire team is present for the meeting.  Start video call for remote team members.  If needed, clean up old board(s) with team by checking status of open tickets.  Discuss spillovers: Should these be continued or dropped? Move any spill-over tasks into the right buckets.  Set the stage with product and market updates.  Define the sprint goal.  Create a “new sprint”. Discuss the goal and team’s capacity:  Is this realistic? If not, can the team lower the scope?  Worst case scenario the product owner needs to come up with a new sprint goal. A few days out from the actual sprint planning meeting: Discuss proposed sprint backlog: Let the team pick user stories and tasks that match the sprint goal and capacity.  Discuss the definition of “done”.  Break down each user story into individual tasks: Make sure each task has as much information as possible.  Ask whether the scope of work leaves time for unexpected issues.  Ask if the scope of work leaves space to tackle bugs and technical debt.  Move sprint backlog of decided-upon user stories and associated tasks into the sprint board.  Get verbal confirmation from the team that they know what to do.  Set up due dates and times for future scrum meetings.Here is a quick checklist to help you plan the Sprint Plan. You can modify and adapt as necessary.The outcome of the Sprint Planning meeting The planning meeting intends to come up with Sprint goal and sprint commitment which is in the form of Sprint backlog. This backlog contains a list of stories, bugs, enhancements, etc. as required by the product owner. The output of the Sprint planning meeting is also to define the approach, the task, and other activities required to achieve the Sprint goal.  Everything that needs to be done is part of the Sprint backlog, by the end of Sprint planning meeting the team should have a solid plan with the ownership This output is further shared with the stakeholders, management and within the team which not only helps in being transparent but it also supports the team to stay focused. How to get Sprint Planning right Scrum focuses on time boxing and hence Sprint planning also requires control over the time limit for the event. As per the industry standards, a sprint of two weeks should be time-boxed for a maximum of 4 hours. The scrum master is responsible for making sure the team sticks to the timing and helps them in coming up with the plan. Spend planning can be an exhaustive ceremony where the team brainstorms, discusses the requirements and ownership.  With great facilitation skills, the scrum master can ask the team to start with an item they know well and subsequently move forward. The team can utilize various estimation techniques to define a number or a story point for each requirement. They can use T-shirt sizing, poker planning, or any other technique they are comfortable with. For effective estimation, the team needs an environment that is transparent, trustworthy, and open to new ideas. This reminds us of the Scrum values and principles that form the foundation of the framework. Common reasons why Sprint Planning fails Multiple reasons can contribute to scrum planning failure. Let us look at some of the frequent cases: Uncooked backlog Most of the time the product backlog is not up to date and lacks prioritization. In such cases the team struggles in defining the Sprint goal, they face difficulties in defining the Sprint commitment due to lack of clarity and details. Unrealistic expectations Oftentimes teams are required to work on requirements that are not feasible, or the team faces some technological challenge. Over-commitment When the teams do not realize the capacity and their velocity and tend to over-commit, this leads to hurdles in delivery. Beyond Time-box Spending too much time in Sprint planning can also jeopardize the event, the team must follow the time-box, going over minute details is not required. Scrum is an empirical process, which means You do not have to plan everything upfront.   Quick tips for success Set a Goal The Product Owner should come up with a sprint goal and share it with the development team. The goal helps the team and staying focused throughout the sprint, they can also use baby scrum meeting to check if they are on track with the goal. Healthy product backlog If the product backlog is in the Good shape, and has stories in order of priority, the team can start pulling from the top. they can even plan a pre-planning meeting, which is also known as backlog grooming who defines the upcoming sprint backlog. Valuable meeting measures Everyone in the team should have the sprint planning meeting invite and if required it should contain the link to video conferencing in-case of a distributed team. The team should have the data on capacity and velocity, and they understand estimations and prioritization. They can use different colored stickies to represent backlog items for example stories can be represented with green and bugs can be presented with red. As per the discipline, the team should follow timeboxing strictly, they can finish early but to go beyond the time is not recommended.  Best practices in Sprint Planning To course a positive sprint, you need to be very prepared and have a solid understanding of what is practicable to shape with the team you have within the timebox. This is the reason why a sprint planning session is so vital for placing the foundation for an agile development project. Let us touch base on some best practices that the teams can adopt for the smooth running of the scrum event. Strategy for uncertainties During the sprint planning meeting, the team talks about capacity, velocity, and shapes their Sprint commitment around the confident items. Planning for uncertainties not only helps in contingency but it also reduces the upcoming risk that can pose an impediment for the team. Sprint skeleton Laying out the stories or Sprint items in the form of a map helps the team in getting a tentative idea around each deliverable. this also helps in defining the internal dependencies and the teams can better plan by moving them up and down. Building consensus It is important to get the team onboarded together as a single group for the sprint goal. They should understand the importance and the urgency of the deliverable and they are ready to take the ownership, this also requires supporting the teammates. Benefits of Sprint Planning A successful Sprint planning creates a smooth runway for the team to start their work. It provides clarity in terms of commitment, goals, timelines, and ownership. The output of the Sprint planning meeting sets an expectation with both the parties - the scrum team and the stakeholders - on what to expect by the end of the Sprint. It can be visualized as the team pulling a bucket of work from a big pile and focus on delivering that bucket with expected quality. Ready, set, sprint! “A goal without a plan is just a wish.” - French writer and pioneering aviator, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry Done in the right spirit, Sprint planning can do wonders in sprint delivery. All it requires is a focused approach, discipline, few best practices, and a collaborative approach towards a solution.  If you have followed this guide, at the end of your sprint planning session you and your entire team should walk away with: An agreed-upon Sprint Goal and a clear definition of “done” Commitment to a realistic sprint backlog Understanding of the bug fixes and support work included in the backlog Detailed tasks for each user story with an estimation and acceptance criteria Due dates and scheduled scrum meetings Now, all you have to do is the work.Ready to start or grow your Agile career?  Check out our latest courses, learn the skills and get the personalized guidance you need. 
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The Ultimate Guide to Sprint Planning

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Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report

How are agile businesses changing in 2020?  Digital.ai, the creator of the industry’s first intelligent Value Stream, recently published its 14th Annual State of Agile Report, along with a survey addendum to reflect the current 2020 landscape. The report took a look into the enterprise, what Agile techniques companies are implementing, their benefits, and what’s trending. The report provides the most comprehensive data in the world to benchmark your Agile practice and plan your next wave of expansion. The survey documents the experiences of more than 1,100 business and IT professionals across a range of industries and roles worldwide.  About 40,000 Agile practitioners, consultants, and executives have shared their insights to make this the longest-running and largest report of its kind. For the first time, it revealed insights beyond the general results by filtering the results along the demographic lines. The analysis indicates a correlation between the time practicing Agile, the ability to manage the changing priorities, and improved time to market.  In this article, we give you the complete lowdown on the state of Agile in 2020 including the COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile. Agile in numbers Let us explore the top responsesto the survey in numbers. Respondents answered their top reasons for implementing Agile techniques, which techniquesand methodologies they employ the most, what tools they recommend most, and the top benefits of using Agile. Top five reasons for adopting AgileTop five benefits of adopting agileRespondents were asked why their teams adopted Agile methodologies and techniques. These were the most responded benefits: Accelerate software delivery (71 percent) Enhance the ability to manage changing priorities (63 percent) Increased productivity (51 percent) Improve business/IT alignment (47 percent) Enhance software quality (42 percent)  This year, the reasons for implementing Agile were more about reducing project risks as opposed to reducing project costs.Top five Agile techniques employedThese are the five most used tactics that help teams adhere to the twelve principles of Agile.Top five Agile techniques employedThe Daily Standup was the most common Agile technique used in organizations. The most notable changes from last year was a decrease in Release Planning (51 percent this year as opposed to 57 percent last year) and an increase in Product Road Mapping (49 percent this year as opposed to 45 percent last year). Top five benefits of adopting AgileTop five benefits of adopting AgileWe see that the top five benefits of adopting Agile are built around speed and adaptability. Project Cost Reduction was last on the list with only 26 percent of the respondents considering it to be the benefit of Agile implementation. Top five Agile methodologies Top five Agile methodologiesThe survey shows that Scrum and its variants are the most common methodologies used for Agile implementation. 3 percent of the respondents didn’t have any idea of the methodology used by their organization.  Top five Agile project management toolsTop recommended project management toolsRespondents were asked if they would recommend the tools on the basis of their experience. Atlassian JIRA and VersionOne were the most recommended tools. Five critical takeaways from the 2020 State of Agile Report Many organizations still learning to adopt AgilePercentage of teams using AgileThe survey showed that only 18 percent of the organizations implemented Agile for all the teams. 77 percent of the organizations had still not implemented Agile in all the company’s teams. With 5 percent of the organizations yet to adopt Agile, there is clearly plenty of area for growth. Agile maturityWhile 95 percent of organizations have some form of agile process in place, practice maturity and adoption remain a work in progress. Around 50 percent of respondents report that less than half of their teams are using agile, and 84 percent acknowledge that their organizations are below a high level of competencies.  Areas other than software development yet to take advantage of AgileAreas of organization practicing AgileAgile practices are not limited to software organizations. The survey data showed that while Software Development continues to be the major area for Agile adoption, other areas like IT and Operations have also started adopting the methodology. Other areas in the organization are yet to take advantage of everything the Agile approach has to offer. More business outcome KPIs, fewer metrics As per the respondents, accelerated delivery speed is the most critical measure of the success of Agile initiatives. Next is improved quality, followed by reduced risk and increased customer satisfaction. Reduced IT costs is low on the spectrum with just 39 percent considering it as important for measuring success.  How success is measured in Agile transformationsAgile success and metricsWhen asked how organizations measure success of Agile transformations, the top measures of success were consistent with those reported over the last few years. Outcomes, customer satisfaction and business value, ranked higher than outputs like on-time delivery and productivity. The survey results for this section remain consistent over the past few years. There might be some ups and downs. But overall, Customer Satisfaction and Business Value are at a higher rank than productivity and on-time delivery. How success is measured in individual Agile projectsAgile success and metricsAs with Agile transformations, business value delivered, and customer or user satisfaction remained the top two cited measures of success within for individual projects.  Scaling Agile faces culture challengesMethods and approaches of scaling AgileAbout one-third of respondents are applying the Scaled Agile Framework, roughly another third are using other scaling frameworks, and another third stated they didn't know/other. There appear to be several common challenges scaling agile as over 40 percent of respondents cited six different challenges/barriers with adopting and scaling agile practices. These included: resistance to change, lack of leadership participation, inconsistent processes, misaligned organization versus agile values, inadequate management support, and insufficient training.    Challenges experienced when adopting and scaling AgileEnterprises are adopting the framework at a remarkable rate that shows that companies want to get the benefits of a structured framework included in the Lean/Agile BoK of SAFe.  The lack of qualified professionals also remains one of the common challenges with insufficient leadership participation (46 percent) at number 2 and lack of experience or skills with Agile methods (41 percent) at number 6.  The report also shows that culture is at the primary target of change as it affects the thinking and working of the organization. Agile organizations slowly adopting DevOps DevOps practices are a strong partner to agile methodologies, and 69 percent of survey respondents stated that DevOps transformation was either important or very important to their organization. But adoption of DevOps practices lags its important with only 55 percent employing continuous integrations and 41 percent continuous delivery. Only 36 percent practice continuous deployment. The top two benefits targeted are accelerated delivery speed (70 percent) and improved quality (62 percent). But respondents are tackling quality first with 67 percent implementing unit testing and 58 percent coding standards, even higher engineering practices over the 55 percent on continuous integration.  More than half of the respondents reported that their organization was already implementing Value Stream Management (VSM) or have plans to do so. VSM is a combination of people, technology, and processes that maps, measures, optimized, visualized, and governs the business value flow using a heterogeneous enterprise delivery pipeline.  Each level of automation requires investment and additional work to prove its robustness. There are seven prerequisites before improving release frequencies, and that requires investment in aspects of these seven DevOps practices. Even so, there are questions DevOps teams should answer before increasing deployment frequency. Summary of key insights Currently, the Agile approach is predominantly implemented in the software or information technology sector. The benefits an organization can reap once Agile is implemented in other areas as well would be tremendous. Here is a quick summary of key insights from the report: Cost reduction is not anymore one of the primary reasons to adopt the Agile approach. Identifying technical risk before deployment is considered very valuable by 34 percent of the respondents, which was 22 percent last year. Greater Agile maturity is correlated to the time of practicing Agile. The length of time since Agile adoption is also related to the increased ability to manage the changing priorities and improved time market. Organizations that have practiced Agile for more than 5 years have a greater percentage of DevOps initiatives and interest in Value Stream Management.  Companies with 20,000 or more people are more likely to have been using Agile for 5 or more years. Companies with less than 1,000 people correlated to a higher percentage of all their teams implementing the Agile approach.  More than half of the respondents stated their companies are either implementing VSM or have plans to do so.  Risk and compliance increased by 54 percent to be the top value to identify and measure technical risk before the deployment begins. SAFe is the most popular scaling method, increasing 5 percent over the last year. There was a shift in Agile techniques as release planning decreased by 11 percent while product road-mapping increased by 9 percent. This change can be attributed to the increase in CI/CD and better program increment planning. Currently, Agile is mainly confined to software development, operations, and the IT sector. However, it is expected that by next year, the organization will expand agility into areas beyond developing, deploying, and maintaining software solutions. The COVID-19 impact and what’s next in Agile The COVID-19 pandemic has triggered a health emergency worldwide. Leaders across industries are moving promptly to protect employees and build resilience, as the impact of the crisis continues to mount. In mid-May 2020, Digital.ai conducted a brief supplemental survey of respondents to learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic has affected their Agile adoption. Supplemental findings reveal that: 55 percent say their company plans to increase the use of Agile in the next 12-14 months. This is an increase of 13 percent over the original survey completed just five months ago. 43 percent of organizations say their momentum for Agile adoption has increased over the past 90 days, with 15 percent saying it has increased significantly. 33 percent say they increased or expanded Agile adoption in the last 90 days to help manage distributed teams. In summary, forecasters continue to predict how long the COVID-19 crisis will last, but it seems inevitable that many organizations will be working remotely for the foreseeable future.Implemented correctly, an agile approach can help remote teams function effectively and build resilience for the future.  Following the pandemic, working from home more frequently (perhaps 2-3 days per week) may become an accepted norm for many companies, as this could realize cost efficiencies and prove that an agile, remote working model is productive.
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Key Insights from the 2020 State of Agile Report

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Agile Project Management: Best Practices and Methodologies

Agile is an iterative and incremental solution development methodology that focusses on delivering value to the customer by seeking customer feedback, embracing and adapting to change and striving for improvement continuously.  The Agile Manifesto along with the Agile Principles are at the heart and in the spirit of the various Agile Frameworks which are being adopted increasingly by Enterprises as their Project Management Framework. Agile Project Management Agile Project Frameworks Scrum, Kanban, XP, SAFe are some of the Agile Frameworks that are have replaced traditional waterfall and predictive approaches of Software Project Management. Long standing philosophies such as Lean and practices like TDD, BDD, Pair Programming etc are leveraged into these frameworks.  Scrum and Kanban are the most popular Agile Frameworks used today with Scrum being used in almost 58% of Agile Projects as per the Annual State of Agile Report 2020. Scrum uses a time-boxed iterative approach to develop incremental products and solutions with each iteration spanning 2 /3/ 4 weeks. Kanban does not have time-boxed iterations and focusses on establishing flow of work by controlling WIP (Work In Progress) and is well suited for maintenance, support or Helpdesk projects. In this article we will discuss about Agile Project Management using Scrum. Before looking at the Scrum framework briefly, we need to understand two very important aspects in which Agile Project Management is different from traditional Waterfall – Scope and Estimation. The Iron Triangle Unlike traditional projects, in Agile the schedule and the cost involved for a project is largely fixed. The scope is the variable entity and is adjusted as per the latest information and feedback from customers. The focus is on delivering value rather than following a rigid and detailed plan laid out at the beginning of the project. In Scrum for example, every Sprint runs for a fixed time-box and changes to agile team composition is not recommended. Iron TriangleEstimation – Relative Sizing Agile recommends “relative sizing“of work items that enables predictability rather than complex estimation techniques striving for accuracyAgile EstimationIn the Image 2 above people on the road looking at the buildings would most likely converge on the fact that Building A is the smallest of the three, Building B is twice that of A , Building C is the tallest – almost 3 times that of Building A. This can be done quickly at the first glance. In contrast if they must estimate the actual height of the building in metres it is prone to error and there are going to be a lot of differences. The power of relative sizing lies in the fact that we do not strive for accuracy (in the example the height of the building in metre) but focus on sizing the work and achieving predictability over the course of time. Instead of complex effort estimation in man days/hours, High level Epics /Features are usually estimated by the T-shirt sizes (Small, Medium, Large, X-Large) and Stories are estimated and given “Story Points” that follow the  modified Fibonacci sequence (1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 20, 40, 100) Brief overview of Scrum Framework The Scrum framework comprises of the roles, events and artifacts and describe how these entities interconnect with each other in order to implement the framework.   Scrum follows an iterative approach where development cycles are 2 /3/4 weeks long. At the end of every iteration an incremental version of the product/solution is ready to be shipped. Each event /artifact/role in the scrum framework serves a purpose and furthers the goal of Agile project development. Let us go over each of them in detail. Scrum FrameworkRelease Planning  Although Agile does not recommend detailed rigid plans laid out well in advance, it does not altogether forego planning. There is a high-level Release Planning at the beginning of the release and shorter detailed Sprint planning events at the beginning of every Sprint. Having short planning phases throughout the project implementation helps to adapt to changes and course correct at responsible milestones. For large organizations where multiple scrum teams work towards developing a solution, planning and timing a release is very important. The organization might choose to time the release as per Customer(s) demand or at an established cadence (e.g every quarter) or in alignment with certain events (e.g tradeshow/ compliance deadline etc). The release planning is a look ahead planning with an objective of arriving at the scope of the release considering the schedule and budget as fixed components of the iron triangle. The two important inputs required for this event is a prioritized product backlog and the velocity of the teams participating in the release (historic data for teams running on agile and an informed guesstimate for the new teams.) The teams will roughly plan out their upcoming sprints (if a release spans 12 weeks there can be 5 sprints of 2 weeks each followed by a 2 week “hardening sprint”). At the end of this planning event there is a list of prioritized features that can be accommodated in the release and a high-level plan for each sprint.  Scrum Roles  The Scrum Master, Product Owner and the development team form the “3 Amigos”. There is a good amount of trust and a healthy relationship amongst the people playing these three roles. Healthy conflicts and disagreements between these three entities is expected and bound to occur. At these times the teams are guided by the Scrum Values of Respect, Courage and Openness. At all times the scrum team practices commitment and focus to achieve the Sprint Goals and further the Agile Values and Principles. The Three AmigosResponsibilites of Each RoleScrum Artifacts Product Backlog: A Product Backlog consists of all the new features, changes to the existing features, technical requirements such as infrastructure upgrades or architectural requirements that might become a part of the product. This is continuously refined by the product manager, product owners and the scrum teams. The purpose of the refinement is to prioritize, split and detail the contents of the backlog so that the first set of items in the backlog are ready to be picked by the teams during their Sprint Planning. Sprint Backlog: The items picked from the Product Backlog and committed by the team for a Sprint constitutes the Sprint Backlog. It is unlikely to change during the course of the Sprint/iteration. A product owner could introduce changes in consensus with the team. Multiple changes to the sprint backlog within the Sprint timeframe should be discouraged and root cause analysis has to be performed during retrospective meeting if this happens often. Product Increment: The work items ready to be delivered at the end of a Sprint is a Product Increment. It has to be in a potentially shippable condition and meet the definition of done as defined by the team and has to be accepted by the Product Owner as complete and ready for release. Scrum Ceremonies / Events EventFrequency of OccurrenceDescriptionBacklog RefinementContinuousEpics and features are estimated and broken down to Stories. Stories are broken down and acceptance criteria are added. The Backlog is prioritized and ordered.Sprint PlanningOnce at the beginning of a Sprint lasting up to 4 hours for a 2-week SprintThe top priority stories that are refined and ready for the team is picked. The teams estimate the stories and load the sprint up to their Capacity. The historic Velocity and the current capacity (leaves and holidays adjusted) are taken into account for loading the Sprint.SprintCan be 2 /3/4 weeks longNot recommended to change the Sprint duration often. The cadence once set has to run for at least 3 to 4 Sprints to collect data for becoming predictable.Daily Stand upEvery day for 10-15 minutesThe Scrum Master facilitates the event and the team shares the happenings of previous day, strategize and plan for current day. Impediments /concerns are raised.Sprint ReviewOnce at the end of the SprintThe working software is demonstrated to stakeholders. Based on Sprint Review and outcomes, inputs and changes are done to the Product BacklogSprint RetrospectiveOnce at the end of the SprintThis is the "sacred time of learning" for the entire team. Issues and problems faced during the Sprint are discussed, root cause analysis performed and team arrives at solutions to resolve and prevent in future. The team identifies areas of improvement.Scrum ceremonies or eventsScrum Values  Courage - Every team member feels safe to fail and learn, to seek help, to say ‘no’ and question something that is going wrong. Commitment – Commits to the Sprint goals as a team. Does not overcommit.  Focus - Aims to complete what is started and steer away from distractions and unprioritized / "shoulder tap" work. Limits Work in Progress. Openness - Seeks and values feedback and opportunities to learn. Makes impediments, failures and learnings visible. Respect - Team collaborates and acknowledges the work and achievements of every member. Builds trust. Quantitative Metrics Organizations can collect and measure various metrices. The below metrics are most likely to be captured by most of the projects and add value. Burn Down Chart: The Burn down chart is a run chart of the rate at which the scrum team completes work within a sprint in terms of number of Story points completed per day.  Velocity: Velocity is the number of story points completed and accepted by the Product owner within a Sprint.  Collecting data on velocity enables teams, releases and projects become more predictable. Other than the absolute velocity, another important perspective of velocity data is % of story points delivered against total story points committed by the team. Velocity cannot be used to compare the efficiency of teams since 3 story points for one team is different for another team. Quality related Metrics: Quality related metrics like number of defects reported in production after release, number of defects in Integration testing are captured to understand the level of Quality. Armed with quantitative data the teams can come up with ways to improve Quality.  Agile Projects at Scale While the scrum framework prescribes the guidelines to run an Agile team, the same can be extrapolated and mechanisms can be put in place to scale it to multiple teams. SAFe and Nexus offer frameworks to scale Agile in large Enterprises. Large projects in Enterprises involve multiple teams and dependencies with other functions, divisions and with third party partners, suppliers and vendors. The complexities of large solutions and programs require Governance, Compliance, Stakeholder Management, Streamlined Communication, Conflict and Risk management. The Agile Program Management Office takes care of establishing Agile at scale with the help of Senior Leadership, Agile Coaches and Change Agents (who could be the Agile Project Managers and Scrum Masters). Role of the Agile Project Manager The Agile PM plays an important role when doing Agile at scale in large enterprises. While working towards a seamless project release by interfacing with the multiple scrum teams and various stakeholders, the Agile PM also plays a key role in the Agile transformation journey of the Enterprise.   Agile at ScaleAgile Project ManagerScrum Master and Agile PM Roles Agile Projects at scale requires the role of a Scrum Master for the internal functioning of the team and the Agile PM for aligning multiple teams and orchestrating the activities of a Release. Agile PMScrum MasterTakes care of the facilitation, risk management, conflict management, handling of impediments that span multiple teams and external stakeholders.  Engages closely with Senior Leadership, Product Managers, Product Owners, Scrum Masters to ensure smooth implementation of the current release, forward plans for the subsequent release and co-ordinates the Post production activities of the previous release. Facilitates the Scrum of Scrums synch meetings at a regular cadence (every week).  The Agile PM guides the scrum masters to resolve risks and impediments within the team if and when escalated. Takes care of these activities within the scrum team. The Scrum Master focuses on the current sprint and current release. Facilitates Scrum Ceremonies. Participates in the Scrum of Scrums and updates if the team is on track to meet the Sprint Objectives and if there is any change/ risk foreseen. During this meeting the Scrum Masters raise any impediments /risks/concerns they are unable to resolve and need help with. Release Management Continuous Integration and Deployment: With incremental versions of the product after every iteration from multiple teams early continuous integration is the need of the hour. Investing in an automated Continuous deployment into the Staging or Production environment is encouraged so that the latest version of the product is release ready. Enterprises are increasingly using toggle configurations to switch on/off a set of features so that the release can be done for a particular market segment or can be timed with an important milestone like a tradeshow. By separating the deployment and actual release, there is a lot of risk avoided. The actual product release can be announced at the right time – as per Market demand/ after a robust Beta has been done and feedback incorporated/timed with a compliance deadline or important milestone like tradeshows. Post-production Support: Releasing working software at regular intervals is not the end of the road. Customer Support, training and customer documentation where required is necessary and these activities should also come under the purview of an Agile Working environment.  Beta and Canary Release: Large Enterprises engage with Beta customers to get focussed feedback on the product before a wider market release. Solutions and products can also be released to a particular market segment or a subset of users alone. This is called a “Canary Release”. This phased approach rather than a big bang approach will ensure the risk level is reduced and the quality of the product and credibility of the Enterprise is maintained.  How is an Agile PM different from the Conventional PM  The roles and responsibilities of a conventional Project Manager is now distributed amongst the Scrum Teams, Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Agile Project Manager. But the most important but subtle difference between the Conventional PM and Agile PM is the mindset.  The Agile PM is a Servant Leader who wants to create a self-empowered self-organized team. He/she creates an agile environment where everyone is accountable, there is no fear of failure but the willingness to learn and continuously improve. The Agile PM avoids the traditional Command and Control approach where decisions are taken for the teams. .  There is also a conscious effort to decentralize decision making so that decisions are taken closer to where work is done. There is always an emphasis for visualization of work and transparency. Go-to Traits for a Successful Agile Project Self-Organized Teams: Self-organized teams that are empowered and largely self-sufficient is an important facet of Agile. Teams are used to conventional ways of working where they look up to their superiors for decision making. Decentralized decision making will help largely to create empowered teams Responsive to Change: creating empowered teams enable them to respond to change responsibly with minimum red tape. Quick Feedback Loops: Agile thrives when there are quick feedback loops established so that teams can adapt to change based on informed decisions. Continuous Improvement: Learning from the past and resolving not to repeat mistakes is an important facet of Agile teams. Retrospection at end of every iteration and release is highly recommended. Business Agility: It would not be enough if engineering teams are agile and churn out software seamlessly. “Building the product right “is not sufficient and the teams should “Build the right product”. Solutions and products have to meet the customer needs and solve Customer Problems.  All functions such as product management, marketing, sales HR have to come into the purview of Agile Principles and Values to achieve the kind of Business Agility that is required to be Customer Centric and deliver value. In conclusion, Agile is a paradigm shift from the phased traditional waterfall methods which run on detailed plans laid well ahead. Agile Project Management is the need of the hour considering the rapidly changing market scenario, disruptive technologies and the ever- growing competition.  Before embarking on Agile projects organizations have to invest the time and effort to create a conducive Agile Work environment. The bare basics of Agile training and creation of small Agile teams (5 to 9 members recommended) with the vision to make the teams self-organized need to be in place. Agile Coaches and Change agents have to be identified to ensure the Agile transformation starts and keeps pace with small strides and does not die a natural death with teams, business and leadership falling back to traditional waterfall methods in the name of agile. 
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Agile Project Management: Best Practices and Metho...

Agile is an iterative and incremental solution dev... Read More