Agile Methodology in Project Management
Instructor Steven Fullmer
In this video, you will gain an understanding of Agile and Scrum Master Certification terminologies and concepts to help you make better decisions in your Project Management capabilities.
Whether you’re a developer looking to obtain an Agile or Scrum Master Certification, or you’re a Project Manager/Product Owner who is attempting to get your product or service to the marketplace more efficiently, Agile may be a methodology for you.
The Agile methodology may also be applicable to a “C-Level Officer” who recognizes that in order to meet customer requirements; a culture change inside the organization is needed to become more responsive.
In the Project Management classroom or amongst our sales staff here in Interface Technical Training. I get lots of questions about Agile and Agile Certification, and Agile is really a broad topic. I put together here a presentation that will help you more clearly understand Agile and Agile terminology.
What is Agile Project Management? Well before we get specifically into Agile, I’m going to spend a little time to give you some frame of reference with some terminology. When we talk about projects, and project management, we’re talking about elements that are or efforts that are temporarily and unique.
In all cases the output of a project is a product but it’s not the only place that we create products. Operations like manufacturing operations, or even a restaurant providing a service and food along with the service, or service and food, whichever you put the emphasis on it. That’s a product, but that’s an operational product that’s done again and again and again. So projects have this temporary unique aspect to them.
Agile can be applied, either to projects or to production, essentially in an operation sense. To also help get a framework for some of the Agile certifications and different frameworks we’re going to talk about during this presentation, I need to clarify that a program is a set of related projects.
NASA doesn’t just do projects. Each spaceflight has its own specific project, but they also do operational efforts ‑‑ maintaining the space station, maintaining satellite receiving communication centers, training, and public relations. Those are operational efforts. A program is typically a set of related projects and their output, but has an operational nature as well.
If I were to apply Agile to either one of these, the approach that I would take to Agile, Agile suggests the concept of fast, speedy, quick on your feet, quick to react. Well, that’s always got to be the case with a project, but it can be the case sometimes with programs as well. The last word here in the Venn diagram triple here is portfolio.
A portfolio is where we’re talking about efforts that are strategic in nature that create, maintain, or enhance the assets of a particular business or organization. Again, some of those efforts are not specifically projects or programs, they might be independent. Let’s take a look at stock and cash portfolio trading.
Those things have to be handled very, very quickly. As a matter of fact, it’s day traders and people who automate with a high sense of speed and urgency. They’re the ones that turn profit in investment portfolios today. There’s another use for the term.
I want to clarify this so when we talk about Agile to help you understand that not all frameworks, all Agile approaches, are simply project‑based. Some of them actually better serve product or production environments than they do a project environment.
Let’s take this a little bit further and go a little bit deeper into understanding projects in particular as we talk about Agile. We talk about the triple constraint in the product management classes all the time where we talk about the direct relationship between scope, time and cost, and the impact that those have on the quality of the product or output of our project.
When we take a look at that, if we expand the scope, add more details to the work we do, we’re going to either increase the time and/or the cost associated with doing that project. Agile is really about trying to figure out, what can you get done in a very limited time frame? The Scrum Model, Scrum/Sprint Model, for instance, talks about a total two‑week effort for the entire project.
If you went at the time or the scale that you’re going to use for the project then you also have to pay attention to the cost, the quality, and the scope impact of that scale. We want to understand the triple constraint because it really does put very intense boundaries around the way we approach projects when we say “Agile.” Let’s think triple constraint. Keep that in the back of our head.
The other element that we want to look at that comes from project management are the five process groups identified in the Project Management Body of Knowledge ‑‑ initiating, planning, executing, monitoring and controlling, and closing. If we take a look at project management and we look at these five process groups, their interaction is really about tools and techniques.
We say the word “process group,” let’s think about preparing a meal. If you prepare a meal, you have certain tools that you’re going to use in the kitchen ‑‑ a whisk, a spatula, a frying pan, or a sauce pan, knives, forks. All of those tools that you’re going to use can be used with different techniques, so different techniques for scrambled eggs and fried eggs.
The tool’s the same. The technique’s the different. If I’m going to create an entire meal, then I’m going to use several techniques together and the tools associated with them to create a particular product or output.
When we talk about the five process groups and their interaction, we’re really talking about tool sets and the techniques that allow us to understand how to best apply those tools and techniques to achieve the desired project. If we take a look at that, there’s cycles that typically happen.
The monitoring/controlling process group is about the tools that help us make a decision about whether we need to re‑plan work, continue to execute the work and improve the execution, or we’re completed with an aspect to the project and therefore, we’re going to deliver one or more elements of that project to our customer.
Think a meal. I can do one meal where the whole thing’s put together, served on a tray, and here’s your whole meal when it’s done. Or the restaurant, multiple course approach where I am literally going to deliver several different elements of the project to the product in stages or phases or step‑by‑step like first they come and provide you the beverages, then the appetizers, your soup, your salad, your entree, your dessert, coffee afterwards ‑‑ checking each time that each of those elements are just hot enough or just cold enough, or crisp enough, et cetera, before delivery.
I can break projects down into multiple different cycles. In the Project Management Body of Knowledge, 5th edition, they also talk about projects that occur on essentially a product or project life cycle. If we take a look at the project life cycle, we talk about a scale that starts here in predictive projects and moves all the way over towards adaptive projects. Let’s get a frame of reference with those.
When we talk about a predictive project, let’s consider you are going to get in a sailboat and sail across the Pacific or the Atlantic Ocean. You’ve got a long haul before you and you have to plan very carefully, plan everything before you move forward to execute. Let me go back a slide here, and just take a look at the cycle here.
In this instance, I would have to do lots and lots of planning before ever I execute at least in that predictive project. If I don’t, I am going to get into the middle of the ocean and realize I don’t have enough fresh water, I don’t have enough food. If I am at a storm at sea and part of the sails tears, I don’t have cloth or thread to repair with or an alternative sail or an alternative mast, communication systems to shout out for help, help, etc.
A predictive project suggests that I do all of the planning before I do any execution. If you don’t like the concept of sailing put that in the context of a mission to Mars. Certainly the duration that’s associated with that single project to get a human being to Mars has to been done in a predictive way. Same kind of tools but the effort requires more planning before execution.
Along the timeline, I then come to essentially an incremental project. Incremental projects are often considered to be done in stages or phases. If we think about stages or phases, how are you going to prepare that Thanksgivings’ meal?
You can’t do it all at once. Well, you could, but if you do everything all at once, something’s going to be burn, while something doesn’t get to the jello’s mushy. So you kind of have to do it in a sequential fashion but in a premeditated integrated fashion. That’s what we mean by incremental.
I am not going to profess that I suggest you going to eat an endangered animal, but the old meme, how do we eat an elephant? One bite at a time. The concept of essentially doing things in steps or stages.
If we take a look at predictive and incremental when we talk about the timeline, one of the most common terminologies at least in the IT arena, you know what that is? This concept of waterfall, where the output of one effort is the input to the next effort, and then the output of second effort is the input to the third effort.
Now, that’s where we are talking about phases or stages. Waterfall techniques have been around in IT for a long time, are this blend of predictive or incremental on the timescale, based again on the scale of the project and the amount of work that you need to do.
The next term on our timeline is iterative. The most common example that we can give you in the IT arena, will be a spiral project. When we talk about spiral, we are starting out here with the big picture and we know the target and we are going to keep refining the effort.
If we were to talk about planning and doing, and then checking what we’re doing, and rechecking it, and rechecking it ‑‑ learning to cook for instance. The first meal might not be perfect but you’re going to try to do the same process again, refining little aspects of it. That’s this concept of iterative, redoing the work, consistently trying to hit the goal.
The big deal here is we know the goal; we just don’t exactly know the process to get there or don’t have the skills set, so we’re learning as we are going. That’s iterative and spiral as an example of iterative processes but Agile is none of those.
Agile is all the way over here, where we talk about adaptive. The story or the example that I give in the classroom pretty much comes from the Bible. If you take a look at the story of Moses, taking the Israelites and leaving Egypt to try to find the Promised Land and you look at the map of that area of the Middle East.
You figure out where they started in Egypt and you figure out pretty much where the Israelites ended up 40 years later, looking at the historical aspect of this, given that you have sufficient food and water, you could walk the distance between the two in a year or less. So why did it take 40?
It took 40 because they weren’t clear in terms of what the goal was. They weren’t certain of what it would take to get there. They had to check out lots of things along the way. Some right, some wrong. That’s the concept of an adaptive project, where you have to move fast. They clearly had to flee.
That’s why I use that story as an example. They couldn’t wait and play a predictive game. They couldn’t really even do an incrementally, and say let’s plan a little bit and go a little further. They had to move fast. They had to react fast to opportunity or threat, either way, when you look at SWOT. That’s where Agile has come into fore.
Agile is very important because it is a form of adaptive process, where you have the way to move or respond quickly to a customer’s need, that’s the goal behind a project, essentially is to meet a customer’s need. If we take a look at this, there are several different terms or approaches associated with Agile.
The one I want to most emphasize here, pause and breathe for a moment. When we talk about Agile, we need to understand that Agile is not a specific certification or a single process or a single toolset or even a single approach. Agile itself is a set of values and practices that requires a very particular culture to work.
PMI, at the several global congresses that I’ve been to in the last many years, often has presenters that get up and suggest that Agile really can only exist in somewhere between 9 and 11 percent of most companies or businesses today. The importance behind that is it’s not that a company can’t implement the processes associated with Agile, the real challenge with that is the culture is not yet in place.
I know a lot of politicians, a lot of executives are saying, “you would know we’re all on Agile,” but I think the important aspect to consider behind that is, they’re promoting that they need to get a culture that is responsive, reactive, can adapt quickly to the customer and the customer’s needs. But they’re going to have to induce a proper culture before they can just instantiate or implement specific frameworks.
Let’s visit this concept of framework for just a moment. There are several and they’re not the same. Probably the most common, and the one I’m going to spend more time speaking about as we go through this presentation, is essentially Scrum and/or Sprint.
Now, this is a particular framework where you’re going to look at specific requirements and during the Scrum you’re going to identify what you can do in a two‑week period. That’s it, entirely bounded by two weeks.
That includes the team getting together and understanding what they’re going to do and then spending essentially a Sprint, which is the remaining part of that two weeks, to get a deliverable, completed and handed off. The challenge with Sprint is going to be identifying the product that can be completed in two weeks given the skill‑set of the team.
Actually, if you stop to think about it, Agile was created without being called Agile by Walt Disney and the Disney companies, when he was doing feature cartoons. They would create an entire storyboard of the entire movie. Imagine from the beginning of the movie then, there’s a lot of little scenes and there are challenges.
The first big feature movie was “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” He might assign a team, a special two‑week project to go figure out how to do close‑ups of the emotions of the dwarfs. That’s a big story that was a big one. That’s not like until later in the movie, in the cartoon.
We have to get introduced to the Queen, and the magic mirror, and Snow White, and her journey through the forest long before we get to the dwarfs, but if they couldn’t figure out how to get those dwarfs’ facial expressions up close, they would be in trouble, and so they had to figure out how to get that done.
They did this two‑week Sprint to work on essentially the black and white drawings, the sketches and renderings of the dwarfs, so they could figure out how to make that work. Well, if you take the entire story, this concept of a storyboard, and break it into small pieces, that’s really what Agile is about.
When we talk about Scrum and Sprint, let’s take a whole storyboard and figure out what we’re going to do and do it in small increments called Sprints. Well, there are other ways to do this in other industries, than just the movie industry.
Another framework has this concept of a backlog of stories, and the stories might not be like the movie where they’re little frames. They might be actual products. A business analysis, for instance, might identify many, many opportunities that the company has but you can’t afford to do them all, so you create a backlog of all these small projects that you need to get done.
You build a story, the requirements, the needs, and understandings, and you pick the ones that you can best do and you constantly, at least from an Agile terminology, you groom your backlog figuring out what projects or efforts you can do, given the resources, skill sets, time frame, that triple constraint that’s available to you.
What a couple of other, just as an overview of some of the other Agile methodologies to kind of give you some compare and contrast that Agile is not just Scrum and Sprint. If I were to talk Six Sigma, I’m talking about statistical methodologies. Lean Six Sigma is where we’re talking about process and process improvement.
It may or may not focus on specific statistics when we say Lean Six Sigma, so those people that get the yellow belt, green belt, black belt in Six Sigma, they’re working on process and process improvement, and understanding those tool sets more than they are becoming professional statisticians. Well, the same is true when we talk about the frame of reference for Agile.
We have Lean Agile methodologies. In this case we’re not so much talking about, “Let’s see if we can do this in two weeks.” We’re talking about the processes that we’re going to use and Kanban is one of those ‑‑ the concept that it limits the work that you’re permitted to do.
It essentially creates a process or framework, not as formal as Scrum and Sprint where we’re talking just two weeks, that essentially allows us to put a wrap‑around, here’s the limit to the work we can get done within a timeframe, which might be longer than two weeks. But again it’s about limiting the work that you want to get done.
While Scrum and Sprint are carefully bounded, for instance if we go back to the triple constraint, by time, Kanban is limited by the scope of the work you’re going to do. Scope does effect time, but we’re starting at a different element of the triple constraint to figure that out.
Yet another framework that is considered an Agile certification is called Extreme Programming or XP, where elements are done in time boxes. Yes, we’re talking time, but we’re also talking scope and we’re trying to find a way to get the quality that we want done in a tight time frame. While we’re talking Scrub and Sprint or talking backlog, quality can often fall by the wayside and we’re willing to make lots of mistakes as we learn where we’re going.
That 40‑year wandering through the desert as long as we start moving now, we know we’ll get there. Extreme Programming says, “No, I got to have a working product in a short period of time,” so quality and time are both bounded. One of the other terms associated with the screen programming that I’ve got down here is essentially this concept of pair programming.
You’re literally having every line of code written by two developers sitting side by side. One’s writing while the other one is literally critiquing and reviewing this code line by line one after the other.
If you can imagine, if you had two people sitting in a screen typing away like crazy to get that done, if they’re not a good team working together, you’re going to have all kinds of arguments. They’ve got to agree and understand the methodology that they’re using to get that done.
Jeff Jones, our Director of Instruction, shared an example where he and one of our other instructors here sat down ‑‑ Jeff’s a SQL expert Dan Wahlin is essentially a developer and a programming expert. They sat down in a day using this concept of pair programming, literally reviewing the code because one knew the database, the other knew the application.
They got work done at a very, very high and accelerated rate, but they had to be very open to constantly critiquing literally every line of code. That’s an example of extreme programming, and there’s a specific methodology, certification, or framework behind that that could be applied to Agile.
There’s lots of terms that are unique and specific to Agile. I’ve listed some others here on the screen, but when you’re trying to look at different frameworks, they don’t all blend together. For instance, you really couldn’t do lean and extreme programming together because they’re different approaches, very different approaches to the same concept.
They each require a different kind of values and practices that fit the culture and the industry that you exist within. Let’s go a little bit further here. Why do people care about this, and what certification they’re seeking?
Probably the most common certification that individuals are looking for, one that relates to Agile, is to become a ScrumMaster or a Scrum Coach. That framework is very specific. I’m not going to try to teach it here, I’m just going to be a quick overview of it.
When we talk about Scrum, your team has particularly three categories of participants. The product owner, who’s essentially placing the needs or the requirements on the team. This is almost like JAD, Joint Application Development, where the customer’s a part of the team the whole time, at least during that two‑week period that their product is being worked on.
A ScrumMaster. That’s an individual who is interfacing with the customer or customers and overseeing or managing the team, getting the resources for the team and making sure nobody interrupts the team during that spread. We refer to the team as the Scrum quite often.
There are four different specific ceremonies or elements to formalize Scrum methodology ‑‑ a stand‑up meeting every day. Literally, we don’t sit and discuss stuff. We stand, talk about what we did yesterday, what we’re going to do today, and now we get back to work. We use the time extremely efficiently.
A sprint planning meeting. That’s where everybody’s identifying what they’re going to be doing for the next two weeks. Well, actually eight or nine working days, because we have a couple of others at the end of the sprint, that last day.
You review what you got done and it’s supposed to be a completed working deliverable. Then you do a retrospective in terms of what you’ve learned, what did or didn’t get done, what you might try differently the next time.
Perhaps a review by the customer about whether or not the product is even acceptable or has to end up, much like in a movie with a storyboard, the cuttings that end up on the floor, the take that you don’t want to keep, the scene you’re not going to use because it just doesn’t fit the entire story line, but you had to do it to discover whether it would work or not.
There are three artifact terms that go along with Scrum. Burn‑down charts. Remember that backlog or storyboard? You’re essentially going to list all the deliverables in the burn‑down chart. You’re going to check things off or scratch them off, depending on your approach as they’re completed.
Your product backlog is that storyboard of all the different elements of the product that you’re looking at so that you see the big picture, but you’re focused on just that one little scene set that you’re trying to get done. Then a sprint backlog are all the little details that, in these two weeks, just didn’t get fit into the sprint because of the time constraint.
You’re learning as you’re going. You’re improving the work, the product output, but not in an iterative way because, literally, the entire effort might be accepted as a mistake and dropped onto the floor.
Very few projects or product customers like the idea of literally throwing money away and throwing it on the floor, but the culture of Scrum is you have to accept mistakes while you’re learning and moving at that rate of speed.
That’s also why I go back and compare it to the predictive product. If you’ve got a predicted effort ‑‑ getting to Mars, crossing the ocean ‑‑ you can’t start out and hope that a week or two out you’re going to be able to figure it out if you didn’t have the planning and the resources, the raw materials, the tool sets with you to affect lots of changes as you go. That’s not what’s Scrum’s about.
Scrum’s about let’s figure out with the team we’ve got what we can do in two weeks and race to try to get it done. If you don’t have the skill sets, you don’t want to attempt something that you’re not capable of doing.
Why Scrum? Where is it set? I said that today a white paper came out saying Agile’s here to stay, because everybody in our technology‑founded environments wants to go faster and faster, and the customers want results faster and faster.
Agile is not quite yet seen, at least in a lot of surveys, as being some of the top moneymaking opportunities inside of the IT industry. I did this for, essentially, a lunch session with our staff here, and I’m going to use part of this just to give you a frame of reference for the demand for Agile.
These are the top 15 paid career positions within IT as of the end of 2015. Essentially, if we take a look at them, six are in security, three are in networking like Cisco routing certifications, and three of them in particular are having to do with business. We’re going to put Agile in that business or project management arena, and three of them essentially have to do with Web or cloud services.
Let’s go back to those three business ones. A Project Management Professional, or PMP here, is number four. We come down here to Six Sigma green belt, the process associated with trying to refine our process quality. Then down here ITIL v3 ‑‑ Foundations. Those are considered business certs.
Other top certs in the IT arena here include CCNP Switching and Routing, CompTIA Security Plus, A+ just so you get a sense of the framework of some of the common certs that are out there. Agile doesn’t show up in the top list or many of the top certifications. It’s just not as well understood, even though demand is high.
If we look at CompTIA, and this is the certification magazine survey that says ‑‑ this is from 2014 ‑‑ some of the top IT certs and what careers getting or having those certs will do for you. You’ll note again security and networking was near the top.
If we move to CompTIA, the Computer Technology Industry Association, they have a roadmap that talks from beginner or novice as we move through intermediate, advanced, specialist, expert certification. Just as an example, Prince Foundation is here at the top of the intermediate. PMP is over here at expert. ITIL Foundations is over here at beginner.
If we move all the way over to the expert side, we’re essentially moving through the ITIL certifications, looking over here for some of the other certs. They’ve got this core path and if we go to comptia.org and take a look at it, you’re not going to see any Agile certifications on there yet.
That’s not that they aren’t recognized certs. It’s that the specific path from beginner all the way over to expert is not as well understood by the industry. Other surveys ‑‑ this one done literally within the last three months ‑‑ is showing the demand for Agile, and this is why so many people want to go and get an Agile cert.
If you take a look at it right here, amongst the top project management‑related certifications, this is people who are doing project‑specific work and approaches. The PMP or the Project Manager and Information Technology’s making pretty good money.
So is the senior project manager. Again, a PMP type level, or just a project manager for software development, they’re also making good money, but look right here. The highest paid currently, within the six month survey, is somebody who’s an Agile coach. We’ll show you what does mean in a second. Somebody who’s a certified ScrumMaster is still making pretty good money.
As a matter of fact, potentially more money than some of those top paying positions where we look at the top fifteen, and that top 15 list came from “CIO Magazine.” Agile is being a big driver in today’s world, but here’s the confusion. When we talk about or look at Agile there’s no single certification.
This is a study done essentially CIO magazine, PMI, others looking at what are the top certifications recognized today for Agile approaches. I want to point this out, some of these certifications are not for individuals. Some of these certifications are for companies or organizations.
If we went back to look at some of the Agile terminology Kanban is really a process used by a business. No individual gets a Kanban certification. It’s an approach used by a business, but a ScrumMaster could be an individual certification, so some of these Agile frameworks or methodologies are more about certification for the individual. Others are certifications for organizations.
PMI has an Agile certified professional. This is somebody who’s going to understand the terminology and the frameworks across many different Agile‑type foundation approaches rather than a single one. That’s considered one of the top cert programs today for people looking to support Agile programs across the range of industries.
We have APMG International. APMG International’s essentially looking at international processes in Agile, which expand beyond the IT industry. It’s not just IT focused. Strategy Ex is becoming a certificate in Agile. This one’s provided by George Washington University, and this really gives you an example of just how new and/or extreme some of the courseware might be.
In order to get an associate’s degree in Strategy Ex, it’s a two year program. You can’t do it any faster based on the curriculum provided by the George Washington University, which can be taken online, but it’s a two‑year effort to get certified.
If you want a Master’s degree in the Strategy Ex Certificate it’s a four year program. Can’t do it any faster based on the cycle in which they offer the courses. Compared to that, down here at the bottom we have the Scrum Alliance, where you can become a ScrumMaster or Scrum certified by taking a course offered by a Scrum Alliance certified trainer and then taking a test online.
Hypothetically, if you understand the concepts and you apply a little time to study, you could get a ScrumMaster certificate in a week. Big difference between a two‑ or four‑year program and a one‑week training. Understand the concept and become the ScrumMaster.
There’s a lot of different certifications available. Other’s here. I see Agile. The Agile certification and Scaled Academy are safe. Safe is kind of where that extreme programming comes out of. If somebody’s in IT as an IT developer, that would be a big deal. You’d be headed, maybe, to look at the Scrum or the Scaled Agile Academy.
There are other certifications coming out. In some of the recent studies that I’ve done, one of the common ones is Oracle. They acquired the Product Lifecycle Management tool and renamed their website for that product called agile.com.
This is effectively a Product Lifecycle Management tool used for operations or manufacturing that’s managing the process improvement for product deliverable in a manufacturing process. That’s very, very different than what you would learn when we’re talking IT development.
There are a lot of different approaches to what we’re calling Agile, not all the same, so do your homework before you pick a cert, a program, a culture and environment, a process set that you’re going to use.
When we talk about that job, and if I go back several slides here to take a look at this, remember we talked about the Agile coach over here being the high paid one and just a couple below that, the Certified ScrumMaster. If we go and take a look at the Scrum Alliance, effectively you can go in and become a Product Owner, a Certified ScrumMaster, or a Certified Scrum Developer.
Remember we said in the Scrum model, you have the Owner, the ScrumMaster, and the Scrum or the team member. You can become certified as one of those three roles. It would be important for product owners in your company to become the Certified Scrum Product Owner, so they understand the process and don’t try to modify that framework.
Again, that means your entire organization has to be trained in order to be able to understand and support the culture necessary to apply just this one model. After you complete the basic, you’re going to take additional courses. All courses from the Scrum Alliance have to be taken by a Scrum Alliance Certified Instructor and then you can become a Certified Scrum Professional by adding additional knowledge to your basic certification.
After you have completed the Certified Scrum Professional path, you can become a Certified Scrum Trainer, Certified Enterprise Coach, or a Certified Team Coach. This is the level up here at the top from the Scrum Alliance that is referred to as the Agile Coach where they are getting the higher money.
You will note this is not a one‑week class and done. It’s one week to get you initial certification, additional coaches to prepare yourself before you take either the trainer or coach level certification. That’s just one of the many models associated with trying to get an Agile certification and this one is essentially broad‑based.
Probably, two of the most popular organizations providing certifications, at least for IT and IT developers today, are the Scrum Alliance and Scrum.org. Now, both of those were founded by the same individual.
The original concept behind the Scrum Alliance was to put together best practices in software development within the IT industry, recognizing that software development is not the only effort that IT provides. We also do infrastructure for networking, for server system administration, so it is not just about software development.
I am not critiquing either, I’m just pointing out the approach, the culture, the environment are going to be different between the two. I am just going to do a little bit of a compare and contrast here of these two certification processes so that if you are out there considering one, you get a sense of some of the questions you’re going to have to ask.
Really, the Scrum Alliance is transforming the world of work. It is beyond software development by their own claim. It’s not just about software. It’s essentially learning how to do Agile methodologies beyond just software development.
Scrum.org is specifically all of their trainers must have been a software developer. There is a very careful screening and anybody going for a certification from Scrum.org should have a very clear software development background or you are going to have a more difficult time preparing for, and qualifying to taking the test, let alone trying to pass it.
There is no specific standard course duration for the Scrum Alliance because the Scrum Certified Trainers are teaching to different audiences and different industries, so the course duration could be anywhere between two or three days, could be more, to help people get up to speed to be able to go online and take a test. The test is taken online but you can only qualify to take it if you take a class from the Certified Scrum Trainer from the Scrum Alliance.
You can take your test, on your timing online and you have to get correct 24 out of 35 questions. This is about 69 percent to pass. There is a very high first pass rate for most people who sit the class and then try to pass the Scrum Alliance, ScrumMaster Certification.
In comparison, and I have a little bit of typo here I know, but you got to pass 68 out of 89, so it’s just 68 out of 89 questions but that is a lot more questions to get the certification from the Scrum.org. I’d suggest that if you are not a developer you got a steep warning curve to prepare yourself to get this 85 percent score on this test. It is a higher requirement. It is a lower first pass rate but it does certify you to be a Scrum.org, Certified Developer.
Now, this is not the same as extreme programming but we’re moving down that path of what processes, tools, and techniques do we do to apply software development in a Scrum or Agile environment. You do not have to take a class to be able to go to Scrum.org, so you can prepare for this by downloading and working materials on your own.
There are two levels. The first level, essentially, the Professional ScrumMaster from Scrum.org. The level one is simply a multiple choice test. After you have passed that, you can go for Level 2, which is both multiple choice and essay which requires a higher level of skill.
Remember the Scrum Alliance, after you get the ScrumMaster, it’s got extra courses you take to move down your career path before you ever consider going on to becoming the trainer or the coach.
There are only two levels here for Scrum.org. So you can move yourself quickly from the entry level to the second level but you have to have the skill set, the experience, and the knowledge.
The cost is different because different courses offered by Scrum Certified Trainers from Scrum Alliance are going to be different. Essentially, the course or the test is the same. It is $100 to be able to take the standardized first level test from Scrum.org and $500 to take the second level test from them. You can retake those as often as you want as long as you prove that you’ve done some work to prepare yourself so you are not wasting their time or your money.
This is just the compare and contrast between two of the ScrumMaster certifications in the particular Scrum/Sprint framework. Then you have an overview of projects talking about Agile, the frameworks, and the culture. Look forward to seeing you in the classroom or online.
Steven M. Fullmer, PMP, MBA, MCT/CTT+, CDP Steven has a global reputation as a project manager, chief technology officer, and computer systems innovator. He has authored more than 100 articles and a dozen courses in the fields of project management, productivity, business analysis, and computer technology. He has more than thirty years of professional design and project management experience in finance and high technology firms. He is founder and president of Blue Sphere Solutions, a technology project consultancy as well as a staff instructor for Interface Technical Training.