Showing posts with label scrum. Show all posts
Showing posts with label scrum. Show all posts

Friday, 7 August 2015

5 best books for your Scrum Master certification

 By Sarah Morgan

Becoming a Professional Scrum Master proves to an employer that you can apply Scrum principles within an organisation. This means doing more than your usual project manager. Due to the edge the certification can give you, according to itjobswatch.co.uk, the average salary for a Professional Scrum Master is £50,000 – at least £5,000 more than without the cert.

This means the Professional Scrum Master certification is not easy to pass. On top of this, the sheer amount of books written about Scrum means wading through resources can be difficult. If you’re looking for the best revision resources and ways to get more familiar with the processes and ideas used, don’t waste time searching around. Below are the best books to help you learn the skills you need.


1. Agile Certification Study Guide: Practice Questions for the PMI-ACP exam and the Scrum Master Certification PSM I exam: Volume 5 (Part of the Agile Education Series) by Dan Tousignant 
ISBN: 978-0984876785

The most up to date revision guide on the market. Volume 5 of the series contains 50 new questions that outline the new exam content. The best book out there specifically designed to help you study for the exam.

Includes:

  • A total of 370 practice questions to help prepare you for Scrum.org’s Professional Scrum Master assessment (PSM 1) exam
  • A complete Scrum and Agile glossary
  • A wide list of web resources for you to refer to whilst you study

How good is it?

Tousignant has 20+ years of business management experience, managing software and web development projects. Combine that with the wide range of questions, it covers all aspects of the exam and is sure to be a great help to your revision.


2. Scrum Mastery: From Good To Great Servant-Leadership by Geoff Watts 
ISBN: 978-0957587403

Written by one of the most respected and experienced Scrum coaches in the world, it breaks down the components of Scrum and states how you can become a better Scrum Master in a straightforward manner. A quick read that will give you tips on how to improve personally.

Includes:

  • Practical examples, helpful stories and cautionary tales from someone who has years of industry experience of Scrum
  • How to go beyond being the average Scrum Master
  • Ways to continually improve the actions of you and your team

How good is it?

All 14 reviews on Amazon gave it 5 out of 5 stars and many in the industry use it as a handbook for daily guidance. A trustworthy resource for tips and tricks.


3. Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time by Jeff Sutherland 
ISBN: 978-0385346450

Written one of the inventors of the Scrum software development process, he explains why the world needs Scrum to become more efficient. Discussing the relevance and values of Scrum in today’s world, amongst other things, the book will allow you to see why Scrum is used and gives you a unique insight, which you may not have considered before.

Includes:


  • Insight into the idea of constant improvement
  • Explanations of how Scrum can help you achieve things others consider to be impossible
  • Various rules and initiatives to follow so you can understand the basic underlying principles of Scrum 

How good is it?

It averages 4.6 stars out of 5 on Amazon (152 reviews), and is a succinct book to help you become more productive. A good read, but lacks explicit revision material and is better used to your improve overall understanding.


4. The Professional Scrum Master's Handbook (Professional Expertise Distilled) 
ISBN: 978-1849688024

Viscardi’s guide is jargon-free and relaxed, helping you to easily grasp what it takes to become a better Scrum Master. It also clearly outlines how the role of a Scrum Master differs from that of a project manager.

It looks at defining what a true obstacle is and the best ways to overcome them using Scrum. Plus, it covers the mental side of Scrum and establishing trust between you and your team members.

As well as this, it covers fundamental issues with such depth, that it is a great revision guide when combined with practice questions.

Includes:


  • Questions and exercises to get you thinking like a Scrum Master
  • How to create a backlog between you and your team to support continuous improvement
  • Creating and transitioning between cultures so your team can deliver results efficiently

How good is it?

It averages 4.8 stars out of 5 on Amazon (12 reviews), many describing it as “indispensable” for anyone serious about Scrum. Because it is comprehensive about the basics as well as offering unique advice and insight, it should be considered a valuable resource, for revision and general study.


5. Scrum and XP from the Trenches (Enterprise Software Development) by Henrik Kniberg 
ISBN: 978-1430322641

A unique Scrum book, following how one Swedish company implemented Scrum and continuous improvement over the course of a year.

As you would expect, it’s hugely practical and acts as a starter kit for anyone new to Scrum. Henrik and his team conduct various experiments which allow you to see the impact of different permutations of Scrum in different situations, that are rarely covered in Scrum books.


Includes:


  • Practical tips for Scrum and XP  (Extreme Programming) practices
  • Typical shortcomings and how to address them
  • Dealing with internal and external resistance
  • Diagrams and photos illustrating day-to-day happenings and situations

How good is it?

Averaging 4.7 stars out of 5 on Amazon (19 reviews), this book resonates well with people because of its personality and unique format. Reading about someone, from start to finish, how Scrum works in a way that seems real-time is much more interesting than a standard textbook. Combined with informative insight, means the book is a stimulating and valuable resource.

Firebrand’s training for Scrum.org’s Professional Scrum Master certification 

If you’re looking to get training for Scrum.org’s Professional Scrum Master certification, Firebrand offers an accelerated learning course designed to prepare you and get you certified in just two days.

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Pass the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam with these 5 tips


By Sarah Morgan


Get on track for a career as a Certified Scrum Master where average advertised salaries range from £42,000 to £70,000.

But first you’ll need to pass the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam (PSM I). And before you hand over the £100 ($150) exam fee, you need a comprehensive base of Scrum knowledge to stand any chance of passing.

To become a Certified Scrum Master you’ll need to answer 68 of the 80 questions correctly in 60 minutes. That’s a passing score of 85% or more.

So, to pass the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam first time – take a look at these 5 tips:


1. Read "Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust"

Written by two of the biggest names in the industry - Ken Schwaber (founder of Scrum.org and Scrum co-creator) and Jeff Sutherland (Scrum co-creator) – this book is a concise and authoritative introduction to Agile and Scrum software development. It’s rated highly too – with 4.5 of 5 stars (28 Amazon Reviews) on Amazon.com

Managers and senior management short on time will find this an especially rewarding read due to its minimalistic and to-the-point style.

It’s also ideal for beginners as terminology is clearly defined and numerous examples are provided detailing how companies have used Scrum to cut software development overrun.

In fact we like this book so much at Firebrand we included it for free on our 2 day Scrum Master course!

Software in 30 Days: How Agile Managers Beat the Odds, Delight Their Customers, and Leave Competitors in the Dust Paperback – 27 Apr 2012 - ISBN - 9781118206669


For even more reading, take a look at the Official Scrum Guide (another great free resource from Ken Scwaber and Jeff Sutherland).


2. Make the most of the Scrum Open assessment

You’ll find an incredibly useful testing resource on Scrum.org entitled the – “Scrum Open assessment”.

The Scrum open assessment is an official Scrum.org tool for validating your knowledge (before you commit to the real exam). This practice assessment consists of 30 questions, randomly selected from a larger pool, in which you have an hour to complete.

Before you take the Professional Scrum Master Certification exam, we recommend you repeat the open assessment until you feel comfortable completing it in under twenty minutes.

Remember – the real PSM I assessment has 80 questions, and only 60 minutes in which to answer them. Don’t attempt the PSM I exam just because you can pass the Open assessment, you’ll still need to do your background reading.

Several Scrum professionals even note that some questions found on the open assessment actually appear within the PSM I exam.

The Scrum open assessment completely free but you’ll need to register on Scrum.org first.


3. Did you forget about burndown charts?

Burndown charts display the remaining effort for a given period of time and are used in Scrum to track product development.

But it can be all too easy to neglect burndown charts as they no longer appear on the official Scrum Guide. Despite this, those taking the Professional Scrum Master Certification still report encountering questions related to this elusive subject.

Neglect this topic at your own risk - you could still find questions relating to it on your Professional Scrum Master exam.

For a comprehensive introduction to Scrum burndown charts, take a look at this article.


4. You can use Google in the exam, but it would be a mistake

Use a search engine during this online exam at your own peril. If you find yourself searching for answers online whilst you’re taking your Scrum Master Certification exam you clearly haven’t revised enough!

It’s also highly unlikely you’ll find answers to your questions, let alone reliable ones. Plus, with only 45 seconds to answer each of the 80 questions in the PSM I exam, you just don’t have the time to waste.



You need the knowledge to be able to answer the questions quickly, without stalling and especially without trawling the internet for clues to the correct answer.


5. Participate in the Scrum.org forums

The Scrum.org forums are great to browse over a cup of coffee or on a break from your Scrum revision. You’ll find hundreds of fellow Scrum students and certified professionals alike discussing Scrum and agile methodologies.

Forums are a great way to ask questions too specific for Google (but remember to validate the information you get!) and a brilliant place to network for both certified and uncertified Scrum Masters.

You don’t need to sign up to read the forums, but to participate you’ll need to create a free account. Get on the forums now!

The Scrum.org forums




Self-study not working for you?

Effective self-study doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re one of the professionals that needs the Scrum Master Certification quickly, without the commitment to self-study, take a look at Firebrand’s 2 day accelerated Professional Scrum Master (Agile) course.


Related articles:



About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Friday, 6 February 2015

10 great benefits of Scrum Master certification


By Sarah Morgan



Created for software development projects (though applicable to every project), Scrum’s Agile framework improves teamwork, communications and speed.

A study of more than 5,400 IT projects found that the average overspend of the starting budget can top 45% due to project overrun (amongst other factors). Learn about Scrum and you’ll avoid these deficits by improving the chance of completing projects successfully and on time.


 Agile Product Ownership Processes - Firebrand Training



Scrum courses and certifications are available but the benefits may not be immediately obvious. Whether you’re new to Scrum, or are already a Scrum Master – what are the real benefits of getting certified?


1. Get a solid base of Scrum knowledge

If you don’t know much about Scrum, achieving the certification will teach you everything you need to apply it effectively. Take a Scrum course and you’ll develop a strong base of knowledge and learn the subject from an experienced teacher.

Achieving a certification will also fill any gaps you might have in your Scrum knowledge. You’ll need to study every aspect of Scrum to pass the certification exam. The scrum certification will also give you the motivation and the tools to get the rounded knowledge you need.



2. Change your mindset

Scrum is an Agile methodology and to use it effectively you’ll need to get into an Agile mindset. The most important ingredient of a self-sustaining and successful Agile approach is people with this Agile mindset.

Training and certification helps to ingrain this mindset for yourself and your colleagues. As a team you’ll be able to think in an Agile way, leading to less disagreements, better team cohesion and more successful projects.



3. Stay relevant and marketable

Certifications are both a brilliant way of marketing yourself to employers and proving to colleagues that you fully understand a given field.

A Scrum certification will expand your career opportunities across all industry sectors that adopt and use Agile practices. A Scrum Master certification shows that you have an Agile mind set and a wealth of Agile knowledge – relevant to every organisation or industry that uses these practices.


4. Scrum certification benefits your organisation

It’s a big decision for organisations to adopt a new methodology because it affects every aspect of the business: people, processes, clients and management.

Because of this, it’s important for everyone that you can achieve some real and tangible benefits quickly. With predictable & repeatable release schedules, self-managing teams, Scrum really shines in this respect.

However, a lack of Scrum knowledge may not yield the promising results that management will be pushing for. Without certification and the requisite knowledge you’ll gain, you might miss that crucial window to get Scrum off the ground within your organisation.


5. Influence your organisation to adopt an Agile methodology

Management will feel more comfortable investing in an Agile methodology if there are proven Agile professionals amongst them. A certification shows management that you’re ready to implement an Agile methodology.


6. Work better alongside your peers

Training and certification will have a positive effect when it comes to working with your colleagues. Get certified with those you work with and together you’ll build and reinforce the same vocabulary and base understanding of scrum.

Even if you don’t attend the same Scrum course as your colleagues, you’ll still benefit. Every Scrum instructor will vary in their style of teaching and what you learn will differ. You may have focused on aspects of Scrum that your peers didn’t. In the end, you’ll be able to pool your knowledge for a more varied understanding of Scrum and Agile methodology.


7. Prove your core Scrum knowledge to peers

Scrum Master Certification proves to your peers that you’ve put in the effort, studied Scrum and learnt to apply it within your organisation. There’s no need to waste time convincing colleagues you know your stuff – you have the certification to prove it.


8. Join a community of scrum experts

Become a certified Scrum Master and you’ll join a community of recognised Scrum experts committed to continuous improvement and the Agile methodology.

Scrum.org features a global network of Scrum practitioners and trainers. This active community serves as a library of knowledge, a way to find live events and a place find (and provide) guidance.


9. Win projects with qualified employees

If you compete to win projects, a team of certified Scrum Masters is a huge bonus. Your potential clients will recognise the value of a team that can both work together and apply Scrum in an effective way.


10. A badge of honour

Certification is a badge of honour that should be worn with pride. Plus, if you’re in management, getting your employees trained and certified proves your investment and commitment to their learning. You’ll get more knowledgeable staff eager to apply their new skills.


Time to get certified

To find out more about the global Scrum community and for more details on the Agile methodology, head over to scrum.org.


Related articles:


About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

What is Agile Product Ownership and how does it work? SCRUM


By 


Agile Project Management is a powerful and effective method of delivering projects in a flexible and interactive manner. It takes on the view of the product owner, the stakeholders and the development team.

Agile product ownership Process - SCRUM
Agile Product Ownership Process by Julian Arias - Firebrand Training

Product Owner

The product owner is the person who has the idea and product vision. They don’t know the details of what the product is going to do, but they know why the product is going to be built, the problems it will solve and for who.

Stakeholder

The stakeholders are the people who are going to use and support the product being developed.

Stories

Both the product owner and stakeholders have ideas and needs for the product, these are known as user stories. There are many stories, so the product owner uses the ideas to create concrete user stories.

The development team

The agile development team are the people who are going to build the product or system and develop the user stories. Agile teams do not release the whole product at the end; instead they release stories (features of the product) bit by bit. This is measured by the amount of stories released per week. This is known as ‘Capacity’. One idea could count as 2 stories or even half a story depending on its size. Capacity is measured by the amount of stories/features released per week.

Optimum Capacity

One of the main problems Agile tackles is that the stakeholders ask for a lot of features and ideas. They usually have more ideas than the capacity of the development team. If the development team’s capacity is 6 – 8 stories per week and the stakeholders are coming up with 15 stories, the team will get overloaded. It creates multitasking and demotivation which then lowers the quality and value of the features.

The way agile tackles this issue is by calculating the optimum capacity of the dev team. In this case it would be between 6 to 8 stories per week. Then the product owner decides which 7 of the 15 stories or ideas the stakeholders came up with should be developed. This is called ‘Yesterdays Weather’ in Agile and SCRUM terms. The idea is to lower the work in progress or ‘WIP’. In this case, the WIP limit for the dev team would be 7. This will keep them busy the whole week while working fast and effective. But a new problem arises from this, which must be tackled.

Product Backlog

As the dev team is creating 7 new features each week and the stakeholders are coming up with 15 ideas each week, a backlog and queue of ideas starts to get larger and larger. In SCRUM, this queue is called the ‘Product Backlog’. This means that eventually the features released will be the ones asked for 8 months before, which is not very ‘Agile’.

Saying NO!

The only way to combat this is to just say NO.  It is easy to say yes to a new feature, but the hard part is saying no. The reality is that to be Agile, some things must be pushed away. The product owner decides which stories should be developed by looking at both its value and its size. Some stories can be big (take a long time) but have little value, while there could be smaller stories with a higher value. The obvious choice here is the smaller one as it will not take long to build but add a lot of value to the product. The same goes for stories of the same size but with different values, the one with higher value is the best option.

So how does the product owner measure the value? They can’t. The value of a feature is guessed and can be wrong, but that’s ok. With time the product owner gets better at guessing while understanding the product more. This means that the most important job for a product owner is to decide what not to build, which is hard.

The product owner also decides the sequencing of the queue. This would be deciding what to build now and what to build later. This can be difficult so the owner uses help from both the stakeholders and the dev team. The owner asks the stakeholders what they value, and asks the dev team what they think is big or small in terms of time.

Communication is the name of the game

From what you can see, communication is very important when it comes to the Agile methodology. Communicating, prioritising and guessing the correct figures is called ‘Backlog Grooming’. The owner should run a Backlog Grooming workshop every week for one hour. The whole team should be there and the some of the stakeholders too.

So when it comes to succeeding in product ownership, the most important thing to keep in mind is communication and of course; passion.

Agile and SCRUM

This is a basic introduction into the world of Agile and SCRUM. Hope it helps. Below is a 10 minute introduction into the world of Scrum development methodology. It shows you what it is to be a SCRUM Master and how it works. The following topics are covered:




If you want to learn more, check out the Professional Scrum Master (Agile) course which takes only two days! Click here for more information: http://www.firebrandtraining.co.uk/courses/scrum/professional-scrum-master-certification

About the Author:
Julian writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Julian is the companies Digital Marketer.

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Learn SCRUM in under 10 minutes

SCRUM Agile Logo

Get a 10 minute introduction into the world of Scrum development methodology.

This fast paced video will show you what it is to be SCRUM Master and how it works. The following topics are covered:
  • Burn down charts
  • Team roles
  • Product backlogs
  • Sprints
  • Daily scrums
  • Plus more


You could even start using and implementing SCRUM in your own team. For further information on becoming a SCRUM Master click here: Professional SCRUM Master Certification


Monday, 26 March 2012

New Courses: Scrum Courses Launched


Firebrand has today launched three Scrum courses:

Scrum is an Agile project management framework, developed in the 1990s. It provides a highly-effective method for software development and project delivery. Using Scrum, product development occurs in small stages, with each task building upon previously-created stages. The courses include certifications.