Thursday, 18 April 2019

Which Scrum Certification Should I Get?

Recently I decided to brush up on my Agile/Scrum knowledge. I decided to do some reading on, and even decided to do the sample tests. The pass mark is 85%, so they're not for the faint hearted.

This week I did quick skim through the materials for 4 of the certifications, followed by the sample tests. Here are my quick thoughts, and exam results :)

Professional Scrum Developer

Firstly, I want to say that this certification is a MUST for developers. In fact, the very day I looked into it, I suggested that all Cogworks developers be certified. If only I had known about it years ago!

The material also covers topics which you would not normally expect from a scrum course. 

Just to name a few: 
  • Good coding practices
  • Continuous integration
  • Continuous deployment
  • Test driven development
  • Quality

If you are a developer (of any level), this is the course for you!

BTW, my mark on the practice test was 26/30 (86.7%).

If you have been working in a good dev team for a few years then you can probably pass this certification without doing the course. Just put aside some reading time.

Professional Scrum Master I

This is an interesting certification, as the role itself typically sits in the middle of developers and the Product Owner. There is a huge emphasis on being Servant Leader who facilitates development. I have worked with some great Scrum Masters in the past, and is really a great feeling having someone there to help unblock the dev teams obstacles. 

Project managers who get long well with developers and prefer to be less exposed to stakeholders might enjoy being a Scrum Master. If you come from a traditional Project Management background then you might find this material a bit challenging of your beliefs. Try to keep an open mind.

If you are a senior/lead developer who is process oriented, then this course could open your mind to another perspective of the project lifecycle. Just don't expect to be both a developer and scrum master. At some point you will need to chose which one you want to commit to. 

My score was much better in this course at 29/30 (96.7%). I owe this to the fact that the material and exam have commonalities with the Professional Scrum Developer course, so this might be a good choice for a 2nd certification for developers. 

If you have been working in a scrum environment, team for a few years then you can probably pass this certification without doing the course.

This certification puts you directly in the line of fire when it comes to stakeholders. If you are lucky enough to be in an organisation which gives you budget power, then this role can be like a "mini-CEO" of a product. There is a focus on stakeholder management, and the Product backlog.

If you are a project manager who already knows how to write user stories, then you will find aspects of this material familiar. 

My mark was 14/15 (93.3%). After doing the previous 2 exams, this one was relatively easy as it crossed over a lot with the Scrum Master material. This could be an "easy-ish" 2nd certification for people who already have the Scrum Master certification. Be aware though, scrum specifically says that you cannot & should not take on 2 roles in the team.

If you have been working in a scrum environment, team for a few years then you can probably pass this certification without doing the course.

Professional Agile Leadership

This material felt geared toward managers, CEOs, Technical Directors etc. 

If you are interested in organisational change, and you are at the appropriate level in your organisation then this is a very valuable course.

If you are a head of an organisation and you have problems with micromanagers, then send them all to this course. It will hopefully get them to be more collaborative.

Yes I finally got 100% in one of these tests!

Final Thoughts

Doing these tests was just for a bit of fun and learning. It's definitely worth testing yourself from time to time, as we all inevitably forget terminology and get sloppy with practices.

If you just want the certifications, the prices are quite reasonable at $150-$250 USD each.

I recommend actually doing the courses first as the concepts are not necessarily light. Although, if you work in a company that implements Scrum, then you might have enough knowledge/experience to just do the reading.

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