Ken Schwaber | 1 Mar 22:31 2003
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Certified ScrumMaster

Over the last year, I've seen more and more bad Scrum implementations 
(do we really need daily Scrums? why can't I tell the people what to 
do during the Sprint?). I've also seen and heard about even worse 
implementations (or claimed use of) XP. Although we've made every 
attempt to help people understand Scrum and XP with our books, 
websites, talks, and articles, we're still coming up short.

I talked with Mark Paulk, one of the authors of CMM. He is pleased 
with his efforts, but discouraged at what CMM has turned into. His 
estimate is that over 2/3 of all CMM implementations are "trash." 
These are implementations that focused on getting certified, not 
improving the software process. Cnsultants did it to make money even 
though they really didn't know what they were doing.

Scrum isn't something that is intellectually apprehended. As Mike and 
I wrote in our book, it has to be experienced, with management 
becoming facilitators, telling the teams what to do. And the teams 
owning the entire development iteration, the how to do it. Yet this 
has tremendous trouble getting across. And it's getting worse, both 
as we move from early adopters to the mainstream, and as more people 
start to scale Scrum and XP. I think people mistake iterative 
development for agile development and let it go at that.

I had a long conversation with Martin Fowler about this and he 
suggested that we launch the idea of the "Certified ScrumMaster." 
This is someone who really knows Scrum, getting it both emotionally 
and intellectually, through reading, thinking and - most important - 
experience. When we hear of a bad implementation, we can ask, "did 
they use a Certified ScrumMaster?" Or, when someone wants to get 
going, we can recommend a Certified ScrumMaster to them.
(Continue reading)

Ron Jeffries | 2 Mar 01:05 2003
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Re: Certified ScrumMaster

On Saturday, March 1, 2003, at 4:31:18 PM, Ken Schwaber <ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net> wrote:

> I had a long conversation with Martin Fowler about this and he 
> suggested that we launch the idea of the "Certified ScrumMaster." 
> This is someone who really knows Scrum, getting it both emotionally 
> and intellectually, through reading, thinking and - most important - 
> experience. When we hear of a bad implementation, we can ask, "did 
> they use a Certified ScrumMaster?" Or, when someone wants to get 
> going, we can recommend a Certified ScrumMaster to them.

> I'm considering implementing such a program to do what I can about 
> ensuring the consistency and quality of Scrum. I'm early in thinking 
> about this and want to solicit your comments and conversation 
> regarding whether to do this (I'm pretty set on it at this point, but 
> could be swayed) and how to do it (suggestions are welcome).

Very thought-provoking, Ken. I cross-posted it to the xp leadership group.

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Talent determines how fast you get good, not how good you get.  -- Richard Gabriel

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Marco Dorantes Martinez | 2 Mar 02:58 2003
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RE: Certified ScrumMaster

Then the focus will be on getting the ScrumMaster certification,

There is something wrong with the whole idea of "certification", I
remember Gerald M. Weinberg saying (Quality Software Management: Systems
Thinking pag20-21) that one group dictating who is the "master race"
produces atrocities.
Maybe, the chase for some certification makes most harm than good.

What about the systems of patterns Mr. Weinberg talk about in section
2.2 of the same book?, which try to measure or characterize the degree
of congruence between what is said and what is done in an organization.

Regards,
Marco

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Schwaber <ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net>
[mailto:ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net] 
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 3:31 PM
To: scrumdevelopment <at> yahoogroups.com
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Certified ScrumMaster

Over the last year, I've seen more and more bad Scrum implementations 
(do we really need daily Scrums? why can't I tell the people what to 
do during the Sprint?). I've also seen and heard about even worse 
implementations (or claimed use of) XP. Although we've made every 
attempt to help people understand Scrum and XP with our books, 
websites, talks, and articles, we're still coming up short.

I talked with Mark Paulk, one of the authors of CMM. He is pleased 
(Continue reading)

Alan Shalloway | 2 Mar 03:23 2003

RE: Certified ScrumMaster

I tend to agree with Marco although I agree there is the problem Ken
brings up.  I think people need to use a certain amount of common sense.
What is it that makes a person know what they are doing.  I am fairly
certain I would not pass any Java Certification test on the planet.
Yet, I also have experienced accelerating Java projects (both through
mentoring and direct coding) significantly.  Also, it's hard to divorce
the business issues.  It's hard not to identify Scrum with Ken and Mike
as it's hard not to identify XP with Kent, Ron and Ward.

Alan Shalloway, Sr. Consultant, CEO
office: 425-313-3065. mobile: 425-531-0810

Net Objectives' vision is effective software development without
suffering. Our mission is to assist software development teams in
accomplishing this through a combination of training and mentoring. 

-----Original Message-----
From: Marco Dorantes Martinez [mailto:mdmartin <at> microsoft.com] 
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 5:59 PM
To: scrumdevelopment <at> yahoogroups.com
Subject: RE: [scrumdevelopment] Certified ScrumMaster

Then the focus will be on getting the ScrumMaster certification,

There is something wrong with the whole idea of "certification", I
remember Gerald M. Weinberg saying (Quality Software Management: Systems
Thinking pag20-21) that one group dictating who is the "master race"
produces atrocities.
Maybe, the chase for some certification makes most harm than good.

(Continue reading)

Scott Worley | 2 Mar 03:54 2003

Re: Certified ScrumMaster

This is most interesting Ken, I have also seen a lot of bad CMM (in my opinion) and feel that the guidelines that CMM originally emphasized has become a victim of its success and of commercialization.
 
I would like to see SCRUM practices evaluated by a certification, however I have no real idea how since an effective SRUM master or masters running large projects have to adapt and change on circumstance, just reciting rules and expected values is not enough.
 
You would need to evaluate and certify based in real world like application, this would mean creating a project and hurdles/impediments and seeing what a prospective certification candidate would do/react like.
 
And awarding certification on that. but again in real world the factors that make SCRUM a challenge to implement are those of closed minds, and management buy-in, these skills I find had to certify :)
 
just my 2 cents, but none-the-less I am very interested in this possible development.
 
.
 
Scott Worley
 Now evangelizing SCRUM, XP and Agile Management in China ;)
----- Original Message -----
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 5:31 AM
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Certified ScrumMaster

Over the last year, I've seen more and more bad Scrum implementations
(do we really need daily Scrums? why can't I tell the people what to
do during the Sprint?). I've also seen and heard about even worse
implementations (or claimed use of) XP. Although we've made every
attempt to help people understand Scrum and XP with our books,
websites, talks, and articles, we're still coming up short.

I talked with Mark Paulk, one of the authors of CMM. He is pleased
with his efforts, but discouraged at what CMM has turned into. His
estimate is that over 2/3 of all CMM implementations are "trash."
These are implementations that focused on getting certified, not
improving the software process. Cnsultants did it to make money even
though they really didn't know what they were doing.

Scrum isn't something that is intellectually apprehended. As Mike and
I wrote in our book, it has to be experienced, with management
becoming facilitators, telling the teams what to do. And the teams
owning the entire development iteration, the how to do it. Yet this
has tremendous trouble getting across. And it's getting worse, both
as we move from early adopters to the mainstream, and as more people
start to scale Scrum and XP. I think people mistake iterative
development for agile development and let it go at that.

I had a long conversation with Martin Fowler about this and he
suggested that we launch the idea of the "Certified ScrumMaster."
This is someone who really knows Scrum, getting it both emotionally
and intellectually, through reading, thinking and - most important -
experience. When we hear of a bad implementation, we can ask, "did
they use a Certified ScrumMaster?" Or, when someone wants to get
going, we can recommend a Certified ScrumMaster to them.

I'm considering implementing such a program to do what I can about
ensuring the consistency and quality of Scrum. I'm early in thinking
about this and want to solicit your comments and conversation
regarding whether to do this (I'm pretty set on it at this point, but
could be swayed) and how to do it (suggestions are welcome).

Thanks for the help!

Ken



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Ron Jeffries | 2 Mar 11:57 2003
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Re: Certified ScrumMaster

On Saturday, March 1, 2003, at 4:31:18 PM, Ken Schwaber <ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net> wrote:

> I talked with Mark Paulk, one of the authors of CMM. He is pleased 
> with his efforts, but discouraged at what CMM has turned into. His 
> estimate is that over 2/3 of all CMM implementations are "trash." 
> These are implementations that focused on getting certified, not 
> improving the software process. Cnsultants did it to make money even 
> though they really didn't know what they were doing.

> I'm considering implementing such a program to do what I can about 
> ensuring the consistency and quality of Scrum. I'm early in thinking 
> about this and want to solicit your comments and conversation 
> regarding whether to do this (I'm pretty set on it at this point, but 
> could be swayed) and how to do it (suggestions are welcome).

The two paragraphs above, in juxtaposition, raise one of the important
questions. No one gets a high level CMM assessment unless an SEI-approved
auditor says so. Their own authorized "Certified CMM Masters" have
produced processes that are 2/3 trash.

Now I agree that experience is so valuable that I'm often tempted to
say that no XP project can do without an experienced coach. That used to be
my position. But there are projects going pretty well that started with no
"Certified XP Master" involved, and I'd bet the same is true for Scrum.

And there are coached XP projects that have gone off the rails. Has that
every happened for Scrum?

I suspect that the presence of a Certified Master is not a guarantee of
success, nor is the absence a guarantee of failure. What then?

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Fear is the mindkiller. --Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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Marco Abis | 2 Mar 12:49 2003
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Re: Certified ScrumMaster


Hi everybody,

        generally speaking I don't find certification too much significative because they simply mean the
certified person theoretically knows something. They are of course usefull for tech related knowledge
(I mean: how to administer a database, how to implement a distributed environment et similia) but I don't
really think an "agile certification" obtained in the common way would help.

Why? Because certifing a person knows all the practices of an agile approach doesn't mean he's
learnt/shared the underlying principles and valors and these make the real difference.

Given that:

Comples Behavior = Simple Rules + Rich Relationships (Highsmith, 2000)

a certification obtained in the common way would just mean the certified person knows that simple rules but
I think we all agree on the fact that what makes agile approaches successful is far more than simple practices.

Everybody can learn a couple of steps to follow but without an understanding of the underlying principles
it is impossible to face the emergence and uncertainty.

I think what could be useful is a way to "certify that a person has a deep understanding of the underlying
principles + practices".

Ron wrote:

"But there are projects going pretty well that started with no "Certified XP Master" involved"

and this is, in my opinion, a demonstration of what I wrote above: these projects have people with an
understanding of the principles behind the practices and can face the complexity of the project also
without a previous experience of the practices.

Just my 2 cents :)

Marco Abis - CEO & Chairman 
Agility SPI: Software Process Improvement 
abis <at> agilemovement.it - abis <at> acm.org 
http://agilemovement.it

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Ken Schwaber | 2 Mar 15:34 2003
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RE: Certified ScrumMaster

You've hit the heart of the matter, of course. Why did a similar effort fail
for CMM, and why would it work for Scrum and XP?
I have some research to do into the CMM problem. Do you or anyone have
suggestions on what we could do to make our certification - if we do it -
work?
Ken

-----Original Message-----
From: Ron Jeffries [mailto:ronjeffries <at> acm.org]
Sent: Sunday, March 02, 2003 5:58 AM
To: scrumdevelopment <at> yahoogroups.com
Subject: Re: [scrumdevelopment] Certified ScrumMaster

On Saturday, March 1, 2003, at 4:31:18 PM, Ken Schwaber
<ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net> wrote:

> I talked with Mark Paulk, one of the authors of CMM. He is pleased
> with his efforts, but discouraged at what CMM has turned into. His
> estimate is that over 2/3 of all CMM implementations are "trash."
> These are implementations that focused on getting certified, not
> improving the software process. Cnsultants did it to make money even
> though they really didn't know what they were doing.

> I'm considering implementing such a program to do what I can about
> ensuring the consistency and quality of Scrum. I'm early in thinking
> about this and want to solicit your comments and conversation
> regarding whether to do this (I'm pretty set on it at this point, but
> could be swayed) and how to do it (suggestions are welcome).

The two paragraphs above, in juxtaposition, raise one of the important
questions. No one gets a high level CMM assessment unless an SEI-approved
auditor says so. Their own authorized "Certified CMM Masters" have
produced processes that are 2/3 trash.

Now I agree that experience is so valuable that I'm often tempted to
say that no XP project can do without an experienced coach. That used to be
my position. But there are projects going pretty well that started with no
"Certified XP Master" involved, and I'd bet the same is true for Scrum.

And there are coached XP projects that have gone off the rails. Has that
every happened for Scrum?

I suspect that the presence of a Certified Master is not a guarantee of
success, nor is the absence a guarantee of failure. What then?

Ron Jeffries
www.XProgramming.com
Fear is the mindkiller. --Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear

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Mike Cohn | 2 Mar 17:25 2003

RE: Certified ScrumMaster

Like some others who responded, I'm generally opposed to any form of
certification. It has always seemed that "those who can't get
certified"--and do so to prove they can. I was hiring a bunch of Java
programmers about two years ago and when I'd get a resume from someone
showing one or more certifications earned during the previous couple of
years I was shocked they had time. During that period of the tech boom here
were programmers who had time to get certified--everyone I knew who was any
good was so busy doing actual work they didn't have time to get certified.

If we (Scrum, agile, or Software Engineering in general) had a way of
certifying that an individual has a fundamental understanding of principles
and that, more importantly, she knows how to think through new situations
there might be value to that. So much of Scrum/Agile, though, is doing
things by what has probably become intuition to us. We can't set up rules
like "if you have less than 1 hour of meetings today your team is agile" and
then ask people how many minutes of meetings they can have each day. It
might be agile to have a full day of meetings at some points (painful, but
agile).

I looked at a sample PMP test on the web recently. I can't imagine there'd
be very many Scrum-based questions we could ask:
  What question is not asked during the daily scrum?
    [ ] What did you do yesterday?
    [ ] What are you planning to do today?
    [ ] When the hell are you going to finish task 37?
    [ ] What's in your way?

On the other hand, I'd love to know if a project was run by a credible
ScrumMaster or someone who flew through the book, created a Gantt chart
based on it and decided to do Scrum. The only way I can see to do that would
be to rely heavily on the use of essay questions perhaps in the format of
case studies (e.g., I'm thinking of the very useful and interesting ones in
Harvard Business Review each month) and possibly on an interview. I don't
think a test based on multiple choice questions like the example above will
prove anything and it will focus the aspiring ScrumMaster on memorization
rather internalization of the knowledge, which is exactly what we want to
avoid. 

A certification process along these lines could be useful. One that is
similar to PMP with many multiple choice questions would be useless.

I'd most definitely suggest avoiding anything like DSDM where I can't even
read their materials without joining and I don't think I can even refer to
my project as following DSDM unless I'm a member. That type of proprietary
approach is wrong and unnecessary and will only stifle acceptance.

--Mike

-----Original Message-----
From: Ken Schwaber <ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net>
[mailto:ken.schwaber <at> verizon.net] 
Sent: Saturday, March 01, 2003 2:31 PM
To: scrumdevelopment <at> yahoogroups.com
Subject: [scrumdevelopment] Certified ScrumMaster

Over the last year, I've seen more and more bad Scrum implementations 
(do we really need daily Scrums? why can't I tell the people what to 
do during the Sprint?). I've also seen and heard about even worse 
implementations (or claimed use of) XP. Although we've made every 
attempt to help people understand Scrum and XP with our books, 
websites, talks, and articles, we're still coming up short.

I talked with Mark Paulk, one of the authors of CMM. He is pleased 
with his efforts, but discouraged at what CMM has turned into. His 
estimate is that over 2/3 of all CMM implementations are "trash." 
These are implementations that focused on getting certified, not 
improving the software process. Cnsultants did it to make money even 
though they really didn't know what they were doing.

Scrum isn't something that is intellectually apprehended. As Mike and 
I wrote in our book, it has to be experienced, with management 
becoming facilitators, telling the teams what to do. And the teams 
owning the entire development iteration, the how to do it. Yet this 
has tremendous trouble getting across. And it's getting worse, both 
as we move from early adopters to the mainstream, and as more people 
start to scale Scrum and XP. I think people mistake iterative 
development for agile development and let it go at that.

I had a long conversation with Martin Fowler about this and he 
suggested that we launch the idea of the "Certified ScrumMaster." 
This is someone who really knows Scrum, getting it both emotionally 
and intellectually, through reading, thinking and - most important - 
experience. When we hear of a bad implementation, we can ask, "did 
they use a Certified ScrumMaster?" Or, when someone wants to get 
going, we can recommend a Certified ScrumMaster to them.

I'm considering implementing such a program to do what I can about 
ensuring the consistency and quality of Scrum. I'm early in thinking 
about this and want to solicit your comments and conversation 
regarding whether to do this (I'm pretty set on it at this point, but 
could be swayed) and how to do it (suggestions are welcome).

Thanks for the help!

Ken

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David J. Anderson | 2 Mar 17:58 2003
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Prorietary DSDM was: Certified ScrumMaster

Which is precisely why DSDM doesn't get a mention in
my book - I couldn't get free access to research
material.

Going proprietary creates a barrier to entry and a
friction in the economy - even RUP isn't wholely
proprietary - at least they wrote a few books on it.

My other thoughts on this thread in another post...

David

--- Mike Cohn <mike <at> mountaingoatsoftware.com> wrote:

---------------------------------

I'd most definitely suggest avoiding anything like
DSDM where I can't even
read their materials without joining and I don't think
I can even refer to
my project as following DSDM unless I'm a member. That
type of proprietary
approach is wrong and unnecessary and will only stifle
acceptance.

--Mike

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Gmane