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Key Factors to Succeed at Managing Distributed Agile Teams

 Advanced communication and collaborative technologies have largely been responsible for the onset of globalization, giving organizations a competitive advantage over slow adopters. These technologies have allowed people to work almost anywhere, anytime, and on any device. This has contributed to the age of distributed teams and the virtual employee; professionals who deliver critical business value, but are not constrained by co-location requirements.The majority of Agile teams are distributed in some form or another. From my own personal experience, at least 70% of the Agile projects I worked in the last ten years have involved distributed teams. These include team members on another level of the building, down the road at another site, located in another city or even country.  There are some challenges with distributed teams that do need attention, such as problematic communications technology, language barriers, feelings of isolation, distractions at home, ineffective feedback and a lack of trust by managers. On the issue of trust, Daniel Cable, a professor of organizational psychology, believes that a lack of trust on behalf of managers is the greatest obstacle to successful remote teams.  However, another emerging issue is between the Agile purists who believe that Agile teams should be co-located in order to get the best results and Agile pragmatists who believe that the best self-organizing, cross-functional teams are the ones who create their own team from a global resource pool, regardless of location.Choosing the best one is situational, as there are a number of variables are at play. However, there are some advantages to both schools of thought: Advantages of co-located teamsAd-hoc team meetings are fast and easy to arrange.Facilitates osmotic communication; useful information that is overhead due to a  close proximity.Facilitates tacit knowledge; the stuff we know that isn't necessarily documented or taught.Faster feedback (answers, status, decisions).Low tech, high touch tools such as whiteboards and sticky notes that facilitate  knowledge sharing and create a bond with the team and project through human touch and interaction.Issues with technology can generally be resolved quicker.Faster (but not always smoother) team formation phases.There is a higher level of trust from management. Advantages of Agile distributed teamsIncreases the skill sets of teams by accessing a wider pool of global human resources.Reduces office space and various associated work items.Increased feedback due to the iterative nature of Agile.Reduces travel expenses.Teams can span time-zones, thus access up to 24-hour capacity.Can include members with disabilities and mobility restrictions.Higher levels of well-being.Flexible working arrangements foster an increased commitment to the company.Increased cultural diversity. Helping Agile distributed teams to succeedThere are a number of ways to get the best out of distributed teams. Digital tools such as video conferencing, Agile soft boards and collaboration platforms are just a few of the obvious enablers. Some good applications that I have used in the past include Zoom, Skype, Slack, Jira, and SharePoint. Also, adequate infrastructure such as computers and a reliable fast internet connection is another crucial enabler. I have witnessed several projects fail or underperform simply because internet connectivity and speed were severely limited. Another critical factor that is rarely considered is that of psychological health. If the mind is not in the right place, the greatest tools in the world are not going to make a distributed Agile team successful. Agile teams differ from more traditional project teams in that they are far more useful to being empowered, self-organized, flexible, innovative, collaborative, with a flatter management structure. When an Agile team is distributed, it presents added complexity with regard to the psychological health that can impact these Agile team traits.In my MBA thesis, I investigated the well-being of home-based workers in the BPO industry and discovered that 27% expressed feelings of isolation, less team unity, and missed their work colleagues. Perhaps more disturbing was the lack of organizational support for this phenomenon. While this may not always affect distributed workers, such as ones located in remote serviced offices, the feeling of disconnection is still there. I used to work for Fujitsu out of a serviced office many years ago. The offices were very nice, clean, well serviced, but empty most of the time. The only people I came across were strangers from the company who would drop in to have a meeting or print out something. I distinctly recall the feeling that I was alone with a phone to call prospect clients; more strangers. I was in a distributed team of business development managers and received zero communication from anyone about how I was coping, only about how the sales numbers were going.So here are some of the critical success factors that helped me to reduce the negative psychological effects of Agile distributed teams:The Scrum Master, Product Owner or other Agile lead needs to touch base with the distributed worker or team at least once a day. Videoconferencing is the best method or a phone call at the very least. It only needs to be 5-10 minutes just to touch base and let the team know they have organizational support. This is aside from the daily stand-up, which should also use video conferencing to promote a feeling of togetherness.Now Me  This is my own name for a special weekly get-together derived from a NO Work MEeting. As the name suggests, this meeting is not about work at all. It is an opportunity to get together virtually, via video conferencing, to chat about anything the team wants to chat about.Virtual Coffee CupWhen regular meetings are scheduled in the head office or boardroom with a mix of co-located and distributed team members, I try and buy a custom coffee mug with the name of the distributed team member or members who are connecting remotely to the meeting. I actually fill up the coffee mug with their favorite beverage and place it on the table in view of the camera. This may seem like a simple thing, but you may be surprised just how inclusive people feel when they have been thought of as in that meeting room with everyone else. Remember Agile teams are equal members, so every effort should be made to make everyone feel equally appreciated.Counselling ServicesThis is where HR might need to step in and provide a service for distributed team members that feel isolated, frustrated, or even depressed. These issues can become serious. It is best to provide a service that is independent of the organization, but if that is not possible, HR needs trained and qualified personnel with regard to mental health and confidentiality.  360° Feedback Unfortunately, many performance assessments are only one way. With distributed Agile teams especially, there must be a 360° feedback on team performance, and that includes product owners, scrum masters, release managers etc. Agile distributed teams are becoming the new norm. To label these teams as the lesser counterparts of their co-located cousins would be premature, especially since technology can only get better before the disadvantages start outweighing the advantages. While there is naturally some loss of osmotic communication with distributed teams, it is more than compensated by a healthier, happier, culturally diverse team of members that are backed up by the latest in communication and collaborative technology, and an unlimited global human resource pool. 
Key Factors to Succeed at Managing Distributed Agile Teams
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Key Factors to Succeed at Managing Distributed Agile Teams

 Advanced communication and collaborative technologies have largely been responsible for the onset of globalization, giving organizations a competitive advantage over slow adopters. These technologies have allowed people to work almost anywhere, anytime, and on any device. This has contributed to the age of distributed teams and the virtual employee; professionals who deliver critical business value, but are not constrained by co-location requirements.The majority of Agile teams are distributed in some form or another. From my own personal experience, at least 70% of the Agile projects I worked in the last ten years have involved distributed teams. These include team members on another level of the building, down the road at another site, located in another city or even country.  There are some challenges with distributed teams that do need attention, such as problematic communications technology, language barriers, feelings of isolation, distractions at home, ineffective feedback and a lack of trust by managers. On the issue of trust, Daniel Cable, a professor of organizational psychology, believes that a lack of trust on behalf of managers is the greatest obstacle to successful remote teams.  However, another emerging issue is between the Agile purists who believe that Agile teams should be co-located in order to get the best results and Agile pragmatists who believe that the best self-organizing, cross-functional teams are the ones who create their own team from a global resource pool, regardless of location.Choosing the best one is situational, as there are a number of variables are at play. However, there are some advantages to both schools of thought: Advantages of co-located teamsAd-hoc team meetings are fast and easy to arrange.Facilitates osmotic communication; useful information that is overhead due to a  close proximity.Facilitates tacit knowledge; the stuff we know that isn't necessarily documented or taught.Faster feedback (answers, status, decisions).Low tech, high touch tools such as whiteboards and sticky notes that facilitate  knowledge sharing and create a bond with the team and project through human touch and interaction.Issues with technology can generally be resolved quicker.Faster (but not always smoother) team formation phases.There is a higher level of trust from management. Advantages of Agile distributed teamsIncreases the skill sets of teams by accessing a wider pool of global human resources.Reduces office space and various associated work items.Increased feedback due to the iterative nature of Agile.Reduces travel expenses.Teams can span time-zones, thus access up to 24-hour capacity.Can include members with disabilities and mobility restrictions.Higher levels of well-being.Flexible working arrangements foster an increased commitment to the company.Increased cultural diversity. Helping Agile distributed teams to succeedThere are a number of ways to get the best out of distributed teams. Digital tools such as video conferencing, Agile soft boards and collaboration platforms are just a few of the obvious enablers. Some good applications that I have used in the past include Zoom, Skype, Slack, Jira, and SharePoint. Also, adequate infrastructure such as computers and a reliable fast internet connection is another crucial enabler. I have witnessed several projects fail or underperform simply because internet connectivity and speed were severely limited. Another critical factor that is rarely considered is that of psychological health. If the mind is not in the right place, the greatest tools in the world are not going to make a distributed Agile team successful. Agile teams differ from more traditional project teams in that they are far more useful to being empowered, self-organized, flexible, innovative, collaborative, with a flatter management structure. When an Agile team is distributed, it presents added complexity with regard to the psychological health that can impact these Agile team traits.In my MBA thesis, I investigated the well-being of home-based workers in the BPO industry and discovered that 27% expressed feelings of isolation, less team unity, and missed their work colleagues. Perhaps more disturbing was the lack of organizational support for this phenomenon. While this may not always affect distributed workers, such as ones located in remote serviced offices, the feeling of disconnection is still there. I used to work for Fujitsu out of a serviced office many years ago. The offices were very nice, clean, well serviced, but empty most of the time. The only people I came across were strangers from the company who would drop in to have a meeting or print out something. I distinctly recall the feeling that I was alone with a phone to call prospect clients; more strangers. I was in a distributed team of business development managers and received zero communication from anyone about how I was coping, only about how the sales numbers were going.So here are some of the critical success factors that helped me to reduce the negative psychological effects of Agile distributed teams:The Scrum Master, Product Owner or other Agile lead needs to touch base with the distributed worker or team at least once a day. Videoconferencing is the best method or a phone call at the very least. It only needs to be 5-10 minutes just to touch base and let the team know they have organizational support. This is aside from the daily stand-up, which should also use video conferencing to promote a feeling of togetherness.Now Me  This is my own name for a special weekly get-together derived from a NO Work MEeting. As the name suggests, this meeting is not about work at all. It is an opportunity to get together virtually, via video conferencing, to chat about anything the team wants to chat about.Virtual Coffee CupWhen regular meetings are scheduled in the head office or boardroom with a mix of co-located and distributed team members, I try and buy a custom coffee mug with the name of the distributed team member or members who are connecting remotely to the meeting. I actually fill up the coffee mug with their favorite beverage and place it on the table in view of the camera. This may seem like a simple thing, but you may be surprised just how inclusive people feel when they have been thought of as in that meeting room with everyone else. Remember Agile teams are equal members, so every effort should be made to make everyone feel equally appreciated.Counselling ServicesThis is where HR might need to step in and provide a service for distributed team members that feel isolated, frustrated, or even depressed. These issues can become serious. It is best to provide a service that is independent of the organization, but if that is not possible, HR needs trained and qualified personnel with regard to mental health and confidentiality.  360° Feedback Unfortunately, many performance assessments are only one way. With distributed Agile teams especially, there must be a 360° feedback on team performance, and that includes product owners, scrum masters, release managers etc. Agile distributed teams are becoming the new norm. To label these teams as the lesser counterparts of their co-located cousins would be premature, especially since technology can only get better before the disadvantages start outweighing the advantages. While there is naturally some loss of osmotic communication with distributed teams, it is more than compensated by a healthier, happier, culturally diverse team of members that are backed up by the latest in communication and collaborative technology, and an unlimited global human resource pool. 
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Key Factors to Succeed at Managing Distributed Agi...

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How To Become A Certified Scrum Master- Exam Preparation And Guidance

Introduction to Certified Scrum MasterWho is the Scrum Master?In one of our previous blog posts, Rumesh Wijetunge wrote some relevant insights about the role of Scrum Master. Wearing different hats, coach, enabler, facilitator, team leader, problem-solver, s/he is in charge of giving right directions to team members so that they reach objectives. First promoter of Agile mindset, values and principles, the Scrum Master uses the Scrum framework to help a team understanding, working on and achieving a common goal.Responsibilities of the Certified Scrum MasterIt is expected from the Certified Scrum Master to promote an Agile way of working and to lead Scrum implementation in order to improve the team overall performance. It implies these activities:Teaching Agile values and principles and ensuring they have been understood and adopted by the Scrum Team, and even by the whole organization if possible (and relevant)Implementing the Scrum framework so that it fits to the needs expressed by the Scrum TeamListening, observing and reflecting on how the Scrum Team is reacting to first changes, then selecting and adapting Scrum elements accordingly.Protecting Team Members from any interferences or troubles that make them losing focus on their primary workAnticipating, identifying and removing any impediments, and coaching Team Members to learn solving these situations by themselvesHelping the Product Owner to manage the Product Backlog so that time-to-market is reduced and every increment brings value to end customersActing as a Servant LeaderRequirements to become a Certified Scrum Master Getting some basic knowledge about the Scrum framework is a nice-to-have prerequisite. However, the first mandatory step is to attend a two-day CSM course conducted by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®). This course will prepare you well for the CSM exam by delivering insights about how to organize and support a Scrum Team. The final step is easy: you need to accept the License Agreement and update your Scrum Alliance membership profile. Why you should be a Certified Scrum Master? Becoming a Certified Scrum Master is one way to expand your career opportunities. Indeed, Agile is spreading everywhere in organisations, in all industries. Strongly correlated, software and digitalization are eating the world, so the need for Scrum Masters in software development is increasing. It is also the beginning of a long journey: it enables you to engage with other Scrum practitioners all over the world, to share best practices, to solve common issues and to promote Agile values and continuous improvement.Besides, this certification offers you to learn foundation of Scrum and scope of the role of Scrum Master. And because it is delivered by Scrum Alliance , this is a very valid proof of your Scrum knowledge.What do I need to do to become a CSM? A true belief and strong interest in Agile philosophy will help for sure to get knowledge, to practice efficiently and to stand out among Agile practitioners. Nonetheless, passing the Scrum Alliance certification for Scrum Master lies mainly in learning Scrum fundamentals and attending to the two-day training (see above paragraph c.)a. Why CSM over PSM: Best Scrum Master certification1. Scrum.org courses- Price, Renewal, Pros, and ConsPrice: It includes exam fees but depends on content, duration, trainer and location:US: $1500Europe: 1500 eurosIndia: INR 26,000Renewal: No expiration (lifetime certification)Pros:Course content is officially designed by Scrum.org so all teachers deliver same content. It implies that Scrum.org selects qualified instructors and ensures students learn the same core content.Exam can be taken without attending course - Exam fees are $150There is an online free assessment exam for practisingCons: Exam is much harder than CSM. It requires experience, and deep theoretical knowledge2. Difference between Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org coursesThe main difference lies in the fact that Scrum.org provides standard curriculum and course content, while training conducted to become CSM depends on individual trainers experience, opinion and knowledge.CSM Certification TrainingSyllabus of Scrum Master certification Scrum Alliance provides a list of selected resources to learn the Scrum framework. People who want to become Certified Scrum Master are invited to read articles from experts like Mike Cohn or Steve Denning, or from other members. One specific advantage with Scrum Alliance lies in their elearning series: a dozen of short videos introduce Scrum Theory and Values, Scrum Roles, Scrum Events and Scrum Artifacts. Besides, it is strongly recommended to read those references:the Scrum Guide by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherlandthe Scrum Primer by Pete Deemer, Gabrielle Benefield, Craig Larman and Bas Voddethe Do Better Scrum by Peter Hundermark Not mandatory but relevant to go further, Scrum: A Pocket Guide by Gunther Verheyenand Software in 30 days by Ken Schwaber.Exam and Certification InformationScrum Alliance courses- Price, Renewal, Pros and Cons The CSM course is a two-day (16 hours) course delivered by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®).There is no standard fee, so the price can vary depending on the context: trainer, content, location, date ; the usual range is from 1000 to 1500 euros (or from 1150 to 1750 dollars).It includes two attempts to take the CSM exam and a two-year membership to the new Scrum Alliance® community. Those two attempts has to be used in the next 90 days after attendees welcome email to pass the test. Beyond this duration, they will be prompted to pay $25 to take the exam. Certification is valid during two years, then it requires to be renewed.Besides, attendees to the CSM course will be granted with 14 PDUs credits: 10 PDUs in Technical Project Management and 4 PDUs in Leadership. What can be considered as a drawback is that there is no standard content course. Course materials are made by individual trainers, which implies it can be limited by their experience and opinion.Cost of the Scrum Master CertificationThere is no specific cost for the Certification: fee is included into the CSM two-day course. The structure of the exam The exam is composed by 35 multiple-choice and true/false questions. At least 24 correct answers are required to take the exam, and there is no time limit to answer those questions. Topics covered in the CSM exam As this exam requires to demonstrate understanding of key Scrum elements, it covers general Scrum knowledge, Scrum roles, Scrum meetings and Scrum artifacts.Here are the Sample questions of CSM exam 1) What does NOT belong to the agile manifesto's main pillars?Mark one answer:Individuals and interactions over processes and toolsWorking software over comprehensive documentationProcesses over peopleCustomer collaboration over contract negotiation2) How should work be allocated to the team in an Agile project?Mark one answer:The Team Leader (ScrumMaster) should allocate specific tasks to individualsTasks should be randomly allocated to team members, using Planning PokerTeam members should self-select tasks appropriate to their skillsThe most complex tasks should be allocated by the Team Leader (ScrumMaster)3) What are the disadvantages of the classical waterfall model? (Select the best alternative)A)  End-Product has to be fully anticipated beforehandB)  Some requirements are implemented as defined in the beginning of the project, and yet they are not really needed by the customerC)  Each phase is strictly separatedMark one answer:- A- A, B- C, B- A, B, C4) Who is responsible for prioritizing the product backlog?Mark one answer:- Product Owner- Project Manager- Lead Developer- Business Analyst5) What kind of software development projects can be executed by Scrum Project Management Framework?Mark one answer:- Complete software packages- Customer projects- Sub-systems, components or parts of bigger systems- All kinds of software development projects- None of the given answersSalary of the Certified Scrum MasterSalary per yearJuniorSeniorUS$82,000 - 105,000$105,000 - 120,000Europe38,000 - 55,000 €55,000 - 75,000 €DubaiAED 25,000AED 35,000India$20,000$30,000
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How To Become A Certified Scrum Master- Exam Prep...

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Reasons You Should Be A Certified Scrum Master

What is a CSM? Stage of Scrum today!CSM stands for Certified Scrum Master. The CSM is a certification given by the Scrum Alliance, a non-profit organization founded in 2001. The CSM certificate is given to a person after attending a 2-day course in a classroom about Scrum and more especially the role of a Scrum Master.The requirement of earning the certificate is to attend the class and to pass an online test (multiple choice quiz) afterward. The certification is not backed by proven Scrum Master’s experience, rather it’s a certificate earned by classroom attendance. For most professionals, the certificate is the start of the journey as a Scrum Master.How widespread is Scrum?According to the 12th Annual State of Agile report, 56% are practicing Scrum (2018) Source: https://explore.versionone.com/state-of-agileWhat are the important roles and responsibilities of a Certified Scrum Master?The Scrum Master is defined as being a “servant-leader” for the Scrum Team. When you first hear the term that sounds a bit cryptic. The role is much about leadership, in a serving way, meaning the Scrum Master is responsible for the growth of others.Scrum Master vs Project ManagerTypically, there’s a misunderstanding and comparison between a “traditional” project manager and a Scrum Master. Where the project manager is occupied with the triangle Time & Scope & Resources (budget), and managing these to deliver on target.The main responsibility of the Scrum Master is to maximize the value by using Scrum as a development framework. Moreover, the Scrum Master’s role is inherently very people-oriented, while a project manager could manage a project very administratively or as well, take great care of the people involved. In Scrum, there are 3 actors: Product Owner, Scrum Master, and the development team. The responsibilities of developing, delivering, and sustaining products in Scrum are spread over those 3 roles.Roles and Responsibilities of the Scrum MasterThe Scrum Master is leading, and providing a service to 3 parties:The product owner (and involved stakeholders)The development teamThe organisation (in which the development team exists)The Scrum Master is responsible for promoting and supporting Scrum as defined in the Scrum Guide. Scrum Masters do this by helping everyone understand Scrum theory, practices, rules, and values.The Scrum Master is coaching, facilitating, explaining, helping where necessary to ensure an improved practicing of Scrum - not only based upon the official Scrum Guide but mostly by living and being an example of what it means to be agile and live by Scrum’s values and principles.Who should obtain a Scrum Master Certification?I’d recommend a Scrum Master Certification to anyone who’s interested to better understand Scrum, and to anyone who has ambitions to take the role of the Scrum Master.Scrum Masters can originate from many backgrounds - it’s more about the person calling to become a Scrum Master and to grow from being a “good” Scrum Master to a “great” Scrum Master. Sometimes it is necessary to unlearn a number of practices and behaviors from the past. If you truly embrace the Agile mindset, you’ll naturally grow in the Scrum Master’s role.Why become a Certified Scrum Master?The Scrum Master Certification course will give you a better understanding of Scrum and what it means to be a Scrum Master.Scrum Master is the most popular certification, selected by 84 percent of respondents. The IT industry and recruiters are looking for people who are certified. You should form your own opinion if a certification is important to you or not - but it can be a kickstart to take up this role.The most important is to understand that a certification gives a proof of attending a 2-day course and that you have the minimum knowledge to start working as a Scrum Master. Remember, Scrum is one particular approach (although very popular) to adopt an Agile methodology. You should also learn, live and apply the values and principles of the Agile manifesto.How to get your Scrum Master Certification?Given below are the Steps for earning a Scrum Master certification.Find yourself a CSM course (in this case organized by the Scrum Alliance) - courses are organized worldwide. It is also interesting to look at who is the trainer. The course is a two-day CSM course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer® (CST®) of Scrum Alliance.After the course, you’ll need to pass the CSM exam. After you pass the CSM exam and accept the License Agreement of CSM, complete your Scrum Alliance membership profile and enjoy the benefits of certification.Note: The CSM license is valid for 2 years, after which you’ll need to renew the license.Certification Path to Scrum Master certificationFrom the perspective of the Scrum Alliance, there’s a certification path. Previously as a Certified Scrum Master or Certified Scrum Product Owner, you could obtain a certification of a practitioner, entitled Certified Scrum Professional.Recently, the Scrum Alliance has changed the certification path from CSM to Advanced CSM (A-CSM), with a corresponding classroom course about Advanced Scrum Mastering. Empirically, it was clear that a 2-day classroom course only covers the basic knowledge and techniques to be a Scrum Master.The Advanced Scrum Master course comprehends advanced techniques such as facilitation. If you hold your A-CSM certification, you can apply to become a Certified Scrum Professional (Scrum Master). These certifications have a limited validity period.Personally, I consider this a good thing, a certification is like a badge or a reward for specific achievement or body of knowledge at a certain point in time, and this is to be renewed periodically according to your professional experience.What it takes to be an effective Scrum Master?For me, being a Scrum Master requires competencies of coaching, facilitation and training.There’s a document describing 8 stances of a Scrum Master, I like this description as it illustrates there are several aspects to being a Scrum Master, different hats to wear. The 8 stances are Servant Leader, Facilitator, Coach, Manager, Mentor, Teacher, Impediment Remover, Change Agent.The Scrum Master is constantly trying to detect opportunities to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the team and in the organization. Inspecting and adapting (constantly looking for feedback, and acting to improve using that feedback) is core to the Scrum Master’s role.Geoff Watts describes the characteristics of a Scrum Master as being RETRAINED:Resourceful, is creative in removing impedimentsEnabling, is passionate about helping othersTactful, is diplomacy personifiedRespected, has a reputation for integrityAlternative, is prepared to promote a counter-cultureInspiring, generates enthusiasm and energy in othersNurturing, enjoys helping teams and individuals develop and growEmpathic, is sensitive to those around themDisruptive, breaks the status quo, help create a new way of workingFrom which background people can evolve to be a Scrum Master?There’s no specific previous requirement to evolve to the role of Scrum Master. I have personally seen Scrum Masters who were previously:Software developmentProject manager (or any variation thereof)Business analystOr with a completely different background; such as psychology\Being in touch with your true self and be an example of change is the greatest asset to be a Scrum Master.Top challenges for a Certified Scrum MasterAccording to me, the main challenge is to keep the application of Scrum simple, which means  not to add additional tools, techniques, processes, actors, etc which will complexify the application of Scrum in an unnecessary way.Otherwise, the challenges for a Scrum Master are not that different from other Agile frameworks or approaches. The 3 most significant challenges to agile adoption and scaling are reported as(1) Organizational culture at odds with agile values (53%),(2) General organizational resistance to change (46%), and(3) Inadequate management support and sponsorship (42%).A Scrum Master must be perseverant, diplomatic, empathic in his wording and doing.The State of Scrum 2017-2018 report indicates similar challenges:Organizational design and culture made it difficult to adopt and scaleDifficult to transition from traditional WaterfallNo clearly defined metrics to identify and measure successLack of executive management is not (anymore) a top challenge! This used to be one of the main reasons why Scrum and adoption were failing before.Career Path of a Certified Scrum MasterScrum as a framework comprehends 3 roles: Scrum Master, Product Owner, and (product) development team, together they are the Scrum Team. As a Scrum Master, there’s a long and bright path ahead of you to strengthen your knowledge, deepen your understanding and develop the different competencies of Scrum Mastership. And a Scrum Master job is the highest paid job, an average Certified Scrum Master Salary will be around $104,682/year.For example, you can evolve as a coach, facilitator or trainer. The industry sometimes regards the next career step of a Scrum Master, to become an Agile coach. This is not necessarily true; an organization embracing Scrum for product development can function without the need of Agile coaches.It is true that the focus of a Scrum Master can (and will) evolve. Depending upon the maturity stage of the team, a Scrum Master will focus a lot, in the beginning, to help (coach) the development team and the product owner, later the focus will shift to other teams and the remainder of the organization.In essence, a Scrum Master has the goal to become obsolete! The Scrum Masters will strengthen the competencies of the Scrum team so that they can self-organize and self-govern, eventually without the need for every day help of a Scrum Master. A Scrum Master can evolve to become a Scrum team coach or a coach for multiple teams.Scrum Master vs. Agile CoachNowadays, the position of Scrum Master is compared to Agile Coach, and many people in the industry self-claim the title. Any prejudgment set aside, there’s nothing wrong with anyone’s ambitions, but it’s important to understand the similarities and differences between the scrum Master and Agile Coach.A Scrum Master’s main focus is Scrum - there exist other Agile and Lean approaches - but being a Scrum Master is about Scrum.A Scrum Master also coaches, personal and team coaching is an important aspect in both roles.A Scrum Master is a dedicated role, to one or multiple teams. An agile coach is typically by default involved in multiple teams.An agile coach has a broader knowledge and experience of agile & lean philosophies and approaches - of course this is not excluded for the Scrum MasterA Scrum Master is also working on the organisation’s level, this is by default part of it (and described in the official Scrum Guide). Organisations who limit the influence of Scrum Masters to the team and team only, will not gain the benefits of a Scrum Master. “A good Scrum Master helps a Scrum Team survive in an organisation’s culture. A great Scrum Master helps change the culture so Scrum Teams can thrive.” – Geoff WattsScrum Masters of several teams can form themselves a Scrum team - typically an agile coach could help the group of Scrum Masters to grow to work as a team  - if needed.An experienced agile coach can help to kick-off the application of Scrum in an organisation, together with senior management / leadership teams on enterprise level - in case the Scrum Masters don’t have this experience or confidence.Effect of Scrum on software development projectsThe following is valued most by executives for Scrum-based projects (source: State of Scrum 2017-2018, by Scrum Alliance)Comparison between CSM and other related Scrum MasterNext to the Scrum Alliance, there exist Scrum.org (founded by Ken Schwaber, one of the co-authors of Scrum). Scrum.org offers its own certification path for Scrum Master, called Professional Scrum Master (PSM), level I, II, III. For more info on this, read the article “Professional Scrum Master vs. Certified Scrum Master”Demand of a Certified Scrum MasterA search on the website Agile Careers by Scrum Alliance https://jobs.scrumalliance.org/ show there are more than 1000 jobs requiring a Scrum Master certification.
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Reasons You Should Be A Certified Scrum Master

What is a CSM? Stage of Scrum today!CSM stands for... Read More

How Not to be Agile – Daily Stand-Up/Scrum

IntroductionHello and welcome to this, the fifth article in the series ‘How Not to be Agile’‘How Not to be Agile’ may seem a strange title for blogs about how good Agile is.  What I intend to do over this series of articles is to share with you the misinterpretations, omissions, and mistakes that people make that significantly reduce the potential benefits when an organisation, or part of it, embark on an Agile Transformation.In this article, I will cover some of the misunderstandings and malpractices that I have come across to do with the daily stand-up event; all the Agile frameworks use the term ‘daily stand-up’ for the event except Scrum which calls it a ‘daily Scrum’.As I said before, it is the content and management of the daily stand-up that is important; call the event what you like.I will start with a description of the daily stand-up and then give examples of what can go wrong.Importance of Daily Stand-Up Meetings in ScrumThe concept of a daily stand-up was first introduced to the Agile community by the Scrum framework and has since been adopted by all other Agile frameworks.The idea behind a daily stand-up is to give the whole development team an opportunity to see what has been happening in the development timebox since the previous stand-up, what is planned to be done before the next stand-up and to state any problems that they may be having.The development team uses the daily Scrum stand-up to inspect progress toward meeting the development timebox goal and the likelihood that the development timebox MVP will be met.This is recommended to be done by each team member answering 3 questions:What have I been doing since the last stand-up?What do I plan to do before the next stand-up?What blocks/impediments/issues/problems am I having?Developments over time to the daily Scrum meeting process include:Carrying out the stand-up in front of the Team Board and updating it as necessaryUsing video-conferencing and a shared, electronic Team Board for distributed teamsAdding questions such as:Has anyone given me a requirement change request?Have I learned anything about this product development that I think everyone should know about?Do I have any worries about how the team is progressing?The Scrum Guide states that the daily stand-up should take no more than 15 minutes; the Agile Project Framework suggests that normally the daily Scrum stand-up should not last more than 15 minutes but also suggests that 2 minutes per participant + 2 minutes is a good guide; for a team of 9 members this would equate to 20 minutes.If there are any ‘matters arising’ from the daily stand-up, most teams will delay discussion until after the stand-up is finished and then only those that are needed for the discussion stay behind; the rest go back to work.What the Daily Scrum Meeting is Not?During early Agile transitions it is ‘tempting’ for the management to ‘watch’ the development team closely and the daily stand-up turns into a ‘reporting progress to management’ session.This is NOT what the daily stand-up is for and all attempts to turn it into one must be resisted.An Alternative to Daily Stand-Up processThe Kanban framework and other lean process practitioners realised that the ‘standard’ 3 questions above are not really relevant because people just need to take a look at the Scrum Board (kanban) to see what they did recently and what they will do the next; remember the use of a Team Board is not ‘mandatory’ in most of the Agile frameworks but it would be unusual for a team not to use one, whether a physical board or an electronic one.                                                                     Figure 1 - Physical Team Board Example                                                                                             Figure 2 - Electronic Team Board Example So, here are the questions that a Kanban user answers:What is impeding us?Assuming, that the meetings take place in front of the board, there isn't even a need to discuss what items are impeded (since this will be visible on the board).  Therefore, all there is to focus on, is the possible and the best solutions to the problematic items.What's the flow like?Because Kanban is all about the workflow, what should be discussed at this point are any possible changes that the team can make in order to make the flow even smoother and efficient.  Also, should there be any bottlenecks, the daily stand-up is the right time to work on their best resolution.What can we improve? (how to achieve Kaizen?)This is a question is the means by which the entire team is empowered to strive for constant improvement; by allowing for the change suggestions to come from anyone in the team, there is a big chance of success.Effectively, the Kanban Framework incorporates every day what other frameworks do in the Retrospective.Whatever Agile framework that you use, if you adopt a Kanban style Team Board, you may want to use the Kanban questions during your daily stand-ups.Who Should Attend the Daily Stand-Up?It is important that all of the development team, both full and part-time, and the Agile Project Manager/Scrum Master attend the daily stand-up:The whole development team needs to be there because all team members need to be aware of what is happening in the development timebox, state any problems that they may be having and potentially offer help to other team members who may have problems.The Agile Project Manager/Scrum Master needs to be there as the Risk and Issue Manager to listen to the problems that any team members may have.The daily stand-up should be run by the development team although, in some organisations, the Agile Project Manager/Scrum Master runs the event.Other people outside of the Development Team are ‘welcome’ to attend daily Scrum meeting but are not allowed to speak; they are only there to observe the process.When Should the Daily Stand-Up Take Place?One of the tenets of all Agile frameworks is to have a cadence or ‘heartbeat’; events should be scheduled on the same day, time, and place for the whole product development time.It is strongly recommended that the daily stand-up should be scheduled to take place in the same place at the same time every working day.Case Study 1:In several organisations that I have coached in, when I arrived, the daily stand-ups were taking upwards of 30 mins; this was because:There was a detailed discussion between 1 or 2 team members about some topic or otherOne or two members were overly verbose in their explanation of what they had done and what they were going to doIn all cases, the majority of other team members were not interested in the details of the conversations or another’s work; some used the ‘wasting my time’ reason to avoid attending the daily-stand-ups.In one organisation, I was teaching an Agile class and on day 2, 3 delegates turned up 1 hour late for a 9am start.  I asked, politely, if they had a problem attending on time and was told that they had to attend their team’s daily stand-up; a laudable reason.  When I asked what time their team’s daily stand-up started I was told 9am; the event had taken 50 minutes!What was worse was that one of the delegates was supposed to be the Scrum Master for the development!Lessons:Don’t start Agile product Development without the Agile PM/Scrum Master having had at least 2 days of training on the Agile framework that they should be usingWhoever is running the daily stand-up, do not allow:Detailed explanations of work done or planned to be doneDetailed discussions of points between 1 or 2 team membersMatters will arise during the daily stand-up but discussion of these must be held over until the daily stand-up has finishedIf a team member says they have an impediment and it can be solved in about 15 seconds, then that is OK; for example, a team member may say:“ I cannot get hold of person XYZ to get the information I need”Another team member may have had the same problem in the past and may say something like:“He/she never answers the phone during the morning; call him/her after 2 pm”Case Study 2:For one engagement that I was working on, the Development Team was dispersed in 5 locations in 3 different time zones.  I noticed that one team member in another location never attended the daily stand-up; the Scrum Master obtained the answer to the 3 questions later in the day over the phone.I asked the Scrum Master why this was so and he told me that the person was in a time zone 1 hour behind the main team and had travelling difficulties getting into work for the daily stand-up time.I asked when the team member could ‘guarantee’ getting into work and would there be any problem moving the daily stand-up time.  It transpired that the time of the daily stand-up could be moved to suit the team member without inconveniencing any of the other team members.LessonsThe time for the daily stand-up should be set when all development team members have a good chance of attending; this is important for geographically dispersed teams.The Scrum Master gathering daily stand-up information after the event wastes his/her time and the rest of the team miss the opportunity to have all the information that they needCase Study 3: There have been 3 occasions when time zones  played an important part in choosing when the daily stand-up should be held:The main team was in Tokyo, there was a sub-team in Beijing, the ‘customer’ was in San Diego and management was in Helsinki; this was the first Agile product development for this team although other teams in the organization had transitioned.Although it is not normal for the customer or management to attend the daily stand-up, in this case, both the customer and management wanted to attend to make sure that the team were ‘on the right track’; the fact that I had trained the main team hadn’t given the management sufficient confidence!But the time zone differences made it difficult to choose an appropriate team for all attendees.Because there were only 1 customer and 1 manager who wanted to join the stand-up, it was decided to hold the stand-up at 1pm Tokyo time to inconvenience the main and sub-teams the least; for the customer in San Diego it was 11pm and for the manager in Helsinki it was 5am.We ran like this for 1 week after which both the customer and manager decided that they were happy with the way the main team and sub-team were operating.The Development Team were in Cebu, Philippines, and the Product Owner was in Duluth, USA; the Product Owner wanted a daily update on how the requirements were being implemented.There was no overlap in the work times of the different time zones so it was decided that the Scrum Master would start work at 1pm Cebu time, the daily stand-up would be run at 2pm Cebu time and the Scrum Master would update the Product Owner at 9pm Cebu time, 8am Duluth time.The majority of the team were in Dundee, Scotland with a few team members in Hyderabad, India.In this case, there was a 3.5 hour overlap in the work times of the different time zones so it was decided to run the daily stand-up at 10am Dundee time and 3:30pm Hyderabad time.Lessons:Although this Case Study does not demonstrate anti-Agile behaviour, it is worth noting the following lessons:When deciding a time to run the daily stand-up, the time should be set to inconvenience the development team members as little as possible; other people must choose whether their attendance during ‘unsocial hours’ is worth it to themselves.The Agile PM/Scrum Master does not have to work the same hours as the rest of the development team in the same time zone; it does depend on whether the Agile PM/Scrum Master is prepared to work ‘unsocial hours’.Where work times overlap across time zones, ensure that the time to run the daily stand-up is within the work times of all time zones. Case Study 4:I was coaching a team that was in the early stages of an Agile transformation and the team members had picked up the basics well; the daily stand-ups were running well with some good banter and team member help being offered freely.During one stand-up, I noticed a marked lack of relaxation amongst the team members when speaking and their heads were down most of the time.I asked the Scrum Master if he knew the reason for the change of atmosphere and she said that she had expected something like it but not quite so marked.There had been a manager attending for the first time; this manager had a reputation for being a bit ‘old school’; “do as I say and no arguments”.After confirming with the team members that they had felt intimidated, I researched the manager and discovered that he headed a department that was just starting to try Agile; the manager had attended the stand-up just to see how it worked and had had no intention of ‘interfering’ or making any opinions about the team members.I asked if he would like me to coach ‘his’ team through their early Agile events; he accepted and I invited him to attend all the events as an observer.After each event, I mentored the manager about his opinion of what went on.  He had a few questions about ‘why this’ and ‘why that’ and I was able to answer his questions to his satisfaction.I asked ‘his’ team members what they thought of having the manager at their events and they said that they had had some trepidation at first but after they could see that he had been there to learn and had not lived up to his previous reputation, they became quite comfortable with the manager’s presence.I told the members of the original team of this apparent change to the manager’s ‘personality and asked if he could attend the next daily stand-up; they agreed and the next stand-up with the manager present went as ‘normal’.Lessons:If there is a change of demeanour of any individual or several team members, investigate the reason; it is most probably an impediment to smooth team running.The Scrum Master could have just asked the manager not to attend anymore but given the manager’s perceived reputation, that would have taxed the Scrum Master’s diplomacy skills.By engaging with the manager, it was possible to shift his ‘old school’ manner to one that understood Agile and could cooperatively support it.ConclusionThe ‘mechanics’ of the daily stand-up are relatively straightforward if the rules of the Daily Scrum are followed strictly in a daily routine. Collated below are the best practices while implementing daily Scrum:All development team members must attend, both full and part-time members.The time and place for the daily stand-up should be chosen to give the least inconvenience to the development team members.Geographically dispersed teams can run daily stand-ups using video-conferencing and shared desktop facilities.The questions to be answered by development team members should be adjusted to suit the type of Team Board being used.Non-development team members are welcome to attend daily stand-ups but are not allowed to speak.If the attendance at a daily stand-up of a non-development team member is considered to ‘intimidate’ one or more team members, this is an impediment and the resolution must be sought. 
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How Not to be Agile – Daily Stand-Up/Scrum

IntroductionHello and welcome to this, the fifth a... Read More

Scrum vs Kanban: Deciding The 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 focuses on the 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 today. The key differences between Kanban and Scrum depend on the rules for using the Scrum methodology and the Kanban workflow.When the organization implements any methodology which is not flexible and useful, this can make the organization inefficient. This leads to the introduction of an Agile methodology in the organization. So, the first step while implementing the Agile methodology in the organization is to decide which Agile framework will be the best for you and your team.Suppose, you have chosen a Scrum framework and Kanban workflow, then what is the difference between Scrum and Kanban? Is Kanban Agile? What is Scrum vs Agile? And so on.GOLDEN RULESBoth 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 the few examples:Teams are functioning in a  cross-functional mannerDuring sprints, Interruptions are strictly avoidedWork is always time boxedScrum meetings are held on a daily basisTo measure the progress a burndown chart is usedFirstly, 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 progressTo Visualize the workflowKanban 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 METHODOLOGYFor 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 weeks, 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.Implementing Scrum is not as easy as learning its principles. It requires to change the team members’ habits. The team members have to raise the quality of coding, take up more responsibilities, increase a speed and many more factors need to change. Scrum allows team commitment as the team commits to the Sprint goals, they always stay motivated to get better and fast results as per the user requirements.  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. The main aim behind implementing Kanban is the productivity and efficiency of the product. This allows them to 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.In Kanban board, it is mandatory to define a “Work-In-Progress-Limit (WIP Limit)”. This helps to know the status of the work items to be delivered. If a status reaches the fixed WIP-limit, no new task is allowed at that state. This board helps to resolve the bottlenecks, as it makes the progress visible for further improvements. So, these WIP Limits acts as a change agent in Kanban.The Workflow of the KanbanComparison of Scrum and KanbanScrum vs Kanban: Deciding between the duosIf 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, 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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1922
Scrum vs Kanban: Deciding The New Agile Benchmark

Today in the rapidly changing market, software dev... Read More

A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

A Quick view of SAFe® Agile has gained popularity in recent years, and with good reason. Teams love this approach that allows them to get a value to the customer faster while learning and adjusting to change as needed. But teams often don’t work in isolation. Many teams work in the context of larger organizations.  Often Agile doesn’t fit their needs. Some teams need an Agile approach that scales to larger projects that involve multiple teams.   It’s possible to do this. That’s where the Scaled Agile Framework, or SAFe®, can help.Why SAFe® is the best scalable framework?The Scaled Agile Framework is a structured Agile approach for large enterprises. It’s prescriptive and provides a path for interdependent teams to gain the benefits of using an Agile approach.Scaled Agile provides guidance not only at the team level but also at the Program and Portfolio levels. It also has built-in coordinated planning across related teams who are working in Release Trains.These planning increments allow teams to plan together to work with customers and release value frequently in a way that’s sustainable to teams. And it supports continuous improvement. It’s a great way for large companies to maintain structure and roll out Agile at a large scale. What is SAFe® 4.5? Scaled Agile, otherwise known as SAFe®, was initially released in 2011 by Dean Leffingwell as a knowledge base for enterprises to adopt Agile. Over the years it has grown and evolved. SAFe® 4.5 was released on June 22, 2017, to accommodate improvements to the framework. Following are some of the key improvements in SAFe® 4.5:Essential SAFe® and ConfigurabilityInnovation with Lean Startup and Lean UXScalable DevOps and Continuous DeliveryImplementation roadmapBenefits of SAFe® 4.5 to companies:Organizations who adopt SAFe® 4.5 will be able to gain the following benefits:1) Test ideas more quickly. SAFe® 4.5 has a build-in iterative development and testing. This lets teams get faster feedback to learn and adjust more quickly.2) Deliver much faster. The changes to SAFe® 4.5 allow teams to move complex work through the pipeline and deliver value to the customer faster.3) Simplify governance and improve portfolio performance. Guidance and support have been added at the Portfolio level to guide organizations in addressing Portfolio-level concerns in a scaled agile context. SAFe® 4.5 - Key areas of improvements:A. Essential SAFe® and ConfigurabilityFour configurations of SAFe® that provide a more configurable and scalable approach:Essential SAFe®. The most basic level that teams can use. It contains just the essentials that a team needs to get the benefits of SAFe®.Portfolio SAFe®. For enterprises that implement multiple solutions that have portfolio responsibilities such as governance, strategy, and portfolio funding.Large Solution. Complex solutions that involve multiple Agile Release Trains. These initiatives don’t require Portfolio concerns, but only include the Large Solution and Essential SAFe® elements.  SAFe® Full SAFe®. The most comprehensive level that can be applied to huge enterprise initiatives requiring hundreds of people to complete.Because SAFe® is a framework, that provides the flexibility to choose the level of SAFe® that best fits your organization’s needs.B. Innovation with Lean Startup and Lean UXRather than creating an entire project plan up-front, SAFe® teams focus on features. They create a hypothesis about what a new feature will deliver and then use an iterative approach to develop and test their hypothesis along the way. As teams move forward through development, they perform this development and test approach repeatedly and adjust as needed, based on feedback. Teams also work closely with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) to focus on first. They identify what will be most valuable to the customer most immediately. Then they rely on feedback and learning as they develop the solution incrementally. They adjust as needed to incorporate what they’ve learned into the features. This collaboration and fast feedback and adjustment cycle result in a more successful product.  C. Scalable DevOps & Continuous DeliveryThe addition of a greater focus on DevOps allows teams to innovate faster. Like Agile, DevOps is a mindset. And like Agile, it allows teams to learn, adjust, and deliver value to users incrementally. The continuous delivery pipeline allows teams to move value through the pipeline faster through continuous exploration, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and released on demand. DevOps breaks down silos and supports Agile teams to work together more seamlessly. This results in more efficient delivery of value to the end users faster. It’s a perfect complement to Scaled Agile.D. Implementation RoadmapSAFe® now offers a suggested roadmap to SAFe® adoption. While change can be challenging, the implementation roadmap provides guidance that can help with that organizational change.Critical Role of the SAFe® Program ConsultantSAFe® Program Consultants, or SPCs, are critical change agents in the transition to Scaled Agile.Because of the depth of knowledge required to gain SPC certification, they’re perfectly positioned to help the organization move through challenges of change.They can train and coach all levels of SAFe® participants, from team members to executive leaders. They can also train the Scrum Master, Product Owners, and Agile Release Train Engineers, which are critical roles in SAFe®.The SPC can also train teams and help them launch their Agile Release Trains (ARTs).And they can support teams on the path to continued improvement as they continue to learn and grow.The SPC can also help identify value streams in the organization that may be ready to launch Agile Release Trains.The can also help develop rollout plans for SAFe® in the enterprise.Along with this, they can provide important communications that help the enterprise understand the drivers and value behind the SAFe® transition.       How SAFe® 4.5 is backward compatible with SAFe® 4.0?Even if your organization has already adopted SAFe® 4.0, SAFe® 4.5 has been developed in a way that can be easily adopted without disruption. Your organization can adopt the changes at the pace that works best.Few Updates in the new courseware The courseware for SAFe® 4.5 has incorporated changes to support the changes in SAFe® 4.5.They include Implementing SAFe®, Leading SAFe®, and SAFe® for Teams.Some of the changes you’ll see are as follows:Two new lessons for Leading SAFe®Student workbookTrainer GuideNew look and feelUpdated LPM contentSmoother lesson flowNEW Course Delivery Enablement (CDE) Changes were made to improve alignment between SAFe® and Scrum:Iteration Review. Increments previously known as Sprints now have reviews added. This allows more opportunities for teams to incorporate improvements. Additionally, a Team Demo has been added in each iteration review. This provides more opportunity for transparency, sharing, and feedback.Development Team. The Development team was specifically identified at the team level in SAFe® 4.5. The development team is made up of three to nine people who can move an element of work from development through the test. This development team contains software developers, testers, and engineers, and does not include the Product Owner and Scrum Master. Each of those roles is shown separately at the team level in SAFe® 4.5.Scrum events. The list of scrum events are shown next to the ScrumXP icon and include Plan, Execute, Review, and Retro (for a retrospective.)Combined SAFe® Foundation ElementsSAFe® 4.0 had the foundational elements of Core Values, Lean-Agile Mindset, SAFe® Principles, and Implementing SAFe® at a basic level.SAFe® 4.5 adds to the foundation elements by also including Lean-Agile Leaders, the Implementation Roadmap, and the support of the SPC in the successful implementation of SAFe®.Additional changes include:Communities of Practice. This was moved to the spanning palette to show support at all levels: team, program, large solution, and portfolio.Lean-Agile Leaders. This role is now included in the foundational level. Supportive leadership is critical to a successful SAFe® adoption.SAFe® Program Consultant. This role was added to the Foundational Layer. The SPC can play a key leadership role in a successful transition to Scaled Agile.Implementation Roadmap. The implementation roadmap replaces the basic implementation information in SAFe® 4.0. It provides more in-depth information on the elements to a successful enterprise transition to SAFe®.Benefits of upgrading to SAFe® 4.5With the addition of Lean Startup approaches, along with a deeper focus on DevOps and Continuous Delivery, teams will be situated to deliver quality and value to users more quickly.With improvements at the Portfolio level, teams get more guidance on Portfolio governance and other portfolio levels concerns, such as budgeting and compliance.  Reasons to Upgrade to SAFe® 4.5 Enterprises who’ve been using SAFe® 4.0 will find greater flexibility with the added levels in SAFe® 4.5. Smaller groups in the enterprise can use the team level, while groups working on more complex initiatives can create Agile Release Trains with many teams.Your teams can innovate faster by using the Lean Startup Approach. Work with end users to identify the Minimum Viable Product (MVP), then iterate as you get fast feedback and adjust. This also makes your customer more of a partner in development, resulting in better collaboration and a better end product.Get features and value to your user community faster with DevOps and the Continuous Delivery pipeline. Your teams can continuously hypothesize, build, measure, and learn to continuously release value. This also allows large organizations to innovate more quickly.Most Recent Changes in SAFe® series - SAFe® 4.6Because Scaled Agile continues to improve, new changes have been incorporated with SAFe® 4.6. with the addition of five core competencies that enable enterprises to respond to technology and market changes.Lean Portfolio Management. The information needed for how to use a Lean-Agile approach to portfolio strategy, funding, and governance. Business Solutions and Lean Systems. Optimizing activities to Implement large, complex initiatives using a Scaled Agile approach while still addressing the necessary activities such as designing, testing, deployment, and even retiring old solutions.DevOps and Release on Demand. The skills needed to release value as needed through a continuous delivery pipeline.Team and Technical Agility. The skills needed to establish successful teams who consistently deliver value and quality to meet customer needs.Lean-Agile Leadership. How leadership enables a successful agile transformation by supporting empowered teams in implementing agile practices. Leaders carry out the Agile principles and practices and ensure teams have the support they need to succeedSAFe® Agilist (SA) Certification exam: The SAFe® Agilist certification is for the change leaders in an organization to learn about the SAFe® practices to support change at all levels: team, program, and portfolio levels. These change agents can play a positive role in an enterprise transition to SAFe®.In order to become certified as a SAFe® Agilist (SA), you must first take the Leading SAFe® class and pass the SAFe® certification exam. To learn more about this, see this article on How To Pass Leading SAFe® 4.5 Exam.SAFe® Certification Exam. KnowledgeHut provides Leading SAFe® training in multiple locations. Check the site for locations and dates.SAFe® Agile Certification Cost. Check KnowledgeHut’s scheduled training offerings to see the course cost. Each course includes the opportunity to sit for the exam included in the cost.Scaled Agile Framework Certification Cost. There are multiple levels of SAFe® certification, including Scrum Master, Release Train Engineer, and Product Owner. Courses range in cost, but each includes the chance to sit for the corresponding SAFe® certification.SAFe® Classes. SAFe® classes are offered by various organizations. To see if KnowledgeHut is offering SAFe® Training near you, check the SAFe® training schedule on our website.https://www.knowledgehut.com/blog/agile/Top-10-things-to-know-about-leading-SAFe®-4.5?utm_source=blogTrainingKnowledgeHut provides multiple Scaled Agile courses to give both leaders and team members in your organization the information they need to for a successful transition to Scaled Agile. Check the site for the list of classes to find those that are right for your organization as you make the journey.All course fees cover examination costs for certification.SAFe® 4.5 Scrum Master with SSM Certification Training(https://www.knowledgehut.com/agile-management/SAFe®-40-scrum-master-with-ssm-certification-training)Learn the core competencies of implementing Agile across the enterprise, along with how to lead high-performing teams to deliver successful solutions. You’ll also learn how to implement DevOps practices. Completion of this course will prepare you for obtaining your SAFe®® 4 Scrum Master certificate.SAFe® 4 Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)(https://www.knowledgehut.com/agile-management/SAFe®40advanced-scrum-master-course)This two-day course teaches you to how to apply Scrum at the enterprise level and prepares you to lead high-performing teams in a Scaled Agile environment. At course completion, you’ll be prepared to manage interactions not only on your team but also across teams and with stakeholders. You’ll also be prepared to take the SAFe® Advanced Scrum Master exam.Leading SAFe®4.5 Training Course (SA) (https://www.knowledgehut.com/agile-management/leading-SAFe®-certification-trainin)  This two-day Leading SAFe® class prepares you to become a Certified SAFe® 4 Agilist, ready to lead the agile transformation in your enterprise.  By the end of this course, you’ll be able to take the SAFe® Agilist (SA) certification exam.SAFe® 4.5 for Teams (SP) (https://www.knowledgehut.com/agile-management/SAFe®-for-teams-certification-training)This two-day course teaches Scrum fundamentals, principles tools, and processes. You’ll learn about software engineering practices needed to scale agile and deliver quality solutions in a Scaled Agile environment. Teams new to Scaled Agile will find value in going through this course. Attending the class prepares you for the certification exam to become a certified SAFe® 4 Practitioner (SP). DevOps Foundation Certification training (https://www.knowledgehut.com/information-technology/devops-foundation-certification-training)  This course teaches you the DevOps framework, along with the practices to prepare you to apply the principles in your work environment. Completion of this course will prepare you also to take the DevOps Foundation exam for certification.
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A Glimpse Of The Major Leading SAFe® Versions

A Quick view of SAFe® Agile has gained popularit... Read More