Why I chose to develop an A-CSM course

I’ve recently begun to offer the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) course, recognized by Scrum Alliance as a part of the Path to Certified Scrum Professional. While I feel it’s extremely important for students to have another learning experience available from the market leader in Scrum, I have some additional thoughts about this course that is outside of the standard marketing and informational material you may run across.

When I first started in agile, I was always looking for ‘the next thing’ to help me progress. Like most in the industry though, it was only through experiences in the real world that I could grow professionally. How great would it have been to have next-level courses available to help guide that path!

The courses that make up the Path to CSP provide professionals with a set of techniques and skills that go beyond the basics and mechanics of Scrum, expanding into interaction, decision making, and team dynamics. Having exposure to these skills earlier in my career would have had a powerful impact on my ability to help others and support my teams.

I started out in technology as a developer and spent much of my career working on interesting and engaging missions, so being a part of an organization focused on delivery excellence is very near and dear to my heart. Creating and refining something that helped someone else and made their lives a little easier was a big motivating factor to my getting involved in the agile space. I always enjoyed building things, and when the learning objectives for the advanced courses were released I was so excited to create something new that directly helped folks on the ground.

Being a Scrum Master is an engaging, fulfilling, and challenging job. It is often difficult for professionals to rely on a limited set of experiences, a short 2-day class, and the scrum guide for guidance on how to impact the lives of others every day. Being an effective Scrum Master is so much more than just “following the rules”, it’s about creating an environment where others can be successful, do their best thinking, and help deliver value to those that would benefit from it.

The needs of Scrum Masters have evolved over time. Several years ago they may have been the only person in their organization to have even heard of agility. Many of these professionals now face environments where their organization already has their own opinion (or proprietary version) of Scrum. They also sometimes face an up-hill battle and are at the front lines of “un-learning” as I often call it, facing many misconceptions and anti-patterns that they are charged with unraveling. Agile leaders need more skills and techniques at their disposal, and these are the professionals this class was created for.

Competition for work has never been tougher for Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches. So many people can teach this, build this, coach that, have this cert, blah blah blah. It is very hard to stand out, just as hard as helping late-majority adopters and traditional organizations take the first few steps when they already have a way of doing business. Professionals need to get past the “What is Scrum” conversation, and have a much deeper and impactful message based on a solid foundation of knowledge and experience.

I built my interpretation of the A-CSM learning objectives as a two-day class to address these challenges, and cannot wait to get the ball rolling. I honestly think that this will be a fun experience for all involved. YES, I said FUN! By combining hands-on exercises with the experiences of other professionals, participants will receive the benefits of classroom instruction mixed with practical experience. Through simulating real-world situations and learning different techniques to respond to them, students will be better prepared for what they encounter on the road ahead. By crystalizing our fundamental understanding of Scrum and building on that base with a practical toolkit, I am confident that we can all go back to our organizations to have a positive impact on other people’s lives.

See you in class! - CL

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