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Everything You Need to Know About Scrum Master

What is a Scrum Master?A deep understanding of Scrum roles is critical to implementing Scrum.Many times, this gets widely overlooked when organizations adopt Scrum for the first time. Even before Scrum can be useful for any team, a clear perception of “what is a Scrum Master” is important.Simply put, a Scrum Master is the coach and facilitator of a Scrum team. The Scrum guide describes Scrum Master as a person chiefly responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum. As rightly stated in the guide, a Scrum Master helps everyone understand the Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. A converter of “doing Agile” to “being Agile” is what defines a Scrum Master. Essentially, a Scrum Master is a servant leader responsible for facilitating Scrum processes.That being said, a Scrum Master also helps people outside the Scrum team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum team are useful. This, in turn, helps the Scrum teams maximize the value created by them.According to Wikipedia, Scrum Master is a facilitator of the team responsible for removing the impediments to deliver the project target. The Scrum Master is not a traditional project manager and acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences.  What a Scrum master is “NOT”A better perception of “what is a Scrum Master” demands an understanding of “what a Scrum Master is not”. If you are in it for the long haul, this will help you become aware of the generic misconceptions around who a scrum master actually is.Well, a Scrum Master is not a:Project managerProduct OwnerA position (it is a role)Role above the teamIn this regard, it is also important to note that a Scrum Master is not an active participant in the daily scrum activities but only a moderator.So what is it that a scrum master does for real? Let us try to understand.What exactly does a Scrum Master do?Being a Scrum Master entails a lot more than the list of priority activities of a Scrum Master you come across nearly everywhere. In addition to moderating the team activities, a Scrum Master has to help teams live by Scrum values.A typical day in the life of a Scrum Master looks somewhat like below-Moderates team activitiesHelps organize meetingsKeeps scrum processes movingKeeps the team focused on current sprintEnsures a power balance among management, Product Owner, and the teamActively works with the PORemoves impedimentsHelps the team achieve sprint goalsMaintains transparency in processesHelps improve performanceEnsures quick delivery of the final productPromotes a constructive feedback cultureIdentifies hidden issues and helps prioritize and address themHelps build self-organizing teamsEncourages teams to learn from experienceWe shall discuss the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master in further details in the upcoming sections.What are the top qualities of the successful Scrum Masters?To be an effective Scrum Master, one has to be a Scrum enabler first. If you have had the chance to work with highly successful Scrum Masters, there a few patterns you must have observed. These are nothing but the key attributes seen in Scrum Masters of high-performing teams.Scrum Masters with these top qualities are found to lead their teams to success-1. Communication:Effective communication is one of the top skills for any role. A Scrum Master, however, should be adept in two-way communication. (S)he should be a good speaker and listener. An efficient Scrum Master should be able to listen, comprehend, repeat, summarize, energize, observe, write, simplify, critique, suggest, assert, chat, and present with equal ease.2. Responsibility and Ownership: Scrum Master is a representative of the Scrum team. As a Scrum Master, if you are capable of building and gaining trust among the team members, you should be able to represent them in their success or failure.3. Acknowledgment and appreciation: Genuine leadership entails valuing your colleague's efforts and enabling them to advance their performance. This is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master, who happens to be a servant leader as well.4. Good leader, not a ruler A Scrum Master should not follow a command-and-control leadership. Instead, he should adhere to the principles of servant leadership, wherein decisions are made only after discussion with the team members instead of being directly imposed.5. Multitasker: As a Scrum Master, you should be able to juggle parallel tasks and manage important scrum events within defined timeframes. Assuming an ideal Scrum team of 6-9 members, you are responsible for managing today’s tasks and planning for tomorrow’s tasks along with arranging the Scrum events for the team members to resolve their queries, planning for the next Sprint, and release. Multitasking, in fact, is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master.6. Resolve the obstacles and keep the team on track: The Scrum Master always focuses on keeping the team on track and resolving the obstacles that are blocking their way to deliver a quality product. These obstacles may include unwanted meetings, unwanted procedural complexity, work environment or any other challenge. He/She ensures that the team is away from the distractions that are hindering the project success.7. Encourage collaboration: A Scrum Master has to look into the daily activities of the team members. Also, the Scrum Master can share his/her experiences through seminars. conferences, and meetings with the team members. A good Scrum Master should encourage collaboration with the help of planning sessions, daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and sprint review meeting sessions.  8. Initiating latest technologies: A Scrum Master can use automated builds, simple designs, multi-level testing, automated development, and pair programming to reduce time and efforts while developing the project. He/she can also make use of the latest technologies and best practices that can help you in the early completion of the project.   9. Good coach for the team: A successful Scrum Master should understand the different phases that his/her team is undergoing and the importance of team building. The Scrum Master coaches the team members by building self-organizing teams, tracking the project, implementing simple methodology rules, and by creating project vision. Other than being a coach to the team to explain Scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for Agile, the Scrum Master should have basic technical and project management knowledge.10. Effective collaboration with the Product Owner: This is regarded as one of the key qualities of a Scrum Master. An effective Scrum Master should be able to collaborate with the Product Owner. While the role of a PO is to convey the user requirement to the Scrum team and push the team towards it, a Scrum Master facilitates a seamless execution of the processes. Together, the Scrum Master and Product Owner build a strong relationship with the team to provide the best results.11. Empathy: A Scrum Master develops many skills while working with team members. He/She builds his/her skills to develop emotions and to learn what the team members feel. This way, (s)he builds a strong connection with the team and understands their problems while also suggesting effective solutions.  12. A strong understanding of servant leadership and facilitation:The role of the Scrum Master is not to assign the tasks to the team, it is all about supporting the team members in achieving the project goals. Servant leadership, which is one of the fundamental qualities of a Scrum Master plays a key role here. By serving and encouraging the team in every way possible, a good scrum master always helps the team members attain their full potential. Needless to say, this has a direct positive impact on the business value they create as a team.13. A relentless approach to continuous delivery:A successful Scrum Master always tries to improve the way a team works. The best way to do this is to arrange the retrospective, where each team member identifies what went well and what went wrong in the initial Sprint. The team members learn from the mistakes and this leads to continuous improvement.14. A good relationship with the team:A Scrum Master may act as a team leader, but he/she doesn’t have the authority of a true manager. Eventually, a Scrum Master has to be cordial with the team members, if he/she wants to influence specific actions.15. Product, market, and domain knowledge:A Scrum Master need not have end-to-end technical knowledge and domain skills. However, a fundamental understanding of the product, markets, and software development processes, makes it easier for them to address challenges in project delivery.16. Encourage a self-organizing team:A scrum master should know when to express his views and should mostly allow the team to be self-organizing. That said, he should be actively listening to the team members’ inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.What are the essential skills of a Scrum Master?Though the Scrum Master role is complex and challenging, a diverse skill set allows them to become a great Scrum Master. Here are the Scrum Master competencies that help him/her succeed in the project:1. Organizing the teamKnowing the rules of the ScrumCommunicating internally and externallyReporting the status of the team membersCollecting the team members in the Sprint PlanningGuiding clearlyResolving the impedimentsEfficient facilitationImplementing collaborative engagement tools and techniques2. Improving the teamForming a good teamManaging the technical debtImproving team members’ activities by providing feedback and motivationImplemented continuous validated learningResponsible for making a change3. Establishing a self-organising teamDisplaying a servant leadershipExecuting the Scrum valuesDecide according to Agile methodologyOwing to the team members’ responsibilitiesInvolving every team member in planning4. Planning bigDiscussing with the team membersFinding and fixing the cross-team problemsImproving the cross-team technical practicesRoles and Responsibilities of a Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master’s role is pivotal to the success of a team. He/she is a process leader who helps the team understand Scrum values, principles, and practices. Some organizations practice rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members; this is, once again, up to each Scrum Team.However, the roles of the Scrum Master include:The Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.A facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourages but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team.Build close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.Protect the team from distractions which include both external and internal.Remove impediments, so the team can focus on the development of work and tasks.Scrum Master is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.Scrum Master is a coach and advisor to the team and discussed issues encountered.Scrum Master should be equipped with basic technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and is able to provide proper guidance and advice to the team.With Scrum gaining widespread attention in just about every sector, top industry majors like Microsoft, Honeywell, Ericsson, Bank of America, Cox Automotive, KPMG, etc. are focusing on the integration of Scrum into their existing frameworks. This trend has prompted more industries to invest in Agile and Scrum training.  Let’s see some more benefits of having a certified Scrum Master on a project.Why should you be interested in getting a Scrum Master Certification?Scrum has become the finest choice of organizations to deliver more value to the customers. In State of Scrum 2018 survey, 85 percent of the respondents say Scrum continues to improve the quality of work life. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agreed that it has significantly helped improve their practice.Listed below are the reasons and benefits of having a Scrum Master certification (CSM).1. In-depth knowledge of Scrum:If you have not implemented Scrum before, earning the certification will help you to learn the Scrum skills effectively. With this certification, you can level-up your knowledge with the basics of Scrum and you will be able to:Make customers happy and satisfiedDeliver better quality product in less timeMaintain team collaborationLesser defectsFlexible working strategyTake a quick decision on an issue2. A number of companies moving to Agile:Nowadays, organizations are required to speed up their product development process to deliver fast according to the changing needs of the customers. This helps organizations to stay viable. Scrum produces in iterations and its self-organizing teams deliver products of maximum value. Due to this reason, a number of companies are shifting to Agile.      3. New career opportunities on the go:A CSM certification will bring more new career opportunities as more companies are migrating to the Agile approach and they need a professional who will guide a team to follow the Scrum approach. Being a certified Scrum Master, your chances of getting hired by the top employers with fair salary are more.    4. Increases collaboration:When it comes to working on a complex project, it needs collaboration among the team members. As a certified professional on a team, you can build and reinforce the basic understanding of Scrum to produce a value.  5. Switch to the Agile mindset:You need to develop an Agile mindset if you have to work with Agile methodologies. As a certified person on a team, you need to start thinking in an Agile way that will avoid differences in opinions and lead to successful projects with better team collaboration.    7. Organizations yield more:It is tough for any organization to accept new processes easily as it affects the complete structure of the organization. It affects processes, management, people, and clients. In this regard, you need a knowledgeable person in your team who will make the adoption a smooth process. Being a certified Scrum Master, you will be facilitating the tasks for the team members.  8. Enter the Scrum experts community:After taking a Certified ScrumMaster certification, an individual will get a chance to be a part of the Scrum experts community of Scrum Alliance. This community offers knowledge in a way to stay updated, find the events, and provide instructions to the certified members.Scrum Master vs. Project ManagerOnce we enter the industries, we often come across the term Project Manager along with the Scrum Master. These two roles are distinct from each other though they contribute to the projects. This creates confusion between the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles when an organization is undergoing an Agile transformation.A Scrum Master works on the Agile project associated with Scrum project management principles whereas a Project Manager’s work is based on the traditional disciplined project management principles. Let’s see the differences between a Scrum Master and Project Manager. Also, if you are serving as a Project Manager and willing to become a Scrum Master or vice versa, this information will help you to take a stand on this. Before going further, let's see the roles of the Scrum Master and Project Manager in brief.1. Scrum Master duties:Scrum Master responsibilities to the Product Owner (PO)-Helps the PO in managing the product backlogHelps the PO to convey the product requirement clearly to the team members  Facilitate Scrum events to the POScrum Master responsibilities towards the development team-Guiding and coaching the teams to follow Scrum rulesRemoves roadblocks that are inhibiting the project’s progressHelps to maintain team dynamics and high-value resultFacilitate the Scrum events and arrange Scrum meetingsDirecting the team in Scrum implementationMentor the team members who are new to Scrum adoption2. Project Manager roles:The Project Manager is responsible for:Delivering the product according to the project’s requirementsDefining the project scope and planning the project activities accordinglyEnsuring that the responsibilities assigned to team members are according to their skills and expertiseReporting the progress of the project to the stakeholdersTracking the project performance against the timelines and ensuring an effective project qualityMaking sure that the project documentation is properPlanning the tasks for the team members and ensuring that the team understands their roles in the projectPreparing a project budget and getting it approved from the senior managementManaging the StakeholdersMonitoring and controlling the risks in the projectDelivering the project on time with the project constraints like scope, the budget, time, and efficient resourcesLet’s figure out the major differences between a Scrum Master and Project ManagerScrum MasterAttributesProject ManagerMakes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the projectGoalsHas defined goals like-Completing the project on time, planned a budget, and scopeSM assures the quality and knows the importance of quality.Quality AssurancePM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve it. A consultant is usually hired to fix the errorsScrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget.Team SizeProject Managers like to make things large. PM works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program ManagerThe average salary of a Certified ScrumMaster® is $116,659 per year.Average SalaryThe average salary of a Project Manager is $75,474 per yearCertified Scrum Master (CSM)®Advanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)®Certified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)®Professional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)Agile Scrum Master (ASM)Scrum Master Certified (SMC)SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)CertificationsAgile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®Project Management Professional (PMP)®Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®Certified Project Manager (IAPM)CompTIA Project+Certified Scrum Master (CSM)- Scrum AllianceAdvanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)- Scrum AllianceCertified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)- Scrum AllianceProfessional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)- Scrum.orgAgile Scrum Master (ASM)- EXINScrum Master Certified (SMC)- SCRUMstudySAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)Accreditation bodiesAgile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®- PMIProject Management Professional (PMP)®- PMICertified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®- PMICertified Project Manager (IAPM)- International Association of Project ManagersCompTIA Project+- CompTIAEfficient Scrum Master = Great OrganizationThe role of a Scrum Master may vary from one project to another or one organization to another but the importance of Scrum Master in a team will always be the same. The role of the Scrum Master in general is very challenging. It goes without saying that hiring a Scrum Master is the wisest decision for an organization undergoing a real transition to Agile!
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Everything You Need to Know About Scrum Master

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Everything You Need to Know About Scrum Master

What is a Scrum Master?

A deep understanding of Scrum roles is critical to implementing Scrum.Many times, this gets widely overlooked when organizations adopt Scrum for the first time. Even before Scrum can be useful for any team, a clear perception of “what is a Scrum Master” is important.

Simply put, a Scrum Master is the coach and facilitator of a Scrum team. The Scrum guide describes Scrum Master as a person chiefly responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum. As rightly stated in the guide, a Scrum Master helps everyone understand the Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values. A converter of “doing Agile” to “being Agile” is what defines a Scrum Master. Essentially, a Scrum Master is a servant leader responsible for facilitating Scrum processes.

That being said, a Scrum Master also helps people outside the Scrum team understand which of their interactions with the Scrum team are useful. This, in turn, helps the Scrum teams maximize the value created by them.

According to Wikipedia, Scrum Master is a facilitator of the team responsible for removing the impediments to deliver the project target. The Scrum Master is not a traditional project manager and acts as a buffer between the team and any distracting influences.  

What a Scrum master is “NOT”

A better perception of “what is a Scrum Master” demands an understanding of “what a Scrum Master is not”. If you are in it for the long haul, this will help you become aware of the generic misconceptions around who a scrum master actually is.

Well, a Scrum Master is not a:

  • Project manager
  • Product Owner
  • A position (it is a role)
  • Role above the team

In this regard, it is also important to note that a Scrum Master is not an active participant in the daily scrum activities but only a moderator.

So what is it that a scrum master does for real? Let us try to understand.

What exactly does a Scrum Master do?

Being a Scrum Master entails a lot more than the list of priority activities of a Scrum Master you come across nearly everywhere. In addition to moderating the team activities, a Scrum Master has to help teams live by Scrum values.

A typical day in the life of a Scrum Master looks somewhat like below-

  1. Moderates team activities
  2. Helps organize meetings
  3. Keeps scrum processes moving
  4. Keeps the team focused on current sprint
  5. Ensures a power balance among management, Product Owner, and the team
  6. Actively works with the PO
  7. Removes impediments
  8. Helps the team achieve sprint goals
  9. Maintains transparency in processes
  10. Helps improve performance
  11. Ensures quick delivery of the final product
  12. Promotes a constructive feedback culture
  13. Identifies hidden issues and helps prioritize and address them
  14. Helps build self-organizing teams
  15. Encourages teams to learn from experience

We shall discuss the roles and responsibilities of a Scrum Master in further details in the upcoming sections.

What are the top qualities of the successful Scrum Masters?

Top qualities of the successful Scrum Masters

To be an effective Scrum Master, one has to be a Scrum enabler first. If you have had the chance to work with highly successful Scrum Masters, there a few patterns you must have observed. These are nothing but the key attributes seen in Scrum Masters of high-performing teams.

Scrum Masters with these top qualities are found to lead their teams to success-

1. Communication:

Effective communication is one of the top skills for any role. A Scrum Master, however, should be adept in two-way communication. (S)he should be a good speaker and listener. An efficient Scrum Master should be able to listen, comprehend, repeat, summarize, energize, observe, write, simplify, critique, suggest, assert, chat, and present with equal ease.

2. Responsibility and Ownership: 

Scrum Master is a representative of the Scrum team. As a Scrum Master, if you are capable of building and gaining trust among the team members, you should be able to represent them in their success or failure.

3. Acknowledgment and appreciation: 

Genuine leadership entails valuing your colleague's efforts and enabling them to advance their performance. This is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master, who happens to be a servant leader as well.

4. Good leader, not a ruler 

A Scrum Master should not follow a command-and-control leadership. Instead, he should adhere to the principles of servant leadership, wherein decisions are made only after discussion with the team members instead of being directly imposed.

5. Multitasker: 

As a Scrum Master, you should be able to juggle parallel tasks and manage important scrum events within defined timeframes. Assuming an ideal Scrum team of 6-9 members, you are responsible for managing today’s tasks and planning for tomorrow’s tasks along with arranging the Scrum events for the team members to resolve their queries, planning for the next Sprint, and release. Multitasking, in fact, is one of the top qualities of a Scrum Master.

6. Resolve the obstacles and keep the team on track: 

The Scrum Master always focuses on keeping the team on track and resolving the obstacles that are blocking their way to deliver a quality product. These obstacles may include unwanted meetings, unwanted procedural complexity, work environment or any other challenge. He/She ensures that the team is away from the distractions that are hindering the project success.

7. Encourage collaboration: 

A Scrum Master has to look into the daily activities of the team members. Also, the Scrum Master can share his/her experiences through seminars. conferences, and meetings with the team members. A good Scrum Master should encourage collaboration with the help of planning sessions, daily stand-ups, sprint planning, and sprint review meeting sessions.  

8. Initiating latest technologies: 

A Scrum Master can use automated builds, simple designs, multi-level testing, automated development, and pair programming to reduce time and efforts while developing the project. He/she can also make use of the latest technologies and best practices that can help you in the early completion of the project.   

9. Good coach for the team: 

A successful Scrum Master should understand the different phases that his/her team is undergoing and the importance of team building. The Scrum Master coaches the team members by building self-organizing teams, tracking the project, implementing simple methodology rules, and by creating project vision. Other than being a coach to the team to explain Scrum processes clearly and enforcing the practice for Agile, the Scrum Master should have basic technical and project management knowledge.

10. Effective collaboration with the Product Owner: 

This is regarded as one of the key qualities of a Scrum Master. An effective Scrum Master should be able to collaborate with the Product Owner. While the role of a PO is to convey the user requirement to the Scrum team and push the team towards it, a Scrum Master facilitates a seamless execution of the processes. Together, the Scrum Master and Product Owner build a strong relationship with the team to provide the best results.

11. Empathy: 

A Scrum Master develops many skills while working with team members. He/She builds his/her skills to develop emotions and to learn what the team members feel. This way, (s)he builds a strong connection with the team and understands their problems while also suggesting effective solutions.  

12. A strong understanding of servant leadership and facilitation:

The role of the Scrum Master is not to assign the tasks to the team, it is all about supporting the team members in achieving the project goals. Servant leadership, which is one of the fundamental qualities of a Scrum Master plays a key role here. By serving and encouraging the team in every way possible, a good scrum master always helps the team members attain their full potential. Needless to say, this has a direct positive impact on the business value they create as a team.

13. A relentless approach to continuous delivery:

A successful Scrum Master always tries to improve the way a team works. The best way to do this is to arrange the retrospective, where each team member identifies what went well and what went wrong in the initial Sprint. The team members learn from the mistakes and this leads to continuous improvement.

14. A good relationship with the team:

A Scrum Master may act as a team leader, but he/she doesn’t have the authority of a true manager. Eventually, a Scrum Master has to be cordial with the team members, if he/she wants to influence specific actions.

15. Product, market, and domain knowledge:

A Scrum Master need not have end-to-end technical knowledge and domain skills. However, a fundamental understanding of the product, markets, and software development processes, makes it easier for them to address challenges in project delivery.

16. Encourage a self-organizing team:

A scrum master should know when to express his views and should mostly allow the team to be self-organizing. That said, he should be actively listening to the team members’ inputs and learning points and guide the team to perform better in subsequent sprints.


What are the essential skills of a Scrum Master?

Scrum Master Skills Needed

Though the Scrum Master role is complex and challenging, a diverse skill set allows them to become a great Scrum Master. Here are the Scrum Master competencies that help him/her succeed in the project:

1. Organizing the team

  • Knowing the rules of the Scrum
  • Communicating internally and externally
  • Reporting the status of the team members
  • Collecting the team members in the Sprint Planning
  • Guiding clearly
  • Resolving the impediments
  • Efficient facilitation
  • Implementing collaborative engagement tools and techniques

2. Improving the team

  • Forming a good team
  • Managing the technical debt
  • Improving team members’ activities by providing feedback and motivation
  • Implemented continuous validated learning
  • Responsible for making a change

3. Establishing a self-organising team

  • Displaying a servant leadership
  • Executing the Scrum values
  • Decide according to Agile methodology
  • Owing to the team members’ responsibilities
  • Involving every team member in planning

4. Planning big

  • Discussing with the team members
  • Finding and fixing the cross-team problems
  • Improving the cross-team technical practices

Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

Roles and Responsibilities of a Scrum Master

The Scrum Master’s role is pivotal to the success of a team. He/she is a process leader who helps the team understand Scrum values, principles, and practices. Some organizations practice rotation of Scrum Master roles among the team members; this is, once again, up to each Scrum Team.

However, the roles of the Scrum Master include:

  • The Agile framework custodian and process owner for the team.
  • A facilitator and Servant Leader who never discourages but encourages and expects self-organization from the Agile development team.
  • Build close collaboration across roles and functions in the organization, works on matters collectively and is not individualistic.
  • Protect the team from distractions which include both external and internal.
  • Remove impediments, so the team can focus on the development of work and tasks.
  • Scrum Master is not typically a manager or lead, but he/she is an influential leader who does not do direct command and control.
  • Scrum Master is a coach and advisor to the team and discussed issues encountered.
  • Scrum Master should be equipped with basic technical and project management know-how, this is so that he/she understands the problems and is able to provide proper guidance and advice to the team.

With Scrum gaining widespread attention in just about every sector, top industry majors like Microsoft, Honeywell, Ericsson, Bank of America, Cox Automotive, KPMG, etc. are focusing on the integration of Scrum into their existing frameworks. This trend has prompted more industries to invest in Agile and Scrum training.  Let’s see some more benefits of having a certified Scrum Master on a project.

Why should you be interested in getting a Scrum Master Certification?

Scrum has become the finest choice of organizations to deliver more value to the customers. In State of Scrum 2018 survey, 85 percent of the respondents say Scrum continues to improve the quality of work life. At the same time, 81% of Scrum Masters who received certification agreed that it has significantly helped improve their practice.

Listed below are the reasons and benefits of having a Scrum Master certification (CSM).

1. In-depth knowledge of Scrum:

If you have not implemented Scrum before, earning the certification will help you to learn the Scrum skills effectively. With this certification, you can level-up your knowledge with the basics of Scrum and you will be able to:

  • Make customers happy and satisfied
  • Deliver better quality product in less time
  • Maintain team collaboration
  • Lesser defects
  • Flexible working strategy
  • Take a quick decision on an issue

2. A number of companies moving to Agile:

Nowadays, organizations are required to speed up their product development process to deliver fast according to the changing needs of the customers. This helps organizations to stay viable. Scrum produces in iterations and its self-organizing teams deliver products of maximum value. Due to this reason, a number of companies are shifting to Agile.      

3. New career opportunities on the go:

A CSM certification will bring more new career opportunities as more companies are migrating to the Agile approach and they need a professional who will guide a team to follow the Scrum approach. Being a certified Scrum Master, your chances of getting hired by the top employers with fair salary are more.    

4. Increases collaboration:

When it comes to working on a complex project, it needs collaboration among the team members. As a certified professional on a team, you can build and reinforce the basic understanding of Scrum to produce a value.  

5. Switch to the Agile mindset:

You need to develop an Agile mindset if you have to work with Agile methodologies. As a certified person on a team, you need to start thinking in an Agile way that will avoid differences in opinions and lead to successful projects with better team collaboration.    

7. Organizations yield more:

It is tough for any organization to accept new processes easily as it affects the complete structure of the organization. It affects processes, management, people, and clients. In this regard, you need a knowledgeable person in your team who will make the adoption a smooth process. Being a certified Scrum Master, you will be facilitating the tasks for the team members.  

8. Enter the Scrum experts community:

After taking a Certified ScrumMaster certification, an individual will get a chance to be a part of the Scrum experts community of Scrum Alliance. This community offers knowledge in a way to stay updated, find the events, and provide instructions to the certified members.



Scrum Master vs. Project Manager

Once we enter the industries, we often come across the term Project Manager along with the Scrum Master. These two roles are distinct from each other though they contribute to the projects. This creates confusion between the Scrum Master and Project Manager roles when an organization is undergoing an Agile transformation.

A Scrum Master works on the Agile project associated with Scrum project management principles whereas a Project Manager’s work is based on the traditional disciplined project management principles. Let’s see the differences between a Scrum Master and Project Manager. Also, if you are serving as a Project Manager and willing to become a Scrum Master or vice versa, this information will help you to take a stand on this. Before going further, let's see the roles of the Scrum Master and Project Manager in brief.

1. Scrum Master duties:

Scrum Master responsibilities to the Product Owner (PO)-

  • Helps the PO in managing the product backlog
  • Helps the PO to convey the product requirement clearly to the team members  
  • Facilitate Scrum events to the PO

Scrum Master responsibilities towards the development team-

  • Guiding and coaching the teams to follow Scrum rules
  • Removes roadblocks that are inhibiting the project’s progress
  • Helps to maintain team dynamics and high-value result
  • Facilitate the Scrum events and arrange Scrum meetings
  • Directing the team in Scrum implementation
  • Mentor the team members who are new to Scrum adoption

2. Project Manager roles:

The Project Manager is responsible for:

  • Delivering the product according to the project’s requirements
  • Defining the project scope and planning the project activities accordingly
  • Ensuring that the responsibilities assigned to team members are according to their skills and expertise
  • Reporting the progress of the project to the stakeholders
  • Tracking the project performance against the timelines and ensuring an effective project quality
  • Making sure that the project documentation is proper
  • Planning the tasks for the team members and ensuring that the team understands their roles in the project
  • Preparing a project budget and getting it approved from the senior management
  • Managing the Stakeholders
  • Monitoring and controlling the risks in the project
  • Delivering the project on time with the project constraints like scope, the budget, time, and efficient resources

Let’s figure out the major differences between a Scrum Master and Project Manager

Scrum MasterAttributesProject Manager
Makes sure that the team members are well trained to follow Agile practices appropriately. Also, SM coaches the Scrum teams and mentions the timeline to finish the projectGoalsHas defined goals like-
Completing the project on time, planned a budget, and scope

SM assures the quality and knows the importance of quality.Quality AssurancePM also knows the importance of quality, but doesn’t know how to achieve it. A consultant is usually hired to fix the errors
Scrum Master always tries to keep things smaller. They like to work in small teams irrespective of budget.Team SizeProject Managers like to make things large. PM works with more people and a huge budget. In this way, they improve to Program Manager
The average salary of a Certified ScrumMaster® is $116,659 per year.Average SalaryThe average salary of a Project Manager is $75,474 per year
  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)®
  • Advanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)®
  • Certified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)®
  • Professional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)
  • Agile Scrum Master (ASM)
  • Scrum Master Certified (SMC)
  • SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)
  • SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)
Certifications
  • Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)®
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®
  • Certified Project Manager (IAPM)
  • CompTIA Project+

  • Certified Scrum Master (CSM)- Scrum Alliance
  • Advanced-Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM)- Scrum Alliance
  • Certified Scrum Professional- Scrum Master (CSP-SM)- Scrum Alliance
  • Professional Scrum Master (PSM I, PSM II, PSM III)- Scrum.org
  • Agile Scrum Master (ASM)- EXIN
  • Scrum Master Certified (SMC)- SCRUMstudy
  • SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)
  • SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)- Scaled Agile Inc (SAI)
Accreditation bodies
  • Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)®- PMI
  • Project Management Professional (PMP)®- PMI
  • Certified Associate in Project Management (CAPM)®- PMI
  • Certified Project Manager (IAPM)- International Association of Project Managers
  • CompTIA Project+- CompTIA

Efficient Scrum Master = Great Organization

The role of a Scrum Master may vary from one project to another or one organization to another but the importance of Scrum Master in a team will always be the same. The role of the Scrum Master in general is very challenging. It goes without saying that hiring a Scrum Master is the wisest decision for an organization undergoing a real transition to Agile!

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KnowledgeHut

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

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Goutham Naidu 24 Jun 2019

In this article, I really liked the qualities and roles and responsibilities of the Scrum Masters, it was genuine information so I suggest everyone to read knowledgeHut blogs.

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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 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.The 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 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 The 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 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 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. While 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 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 transformationsWhen 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 projectsAs 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 challengesAbout 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.    Enterprises 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. 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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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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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How to take Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®) course online

A Product Owner is one of the three main roles defined in Scrum.The Product Owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product resulting from the work performed by the Development Team. However, how the Product Owner accomplishes this can vary widely depending on many factors, including the team, the business stakeholders, and the development processes of the organization. The job description of a product owner is to act on behalf of the customer, prioritize the backlog, answer, or get answers to the team’s queries and accept/reject the work that the team generates. To fulfill these responsibilities, the product owner needs skills such as facilitation, conflict management, creative thinking, and the ability to influence the team and other stakeholders.  From a business point of view, the role of the Product Owner is a very important and challenging role.To adequately take on the role of a Product Owner, one would need to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO®).The first step towards getting a CSPO certification is to start with the Certified Scrum Product Owner® course with a certified coach or trainer.  The CSPO course can now be taken online!  The CSPO course was earlier offered by Scrum Alliance only as an in-person classroom training. The premise was that for better learning, students need to interact with each other and the trainer through the in-person classes.  However, considering the COVID-19 pandemic, Scrum Alliance now offers live online training in addition to the traditional in-person classroom training. Currently, all the courses are temporarily available in an online format including the Certified Product Owner class.  A KnowledgeHut live online CSPO training program in May 2020With this development, students can participate in the course from the safety and comfort of their homes. Along with the convenience and comfort, live online training also reduces the expenses, time, and travel involved for students and trainers. Most importantly, online CSPO training can be utilized in taking up advanced certifications and generate more time for self-learning. KnowledgeHut's live online CSPO training programs are fun and vibrant, while maintaining the same rigor and diligence as the in-person classroom training programs.Another advantage offered by online training is that students can revisit the lectures as many times as they can. It helps students to pay full attention to the CST® and they do not need to feel pressured to take notes during class. For whatever reason, if a class is missed, students can always peruse the lecture later. Online training also allows the CST to get creative in different ways to impart the learning. The use of tools, graphics and videos make for rich learning content to help you understand the concepts better.  How different is the CSPO online training from the conventional in-person training?  As opposed to the traditional 16-hour long in-person course, the online course is just 14 hours long. Scrum Alliance has also capped the online course size to 30 so that students have maximum engagement and learning experience. Unlike the in-person course that had 7-8 hours long classes for two consecutive days, online classes will be held with shorter hours for multiple consecutive days. For the online course, the CST will teach the candidates in real-time using a webcam and other tools that allow them to interact with the students. The classes are interactive so that students can collaborate with one another virtually. How to take the CSPO course online  Here are the steps to take the CSPO course online: Download the virtual meeting tool specified by your Registered Education Provider (REP). If you have a registered Email ID with the Scrum Alliance, use the same one to register for this program. Ensure that your camera and mic are activated. Also, you must have a good internet connection. Your trainer might use some tools for making the training engaging. You might also be asked to download them or sign up before the session starts. You will have to log in at least 15 minutes before the training begins. As the training starts, you will be connected to the audio through your computer’s speakers and microphone. All the participants must keep their microphone on mute during the session. In case of any query or question, you can ask it in the chat window. Always keep a pen and paper by your side. At the beginning and end of the session, your attendance will be recorded. If your attendance is not recorded both times, you will be marked as absent and you will not receive your Certification link. The trainer will share the soft copy of the courseware with you. At the end of the training, you will have to fill out a Survey that is mandatory for receiving your certification. How can I become a Certified Scrum Product Owner® via the online training program? Here are the steps for you to become a Certified Scrum Product Owner: Enroll yourself with a Registered Education Provider or REP of Scrum Alliance like KnowledgeHut.  Study the Agile Manifesto and Scrum guide thoroughly. Attend the mandatory 2-day training for Certified Scrum Product Owner certification. The objective of the course is to help you qualify for the certificate by teaching your Scrum’s concepts. After you have completed the course, your CST will update your details to the website of Scrum Alliance. Once this is done, Scrum Alliance will send you a welcome email asking to log into your account and accept your license. Log in with the link provided in the email and reset your password. You will get your license after this. After this, you will receive your CSPO certification along with a 2-year membership with Scrum Alliance. (Currently, you are not required to give a test for the certification.) Getting started with the CSPO course A Product Owner is an integral part of Agile projects and can go a long way in accelerating the velocity of the project and achieving the goals well within the deadlines.With the popularity of Agile and Scrum growing, the demand for product owners is certain to grow. Upskill yourself as a Certified Scrum Product Owner and capitalize on the career growth opportunity.  
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How to take Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CS...

A Product Owner is one of the three main roles def... Read More