The Scrum approach to agile software development marks a dramatic departure from waterfall management. Scrum and other agile methods were inspired by its shortcomings. Scrum emphasizes collaboration, functioning software, team self management, and the flexibility to adapt to emerging business realities.

25th
OCT

Estimating Earned Business Value on Agile Projects

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Agile Manifesto, Agile Principles, Scrum Basics, Scrum Discussion, Scrum Transitions

A pattern I’ve noticed is that Scrum projects are typically managed informally, with the only measures used being various velocity metrics and burndown charts. This may be an issue. Many project managers and executives resist scrum because these only measure the speed of delivery, not the project’s cost or the business value it generates. One of the major differences between traditional and agile projects is that traditional projects focus on delivering software that satisfies requirements, while agile projects focus on maximizing ROI through continuous feedback and re-planning.

This is where Earned Business Value calculations come in. It fits well with Agile projects, since the focus of agile projects is on business value rather than conformance to requirements (outcomes over outputs). In many cases, EVM metrics are easier to calculate and understand in agile environments than in traditional ones. There are three key management measures – Cost Performance Index (CPI), Schedule Performance Index (SPI), and Earned Business Value (EBV) – that provide information to help manage an agile project from and ROI perspective.

There is a solid white paper on this topic at .

I’d also be very interested in your comments to this post.

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1st
OCT

The CSM Exam Saga Continues…

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Scrum Discussion

Since I last posted on the CSM exam, it seems the plot has thickened enough that another post is warranted. As I’ve explained previously, the Scrum Alliance recently decided to introduce an exam which all Certified ScrumMasters will be required to pass before receiving that distinction. It should be noted that only those individuals who have taken a two-day, Scrum Alliance-sanctioned CSM course from a Certified Scrum Trainer will be eligible to take the exam.

Well, after several delays and a recent rumor that the exam would be pushed back from its project Oct. 1 launch date, the exam is back and will, in fact, go into effect today. According to an email sent by the Scrum Alliance’s new president Tom Mellor on September 16th, “the initial release of the exam will not be sanctioned by any certification agency.” He continues on behalf of the Board: “The exam will continue to evolve and we earnestly desire that it be approved by a certifying authority in the near future.  Our goal has been and continues to be to bring even stronger credibility to the CSM throughout the world. A certified examination will benefit us in this endeavor.”

For those familiar with this organization, you may know that this exam has been a source of much controversy internally and, it appears, resulted in the resignation of both Ken Schwaber, one of the founders of Scrum who previously served as the Alliance’s president, and Jim Cundiff, who previously served as the organization’s managing director. The fact of their departures illustrates just how polarizing this exam has been.

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17th
SEP

The CSM Exam

Posted by admin under Agile and Scrum, Scrum Discussion

Very soon, the Scrum Alliance will introduce a new process to certify ScrumMasters. Previously, certification has been awarded to anyone who attends a two-day, Scrum Alliance-certified ScrumMaster Certification course. But beginning October 1, course participants will also be required to pass an exam within 90 days of attending training. Certification will be good for two years. At the end of two years, individuals will need to re-certify for CSM status. This costs $150, including Scrum Alliance membership fees, and lasts two years.

In some ways, this marks an improvement because it endeavors to ensure that a CSM fully understands the tenets of Scrum. Certainly, this is better than simply awarding an individual ScrumMaster certification based on sitting through a two-day class. That is, while CSM courses are incredibly beneficial for most participants, they do not guarantee that an attendee will necessarily absorb or apply everything he or she has learned. Of course, the flipside is that an exam will only test attendees on certain aspects of the Scrum framework in a format that does not necessarily promote a deep understanding of Scrum’s values.

What do you think? Is this an improvement over the existing certification process or an unhelpful amendment to a process that was working fine? I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.

You will do better on the CSM or PSM exam by keeping your Scrum Reference Card handy.

The Scrum Reference Card

The Scrum Reference Card

If you need to practice for the CSM exam (or others), try the free practice test towards the end of the Introduction to Scrum.
Scrum Quiz

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