In the weeks since the coronavirus pandemic began, we have seen a proliferation of trainers offering an enormous variety of online Certified Scrum Master classes. How can you assess the best fit for you? Here’s some advice on how you can make sense of an increasingly crowded and confusing market, whether you are shopping for an online course or an in-person course when they start up again.
Certification Confusion? Start with the Organization
Certification implies that the training was created with rigor and intent. When considering an Online Certified Scrum Master certification, it makes sense to start with the largest and longest-lived organization offering certification — the Scrum Alliance.
Founded in 2001, the Scrum Alliance was the first certifying organization for Scrum training. The Scrum Alliance is currently the largest and only non-profit, member-driven certifying organization for Scrum, with more than 250 qualified trainers, 100+ gatherings hosted, and more than 1 million certifications issued.
While three or four other organizations offer some type of Scrum Master certification, the Scrum Alliance has the broadest brand recognition and its status as a non-profit put it in a better position to serve the Agile community.
What to look for when choosing an Online Certified ScrumMaster class
Some essential considerations when making your choice for Certified Scrum Master (CSM) training include:
1. Instructor Experience
The first, and possibly most important, qualification for in-person and online education is instructor experience. What is the instructor’s experience with Scrum and Agile? What workshops has the instructor facilitated in the past? How familiar is the instructor with the unique challenges of online workshops and significant differences from in-person classes? Steer clear of any advertisements for CSM workshops that do not clearly identify the instructor to validate qualifications.
2. Interactive Format
Research the format to ensure fit with your personal learning needs and availability. For in-person classes, is content delivered lecture-style from PowerPoint presentations? Or is class time dedicated to thought-provoking exercises, engaging discussion, and team collaboration? In the online world, the worst format is a two day live workshop copied into two, eight-hour videoconferences. For Online Certified Scrum Master classes, look for at least multiple days of two to four hours of interactive sessions. Then consider whether additional support from the instructor is provided, such as useful resources and individual exploration and assessment through a learning management system (LMS.) Access to more content at your own pace enhances absorption and retention of concepts.
3. Real-world Applications
Your ability to take what you learn and apply it in your workplace and with your teams is central to a valuable workshop. A quality training experience will provide Scrum case studies explaining how Scrum was used to create successful outcomes and improved teams. Does the workshop focus on practical solutions to real-world challenges drawn from instructor experience as ScrumMasters and Agile coaches? The best online workshop experiences include plenty of opportunities to work with and learn from other students, typically in an online visual collaboration environment serving as the virtual classroom.
The Applied Frameworks approach
In an Applied Frameworks CSM workshop, you’ll learn the essential skills and techniques to tackle the most difficult
challenges encountered by teams and organizations adopting Scrum and other Agile practices from one of our Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Trainers®, Jason Tanner, Carlton Nettleton or Kert Peterson, who have decades of CSM teaching experience.
Most classroom training is boring and prone to distraction. Too many instructors talk for far too long about topics and theories not relevant for real world application. In our workshops, you’ll find that all our lectures are crisp – around fifteen minutes – and are combined with practical, relevant exercises so that you can practice what you just learned for immediate application back at work. There is absolutely NO Powerpoint in our workshops.
Also, as experts in multiple frameworks, we recognize there is no “one size fits all” approach to adopting Scrum and we leverage our experience with multiple frameworks to drive sustainable results. Throughout our workshop, you’ll learn several Innovation Games® and other collaboration frameworks which will allow you to amplify your effectiveness as a ScrumMaster and energize your team. These are frameworks you can take with you and immediately apply in your day to day work.
Learning works best when you are in a community and the best learning experiences are shared. The truth is many of our learners come to our classes with significant industry experience, so we leverage that experience in group exercises and discussions.
With the help of your instructor and the other students, you will have the opportunity to share your ideas, ask and answer questions based on your experience, and offer encouragement to those who are struggling with similar challenges.
Lastly, while our workshop will more than adequately prepare you for your CSM exam, you’ll also get access to our CSM practice exam, if you feel like taking a test run before the actual exam itself. You’ll also get our Applied Frameworks’ “alumni” discount of 15% if, after you get your CSM, you enroll in our A-CSM program.