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How To Define Agile Benefits For Business Sponsors?

“Agile” has been a buzzword in organizations of late.  Use of Agile methodologies results in continuous engagement of end users in the development process. Organization development processes are tailored to make them focused on accommodating change. Agile processes work well for both development teams and business sponsors. To make Agile appealing to organizations, possible benefits have to be articulated well. This would act as an incentive for business sponsors to consider Agile. This is of immense help especially at the beginning when organizations are in a dilemma about the use of Agile methodologies.  Buy in from business sponsors is critical as it results in continuous involvement of stakeholders and also helps to get the right product owners involved during the development process. Approach to define Agile benefits for software development project: The benefits from Agile could be seen on multiple parameters of a software development project.  To understand which parameter would appeal to a business sponsor, pre-work is needed to assess current performance of software development process. The performance should be understood in terms of Speed of delivery of scope, schedule adherence, cycle time, cost, quality of product and number of post-production issues. In addition to understanding current performance, some thought should also be given to the return on investment for a particular parameter. For example, an organization might be struggling with the issue of late delivery of products and cycle time could be a priority to bring in optimum return on investment.   In an adaptive or agile life cycle, the sponsor & customer reps should be continuously engaged with the project to provide feedback on deliverables as they are created and to ensure that the product backlog reflects their current needs. — Joelle A Godfrey (@jgodfrey) 29 December 2017 Above tweet from Joelle stresses the fact that sponsor should be continuously engaged with project and provide feedback on deliverables.  Table 1 represents the probable ask from business sponsor and the parameter to be picked up for improvement. Table 1 – Relationship between business sponsor ask and improvement parameter Based on feedback from business sponsor, a specific parameter could be the focus of improvement for Agile method implementation. Figure 1 shows the role of a Project Office and its contribution as a bridge between Development team and Business community. Figure 1 – Project Office (PO) as a bridge   I have taken a case study of an organization with issue of quality for delivered Information Technology (IT) system with a high number of issues after production rollout. This impacted the ability of users of the system to carry out their day-to-day business functions. Figure 1 indicates the number of issues for that system post implementation in production. The data is shown as week over week number after implementation of the newly developed system in production. Figure 2 – Post-implementation issues after production rollout   As can be seen from figure 2, the number of issues post implementation were high. It took almost 10 weeks to get the number of issues under control. A high number of issues also resulted in IT teams continuously working on fixing issues. Business users were unable to use the system effectively because of constant flow of issues for multiple weeks.  For the newly developed system continuous post-production issues also resulted in lack of interest on part of the users to promote the usage. This did not help change management and migration to the new system. Users tended to get disillusioned by the new system and did not want to invest time in learning its functioning and features. In summary, high volume of post-implementation issues resulted in failure of newly built system to gain traction with business users. For this case study, a deep dive was performed to understand the issues related to post-implementation defects. Following were identified as root causes: Lack of understanding of business analysts for actual user needs Lack of participation of business users in reviews for requirement sign off Lack of participation of business users in initial testing of new features Lack of usability testing of newly developed features Lack of phase-wise development for features, development of all features completed and then only business users were involved for testing  Compressed timeline for testing resulting in less focus on performance and operability testing Armed with the above analysis, a discussion was scheduled with the business sponsor. Questions were asked about the priority for the organization. This would enable to focus on the right return on investment parameter for use of Agile practice. In the long run, the usage of Agile methodologies would have positive influence on multiple parameters. However, to begin with, specific parameters should be focused to get benefits with respect to most pressing issue.  Business sponsor mentioned that he would like to focus on quality of product to reduce post-implementation issues and improve ease of use of new features, to begin with. The focus should be on these parameters.  An analysis of post-production defects was done. The analysis pointed to a high number of defects for some specific features involving multiple paths to accomplish same business functionality. This needed discussions with business users to make sure they are aware of how the business functions are to be used and how a standard training package could be developed for a larger community of business users. With respect to usability of the product, special attention needed to be given to a set of test cases pertaining to usability. Assessment of usability of the product had to be carried out as a part of usability testing. Feedback from business users had to be incorporated during development and testing.   In the case organization, Agile scrum was chosen as Agile methodologies to be used for implementation of upcoming product. The team was trained in the usage of Scrum methodology. Appropriate roles were assigned to the identified team members. The team took time to get started as it was a new process. Specific areas identified during the discussion with business sponsor were kept as priority areas of improvement and Agile sprint plans were made in line with specific outcomes in mind. Each sprint took up development of a business feature. Business users could get an early preview of what is coming up in the new product. They provided feedback about specific changes and usability of the product. These feedbacks and suggestions were incorporated in upcoming sprints. Constant communication and interaction with business users helped to create an environment of teamwork and trust. Business users also helped to create a training plan for the product for rolling out to larger organization and community of business users. After complete development and thorough testing the product was released to production. There were very few issues in post-production. The comparison of post-production issues is shown below. Figure 3 – Comparison of post-production issues before and after Agile implementation   As seen from Fig. 3, there were very few issues after Agile was implemented. The feedback from business users for usability was incorporated while testing was in progress. Business users also contributed to the training plan for a wider organization rollout. All this was possible because discussions with business sponsor helped to identify critical pain points, allowed mitigation actions and stated possible benefits from Agile implementation.  This case study showed that gathering feedback from business sponsor helps to identify priority areas of improvement when Agile is being implemented for the first time. Based on feedback from business sponsor, appropriate benefits could be identified and expected outcomes defined, keeping in mind the critical pain areas.  In summary: Early discussion with business sponsor contributed to the understanding of critical pain points Mitigation actions and focus areas were identified Possible benefits after Agile implantation were stated  Agile implementation was successful with perceived benefits being realized  
 How To Define Agile Benefits For Business Sponsors?
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 How To Define Agile Benefits For Business Sponsors? 244 How To Define Agile Benefits For Business Sponsors? Agile Management
Raju Dhole Jan 08, 2018
“Agile” has been a buzzword in organizations of late.  Use of Agile methodologies results in continuous engagement of end users in the development process. Organization development pr...
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10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum

Agile and Scrum have been conquering the minds of engineers, managers especially from software industry quite effectively since last few years. The impact is so much so that every software engineer thinks that if he/she is not working on an Agile or Scrum project, their career is not going anywhere! Sounds funny, right? It surely is, but so is the reality of this fact.  Agile and Scrum have become so pervasive in our thought process that we as engineers or managers or product owners do not stop to ask ourselves once if we really need any Agile methodologies to complete the project at hand or not. We simply assume that we are going to follow Agile and Scrum. While I do not have any problem with Agile or Scrum as such, I do have concerns when I see people following things that are wrong; wrong as in incorrect even from an Agile manifesto perspective. These bad practices or even myths [as we can safely call them due to lack of a better word] have crept in due to our insufficient understanding of the manifesto or Scrum alliance guidelines owing to the rush of getting onto the Agile train before it leaves us high and dry. And the impact of this short sightedness is the fact that we are adhering to mistakes in project execution techniques based on some popular concepts, because no one knows they are myths and have no resemblance to truth. It is possible that these mistakes might be causing the issues in your project execution. Through this article, I am trying to share with you some of the most common myths or misunderstandings that people have with respect to Agile and Scrum. Myths and Legends of Agile- only software? via @adrian_stalham #waterfall #scrum #agile pic.twitter.com/TDXFrSthUC — Pat Lynes (@patlynes) 10 October 2017 Do go through them and let me know your take on this. Let’s start! Myth 1: Anybody can become a scrum master Reality: A Scrum Master is supposed to be the person who does not involve personally into the discussions going on in the sprints and daily stand-ups and keeps his eyes on the goal even when emotions are running high during the Scrum meeting. So yes, anybody can become a Scrum Master playing many roles as long as they have emotional intelligence to deal with the varied opinions, discussions, and tendencies to derail the team away from the goal. Hence, in reality, emotional intelligence is the most important prerequisite to become a Scrum Master. Myth 2: More meetings mean Scrum is going well Reality: Scrum was supposed to be meeting-free except for the 5 known time boxed events [kick off, planning, scrum status, review, and post-mortem]. Apart from this, there are no more meetings required. And if your schedule is filled with multitude of so-called short meetings, then it is a clear sign that something is not right in the way Scrum is being done in your team. Hence, the reality becomes, more meetings mean your Scrum is going ‘into’ the ‘well’. Myth 3: Daily scrum meeting is same as the status meeting. Reality: Nothing could be further from the truth and intention if we think that daily scrum meeting is same as that of status meeting. It is not! You must have seen multiple instances where team members give updates on what we did yesterday and what we plan to do today; they discuss issues and leave assuming that today’s scrum was successful. In reality, that is a failure. Scrum meeting is supposed to get together and quickly review the overall progress of the project based on efforts till last night against the end goal of project and quickly gauge if we are on track or not. That is followed by status meeting, where today’s tasks are quickly distributed along with the status check of in-flight items. That’s how it should be. Myth 4: Velocity and Value are the same thing. Reality: This is so wrong on many fronts. This assumption implies that if a work is being done quickly then it is taking us towards the end goal. Is that true? Say a team member is creating automation with high velocity. But is it taking you closer towards shipping the product by the end date? No right? Similarly, during Scrum meetings, we focus on the Value of work being done. It is possible that 100% of yesterday’s efforts might have contributed to 10% of total value. That is fine, as long as your idea of velocity and value is clear. Velocity is checked during status meeting; just to be clear. Velocity leads us to Value. Myth 5: Only a technical person can become a Scrum master Reality: I want to correct that statement by saying a technical person can be made a Scrum master as long as they can ensure that they do not let their technical impulses interfere with their duties of being a Scrum Master. If that cannot be guaranteed, then it is better to choose a non-technical person to be a Scrum Master because they can then ensure that the discussions do not cross the time limits and the meeting’s focus remains sharp. Myth 6: Sprint 0 is a must Reality: These days it has become a norm to have the first sprint as a “blank Sprint” to allow teams to do dry runs and become accustomed to the system. This is a bad practice that has come into being due to the fact that the client, leadership and sometimes the managers put unfair and immense pressure on engineering teams to start delivering from day 1 or week 1. So the concept of Sprint 0 crept in where these stakeholders are given the confidence that something is happening and the team is buffered from pressure. So what should be done in such cases? It is better to open a dialogue with stakeholders and take time for planning rather than calling it as Sprint 0 which actually goes against the values of Agile and Scrum. Myth 7: Scrum projects are faster to produce output and cheaper to execute Reality: Yes this is true. But only if you are using them in the right environment. If you implement these practices for a wrong project, you can be assured of cost and schedule overrun to happen with a lot of production bugs. For example, you can use Agile and Scrum for mobile App development, but it is not a good fit for Operating system development. Or it can be used for road construction projects, but it cannot be done for Dam construction projects. Myth 8: Sprint backlog is a commitment that has to be honored in all circumstances. Reality: Wrong! Sprint backlog is a collection of work items that you wanted to complete in each sprint, but it is not mandatory to finish it 100%. This means you need not make weekends working or force people to spend long hours in office to complete the sprint backlog. If there is a Sprint backlog remaining at the end of Sprint, then it simply means either the planning was not correct or there were unexpected capacity issues in the team and you need to fix them properly. In such cases, the backlog moves back to Product backlog to be considered in future sprints based on its priority. Don’t bite more than you can chew! Myth 9: Quality can be compromised for faster deployment or shipping. Reality: We all have been seeing this around us; sometimes in our own projects. Yet we choose to look other way and claim that quality was ensured throughout the process. Don’t we notice that these days softwares are having way too many bugs? We brush them aside by saying that software has become really complex these days so this is expected. But in reality, this is a direct outcome of our rush to deliver earlier than we had time to properly make it. Quality should not be compromised in lieu of shipping the product. Always set the KPIs before the start of project and ensure quality measures up to those KPIs [Key Performance Indicators] throughout and especially before shipping the software or product. Myth 10: 0 backlog means Scrum was success Reality: If this was the case then why did that product fail to make any money? Running through the complete list of to-do items and getting a sense of accomplishment is one thing but it does not ensure success unless you made all along the way that you were making the right thing. And that is measured by the concept of value and quality and this is where Scrum Master and Product Owner play the most important roles. So the next time you are going to start a project and want to use Agile and Scrum, step back and analyze the scenario. Ask yourself about the best fit for the project and make sure you don’t fall into these traps of Myths. All the best!  
10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum
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10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum

10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum

Abhinav Gupta
Agile and Scrum have been conquering the minds of engineers, managers especially from software industry quite effectively since last few years. The impact is so much so that every software engineer th...
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Step by Step Guide to Get PMP Certification

Project management is the set of selected techniques, skills and tools often used to achieve predefined objectives of a project. The project manager owns the responsibility to complete and deliver the project on time and within budget securing all the interests of client and stakeholders. When the growing competition, advent of new methodologies, cost-cutting pressures, tight timeline, stringent quality parameters are making the challenges for a project manager more complex, getting PMP certification becomes imperative for every growth-oriented project manager. What is Project Management Professional (PMP) Certification? PMP certification is issued by the Project Management Institute (PMI) to the experienced project managers when they successfully pass the exam. The certificate acknowledges individual’s experience, skills, and achievement. The worldwide recognized PMP certification benefits the individual and organization both.   5 Top Reasons to Get PMP Certification:  Before racing to get any qualification, ‘why’ roams your mind; and, it should be. Therefore, before diving deeper into the areas like eligibility, objectives and preparation etc, go through the following 5 reasons that answer – ‘why’.     1.    22 million new jobs would be created for PMPs in just 11 countries including India by 2027. By deciding to get PMP certification, you eye on the global requirement of 88 million PMPs in different sectors. (Report by Anderson Economic Group) 2.    PMP certification is, at times, a contractual requirement when working on large client engagement in many sectors. Any industry like manufacturing, construction, information services, publishing, finance, insurance, management, professional service, oil & gas or service is going to have only PMP certified project managers because of additional challenges to perform in the more volatile global market.  3.    According to 9th PMI salary survey (2015), PMP certification gives the instant boost of 20% salary hike; the survey covered approx. 26,000 project managers working in 34 countries; and, 1,197 respondents were from India. The statistics confirm that PMP certified manager gets about Rs. 17 lakh P.A. while a non-PMP certified manager gets 12 lakh P.A. 4.    PMP qualification certifies your insights and expertise in project management besides certifying your achievements in profitable project management.  5.    As the respected member of a worldwide community of PMP certified project managers, you are seen more credible to follow the particular codes of ethics.     Eligibility to get PMP Certification:  1.    If you hold the four years degree:    Minimum 36 months of non-overlapped experience in project management.    Minimum 4500 hrs experience of leading the projects in the capacity of project manager.   35 contact hours of formal PMP certification training. 2.    If you don’t hold the four years degree:   Minimum 60 months of non-overlapped experience in project management.   Minimum 7500 hrs experience of leading the projects in the capacity of project manager.  35 contact hours of formal PMP certification training. 5 Simple Steps to Complete PMP Application Process:   After checking the eligibility to get PMP Certification, the next step is to initiate the application process. To simplify, I make it a five steps process:  Step – 1: Sign up at pmi.org and create your professional profile. Step – 2: Attend formal PMP certification training for 35 contact Hours. Step – 3: Apply for PMI membership to enjoy the special discounts while scheduling the exams. The PMI membership allows you to access online publications and resources to get the latest edition of study materials like foundation standards, PMBOK, framework & practice etc. Although getting PMI membership is optional but I recommend everyone to have it.   Step – 4: Fill the application online within 90 days and submit it. PMI takes 5-6 days to intimate about acceptance of the application. Step – 5: Download (PMP) examination handbook.     You can schedule the exam according to your preparedness at the nearest test center by depositing specified fees. The Budget for PMP Certification: The cost is a vital component to drive you for getting PMP certification. The following figures are subjected to change as per PMI regulations.       The paper-based test option is available only for the candidates living more than 300 miles away from the test center, or if the PMP exam is company-sponsored.   The other costs involved in getting PMP certification are:   The cost of study material     The cost of formal PMP certification training (35 contact hours) How to Schedule for PMP Certification: The strategic planning with in-depth knowledge and by heart commitment are the driving forces to schedule for PMP certification. You need considerable time to understand the standards and norms mentioned in PMBOK. According to my experience, minimum 3 months and maximum 5 months are sufficient to appear for PMP certification exam; however, it largely depends upon existing job nature, work schedule, personal circumstances etc that decide how much time per day you can spend for the PMP exam preparation. I would suggest not to extend the preparation period more than 5 months otherwise you may feel down and wear out.  Top 6 Tips for PMP Exam Preparation:   Project Management Professional (PMP) exam needs extensive preparation for the months. The plenty of study material is available online and offline; the main task is to absorb the gained knowledge for practical application. The task is challenging but the following 6 tips will simplify the PMP exam preparation:  1.    Survey and Research the Material That You Plan To Cover: Motivate yourself before starting the journey. Survey the study material that you need to cover. Familiarity with all the topics to be covered gives you the better understanding to find the right content.  2.    Make PMBOK® Guide Your Road Map:  The PMP exam is largely based on PMBOK® Guide. To make the PMP preparation simple and scalable,     you should break down the different knowledge areas of the latest PMBOK® guide version and its Appendix; and cover the topics in the planned period. The concepts, focus & concentration are the key elements of grasping the knowledge for long-lasting benefits.  3.    Attend PMP Prep Workshops: The numbers of PMP training organizations conduct PMP prep workshops to facilitate the registered PMP exam takers check their preparation. The other major advantage of attending these workshops is that you get an opportunity to join the community of exam takers; and, use this opportunity to know the gaps in your preparation.    4.    Appear in PMP Exam Online Simulators: Online PMP simulators are the model PMP exams designed with same standards to test the applicants. You also get acquainted with exam environment; so, you feel more comfortable during the PMP exam.  5.    Don’t Underestimate The Value Of Flash Cards:  Downloadable electronic flashcards are the most cost-effective and time-tested way of preparing PMP exam.  6.    Be the Member of Discussion Forums Numbers of PMP discussion forums allow you free access to the online discussion. The participation helps you help others and get help from others.  Conclusion:  The 200 multiple choice PMP exam paper includes the questions of different categories – short situational, formula based, knowledge-based, complex situation etc but the through the study of good material with the best practices empowers you to finish the line with good score. To judge the PMP preparation, test your skills to answer at least 85% questions; if you can do it – you are ready to crack the nut. Best of luck!      
Step by Step Guide to Get PMP Certification
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Step by Step Guide to Get PMP Certification

Step by Step Guide to Get PMP Certification

Shubhranshu Agarwal
Project management is the set of selected techniques, skills and tools often used to achieve predefined objectives of a project. The project manager owns the responsibility to complete and deliver the...
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Value Proposition of Agile Development

Value Proposition of Agile Development The benefits of Agile development have been extolled extensively across the web and almost every one of us is well aware of those benefits. Some of the inquisitive members have taken the efforts to research and study the Agile development framework to understand why those benefits are the products of this framework under discussion. I have no intention of going in that direction since it requires a detailed discussion that is possible in a classroom setting [reach out to your KnowledgeHut support to ask for one].   Through this article, I want to discuss the value propositions of Agile development with you i.e. in essence means, how the benefits of Agile play out for you on the ground during the execution time. What are those actual in-hand benefits that you and your team will reap because of the good thing in Agile development called Value proposition? That is what I want to share with you.   Visibility: The first value proposition that we are going to discuss is “Visibility”. The visibility to the product owner, project sponsors, managers, and engineering team about the current state of the project or product development and whether  we are headed in the right direction or not. Unlike waterfall model, where visibility is highest during requirement gathering phase then suddenly everything goes black and behind curtains with no idea about building the right thing, then suddenly we ship the product with the highest visibility. Alas, that is too late to correct anything if things have gone in the wrong direction. The value brought by Agile in this matter is that visibility remains high at all times; it slightly dips for a week or two during actual development, but it again picks up; so on an average, it remains consistent and at a higher level than waterfall model. This can be easily understood through the means of this graph where the dotted line shows how visibility into the project direction suddenly dips during the execution phase, but it remains constant for Agile.   Adaptability: The word adaptability refers to the ability to accept changes or changing business scenarios and move forward in the new direction with the same vigor and enthusiasm. In any project, adaptability is highest since the project is being kicked off, requirements are being collected so any direction, request or change can be easily accommodated. But things start to change in a traditional waterfall model soon enough and adaptability goes down considerably from the design stage and becomes lowest during shipping. Because once those things are finalized then there is no way to change them without starting all over again. Whereas in the Agile mode, though adaptability remains highest during the initial phase, it continues to hover around the same range through the project duration since every sprint is a chance to pick up something new or change direction as per business need. As you will see in the below diagram, adaptability looks  like this:   Business Value: How your project or product is delivered at the end or at regular intervals, and how it will help the business or your project owner is considered as business value. Because business does not get any value from your project until you deliver something that can be used by end consumers. Needless to say, business value is always available to be consumed at the end of project cycle or rather we should at the time of shipping. The shipping can be at regular intervals [as in the case of Agile] or in the end [as in case of traditional development methods]. In this sense, both Agile and Waterfall sound similar to us but in reality, they are not. Because they vary in the way of delivering business value. Since waterfall believes in shipping in the end or when the product is completely ready, so business value shoots up from 0 to highest suddenly towards the end. That part is obvious. Let us see how it evolves for Agile methodology. Here in Agile, we start delivering incremental versions of the product from the first sprint; so Business value starts getting generated from Sprint 1 and continues to go up until the last sprint or the time when product owner asks us to stop. This is clearly reflected in the graph shown below. Risk This is a remarkably interesting aspect of value proposition for any development model. We all want to avoid risks somehow; sometimes we succeed and sometimes we fail miserably, and our worst nightmares come true at those times. It is not my intention or objective here to dive into many ways to cut risks, but instead, analyze the concept of risk and how it varies according to the development model being followed by the team. It is a common sense that risk is highest in the initial phase of the project since we are dealing with the utmost unknown at that time. Any wrong action or decision by us will lead to failure and a complete wastage of resources. As we progress and start building something, the risk continues to go down and becomes 0 when we ship it. Because either we have succeeded by then or we have failed utterly. Agile allows us to cut down risks faster than the traditional methods because the visibility is maintained at a high level throughout, so if something is going wrong then it is addressed immediately, owing to high adaptability. If we pause and analyze for a while, we understand that high visibility, high adaptability and ability to deliver from early in the game allows us to have minimal risk score through the project rather than working hard for 1 year then finding out that you built something that was not required in first place. That is how Agile development helps us manage risks effectively as long as we execute Agile properly. Conclusion So, as we saw here, any development methodology, related to software field or manufacturing or service-based industry can be analyzed over 4 value proposition parameters, namely: Visibility, Adaptability, Business Value and Risk. In the above post, through means of graphical analysis, we compared Agile development methodology Versus Traditional waterfall and found that Agile development is much better to be followed in recent times with a condition that it has to be executed correctly. You can read my other blog post about “10 deadly myths of Agile and Scrum” whereby I have explained how wrong implementation of Agile and Scrum harms us more than benefit us. With this thought in mind, I take your leave and I hope that next time when you explain to your stakeholders about the need to use Agile, you have a better and stronger story to tell. All the best!
Value Proposition of Agile Development
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Value Proposition of Agile Development

Value Proposition of Agile Development

Abhinav Gupta
Value Proposition of Agile Development The benefits of Agile development have been extolled extensively across the web and almost every one of us is well aware of those benefits. Some of the i...
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Who is the Target Audience for Certified Scrum Master Certification Course?

Who is the target audience for Certified Scrum Master certification course? It is easy to understand the Scrum rules, but it is difficult to implement it in real-time projects. CSM course is the best to learn both in detail. It not only teaches you the principles and practices of Scrum but empowers and energizes you to make meaningful changes. Certified Scrum Master course focuses mainly on the Product Owner, Scrum Master and the Team in a software development company. Who will be benefited from this course? Certified Scrum Master course is helpful for everyone who wants to become smart in implementing Scrum in their organizations. Doing a certification course in Scrum strengthens the Scrum Master's experience.  This learning event is highly productive and effective for both leaders and members. As the course is completely revolving around the Scrum Master role, individuals who are planning to take up this role will get benefited more from this course. There is one reputed company in Denmark that sends all the employees from receptionists to senior management to the Scrum training, in order to make them knowledgeable about Scrum concepts and enhance operations throughout their company.  Target Audience There is no such fixed set of target audience for the Scrum Master Certification course. It is designed not only for Scrum Masters but also for the complete project or product delivery teams and anyone interested to work with the Agile teams. You may be a- Software Engineer Product Manager Project Manager Team Leader Business Analyst Development team member Testers etc. Irrespective of your current designation, there are a few basic qualities you should have as a Certified Scrum Master.    It is best for organizations or teams who need memorable and practical instructions. Even students can join this course to get real-time work experience in Scrum by Certified Scrum Trainers (CST) such as: Understanding Scrum framework Building a backlog Estimating a project Different techniques to improve team productivity Effective, project-proven exercises You will also find a CFO, CIO, or CEO in the Certified Scrum Master training classes and others as well who are intended to expand Scrum throughout their organizations. The State of Scrum in 2017 The 2017 state of Scrum report by Scrum Alliance suggested that most of the successful businesses are using Scrum irrespective of the sizes. Agile and Scrum are not limited to only software and IT departments, they are being applied to different industries such as government, education, manufacturing, banking, and finance. Moreover, some other departments such as human resources, finance, and accounting, sales and marketing reported their ongoing Scrum projects. Here are 3 statistics by Scrum Alliance: 89% of Agile users said that they use Scrum approach. 86% reported that they hold a daily Scrum meeting.  83% reported that Scrum was responsible and important to improve the team’s quality of work. Taking a 2-day CSM course, qualifying the CSM exam, and accepting a license agreement primarily establishes you as a Certified Scrum Master. This certification is a way to tell your peers and the world that you have strong knowledge of Scrum and are fit to work as a Scrum Master.  After all, in the Agile confines, CSM certification is the ultimate answer and the way forward.
Who is the Target Audience for Certified Scrum Master Certification Course?
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Who is the Target Audience for Certified Scrum Master Certification Course?

Who is the Target Audience for Certified Scrum Master Certification Course?

KnowledgeHut Editor
Who is the target audience for Certified Scrum Master certification course? It is easy to understand the Scrum rules, but it is difficult to implement it in real-time projects. CSM course is the be...
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Scrum Master And Its Key Roles For Project Success

Agile can mould the formative years in your IT career. It can transform you into the best cultural fit in any organization. But most of the organizations that embarked on the journey to achieve more operational agility are rather confused about the role of the Scrum Master and who can play it well enough.  What is Scrum? “Scrum is a powerful framework which implements Agile practices in IT and other business projects. This framework consists of a team of 3 to 9 members excluding Scrum Master and Product Owner who break their work and try to complete in timeboxed iterations called Sprints and plan the task in Stand-up meetings, called Daily Scrum.” There are three key roles in Scrum- Product Owner Scrum Master  The Development Team In this article, we shall discuss the primary roles of a Scrum Master. To carry out the key Scrum Master roles successfully, you should be aware of the qualities that make you a competent Certified Scrum Master.  Who is a Scrum Master? Scrum Master is a leader of the Scrum team, he is referred as a champion of the project. Scrum Master guides the team and the Product Owner and ensures that the team members are implementing all the Agile practices properly. The Scrum Master is not only responsible for addressing all the issues encountered in the Agile development process, but also helps the business, product owner, team, and individuals to achieve a target, in the following ways: At the Business level, the Scrum Master creates a creative, productive, and supportive development environment and enables bidirectional collaboration. At the Product Owner level, the Scrum Master facilitates planning and helps product owners to stick to Scrum practices. At the Team level, the Scrum master provides guidance, support and facilitation, and helps to remove all possible operational barriers. At an Individual level, the Scrum Master supports individual efforts, addresses any raised issues, and removes impediments to help individuals be focused and more productive. In an interview conducted by the InfoQ, Lisa Hershman, Interim CEO at Scrum Alliance answered the questions on the major changes in the 2017 State of Scrum Report. She was asked about the changed role of the Scrum Master. Here is her reply-  This clearly indicates the importance of Certified Scrum Master training, that renders ample clarity on the roles of a Scrum Master.  Roles of the Scrum Master The roles of the ScrumMaster are unique. Some of the key roles are discussed here- 1.The Scrum Master is a Facilitator: A “facilitator” for Agile teams, Scrum Master roles entail the following- Facilitates the meeting and Scrum ceremonies for the team members  Carries out a conversation between the team members and the Stakeholders. Uses different Agile techniques to achieve the targets of the project. Agrees on the “definition of done”. 2.The Scrum Master is a Coach: A Scrum Master is primarily a “Coach” or a “Guide” and is responsible for the following activities- Mentors teams on Scrum practices. Promotes ways for continuous improvements. Promotes standardized processes. Provides feedback. Helps to remove obstacles. 3.The Scrum Master is a Protector: A Scrum Master not only spearheads the team, but also protects it from imminent threats or risks, if any. Here’s how he does it-  Protects teams from external interruptions. Plays a key role in resolving conflicts between the team members. Promotes collaboration. 4.The Scrum Master is a work Enthusiast: Earlier, we have already stated that the Scrum Master is a Facilitator. Having said so, it is an imperative to mention that being an “Enthusiast” and an “Engager” is his way of facilitating project activities. An ideal Scrum Master-  Appreciates when the team does well. Celebrates with the team Promotes the success externally 5.The Scrum Master is a Motivator: A motivated team is a high-performing team. The motivator is typically the Scrum Master. Look at his many ways to motivate the team-  Carries out face to face communication Fosters team collaboration Adaptability to change Resolves problems without waiting for anyone to fix it. 6. The Scrum Master is a Servant Leader: This might sound paradoxical. But a Scrum Master both serves and leads his team. See for yourself-  Serves others Helps team members to develop and perform high Selfless management of team members Promotes team ownership 7. The Scrum Master is a Catalyst for change: A Scrum Master catalyzes changes in the team and boosts performance in no time through a few strategic strides-  Provides coaching in Scrum adoption Planning the Scrum implementation in an in-house organization Resulting as a Change agent, that increases the productivity Work with other Scrum Masters to increase the productivity of the Scrum team 8. An Embodiment of Agile values: If you are to call anyone the “Believer and Preacher” of Scrum values, it has to be none other than the Scrum Master. The following practices earn him the tag-  Reflects Agile and Scrum values to the team Reminds policies to the teams Assists the teams in continuously improving Checks all the models like Sprint backlog, metrics, product backlog of Scrum What a Scrum Master is “NOT” A lot of grounds has already been covered on what a Scrum Master “is”. However, it is equally essential for us to learn what all he “is not”. This will only help eliminate any opacity and ambiguity about his roles. Scrum Master (SM) is not a Project Manager (PM). Project Manager is a leader, a decision maker. PM manages the project and the teams to accomplish the project target. Scrum Master acts as a coach, facilitator and SM acts as a mediator between the project and the customer.  Scrum Master is not a Product Owner (PO). POs have the huge responsibility of a project. A PO maintains the product backlog. PO has to manage and reprioritize the backlog to fit these changes and drive the project. Concluding Thoughts- The role of the Scrum Master is still a matter of discourse. Organizations consider Scrum Masters as the voice of the Scrum framework. Usually, people see Scrum Master as a facilitator only, but firstly he/she is a coach. The world domination of Agile is clearly happening. But despite all your struggles, there is that glass-ceiling that is limiting your potential to perform as a Scrum Master. Break this limit and take a step  ahead to get laser-focused on the key Scrum Master roles. Certifications like CSM and other related training and courses can be the best way to do it.   
Scrum Master And Its Key Roles For Project Success
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Scrum Master And Its Key Roles For Project Success

Scrum Master And Its Key Roles For Project Success

KnowledgeHut Editor
Agile can mould the formative years in your IT career. It can transform you into the best cultural fit in any organization. But most of the organizations that embarked on the journey to achieve more...
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Empowering Teams with the Art of Positive Assumptions

What are assumptions?               In simple words, assumptions can be termed as “Personal Beliefs” or “Expectations” without any concrete evidence. These assumptions can be about a person, place, thing, the outcome of certain activity etc. Every one of us assumes at various points in our lifetime. Sometimes we even assume about our own capability. These beliefs can be either positive or negative. They may or may not turn into reality. In any case, all our behaviors and actions are closely related to our assumptions. Hence we should be cautious while making assumptions as they can make or break things.  Impact of Positive Assumptions        Building affirmative assumptions keeps us in peace and eases our life a lot. Because “Positivity” is like a boomerang! Let us see how we could use this boomerang to empower our teams: The strength of every scrum team is based on how well its team members collaborate with each other. The primary responsibility of a Scrum Master / Coach is to build a strong bonding among his / her team members. When there is a strong bonding, they trust one another, lend helping hands, collaborate well and deliver high values; above all, they will be more excited to work together. The major challenge in building a close-knit team is overcoming the conflicts that arise among its members. Conflicts are inevitable when people of different personalities work together.  Why do conflicts occur?         One of the basic reasons for workplace disputes is that the intent of the opponent’s action is assumed to be negative. We generally judge that the intention of all the souls close to our heart is good; on the other hand, in every occasion cynical about the act of the persons with whom we don’t get along well. The moment our thoughts are non-affirmative, our behaviors change and we go to any extent to distress them. Assuming Good Intention        What if we think the objective of others is good?  Just close your eyes and think for a few minutes about your childhood. Every one of us would have had fights with our siblings or friends when we were young. Did we carry it on for a long time?  Did we detest them forever? In fact, we had a lot more merry times with them after those fights right? This is because as kids we were not making any judgment of others considering their past actions; we were able to forgive and forget others mistakes. Let us bring back the same into practice now.It gives us a different perspective to look at the actual issues behind the conflicts. Therefore, being non-judgmental and assuming positive intent of every action is the key to improving intimacy among the team members. How do we get the team to assume on positive intention? We should coach the members on the following:-   Avoiding preconceived notions within and outside:                           Encourage the team to have open communications and make them focus on the facts, rather than on their beliefs. Help them use "open ended questions" for generating more insights about a person or a situation.  For instance, if a relatively junior resource joins the team , others may assume that he/she would not be proficient in domain knowledge and do not give him critical tasks. In reality, the new joiner might have strong technical skills and quick learning capability, still hesitating to open up to the seniors thinking that they may not help. Here, as a Scrum Master/ Coach, we can foster an environment, wherein both the parties discuss frankly and come forward into a mentoring relationship. Having direct communication whenever possible:          Enable the team to have more face-to-face communications than mail conversations. This is because in mails the messages are open to interpretation. Elucidating the right tone of a mail or text message would be difficult when we can’t hear the sender's voice inflection or view their body language. The accurate interpretation of any message depends on the mood of the person who crafted it as well as the one who reads it. Thus it is always better to have direct communications.    Analyzing the situational context for any actions:         For any workplace conflicts, there might be certain triggering points. Assist the team to identify those points by assessing the background and situation of the contentions. Once the origin is understood, help them discern the solution in an amicable way.           I would like to share an incident here. In one of my teams, a team member started coming late to office frequently and because of this his deliverables were getting delayed. Others in the team began to blame him, thinking that he was negligent towards his tasks. I got into this issue, had a discussion with that particular team member and understood that he had an ailing dependent at home whom he ought to take care for few months. When others were aware of this, they came forward and charted out a plan, to work in such a way that the deliverables were not impacted, at the same time his personal need was also fulfilled.     Restricting generalization:     Generalization is usually a form of exaggeration. For example, a statement like "Onshore team members always don’t understand the challenges of the offshore team" is a generalized one. It is obvious that every onshore team in an organization does not go by this statement. Hence make the team clearly comprehend all the factors before proceeding with any generalization. This will make sure that they have a clear state of mind which in turn leads to good rapport with their colleagues. Separating the persons from the problems:       Nobody wants to be a problem creator mindfully. As a Scrum Master/coach we should articulate the issues clearly, separating them from the people who appear to be the core of those issues. This helps the team to distinguish the problems from the persons, stop hating those persons for their actions and allowing them to course correct their behaviors. Improvising the Emotional Quotient:         Emotional Intelligence is the capability to recognize, manage and utilize the emotions of ourselves and others in a positive way. It gives us the ability to control and override our impulses. Moreover, it promotes empathizing, reduces stress levels and anxiety, defuses conflicts, aids better communication and improves relationships. Recognizing the opportunities and growth factors in every feedback:            Giving and receiving feedback is an effective way to raise the awareness of a person's strengths and improvement areas. In a workplace, feedback may come from any co-worker, either in a formal or informal manner, constructive or destructive in nature. In general , constructive feedbacks motivate an employee a lot, whereas the destructive feedback works in a negative way. But it is always wise to analyze every feedback, appreciate the underlying values and utilize them as an opportunity for personal and professional betterment. Changing the perceptions:            Persuade the team to change their viewpoints into the positive directions.        Once I received an opportunity to harmonize a Scrum team, which was dysfunctional due to various reasons. I observed them for few weeks. Got to understand each of the members personally. Spotted that the false opinions and lack of trust are the base for the team's dysfunction. I wanted to get rid of their false opinions at first place. Having all the team members in a room, conducted an activity as below: Team members were made to be seated around a table (ensured that friends are not seated nearby ) Had set the stage that it is an opportunity to know more about their team mates. Provided a white sheet and a pen to everyone. In 3 minutes, they have to list down the positive traits whichever they had observed from their neighbors over the period. If there were no direct observations, whatever they felt or believed as their neighbor’s strengths, good characters can be written.  When everyone completed their writing, asked them to share what they wrote to the entire team. Facilitated to elaborate the situations in which they observed those positivity of their teammates; on the other hand if someone had assumed about others good characteristics, encouraged them to share what made them to think so.   The above activity was not an instant solution to the problem which the team was facing; however, it gave a good start to know each other better and come closer. People started looking others in a different perspective, through the lens of positivity, which removed the mental blocks at first which eventually resolved other issues.       Following the above practices will ensure that the team members always assume for positive intentions and remain tightly knit. Hope you also would be trying these with your teams and sharing the valuable experiences.  Happy Coaching :-) !  
Empowering Teams with the Art of Positive Assumptions
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Empowering Teams with the Art of Positive Assumptions

Empowering Teams with the Art of Positive Assumptions

Nidhya Palaniappan
What are assumptions?               In simple words, assumptions can be termed as “Personal Beliefs” or “Expectations” without any concrete...
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Apply Promo Codes And Get Amazing Discounts From KnowledgeHut This New Year

  Ring the year in with the best of offers by KnowledgeHut. Grab the golden opportunity by availing up to 15% discounts on professional courses. Avail your 15% discount on all instructor-led LIVE virtual training by using the coupon code - NYOCL15 Avail your 10% discount on all classroom training by using the coupon code - NYCL10 *The coupon codes will be valid until January 5th 2018.
Apply Promo Codes And Get Amazing Discounts From KnowledgeHut This New Year
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Apply Promo Codes And Get Amazing Discounts From KnowledgeHut This New Year

Apply Promo Codes And Get Amazing Discounts From KnowledgeHut This New Year

KnowledgeHut Promotions
  Ring the year in with the best of offers by KnowledgeHut. Grab the golden opportunity by availing up to 15% discounts on professional courses. Avail your 15% discount on all instr...
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Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams

As you might already be aware, TDD stands for Test Driven Development. Adoption of TDD is a key factor for the success of your Scrum teams and in turn for your success as a Scrum Master. I will explain the why and how of TDD and how it helps smoothen Scrum experience in this article. As you might be already doing, with Scrum approach, there are no grandiose design sessions/detailed designs done up-front but the focus is getting working pieces of code out and fail fast if there are any issues. The key reason being – designs change as you progress with the development of code and your code should be flexible enough to absorb major or minor changes until towards end of the development. If complete designs are done up-front to the detailed level, code is written assuming the designs are concrete and becomes rigid. This type of code can’t accept changes easily and as every developer is aware, changes to requirements are very common during implementation cycle.  A framework that can help the Scrum teams accept the changes easily, make the changes and quickly assess the effects of these changes can help alleviate these issues. Once the impacts are clear, it doesn’t take too long to get the implementation back to stable state. TDD provides one such framework for Agile development.  TDD (Test Driven Development) Following is the broad outline of adopting TDD during development. I will take developing APIs for a product as an example, which can be easily extended to other use cases. Do a high-level design of the components and APIs you are going to have. Prepare the interfaces against which you can write tests. Adopt a framework like JUnits for writing your test cases. Get the developers up-to-speed on writing these unit tests. For whatever components you are developing APIs, create a skeleton of tests and test cases. Normally, you would write a set of positive and negative test cases. This is the first step even before you write a single piece of implantation code. Make sure majority of the unit test cases are covered in this round of skeletal test cases. Implement the APIs with no code, i.e. now they can be called but will not yet return proper values. For example, they may return nulls where an object is expected. Since implementation of APIs is not yet ready, all of your tests will fail. That’s ok to start with. Now as development of APIs progresses, test cases will start to succeed. At the end of, say, sprint #1, you may have 20% of your test cases working. In parallel, add more or update your test cases to handle more complex usages of the APIs. The goal is to get 100% success rate of test cases, which should happen as the development is completed and more code is added. For example, this is how your tests may look to begin with:     @Test     public void testSingleObjectCreate() throws Exception     {       Object a = createObject(...);         Assert.assertNotNull(a);     }     @Test     public void testMultipleObjectsCreate() throws Exception     {       Object [] objs = createObjects(...);         Assert.assertNotNull(objs);     }     @Test     public void testSingleObjectReplace() throws Exception     {       Object replacedA = replaceObject(a);         Assert.assertNotNull(replacedA);     }     @Test     public void testMultipleObjectsReplace() throws Exception     {       Object[] updatedObjs = replaceObject(objs);         Assert.assertNotNull(updatedObjs);     }          @Test     public void testSingleObjectDelete() throws Exception     {       boolean deleted = deleteObject(a);         Assert.assertTrue(deleted);     }     Note that all of these tests will fail to begin since APIs are not yet implemented. Your goal is to get all of the tests passing incrementally, by implementing the underlying functionality. Once this set of test suites are built, they can become part of a continuous integration setup and are run as soon as changes are submitted to the source code system, giving an immediate feedback on whether there are test cases failing because of new code that is delivered. Following diagram summarizes this approach:   How does this help your Scrum team? TDD can augment Scrum processes in 3 ways: Ability to absorb changes to code on a continuous basis. Fail fast: Failures happen sooner than later. Reduce technical debt Let me cover details of each of these points. Ability to absorb changes to code on a continuous basis: As a Scrum Master, your job is to make sure that the working code gets produced at the end of each sprint and minimize the technical debt for going forward. At the same time, you want the code to be flexible so that changes can be accepted on a continual basis to improve the existing code or be able to absorb new changes, based on product owner or stakeholder feedback. This is especially important since you don’t get into detailed designs up-front and absorb changes as you progress to make implementation better. Having the suite of unit tests is one of your weapons in the war chest to make this happen – after all, code which is delivered at the end of release but doesn’t address the key requirements is of not of much use. Take this case – in the midst of development, one of the developers changes the inner workings of one of the APIs and now it fails for a given set of inputs (which used to work before the change). Now your unit test which depended on the success status of API starts to fail, giving you an immediate indication of the change. However, developer can take the risk of the change, knowing that the test framework will catch any side effects of such a change. As a second case, say half-way through the development cycle, there is a need for major change that impacts majority of the components. Unless you have a suite of test cases backing you, you just don’t know the impact and how much additional work is possibly required. (Knowing your developers, you know how hard it is to get a proper estimate of additional work!). Instead, now you can depend on your test suites and see how many are failing when the changes are put in place – if there are a large set of test cases failing, you are most likely looking at a larger impact change to the whole sprint and need to re-access the scope and priorities. Additionally, it makes everybody in the team aware of the impacts.  Fail fast - Failures happen sooner than later: Adopting TDD facilitates one of the key principles of Scrum – fail fast. With TDD, you start with failing tests, make them work as you progress and make sure they won’t fail again due to some unexpected changes. If there are such failures, your TDD set of tests alert you immediately. Knowing there is such a framework, developers will be more open to changes – since failures are caught immediately. Overall, this becomes a mechanism which gives a quick feedback on the impacts of a change and makes developers open for adopting the changes rather than shying away from taking the risk of late changes to the system. Reduce creation of Technical Debt: If developers can’t absorb changes fast enough, you will run out of time during sprint to do further changes. Pushing required changes out of sprint and eventually out of a release leads to the technical debt of future changes and re-work, which is not a desired outcome for any Scrum Master. Having a framework to facilitate quick changes avoids creation of technical debt. Key is to start with TDD from day one One of the key factors is to start with TDD from day 1 – it must not be an afterthought to be added after the code implementation. For any new code, tests should be written first, let them fail and implement code to make the tests work. For a Scrum Master, it is a key that developers are creating tasks to add unit tests for a given user story and have mechanisms in-place to continuously validate the code using build frameworks. Combining TDD with Code coverage can be very powerful TDD approach when used along with code coverage tools provides a very powerful combination to make sure your code base is stable all the time and all parts of the code are being tested. Greater the code coverage, better confidence you have to do drastic changes to your implementation code. For example, the following screenshot of code coverage shows which parts of the code are being exercised (green) versus which are not (in red). More unit tests need to get added to provide coverage for the code paths not being tested. Adopting TDD for existing products TDD can be adopted for existing product code as well, which lacks unit test coverage. It is not usually productive to add tests for existing code unless major changes are planned. Tests can be added to the incremental functionality that is being added, being aware that you may impact the existing code and may not know if you have caused failures in the already existing code. TDD Tools There are several tools that are available in the market, which help in TDD adoption. For unit testing of Java code, JUnit framework is the best choice. For continuous build and test, frameworks like Cruise Control or tools like Jenkins can be used. Code Coverage can be analyzed using tools like Emma and Clover. These have Eclipse plugins available as well. In conclusion, adopting TDD goes a long way in ensuring code quality is maintained in the long run and changes can be done to the codebase ensuring continuously working software. This essentially gives control for your Scrum teams to manage the software better and address the end user needs quickly.
Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams
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Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams

Adopt TDD for a smooth Scrum experience for your teams

Mohana Kera
As you might already be aware, TDD stands for Test Driven Development. Adoption of TDD is a key factor for the success of your Scrum teams and in turn for your success as a Scrum Master. I will explai...
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What And Why PSPO?

PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. The Scrum.org mission is “To Improve the profession of Software Development”. With due respect to other certification bodies let me give you an overview of the Professional Scrum Product Owner course and certificate offered by Scrum.org.  It’s up to an individual and organization to decide which training course and certification works best for them.   PSPO is a two days course and is made up of discussions and hands on exercises. Some of the exercises are very hard lessons. The course has been created by Ken Schwaber, the co-creator of Scrum framework along with other Professional Scrum Trainers working with Scrum.org. There will not be any ball game or flying plane activity. Software development and Product Ownership role is not that simple. The two days are going to be really exhaustive so be ready for it. The course covers the following topics  Agile Product Management Value Driven Development Scrum Principles and Empiricism The Scrum Framework Product Backlog Management Release Management Scrum.org has kept the training and certification separate. You don’t have to attend a training for appearing in the assessment, this is applicable for all certifications offered by Scrum.org. However, attending a training generally helps. Once you pass the assessment and earn the certificate, its validity is life long, no renewal required. Contrary to other organization and certification authorities which require renewal on every/alternate year. The assessment contains 80 questions to be completed in 60 minutes, less than a minute per question. It really tests your knowledge about Scrum and Product Ownership. The passing mark is 85%, its really tougher than other available options. You and your organization have to decide if you need certification just for marking an item in your ToDo list to Done or you really want to train and assess your people and get benefit out of it. Attending a PSPO training class will provide the following benefits to participants, these are not applicable to students who directly appear for the assessment without attending a training class A free attempt of PSPO-I of $200 Another free attempt of PSPO-I ($200) will be provided if the participant made his first attempt within 14 days of completing the class and unfortunately doesn’t pass. A $200 discount on PSPO-II, which is next level on your Product Ownership journey, it’s a subjective exam and difficult than PSPO-I Participants will get 14 PDUs/SEUs Interested in attending a PSPO training, here is the schedule Please read more about the PSPO course.  
What And Why PSPO?
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What And Why PSPO?

What And Why PSPO?

KnowledgeHut Editor
PSPO stands for Professional Scrum Product Owner, a course and certification offered by Scrum.org. The Scrum.org mission is “To Improve the profession of Software Development”. With due re...
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What Gaps I Filled After CSM Certification For my Scrum Project?

Sales department has always handled winning projects for your Company saying that we follow “Agile Methodology”. The whole organization is full of ‘Follow Agile’ noise. But are we really Agile and do we follow it appropriately?  I started following Scrum methodology (as per my understanding!!) way back in 2004, in one of the Products maintenance projects. I am quite sure, no one was aware what Scrum was all about, apart from following daily standups religiously at that time. But, after I did my CSM training from Knowledgehut, I learned that I am missing a lot of stuff and I am also doing few tasks incorrectly, which might result in a project failure. So, to avoid this catastrophe, I needed to act on it. Below is the list of few activities that I did immediately after my CSM training.     1.Trained my Team, Management, Client & Vendor on Scrum:  Generally, when a new project arrives, management wants us to start with a kick-off meeting and commence coding immediately. As per team, the project is ALWAYS underestimated and we tend to start with activities like planning, coding, module/tasks division etc. as soon as possible.  When we have to follow Agile / Scrum, I realized how important it is to train the team, manage the clients and vendors. A team should be able to understand that they are now self-organizing and self-directing team and no one is going to assign tasks to them. The PM has to take up Servant leader role, rather than assigning work or controlling the team. The organization management MUST be aware that Being Agile does not ONLY mean deliveries in every 2 weeks. The client should be aware of the Product Owner’s responsibility and how important it is to be available for planning, reviewing and retrospective meetings. The vendors should be aware how Sprint and Scrum works, to track delivery from their end.  2. Scheduled Product Backlog Grooming Meeting and followed consistently: Agile expects us to do just enough and JIT documentation, but Product Backlog is a very crucial document for the project and it has to be updated regularly by the Product Owner (PO). PO has to update Product Backlog based on the market requirements or importance of releases. Unlike BRD, this is the ONLY document that is used by the team for forming user stories, estimating, planning sprints & finally coding, testing and then releasing. If PO is not aware of how to go about it, the Scrum master can help. So, make sure that the BASE document is updated regularly.  3. Scrum Master (SM) is a Servant Leader and not a Manager anymore:  Myself being the PM for almost 10 years, it was difficult to get into servant leader role, but we have to wear servant leader’s hat. Rather than controlling or just delegating the work, I realized, now I have to WORK with the team and for the team. SM is helping the team to get out from bottlenecks, SM is keeping the team together, keeping them motivated throughout the project. 4. Regularly update THE BOARD: There is a need to post daily standups, whereas we were too lazy to update the latest information on the whiteboard. The team has to update the board immediately after daily standup and the SM has to facilitate that. Post review or retrospectives, we started creating Burndown charts, latest review comments and some motivational notes. With this, I noticed an unbelievable change in the mindset of the team and management. It kept the environment light, motivated and the team started performing more. 5. Not conducting Retrospectives:  Before CSM training, I was just aware that there is a meeting that has to be done called as Retrospectives. With CSM training, I came to know how this meeting has to be conducted, when and who are the audience and what should be the agenda of the meeting. Now I understand, this meeting is MOST important for the team to improve the process, avoid mistakes that we did in past iterations. With Traditional Project management, we always have “Lessons Learned” during closure of the project. Have you ever read those lessons when starting the new project? Well, I never did. But with the Retrospective meeting, my team and I came into a habit of applying learning lessons immediately.    6. Elaborating as late as possible: Sprint Planning meeting results in Sprint backlog and we elaborate only those items that are there in the current sprint. Other items in Product Backlog are not detailed enough to start with coding. This actually helped us save time and reduce requirement gathering time in initial stages of the project even when requirements are not clear enough. So, as project proceeds, we gather more information and this helps us in elaborating other requirements too. 7. Making Product Owner aware of responsibilities: For me, the toughest job was to make my client aware of the POs responsibilities. We all know how important clients are for the companies. The customer is the KING of the world. Somehow, I convinced management that I need to make PO or BA from client site aware of the responsibilities. Client duty is just not to see how the product looks like and escalate things to management, but the client has to be aware of how you have to state your requirements correct, review the understanding and suggest rather than escalate things out. Clients escape saying they don’t have time for a review/demo, retrospectives etc., it is the duty of the Scrum Master to make them and management aware how important it is to be present for events. Else, in the end, it’s only the team who is blamed when the project is not a success. I hope, these few insights or my lessons learned will help you in some way or the other. Hoping to see the “Agile world” soon where practices are followed religiously.  
What Gaps I Filled After CSM Certification For my Scrum Project?
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What Gaps I Filled After CSM Certification For my Scrum Project?

What Gaps I Filled After CSM Certification For my Scrum Project?

Nalini Jethwani
Sales department has always handled winning projects for your Company saying that we follow “Agile Methodology”. The whole organization is full of ‘Follow Agile’ noise. But are...
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