Re: Certified ScrumMaster
- I have had one good and one bad certification experience. The good
one was APICS (American Production and Inventory Control Society).
It was a challenging certification program, with difficult tests
based on a lot of details that you had to learn. APICS required a
lot of studying and hard work over a series of 5 tests. When Just-in-
Time concepts came onto the scene, much of what we learned in APICS
was rendered obsolete. Interestingly enough, APICS turned on a
dime, changed its exam focus, and *led* the manufacturing excellence
movement, which turned later into lean manufacturing. APICS still
leads that field today.
I asked a friend who led the local APICS how they stayed relevant.
He said, first of all, all classes are done at universities or in
local study groups. They are very careful NOT to certify any
private training companies. That is, no one makes much money, and
thus has a lot invested, in APICS certification courses. Second,
the tests are evaluated and content updated each year. It is
assumed that what is relevant today will not be what was relevant
yesterday. There is no permanent `body of knowledge'.
The bad experience was PMI. I could not even bring myself to
consider PMI certification. Founded in government contracting, the
PMI body of knowledge has always been focused on CYA activity. The
body of knowledge is quite shallow so pretty much anyone can learn
the material and get certified. Many private agencies make lots of
money teaching certification courses, and in order to teach PMI
courses you have to subscribe to some basic fallacies that no one is
permitted to question. Thus there is a strong bias against change
and adaptability in this system.
On to Scrum certification. The problem with anything you can learn
in a day is that there is not much content there to study, unlike
APICS, or actuarial work or even architecture. Thus the real
learning is not in the facts, but the attitudes toward people,
management, measurement, and so on. Attitudes are tricky things to
teach and ever so much trickier to certify. They are highly
dependent on the capability of the people being certified and the
attitudes of their management.
Lean manufacturing has had plenty of flash-in-the-pan successes
followed by a return to mediocrity. Why? The senior management
didn't get it, which is not a surprise because much of lean thinking
is counterintuitive to western thinking. Something which runs
counter to the prevailing culture is not sustainable without a
cultural change, and culture change comes only from the top.
I like Jim Collins book `Good to Great' which describes the seven
things common to companies which were good, then became great.
Right up there at the top was to get the right people on the bus and
in the right seats, and the wrong people off the bus. I fear that
many certification programs are attempts to avoid the exercise of
making sure the right people are on board and the wrong ones
dismissed. Collins points out that with the right people on board,
discipline takes care of itself and you don't need 'improvement
I think that Hal and Greg are on to something (below), and we should
find out more about it.
--- In email@example.com, Hal Macomber <hal@h...>
>project delivery. Greg Howell and I offer an 8-month porgram for
> Thought you would be interested in what we are doing for lean
developing the competence to deliver projects on a lean basis. 12
people will finish the program at the end of March. Another 12
people started the program in February.
> I don't know where to start to describe what we are doing. We arenot 'certifying' participants per se. Nor are we testing them on a
defined body of knowledge. Our focus is on having participants
develop a perpective and set of practices for providing leadership
on lean projects. We are using the approach of teaching the
reflective practitioner (Donald Schon). This is the approach used
in architectural schools.
> We are working in three areas simultaneously:the program. They get coaching from another participant. They
> Subject matter expertise
> Participants are involved in leading projects while they are in
provide coaching to a participant. They also participate in a study-
action team for reading texts.
>lectures. We wrote a handful of primers. And the participants
> We meet for two days every fourth week. Greg and I deliver short
prepare their own lectures and cases. 'Graduation' entails getting
on a path to mastery and presenting a 4 page paper on a relevant
>architecture, and Headstart.
> We have people from construction, defense contracting,
>to read Schon's books on the reflective practitioner. We don't know
> If you continue down the path of certified scrummaster I urge you
of another successful way to teach leadership.
>at 4:31:18 PM, Ken Schwaber <ken.schwaber@v...> wrote:
> Ron Jeffries <ronjeffries@a...> wrote:On Saturday, March 1, 2003,
> > I had a long conversation with Martin Fowler about this and he
> > suggested that we launch the idea of the "Certified
> > This is someone who really knows Scrum, getting it bothemotionally
> > and intellectually, through reading, thinking and - mostimportant -
> > experience. When we hear of a bad implementation, we canask, "did
> > they use a Certified ScrumMaster?" Or, when someone wants to getabout
> > going, we can recommend a Certified ScrumMaster to them.
> > I'm considering implementing such a program to do what I can
> > ensuring the consistency and quality of Scrum. I'm early inthinking
> > about this and want to solicit your comments and conversationpoint, but
> > regarding whether to do this (I'm pretty set on it at this
> > could be swayed) and how to do it (suggestions are welcome).leadership group.
> Very thought-provoking, Ken. I cross-posted it to the xp
> Ron Jeffries
> Talent determines how fast you get good, not how good you get. --
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> Don't miss a posting! Forward to a friend.
Sorry for the pun intended, the proper name is
"burndown chart" as Mike stated, not "burnout chart",
but that all depends how you feel as you come down
from the "mountain of hours and features" ;-)
--- Mike Cohn <mike@...> wrote:
I think Mike is referring to a "burndown" rather than
Although I'd like to try graphing how burnt out I feel
at the end of each
An example burndown chart is
Scroll down a
bit and you'll see it bordered in the green.
From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries@...]
Sent: Monday, March 10, 2003 3:10 PM
Subject: Re: Design (was) RE: [scrumdevelopment]
On Monday, March 10, 2003, at 5:03:18 PM, Mike Beedle
> - Ensuring that a burnout chart is produced everyWhat's a burnout chart?
> day -- don't fly blind it can be dangerous to your
> project's health.
How do I sell my executive team on doing this stuff?
Don't. Just do it. They don't know what you're doing
anyway. -- Jim
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