An Agile Career!


What Is Your Agile Career Path?

Some of the team members I coach were interested in understanding what options they have to grow their careers.  As I posted before, last week was all about performance reviews, and everyone on the team was looking for what to write about their goals.  I remember many years back, when I had the same questions.  Unfortunately, I could not get much information to really understand my options. In fact, I did a full transformation.  I jumped in feet first, and never took a second look back. Please understand I am not advocating this approach.

What do I do next?  What other options do I have? How can I make a career out of this?  How can I map out a plan? Were the questions consistently asked.  I am sure some of you may have felt the same way. My advise to them, is the same to you.  What are your goals?  If you jump in without knowing, you will be lost.  So, if you are a project manager ask yourself, do you really want to make the transition to agile? I see a lot of wolves in sheep clothing, and this is a disfavor to you and the team. There is still a need for project management, so if you do not feel it is a right fit, don’t start on this path. Perhaps you have strong subject matter expertise, and you may want to consider a Product Owner role.

Are you a tester or a business analyst seeking to move to a Scrum Master role?

Again, ask yourself what is more suitable for you? Agile has a lot more roles than Scrum.  My next question to you is, do you want to concentrate on Agile or Scrum?  Remember agile is a philosophy that encompasses various frameworks, one of which is Scrum.  Scrum is a narrow niche to specialize in.  Consider this carefully, while scrum is one of Agile’s most used frameworks, there are others. So, you may not want to concentrate on one, and want to keep your options open.

As a project manager the transition to scrum master or product owner is much easier than tester role. From a tester or business analyst role you can move into a scrum master role, but you need to get certified before making this change, unless your organization is willing to give you the opportunity.

Regardless of what role you play, your next step is certification!  There are four accredited bodies, ICAgile, Scrum Alliance,, and ScrumStudy. In the interest of full disclosure, I am accredited by ICAgile and ScrumStudy.  With that said, lets get to what are the differences.  ICAgile offers agile practitioners certification in agile project management, agile business analyst, agile tester, agile leadership and agile coaching.  They are all about agile practices.  The certification is participation driven and not test driven. ICAgile covers, test driven development, continuous improvement, kanban, continuous integration and lots more.  Take a look at their road map here, you will find this helpful.

The Scrum Alliance is one of the most popular certifications.  While widely recognized, it has lost credibility.  I am hoping they will be changing the CSM to include more of what is truly needed to help people start. When I took the CSM it was very simple, and while the course covered all the key terms and ceremonies, it lacked practical use.  Now, I am biased and I am not saying all the courses will be this way. You make your own opinions. With that said, the CSM gives you marketability! was founded by one of Scrum’s founders, Ken Schwaber. The Professional Scrum Master certification is beginning to pick up in the market.  There is a difference in the knowledge base, you will definitely get you money’s worth.

SCRUMstudyFinally, there is ScrumStudy, they came out with Scrum Body Of Knowledge (You can get the SBOK free here) .  They too have put in a lot of work to ensure the scrum master understands the history of scrum, roles and ceremonies, how to build teams, iterative development, and lots more. This book is packed with a lot of useful material.

The next thing you must do, is set your agile or scrum profile in LinkedIn. Start connecting with agile practitioners. Have your coach endorse you, and don’t forget to ask for a recommendation.

You know the drill!  How did you get your first scrum master opportunity? What advise do you have for those wishing to move into an agile role?

“It is not a bolt to be tightened into place, but a seed to be planted and to bear more seed toward the hope of greening the landscape of idea.”

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