Monday, July 25, 2011

Thoughts on the Certified Scrum Master Class from a CMMI Guy.

Dear Readers,

I just put myself and my whole CMMI consulting team through the "Certified Scrum Master" class. We've been using Scrum for some time in our work with CMMI, but I wanted my team (me included) to take the formal class, taught with great skill by Chris Simms and Jeff McKenna of the Agile Learning Labs.

I've read all the press about this certification not being worth the paper it's written on, that it's a crime to call someone a "Master" after taking one course, and so on. My experience with the class tells me it was well worth the effort. I learned a lot in this class - and most of it wasn't about Scrum at all - it was about getting work done in an effecive manner through team collaboration, and THAT's the good stuff!

We took the course not for the "certification" but for the excellent content and the team dynamics discussions that Chris is so good at. I thought the class was excellent - a good basic grounding in Scrum, and some great hands-on exercises with some philosophy rolled in for good measure.

Chris is a deep thinker who knows how to get a message across better than most.

I'm not sure what all the hoopla about the course name is about. Isn't "Scrum Master" an actual title in Scrum? And doesn't this class teach you the basics so you can begin to act like one? And isn't one of the purposes of Agile to be collaborative, involve everyone, and rise all the boats around you? So, why all this infighting in the Agile community about it?

Is the NAME really the source of all this angst? Talk about WORRYING ABOUT THE WRONG THINGS!

I wouldn't have chosen the name "Scrum Master" myself, but I didn't make the hard effort to create Scrum, so what I think isn't important. I also would not have chosen XP or any of the other "cool" names related to Agile development - that's just me (I'm an old fart that still thinks Computer Science and business are important). But that's not really the point is it? Those ARE the names. If you take a class that teachers you how to be a Scrum Master, than that's what the class should be called. If it was "Scrum Facilitator" (a little more accurate IMHO) would everyone be happier?

The "Certified" part kind of makes me wonder - but again, so what? I know TONS of people that badmouth the course but have never taken it, can't describe Scrum with any accuracy, yet they feel free to spout off their disapproval.  These are the same people that talk about "CMMI Certification."  They're obsessed with the certification part . . . talk about useless overhead!

So I'm not too focused on the exam, but I am geeked to apply some of the things Chris taught us - as a matter of fact I borrowed some of his wisdom the very next day while teaching my own CMMI class!

Oh, and in case you're wondering, I'm convinced now more than ever that Scrum+CMMI = FTW!

Jeff Dalton is a Certified SCAMPI Lead Appraiser, Certified CMMI Instructor, Candidate SCAMPI Appraiser Observer, author, and consultant with years of real-world experience with the CMMI in all types of organizations.  Jeff has taught thousands of students and has received an aggregate satisfaction score of 4.97 out of 5 from his students.

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