Skip to main content

CSM Exam - about time!

Reading Danube's blog The CSM Exam.

Some background - the CSM (Certified Scrum Master) is a certification by the Scrum Alliance that has been given to every (99.999% perhaps I exaggerate) one that attended the 2 day training program. The certification has been a contronversy for as long as it has been offered (many years now). The Alliance is putting a real written exam into place as a requirement for certification.

I think a real test is a GREAT thing. Given that it is a “certification”.

Definition of certification: a document attesting a level of achievement in a course of study or training.


Attendance, the previous requirement does not “attest to a level of achievement”.

In Danube's post they state:
“Of course, the flipside is that an exam will only test attendees on certain aspects of the Scrum framework in a format that does not necessarily promote a deep understanding of Scrum’s values.”


The assumption in this statement appears to be that the test is not well designed or that it cannot test values. I have not seen the test, but assume that it will test the knowledge of the values of Scrum. This is very testable. The certification (as typically applied in many industries) attest to the knowledge of a body of knowledge (BOK) (don’t go all PIMBOK on me - yes Scrum has its own BOK). The certification does not state that the bear has the attitudes and exhibits the behaviors of the values. Which I think is what Danube is concerned with in their statement about Scrum’s values.

So how does one test or assert the affective nature or the behavior nature of a person? This is typically done via case study of the person. Is this not what the next level of Scrum certification attempts to do? The CSP (Certified Scrum Practitioner) is a certification that attest that the bear of said certification (oh so formal - just say - the CSP) has shown (through self report) the values and behaviors taught in the BOK of Scrum.

Testing for CSM brings the Scrum certification into minimum compliance with the common understanding of the terms. That is a value of Scrum/Agile - to state clearly what we are going to do, then do it, and have an objective measure of DONE, demonstrate that level of DONENESS, and then be capable of continuing down the path.

I say - about time - what took you so long - and don’t give me that stinking incremental-iterative argument. The facts will not bear out the delay in a real test over how many thousands of CSM there are (982 pages A-Z).

Comments

Most Popular on Agile Complexification Inverter

Exercise:: Definition of Ready & Done

Assuming you are on a Scrum/Agile software development team, then one of the first 'working agreements' you have created with your team is a 'Definition of Done' - right?



Oh - you don't have a definition of what aspects a user story that is done will exhibit. Well then, you need to create a list of attributes of a done story. One way to do this would be to Google 'definition of done' ... here let me do that for you: http://tinyurl.com/3br9o6n. Then you could just use someone else's definition - there DONE!

But that would be cheating -- right? It is not the artifact - the list of done criteria, that is important for your team - it is the act of doing it for themselves, it is that shared understanding of having a debate over some of the gray areas that create a true working agreement. If some of the team believes that a story being done means that there can be no bugs found in the code - but some believe that there can be some minor issues - well, then yo…

David's notes on "Drive"

- "The Surprising Truth about what Motivates Us" by Dan Pink.

Amazon book order
What I notice first and really like is the subtle implication in the shadow of the "i" in Drive is a person taking one step in a running motion.  This brings to mind the old saying - "there is no I in TEAM".  There is however a ME in TEAM, and there is an I in DRIVE.  And when one talks about motivating a team or an individual - it all starts with - what's in it for me.

Introduction

Pink starts with an early experiment with monkeys on problem solving.  Seems the monkeys were much better problem solver's than the scientist thought they should be.  This 1949 experiment is explained as the early understanding of motivation.  At the time there were two main drivers of motivation:  biological & external influences.  Harry F. Harlow defines the third drive in a novel theory:  "The performance of the task provided intrinsic reward" (p 3).  This is Dan Pink's M…

Do You Put “CSM” After Your Name?

I’ve noticed a new trend—people have been gaining titles. When I was younger, only doctors had initials (like MD) after their names. I always figured that was because society held doctors, and sometime priests (OFM) in such high regard that we wanted to point out their higher learning. I hope it was to encourage others to apply themselves in school and become doctors also. Could it have been boastful?

The Wikipedia describes these “post-nominal initials”:
Post-nominal letters, also called post-nominal initials, are letters placed after the name of a person to indicate that the individual holds a position, educational degree, accreditation, office, or honor. An individual may use several different sets of post-nominal letters. The order in which these are listed after a name is based on the order of precedence and category of the order. That’s good enough for me.
So I ask you: is the use of CSM or CSP an appropriate use of post-nominal initials?
If your not an agilista, you may wonder …

Situational Leadership II Model & Theory

Have you ever been in a situation where you thought the technique needed to move forward was one thing, yet the person leading (your leader) assumed something else was what was needed?  Did you feel misaligned, unheard, marginalized?  Would you believe that 54% of all leaders only use ONE style of leadership - regardless of the situation?  Does that one style of leading work well for the many levels of development we see on a team?

Perhaps your team should investigate one of the most widely used leadership models in the world ("used to train over 5 million managers in the world’s most respected organizations").  And it's not just for the leaders.  The training is most effective when everyone receives the training and uses the model.  The use of a ubiquitous language on your team is a collaboration accelerator.  When everyone is using the same mental model, speaking the same vernacular hours of frustration and discussion may be curtailed, and alignment achieved, outcomes …

Elements of an Effective Scrum Task Board

What are the individual elements that make a Scrum task board effective for the team and the leadership of the team?  There are a few basic elements that are quite obvious when you have seen a few good Scrum boards... but there are some other elements that appear to elude even the most servant of leaders of Scrum teams.









In general I'm referring to a physical Scrum board.  Although software applications will replicated may of the elements of a good Scrum board there will be affordances that are not easily replicated.  And software applications offer features not easily implemented in the physical domain also.





Scrum Info Radiator Checklist (PDF) Basic Elements
Board Framework - columns and rows laid out in bold colors (blue tape works well)
Attributes:  space for the total number of stickies that will need to belong in each cell of the matrix;  lines that are not easy eroded, but are also easy to replace;  see Orientation.

Columns (or Rows) - labeled
    Stories
    To Do
    Work In P…