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An Alternative to Certifications


The Agile Skills Project is a wiki providing an inventory of skills that a good Agile Developer should have. The project was started after a meeting in Chicago in the spring of 2009, attendees of that meeting agreeing that: “High productivity in Agile software development requires excellence in these areas: Product, Collaboration, Business Value, Supportive Culture, Confidence, Technical Excellence, and Self Improvement.”

In the first post to the mailing list, Ron Jeffries said:

We're here to begin to come up with an approach to improving developer skills for Agile / Scrum / XP projects. The Scrum Alliance is thinking of there being a new developer-focused certification (CSD?). I think we all have a basic agreement that whatever we do should "have teeth", and that developers and hiring managers alike should come to respect the rating or ratings that might come about.

From those initial ideas the project has grown to encompass the following goals:

  • Establish an evolving picture of the skills needed on Agile teams
  • Encourage life-long continuous learning
  • Establish a network of trust to help members find like-minded folks, and to identify new mentors in the community

In support of those goals the group has created:

The skills inventory currently includes sections for: Business Value, Collaboration, Confidence, Product, Self Improvement, Supportive Culture and Technical Excellence.

It even has a list of things to look for in an Agile organization:

  • continuous integration
  • regular metrics (velocity, coverage, cyclometric complexity...)
  • pair programming
  • TDD
  • "one team" (the idea of distributed agile seems to be in question, having advocates and detractors on either side of the issue)
  • regular demos

The Agile Skills project is looking for people to ask questions, participate in the discussion and describe skills.

Previously on InfoQ: “The 'Agile Developer Skills Workshop' Is Underway” and “Looking Inward To Stop An Agile "Decline And Fall"

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Community comments

  • Mine certification is better than yours

    by Eduardo Miranda,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    This tentative clearly fall on the fallacy of "Others have failed, but we're not like them, we are better!"

    And it's a bold goal, change/certify a mindset of continuos learning?

  • Re: Mine certification is better than yours

    by Mark Levison,

    Your message is awaiting moderation. Thank you for participating in the discussion.

    This tentative clearly fall on the fallacy of "Others have failed, but we're not like them, we are better!"

    Not quite sure I understand: "This tentative clearly fall on the fallacy" - but I will attempt to respond. The group doesn't make any claim that it will create great certifications. It does claim that it can do a good job of documenting many of the skills required to be a great Agile Developer. Is it starting to meet that claim? You be the judge.

    And it's a bold goal, change/certify a mindset of continuous learning?

    Agreed a bold goal but even if it fails it will still have pushed the boundaries of understanding a bit further back.

    Mark Levison
    Agile Pain Relief Consulting

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