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The Added Value of Agile and Project Management Certifications

Over the years, I've heard so many different opinions and read so many articles about what people think of certifications. Some do not see any added value while others believe otherwise.Let us think about getting certified from an Agile Mindset:Agile Team: The candidate is the Customer (Product Owner), Scrum Master & Development Team all in one.Value Maximizing: The market is getting more competitive, new technologies are emerging and will soon be dominant over traditional methods so the candidate has to inspect what value can they add to their experience / knowledge to cope with all those changes and competitiveness and then adapt accordingly.Release Planning / GoalPlan & Prioritize your Backlog (Define User Stories like Taking a Course, Complete Application, Apply & Book for the exam)Set the release goal: “As a Project Management Professional, I want to Obtain X-Certification in order to gain more knowledge in Y-Industry”Estimate the time & cost. Iteration Planning / Goal: Decompose the User Stories into tasks (If necessary) and set a goal for each iteration. For example, for the first iteration: Iteration Goal: Complete a Course within 2 weeks.Iteration Tasks: Find a Course, Register & Pay, Take Course.While doing different iterations, you inspect and adapt to ensure you are on the right path by frequently reviewing your progress, checking if any improvement is needed for your study approach or plan and so on until you reach your last iteration:Iteration Goal: Pass the TestIteration Tasks: Register & Pay, Find a date, Sit for the test.Going through this whole process of inspection and adaptation frequently will help professionals assess four important How’s:How competitive is the market?  How familiar are they with all emerging technologies?  How can they improve?How will this improvement add value to their career ?Certifications are not about adding letters after your name but it is about knowledge and personal/ professional development. So if you have the experience and knowledge, what is stopping you from getting certified. Certifications will:Add to your knowledge in many ways.Pave the way for your for a more distinguished career path.Make you stand out in competitive & tight job markets.Validate your Experience.Help you speak a common language among professionals of the same field.Project Management is one of the most competitive jobs worldwide so do not aim at reaching the top and stop because what is more important than reaching the top is staying there.In light of the above, I would like to share how different certifications/designations added value to my Professional Development & Career: (Inspection & Adaption over the years) Project Management Professional (PMP)No matter how many years of experience we have, there is always more to learn so getting my PMP helped me get in-depth knowledge of all project management processes, tool and techniques in addition to opening my eyes on how to better manage some critical Knowledge Areas / Processes, especially Effective & Efficient Communication & Stakeholder Engagement.Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)After several years working in the Project Management field and performing different levels of Risk Analysis on almost every project, you will be surprised to hear that getting this certification opened my eyes to so many aspects of the Risk Management and made me realize that there are certain things I can do in a different and better way.Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)Having more than 10 Years of experience in Estimating, Scheduling & Planning, going through the SP Journey did reinforce this knowledge & experience with a certification from a highly reputable organization like PMI.Green Project Manager (GPM-b)Many countries are adopting green and sustainability initiatives to protect the environment and the world as a whole. Being in the Real Estate Development Industry, I worked for many years on some sustainability initiatives on many projects. Getting the GPM-b reinforced my knowledge about sustainability and how to apply it in Project Management which enhanced my approach on how to incorporate those initiatives into our projects.Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (LSSYB)Being in the Construction Industry, going Lean in many cases when possible could be the right and only right thing to do. The LSSYB Journey enhanced my knowledge about Lean and how to apply it to different parts of any project or even in the office.Professional Scrum Master (PSM I & II), Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)Although I do have experience in those areas and they might not be highly applicable to construction projects but going through this journey enhanced my knowledge and experience in how Inspection, Adaption and Delivering Incrementally helps reduce waste or errors and keep your product up to date and competitive within the market. Besides other areas when I use Scrum, I actually started applying the Scrum on some parts of our Real Estate Development projects to tell how well it would work and/or add value - You will be surprised, but the results were amazing. I might share this experience in details on another post or article.Professional Agile Leadership (PAL-I)This certification did open my eyes to some fact about building agile teams and how to empower them in addition to validating my experience in this domain.At the moment, I am pursuing the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) since I am being involved in Agile on so many levels and having more than 4 Years of experience, so I trust it will enhance and boost my knowledge in terms of how to apply agile concepts in projects and/or hybrid models (Agile – Traditional Models).In conclusion, the added value of knowledge combined with my background in Structural Engineering and experience helped shape my career path in a great way boosted my career advancement because as you can see, all of the certifications that I pursued are very much related to my field of expertise and line of business.
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The Added Value of Agile and Project Management Certifications 172
The Added Value of Agile and Project Management Certifications

Over the years, I've heard so many different opinions and read so many articles about what people think of certifications. Some do not see any added value while others believe otherwise.
Let us think about getting certified from an Agile Mindset:

  • Agile Team: The candidate is the Customer (Product Owner), Scrum Master & Development Team all in one.
  • Value Maximizing: The market is getting more competitive, new technologies are emerging and will soon be dominant over traditional methods so the candidate has to inspect what value can they add to their experience / knowledge to cope with all those changes and competitiveness and then adapt accordingly.
  • Release Planning / Goal
    • Plan & Prioritize your Backlog (Define User Stories like Taking a Course, Complete Application, Apply & Book for the exam)
    • Set the release goal: “As a Project Management Professional, I want to Obtain X-Certification in order to gain more knowledge in Y-Industry”
    • Estimate the time & cost.
  • Iteration Planning / Goal: Decompose the User Stories into tasks (If necessary) and set a goal for each iteration. For example, for the first iteration:
     
  • Iteration Goal: Complete a Course within 2 weeks.
  • Iteration Tasks: Find a Course, Register & Pay, Take Course.

While doing different iterations, you inspect and adapt to ensure you are on the right path by frequently reviewing your progress, checking if any improvement is needed for your study approach or plan and so on until you reach your last iteration:

  • Iteration Goal: Pass the Test
  • Iteration Tasks: Register & Pay, Find a date, Sit for the test.

Going through this whole process of inspection and adaptation frequently will help professionals assess four important How’s:

  • How competitive is the market?  
  • How familiar are they with all emerging technologies?  
  • How can they improve?
  • How will this improvement add value to their career ?

Certifications are not about adding letters after your name but it is about knowledge and personal/ professional development. So if you have the experience and knowledge, what is stopping you from getting certified. Certifications will:

  • Add to your knowledge in many ways.
  • Pave the way for your for a more distinguished career path.
  • Make you stand out in competitive & tight job markets.
  • Validate your Experience.
  • Help you speak a common language among professionals of the same field.

Project Management is one of the most competitive jobs worldwide so do not aim at reaching the top and stop because what is more important than reaching the top is staying there.

In light of the above, I would like to share how different certifications/designations added value to my Professional Development & Career: (Inspection & Adaption over the years)
Project Management Professional (PMP)

No matter how many years of experience we have, there is always more to learn so getting my PMP helped me get in-depth knowledge of all project management processes, tool and techniques in addition to opening my eyes on how to better manage some critical Knowledge Areas / Processes, especially Effective & Efficient Communication & Stakeholder Engagement.

Risk Management Professional (PMI-RMP)
After several years working in the Project Management field and performing different levels of Risk Analysis on almost every project, you will be surprised to hear that getting this certification opened my eyes to so many aspects of the Risk Management and made me realize that there are certain things I can do in a different and better way.

Scheduling Professional (PMI-SP)
Having more than 10 Years of experience in Estimating, Scheduling & Planning, going through the SP Journey did reinforce this knowledge & experience with a certification from a highly reputable organization like PMI.

Green Project Manager (GPM-b)
Many countries are adopting green and sustainability initiatives to protect the environment and the world as a whole. Being in the Real Estate Development Industry, I worked for many years on some sustainability initiatives on many projects. Getting the GPM-b reinforced my knowledge about sustainability and how to apply it in Project Management which enhanced my approach on how to incorporate those initiatives into our projects.

Lean Six Sigma Yellow Belt (LSSYB)
Being in the Construction Industry, going Lean in many cases when possible could be the right and only right thing to do. The LSSYB Journey enhanced my knowledge about Lean and how to apply it to different parts of any project or even in the office.

Professional Scrum Master (PSM I & II), Scaled Professional Scrum (SPS)
Although I do have experience in those areas and they might not be highly applicable to construction projects but going through this journey enhanced my knowledge and experience in how Inspection, Adaption and Delivering Incrementally helps reduce waste or errors and keep your product up to date and competitive within the market. Besides other areas when I use Scrum, I actually started applying the Scrum on some parts of our Real Estate Development projects to tell how well it would work and/or add value - You will be surprised, but the results were amazing. I might share this experience in details on another post or article.

Professional Agile Leadership (PAL-I)
This certification did open my eyes to some fact about building agile teams and how to empower them in addition to validating my experience in this domain.

At the moment, I am pursuing the Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) since I am being involved in Agile on so many levels and having more than 4 Years of experience, so I trust it will enhance and boost my knowledge in terms of how to apply agile concepts in projects and/or hybrid models (Agile – Traditional Models).

In conclusion, the added value of knowledge combined with my background in Structural Engineering and experience helped shape my career path in a great way boosted my career advancement because as you can see, all of the certifications that I pursued are very much related to my field of expertise and line of business.

Rami

Rami Kaibni

Blog Author

Rami is a certified Project Management Professional, Scheduling & Risk Management Professional and Certified Green Project Manager besides holding other prestigious certifications in project management. He has Structural Engineering background and over 14 years of professional experience in Project Management, Construction Management and Real Estate Development.

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Scrum vs Kanban: Deciding New Agile Benchmark

Today in the rapidly changing market, software development is changing its list of requirement every now and then. As we all know, Agile is one form of software development methodology which mainly focusses on continuous delivery of project with client satisfaction. Agile always accepts the change and works on complete specifications to turn the project into a deliverable product. In the recent times, Kanban software development methodology is in the limelight for its ability to enable DevOps. Many of the organizations are moving from Scrum to Kanban for better results. So the question arises, which Agile methodology works better? And  Scrum vs Kanban becomes the essential question. The key differences between Kanban and Scrum depend on the Rules of using the methodology and the workflow. GOLDEN RULES Both Scrum and Kanban have a list of mandated and optional rules for their implementation. According to the Agile advice list for implementing Scrum, there are around 23 mandatory and 12 optional rules. Here are few examples: Teams are functioning in a  cross-functional manner During sprints, Interruptions are strictly avoided Work is always time boxed Scrum meetings are held on  daily basis To measure progress a burndown chart is used Firstly, the problem arises when organizations follow “Scrum But”- which is basically ignoring some specific set of rules for internal reasons. The next issue arises with timeboxing, which forms the core of Scrum. It allows the developer to define milestones for the stakeholders to evaluate and guide their project. Now in the case of Kanban, the rules are comparatively less restrictive. The principal rules are- Limiting the  work in progress To Visualize the workflow Kanban is a flexible and an open methodology that can add rules as needed, borrowed from Scrum depending upon the requirement. In Kanban, the focus is mainly on the flow and not on the timebox. This feature makes Kanban a very appealing choice to use with DevOps. WORKFLOW METHODOLOGY For Scrum: If we take the case of Scrum, every feature is decided before and it is ensured that it will be completed by the next sprint. After that, the Sprint is locked and work is finished over a couple of week, that is, usual sprint duration. The locking of the sprint is done to make sure that the team is getting enough time to make last minute changes depending on the requirement. There is a feedback session for reviewing the work accomplished. This helps to ensure that the delivered amount of work is approved by the stakeholders and is enough for directing the project as per business requirement. For Kanban: In the case of Kanban, the priority is to focus on the workflow and not on the time. The limitation is only regarding the size of the queues. Kanban’s main focus is on the productivity and the efficiency of the product. This allows them deliver superior  quality work items. In addition to this, concentrating on the workflow will keep things moving. In Kanban, there is an extended feature known as stakeholder participation. If your team is responsible for enhancing the feature development feedback of the stakeholder, then go for Scrum. But if your team is in charge of maintenance and requires to be more reactive, then you have to consider Kanban. Eventually, the need for every team is different and depending upon the requirements, methodologies need to be decided for the achievement of the goals.
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How To Choose A Scrum Master?

A common problem most of the scrum teams face is with regards to selecting a suitable team member to become the scrum master for the team. It has become a strenuous activity for some teams, for some a ritual whereas for some others it has become just another activity not to be stressed about. However, giving careful thought to the process of selecting a suitable scrum master will be beneficial for any scrum team with different scrum tools Who is the Scrum Master?  A common analogy when teaching scrum is to refer to the scrum in rugby. The rugby scrum is where the two packs of the two opposing teams lock horns in order to gain possession of the ball. The scrum stays firm when the lines stay upright and strong. The responsibility of the scrum half is to get the ball out of the scrum and give it the direction to be taken by passing it on to the next suitable in line. The agile scrum master’s role is similar to the scrum half. 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Agile describes a set of guiding principles that uses iterative approach for software development, while Scrum is a specific set of rules that are to be followed while practicing the Agile software development. Agile Agile management represents various o software-development methodologies that have been influenced by iterative and incremental development, which includes Extreme Programming (XP), Rational Unified Process (RUP), Scrum, and others. Agile process or methods provide an environment where there is constant evolution in requirements and evolution as a result of collaboration between self-organising cross-functional teams. Agile methodologies foster a disciplined project-management approach that encourages a set of best practices, allowing a rapid delivery of high-quality software and enhancing a business approach, which aligns development with the customer needs. 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