Why does the Certified ScrumMaster Certification use attendance and participation in the class as the primary criteria for certification? The additional element of an exam starts in October 2009, but even with this change, attendance and participation in the class is still primary. The rational for this requirement isn’t training revenue. It isn’t to provide an indoctrination process into all things Scrum. The rational for this requirement is PRACTICE.
Agile methods are more of an art than a science. The science side of the methods is significant and counter-intuitive to traditional software development practices, but can be learned through reading. There is NO limit to the amount of materials available to read on Agile methods. Depending on how much time you have and how much you like to read, you can quickly become very knowledgeable on Agile.
Knowing what Agile is, and “doing” Agile, is like night and day. Based on my conversations with IT directors on our advisory board, past customers, and instructors, practice is the critical success element in achieving success using Agile. As already stated, there is a ton of reading material on Agile available, but when you look more deeply at the science side of Agile it is not very heavy – this is one of the problems. Agile was at one time called “lightweight,” because of its lack of details and specifics. It is the “lightweight” nature of its rules that make it so powerful yet so difficult. In order to be successful in Agile you have to understand the principals through the experience of your daily work.
That is where agile training comes in. In order to be of value, agile training must provide the attendee practice and the attendees must actively participate. In the actual CSM certification class, the instructor can withhold a certification of a participant(s) if they feel they did not participate or missed large portions of the class. Think about your agile training class as your time to practice outside of your production environment. Plus you get to practice in front of an experienced professional.
If you are considering adding agile methods to your software development process, please look at it in four stages. The first stage is gain knowledge. The more you can read the better. You should never stop learning more about the methods. The second stage is find real-world pragmatic agile training where you know you will practice the actual method in the classroom. The third step is to move the practice to a controlled production environment, where you can work the methods into your organization, using the retrospective period to meld the processes to your environment. The fourth stage is to continue to use the skills, fine-tune the processes within your environment, and hopefully multiply the skill and processes deeper into the organization.
You must gain knowledge first, develop skills second, practice skills third and ultimately pass those skills on forth. In reality Agile is about continuous training and development. To take a look at ASPE-SDLC’s full line of practice based agile training courses go to http://www.aspe-sdlc.com/agiletraining.php