Monday, 1 February 2016

What are the benefits of Scrum Certification or Scrum training?

Although there are many certifications such as ITIL, PRINCE2, which are implemented in organizations for achievement of goals through a project, Scrum training or Scrum certification can be described as one of the many courses where employees are groomed to become self-motivated and become keen to accept greater responsibility.
There is a famous proverb, “If you are comfortable with yourself, you will definitely be comfortable with others.” It also means the importance of self-confidence which points to becoming a self-organized individual in one’s life. Scrum certification emphasizes on the importance of self-organization which ultimately results in the following:
  •  Team participation and a feeling of self-ownership in members
  •  Employees are self-motivated which can lead to improved performance in a team
  •  New environment that is preferable for growth
A self-organized team does not convey the message that any team member can act in his/her own way as per their wishes. It strongly means that as soon as the definition of Product Vision is created in the Create Project Vision process, the concerned team members, the Product Owner, Scrum Master and the members of the Scrum team become noted and identified individuals. It has to kept in mind that the core team of Scrum also works very closely with important stakeholders for making changes and better improvements as they all pass through the Develop Epics and Create User Stories process. Every team member’s expertise is put to the test while assessing the inputs that are needed to execute the planned work of the project. The judgment aspects of all the team members are applied to every technical and management of the project during the phase of Create Deliverables process.
A Product Owner’s task as per the content of Scrum certification is to prioritize as he/she represents the Voice of Customer. The tasks of the self-organized Scrum team are to involve in break-down of tasks and estimation during the Create tasks and Estimate Tasks processes. Every team member should be aware of the work they are doing or handling as they are responsible for the tasks getting completed. One of the greatest advantages of Scrum certification or Scrum training is that in the execution of Sprint, if any of the team members require help for finishing the assigned tasks, it is addressed through the regular interaction that is mandatory during the Daily Standup Meetings. The members of the Scrum Team regularly interact with other teams via the Scrum of Scrums (SoS) Meetings and they can look for additional guidance when needed from the Scrum Guidance Body.
Since meetings are held regularly with customers and stakeholders, every sprint will bear the required changes and improvements needed and at last, the Scrum Teams would have designed the product or service as accepted by the clients.

Acknowledgement: This article has been borrowed from
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Scrum and Project Management

A role such as that of a project manager doesn’t exist in Scrum. But, in the organization there are project managers. Then, what is the role of the project manager in the event of the team migrating to Scrum. Well this question has been asked so many times, however the answers are different and are conflicting.
Let’s take up an example to understand this. Mike is a Project Manager and his project is about to migrate to Scrum. From a very long time, Mike is working as a manager in his career. Mike has respected his team mates and trusted them to be responsible about their jobs. His ideology about the finest approach to obtain the outcomes is to develop a team of exceedingly driven professionals, set goals, take initiatives and ensure all needed resources towards their work are there without obstacles. The team looks up to Mike if they have any problems or concerns, as they feel quite at ease intimating project estimates to him because of no “Boss pressure”. He is always careful of their requirements with high importance. It has always been Mike’s goal to enable and support effective communication, prevent and resolve clashes, eliminate obstacles, and make certain maximum prominence into the project for all the involved stakeholders.
Would Mike be a good Scrum Master for his team? Yes, he will be a good Scrum Master.
The product owner is equally vital as the Scrum Master. In the absence of an effective and efficient product owner, the project is unlikely to succeed. Preferably the role of product owner should be undertaken by the client, who isn’t always plausible or the client is very engrossed with something that, though formally it is the product owner but whom always finds availability at all times to the team a major inability.
In this situation, there is a necessity for a product owner, or substitution product owner, indigenous to the team. A likely candidate can be the project manager. Interacting and working with numerous stakeholders to convert an incessant flow of change requests into a prioritized list is something the project manager can fare well as he would have prior experience on that.

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Managing Technical Debt in a Scrum Project

One of the guiding principles of Scrum is to develop the functionality of the highest priority to the customer first. Less important features are developed in subsequent Sprints or can be left out altogether according to the customer’s requirements. This approach gives the Scrum Team the required time to focus on the quality of essential functionality. A key benefit of quality planning is the reduction of technical debt.
Technical debt—also referred to as design debt or code debt—refers to the work that teams prioritize lower, omit, or do not complete as they work toward creating the primary deliverables associated with the project’s product. Technical debt accrues and must be paid in the future. Quick-fix and building deliverables that do not comply with standards for quality, security, long-term architecture goals, and so forth.
Some of the reasons for technical debt could be:
  • Lack of coordination among different team members, or different Scrum Teams as teams start working in isolation with less focus on final integration of components required to make a project or program successful.
  • Poor sharing of business knowledge and process knowledge among the stakeholders and project teams.
  • Too much focus on short-term project goals instead of the long-term objectives of the company. This oversight can result in poor-quality Working Deliverables that incur significant maintenance and upgrade costs.
In Scrum projects, any technical debt is not carried over beyond a Sprint, because there should be clearly defined Acceptance and Done Criteria. The functionality must satisfy these criteria to be considered Done. As the Prioritized Product Backlog is groomed and User Stories are prioritized, the team creates Working Deliverables regularly, preventing the accumulation of significant technical debt. The Scrum Guidance Body may also include documentation and definition of processes which help in decreasing technical debt.
To maintain a minimal amount of technical debt, it is important to define:
  • The product required from a Sprint and the project along with the Acceptance Criteria,
  • Any development methods to be followed,
  • And the key responsibilities of Scrum Team members in regards to quality.
  • Defining Acceptance Criteria is an important part of quality planning, and it allows for effective quality control to be carried out during the project.
Technical debt may be a very big challenge with some traditional project management techniques where development, testing, documentation, etc. are done sequentially and often-times by different persons, with no one person being responsible for any particular Working Deliverable. As a result, technical debt accrues, leading to significantly higher maintenance, integration, and product release costs in the final stages of a project’s release.
The cost of changes is very high in such circumstances as problems surface in later stages of the project. Scrum framework prevents the issues related to technical debt by ensuring that Done deliverables with Acceptance Criteria are defined as part of the Sprint Backlog and key tasks including development, testing, and documentation are done as part of the same Sprint and by the same Scrum Team.
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