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Scrum.org Launches New Learning Programs

| by Savita Pahuja Follow 1 Followers on Mar 20, 2015. Estimated reading time: 3 minutes |

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Scrum.org has launched a new Scaled Professional Scrum course and Scrum Practitioner Open Assessment . The Scaled Professional Scrum course covers scaling agile concepts. The Scrum Practitioner Open assessment provides anyone with the ability to assess their skills to productively participate in a Scrum team. The assessment is particularly useful for people working in a scaled development initiative.

InfoQ spoke to Ken Schwaber, Cofounder of Scrum and Head of Scrum.org, about the new products.

InfoQ: Thanks for talking to us. Can you please share some insights on new agile programs and assessments?

Scrum.org is extending its assessments by adding practitioner and expert level assessments. We are also adding a Scrum scaling product consisting of a framework, assessment, and training course.

InfoQ: What do you think the need of launching new learning programs? How these new assessments and training programs are useful for the agile community?

Firstly, people have told us that they want to certify their Scrum skills. The new assessments will let people qualify their capabilities into three levels: 1: knowledgeable, 2: skilled, and 3: expert.

Secondly, many organizations have realized value in small Scrum initiatives and desire to scale these benefits to larger initiatives. We are providing a Scaled Professional Scrum product with a clear set of guidance to help them do so with minimum waste and as much productivity as possible.

InfoQ: Please share your vision of refining PSM assessments.

Our Level 1 assessments are used to prove Scrum knowledge as Scrum Master, Product Owner, and Developer. Over 80,000 people worldwide have found the Level 1 assessment valuable in testing their knowledge and proving their capabilities to potential employers and Scrum teams.

Our previous single Level 2 assessment was used to demonstrate significant Scrum expertise. People taking it were asked to write essays describing how they would handle difficult software development situations in a Scrum context. Less than 50% passed. Scrum.org draws its trainers and consultants from those that do pass.

Organizations have been asking us for an assessment that can be used to qualify people for Scrum teams. They wanted a degree of confidence that a person, when placed on a team, would have the background, knowledge, and skills to quickly become productive. We are introducing a new type of Level 2 assessment to help them select such people, and to help qualified people identify themselves. This Level 2 assessment will demonstrate practitioner level capabilities. Case studies will be presented and the taker will be questioned regarding best actions. People with successful experience in these situations will do well, and if their breadth of experience is broad enough, gain certification.

The existing Level 2 assessment will be made more difficult and become Professional Scrum Expert certifications.

InfoQ: How the new program of “Scaled Professional Scrum” is related to other existing trainings of Scrum.org? Who can teach this course? What are the eligibility criteria for the participants?

Our new Scaled Professional Scrum drives to the heart of the scaling issue – complexity caused by the dependencies between the increased parts. We have created an exoskeleton named a Nexus that integrates and brings coherence to the work of up to 9 Scrum teams. The Nexus creates a communication pathway that identifies and resolves dependencies.

Nexus builds on the existing Scrum framework and values, New artifacts and roles are added, their integration with Scrum guided by 34 new practices. The result is an effective development group of up to 100 people. For larger initiatives, we have introduced the Nexus+, consisting of best industry patterns for creating product families and interpretational functional units.

The Nexus and Nexus+ are available now through two-day workshops. A guide, similar to the Scrum Guide, will document them later this year. A Nexus Level 2 assessment will be added that can be used to demonstrate capability in scaling initiatives.

The benefits of this approach are:

  • Organizes teams to maximize their productivity
  • Organizes people into right teams so efforts are optimized
  • Shows managers how to organize and manage large number of managers to rapidly build software
  • Helps managers detect anomalies in productivity
  • Provides practices for addressing them
  • Presents patterns that enable self-organization of larger number of developers 

InfoQ: Do you have any further plans to add more new learning programs?

We continue to roll out our Agile Transformation (Agility Path) and value measurement (Evidence Based Management) programs. Between these, the new programs, and new partnerships with Avanade and Prowareness, we feel that we are focusing on highest value and return initiatives for 2015.

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