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Is Scrum Certification Having Another Makeover?

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Scrum Certification is one debate that refuses to die down. First, it was about the hollow nature of certification for which there was a comment “Pay the tuition, sit through a couple days of class, and you're in”. Subsequently a new format was devised, which too failed to enthuse the Agilists who were against this certification philosophy. Given the learnings so far, is there another makeover on the anvil?

Mike Cottmeyer, recently suggested that Scrum is not prescriptive hence there is no definitive way to certify people on how to practice it. He mentioned,

Scrum can't have it's cake and eat it too. It can't be a simple framework that is not prescriptive and then start certifying people on how to do all this stuff.

According to Mike, Scrum does not tell a person anything about being a good software engineer, a good tester, a good business analyst, or even a good ScrumMaster. It is left for the people to fill in the gaps. He mentioned the need for a definitive body of knowledge,

If Scrum is a simple framework... if it is so clear and precise that we can talk about Scrum-But and call out those people that aren't doing it right... where is the definitive body of knowledge? Where is the documented set of stuff that is acceptable on most Scrum projects, most of the time? How do I tell the difference between when I'm bending Scrum to hide my own dysfunction versus just filling in the gaps? Who gets to decide? Am I just supposed to know it when I see it?

Commenting to what Mike Cottmeyer had to say, Niels Verdonk added that he recently underwent a CSM course and he too shared the feeling that it would be difficult for him to entrust teams to newly certified Scrum Masters. He mentioned,

With all due respect, I would not trust our teams to many of the newly added Certified Scrum Masters.

Niels mentioned a discussion that he had with Mike Cohn, in which he [Mike Cohn] agreed that the term Certified Scrum Master was legacy, too heavy for what it was and probably was badly chosen back in the day. Niels added,

He [Mike Cohn] shared with me they will announce a change in the names of the certification programs. He thought the name Certified Scrum Master was a legacy name but seems to sound to heavy for what it actually was. The choice for the new name had not been made. He did tell me the new name for the Certified Scrum Practitioner, which was going to be changed to Certified Scrum Professional.
So I think the Scrum Alliance is very much aware something isn't right and they will try their best to mend that. It seems to be a balancing act, given the fact that Ken Schwaber recently left the Scrum Alliance over a difference of opinion regarding the certification programs.

So, are we going to see a new avatar soon? Or as Mike Cottmeyer put it,

I just can't get my head around certifying anyone on anything without at least a general definition of what we are certifying against. In the absence of some sort of accepted standard, 'Certified Scrum' anything is just a marketing gimmick.

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