As part of a current role at a multinational financial organization, I had to take a two-day course and pass the test to become a CSM. Here are a couple of notes about that.
The first thing to note is that the presenter, from RippleRock, was top notch. He was well experienced, highly knowledgeable, not a fanatical puritan, and British, to boot, which allowed me to spend the two days compiling a list of British idioms that I could then look up on the web. Fantastic, I had no idea “pants” could be used as a derogatory term, awesome.
Because the presenter wasn’t a Puritan, he presented a Scrum/XP mix, pointing out ways in which Scrum principles might have to be modified (given that, for many teams, colocation is an impossibility, this was probably unavoidable).
We all had a go round at introducing ourselves at the beginning and what, if any, our previous experience with Agile methodologies included, and I explicitly mentioned that I was a Kanban advocate (which is technically inaccurate, as I don’t give a shit if you don’t practice it yourself), which led to a number of highly entertaining moments during the course. When Scrum advocates don’t have any actual arguments against a Kanban perspective, they will simply point out (accurately, I gather, don’t really care) that certain tools that Kanban uses have existed in Scrum for years/decades/whatever. That any of them think this has anything to do with the mindset shift away from cookie cutter, paint by number, ceremony laden nature of Scrum is a bit mysterious, though not really.
As the previous paragraph suggests, one of the main things the course re-enforced for me was that Scrum is appropriate for almost no situation that I can think of. And that staid, unreflective XP totally sucks (Mike Cohn’s testing ‘pyramid’ (it’s a triangle, not a pyramid) is so old-fashioned and incorrect).
Let me rephrase that. To use a tired analogy, before you can run, you must learn to walk, before you can walk, you must learn to crawl. Running, in some objective sense, is better than crawling. Learning Scrum and XP teaches one to run, sprint even. And this is, in some objective sense, learning a mindset that is better than a traditional non-Agile mindset.
But, in order to learn how to fly, you have to learn to move beyond sprints, which means to move beyond Scrum and XP. Way, way, way beyond them.
The course was very good, and the certification is nice, I guess. Probably could use it to charge more or something.