It was not until I landed at a big biotech that was able to point to some successes with Scrum and Agile. Only after I was offered real mentoring and a peer group of other Agile practitioners to learn and grow from, was I able to grow into being an Agile leader. I believe that one of the main reasons why we see all these ScrumButs, Scrummerfalls and Agile-in-name-only teams is because the people being asked to build and support Agile teams are doing this without any advanced training, isolated from a community of peers.
If we had more well-trained Agile leaders, like people who are Certified Scrum Professionals (CSP), I believe that more companies would successfully survive the transition from the old way of working to a more Agile way of working. We would not see a lot of broken promises, hurt people, mangled careers and badly aligned expectations littering the workplace. Facilitating a team from being managed to being self-organized is really hard, especially in an environment that may be hostile to self-organization or has doubts about giving up control. Getting one team to success has its challenges, but applying Agile and Scrum at scale is exponentially harder. Especially if all you have to draw from is a two-day CSM course, some books you might have read and articles on scaling patched together from the Internet.
Back when I became a CSP, all you had to do was write an essay. If what you wrote demonstrated you understood Scrum and Agile, you were a CSP. Later, becoming a CSP evolved into passing a “hard test”. Thankfully, the Scrum Alliance did away with the exam and refocused the CSP certification on continuing education. I believe that was a good decision since continuing education is the Scrum Alliance’s strength, not creating exams. Today, to become a CSP, you have to show thirty-six months of Scrum experience and have seventy hours of continuing education (SEU) in Scrum and Agile.
However, there are two weakness with the Scrum Alliance’s plan. One, it relies on the learners to find their own way, to somehow cobble together seventy SEU and then fill out an application with zero guidance. Two, because the certification is completely self-directed there is no clear benefit in becoming a CSP. It is no wonder that people struggle or not even start the journey. The CSP Fast Pass program fixes these inherent weaknesses by putting together a complete package of all the required SEU within four months, builds you a trusted community of advanced Agile peers and works with you to submit a complete application.
As I close this article, I want to share with you my motivation to create this program. I have been thinking about this program in many forms for the last few years, but it was inspired by a May 2013 talk by Ron Jeffries and Chet Hendrickson at Scrum Gathering Las Vegas. At this informal session about the future of Agile, a member of the audience asked, “What do you see as the future for the Scrum Alliance?”.
Ron replied, in a sorta curmudgeonie (is that even a word?) way that is typical for Ron (which I am paraphrasing), “I don’t really know. We do a real good job of getting people in the door of Agile with CSM, but we are not that great once they are inside the building. The Scrum Alliance has the upper floors with CST and CSC, but no elevator to get the CSM masses out of the lobby. Unless we get the masses to the next level, the Scrum Alliance is not going to change the world of work”
When I heard that comment from Ron Jeffries, I knew what I needed to be doing. I needed to build that elevator. CSP Fast Pass is your ticket out of the crowded lobby to the next destination in your career. We are your personal elevator operators.