Agile Adoption: 3 dimensions

This is my loud thinking about the 3 dimensions of success in Agile adoption/implementation.

1. Agile Project Mangement

2. Engg Practices/ techniques like TDD, CI etc.

3. Soft-skills (team-work, no-ego etc.)

Often, companies focus more on the first 2 dimensions and the 3rd dimension disposes them. Or sometimes, even the first two or any of them mars the adoption.I have seen that if people do not believe what they do, it can be never a success. The buy-in is missing.

1. Agile PM:

Even in this first dimension, the Scrum Master is installed and the team selected and it is declared “Let’s go Agile!” Perhaps, a couple of days session on Scrum and that’s it.

Training is perhaps first and only solution considered for executing every new endeavour. The training is definitely necessary but not sufficient. The principles behind the practices must be understood..na na.. digested well. Why feel shy of getting  expert help on the job?

Engineering Practices:

Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration, Refactoring, Automated testing etc. are the Engg practices which make an Agile project look different from Technical point of view. Even here, the right environment with appropriate tools is necessary. Sound understanding and discipline is needed here. You don’t get freedom without discipline!

Soft-skills:

Is it easy to be called as a Servant Manager? Is it easy to keep aside individual excellence (partcularly when the HR appraisal is due) and consider team’s success at high? You definitely need to check the soft-skills of the people. I strongly feel that the standard products in the Soft-skills training market will be of little use to build successful Agile teams. We need different and specific approach to mentor the people.

Contributions of the readers to these dimensions will be appreciated.

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Scrum Certifications-do we need it?

It is always good to have certification. One can rest assured of the understanding of the topic when you are “certified” on someting.There is a wave of Scrum Certifications everywhere. With the whopping fees of around $550-600, the classrooms are full of enthusiatic participants. At the end of 2 day session, and an exam (whether it really tests your knowledge is doubtful); you become Certified Scrum Master. Well, you don’t have an option to take the exam directly. You need to attend (or spend for) the training session.

You won’t find an Indian trainer doing such sessions here. They fly from America and do the courses here. (Yes, there are some who are PIOs or NRIs). Do we really need the certifications which do not gurantee the understanding? How many CSMs are there who are really clear about Agile principles at the end of the training (and even the exam) and are still “certified”?

scrum.org founded byKen Schwaber conducts the exam and it does not require you to attend a session. This sounds reasonable. I have seen the trial exam and it seems to be reasonably testing the knowledge.

Well, the companies nominate for the certification trainings and then expect these fresh CSMs to undertake the job of transitioning to Agile. They try doing it with in a half-convinced, half-understood state and  it goes on. Finally, they (or other pigs/chickens)point to certain practices which cannot be applied “here” and the enthusiasm ends.

The whole issue of certifications has thus not been successful in promoting  Scrum, I feel. It has become just a good business and not adding any value to Agile community.

I am open to get convinced on the good part of the certifications and the pure objectives of the same. Criticism is also welcome! That will give me an opportunity to think differently!