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Certified ScrumMaster – Workshop Reflections

August 20, 2008

Over the past couple of years, I’ve slowly added various agile practices into our workflow at the office.  Some have taken off really well, others—not so much.  Change is difficult, especially when few see any value in the change and even fewer would “use” the changes (in an organization were anyone can just say “no” to leadership and that’s accepted).

In spite of this, I was really excited to attend the Certified ScrumMaster workshop when it came to town this week—I’ve been trying to get to one for a few months now, but something always came up and travel was impossible.

The Class

The firehose was at full blast the entire workshop.  I honestly think we could have spread this out over a couple weeks and still had more to learn.  The workshop itself focused not only on the “mechanics” of Scrum, but our own experiences.  We spent a good deal of time describing our own issues, experiences, and ideas—and how scrum could be used in each situation.

It helped to have a very diverse group (yet small) to draw experiences from.  My experience deals with consulting and small groups; we had a few large group implementers, a medium group implementer, and a consultant.  I enjoyed seeing both the parallels and challenges from each side and storing a bit of it back—just incase I’m not in a “small group” forever. 🙂

Overall, the class helped me focus—opening up what I didn’t know and realizing that I have a long way to go until I can full walk in the CSM shoes.  I appreciated Mike’s candidness in teaching both the “perscribed” way as well as sharing his insights to how this works in the real world.  That brief look into reality will help brace us better than anything we’ll find in a manual.

Most memorable experience: the video of us singing the SPAM song.  Seriously—if that ends up on YouTube…

The Instructor

Mike Vizdos, of Implementing Scrum fame, led an excellent session.  Using real world examples, pulling from the class, and forcing us to not only attend—but participate—made the entire experience worthwhile.  I hope that Mike will be teaching other courses in our area—I’d be very interested in taking another one of his courses.

What’s Next

While we’re not “certified” yet, my next goal is to earn it—even it it’s just in my own mind.  We have several projects coming in the next few months that vary in scope—some large, some small.  As I’ve learned in the past few days, focusing on organizational change and building on small successes can be key to the acceptance of Scrum in the enterprise and I plan to work with that.   The more I can demonstrate the benefits and gain acceptance—even if it’s NOT at the speed I’d like it to be, the better. 

Even if you don’t plan on being a “ScrumMaster,” but are using Scrum in your organization, if Mike’s in town, I’d recommend taking one of his CSM courses.

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