INTEGRIST Becomes a Certified Scrum Master

Via Nikkie Shaw:

I am a Certified Scrum Master! I recently attended a 2-day Scrum Alliance workshop at Heartland Community College in Normal, IL that was conducted by Tom Mellor, Certified Scrum Trainer, to receive my Certified Scrum Master (CSM) certificate.   The workshop was very interactive with a diverse group of students from various backgrounds and stages of their careers. I enjoyed the learning activities, and the opportunity to network with other Certified Scrum Masters.

Scrum is a product development framework that uses iterative and incremental methodology to manage work. Scrum is based on the principles and values of the Agile Manifesto. The Scrum team is a cross-functional group of generally about 7 people. The Scrum team works from a prioritized list of requirements (product backlog). The team works in “sprints”- usually 2-4 week periods- to complete pieces of the product backlog. The team meets daily to assess progress, and discuss any issues/impediments they come across. The team is self-managed and decides what work will be completed from the product backlog during each sprint.

While there are many online tools available, the most commonly used tool by the Certified Scrum Master is the scrum board, which includes all the tasks to be completed. A large whiteboard is divided into columns titled: user stories, to do, in progress, and done. Tasks are written on sticky notes that are then moved by the team members from column to column during the sprint. Burndown charts are used to track project progress. The Burndown chart show the completed work per day against the projected rate of completion for the sprint. This is used to determine the team’s “velocity”, which is used for predicting time estimates for future tasks, projects, etc.

One of the main differences between Scrum and traditional waterfall project management is that Scrum is adaptive to change. In Scrum, failures are recognized early and feedback is given often. This methodology helps teams to succeed in a fast paced environment with changing requirements, priorities, and deadlines.

The Certified Scrum Master helps the team understand Scrum values and practices. He/She protects the team from impediments and distractions. The Certified Scrum Master acts as a facilitator for the product owner and the team, ensuring transparency and understanding from everyone. Each sprint ends with a review and retrospective. The process then begins again with the team choosing pieces from the product backlog to complete and starting another sprint.

There are many Scrum online user groups, global, and regional events that I am excited to explore and participate in. The collaboration opportunities that allow for knowledge and success sharing are invaluable, especially with those using Scrum for new product development.

I am excited to put the knowledge I have gained into practice. Scrum methodology seems to be a perfect fit for rapid prototyping and software development projects. The 5 values of Scrum are trust, courage, respect, commitment, and focus. These are all values that INTEGRIST’s possess and practice every day. While any change takes time and effort, I believe the benefits of implementing Scrum will make it a quickly adopted methodology of choice. I am glad that I chose to become a Certified Scrum Master!