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Agile Consultants and Trainers Help the Unemployed and Hard Up

Leia em Português

A number of trainers and consultants are making efforts to help the unemployed learn new skills and be better prepared for the new job market.

Tobias Mayer is offering WelfareCSM, a free Scrum Training, to people who can’t otherwise afford it. Why is he doing this:

1. To offer low-cost or no-cost Scrum training, including Certified Scrum Master training to individuals in low-paid jobs, the unemployed, students and anyone working for a company that has cut its training budget in this time of crisis.

2. To spread the principles, practices and values of Scrum beyond the software world, by training people from other industries, and those involved in other kinds of work or community activities.

Tobias’s training is open to anyone who wants to attend whatever their financial circumstances. The only costs are the $50 Scrum Alliance fee and a donation to help pay for the space. Paid professionals are welcome but are expected to pay what they feel the course was worth at the end of the session. In addition, Tobias won’t accept payment from corporations – he feels that this is a personal commitment and this needs to be embraced by all participants.

James Coplien, well known for his books (Advanced C++ and Organizational Patterns of Agile Software Development), fell in love with Serbia in 2004. Since then, he’s been looking for ways to support his friends there. This year he decided to offer free CSM training with the help of two other trainers: Dan Rawsthorne, of Danube, and Alan Cyment. The Scrum Alliance waived its fees and paid their travel and other expense. James says:

This is one of the most powerful events, and certainly one of the most powerful courses, I have ever taken part in. Three Scrum trainers — Alan Cyment, Dan Rawsthorne and myself, from different cultures and walks of life — were welcomed into yet a fourth culture as we brought the Scrum framework to them. Things are particularly hard here with the economic crisis, and this course was a gift that provided hope for a brighter future. They welcomed us into their world, their homes, and their hearts. For me, it was an unforgettable experience.

David Schmaltz, author of “The Blind and The Elephant, Mastering Project Work”, tells of a nonprofit that he expected would employ him to facilitate their board retreat – he really wanted the work as several other contracts had slipped away in the preceding couple of months. Just as he expected to get the contract, he got word that their primary funding had been slashed by 40% and they couldn't afford David’s services. During the Great Depression people would let food go to waste rather than give it away to people who didn’t have the money. In the end, David decided to help them anyway thinking that it was better to work, even without pay, than do nothing. He quoted Winston Churchill who said “We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give." To that David added: “Those of us who have always worked to make our lives dare not cease doing our work, even when the cash stops flowing. There's no good reason to accept the lack of monetary remuneration as an excuse for not sharing our gifts.”

One trainer who has had free offerings in the past noted that the students seemed to put about as much effort and energy into the course as the money they paid. So students who paid little or nothing put less effort into the class than those who paid the full price. Tobias intends to minimize this by asking several things of their participants:

  1. Participants are strongly encouraged to pay their own travel and accommodation costs
  2. All participants will be signed up to a temporary Google group where they are expected to get to know one another before the training, share stories and discuss what they hope to get from the experience.
  3. After the training, the participants will be invited to join the Scrum Collective to participate in discussion — and in action.

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