Reblogged with permission from Jem D'jelal, the original author of this content, as a contributor to blogagility.com. Originally published on LinkedIn January 20, 2016.
Then I should consider recycling all of ’em!
My bodybuilding trophies.
My Jujitsu belt.
My degree certification.
My A- level papers…
And everything else that represents an achievement.
The physical manifestation that represents my hard work shouldn’t matter, should it?
What I achieved, I did for my own betterment – it is my learning that counts, not the physical thing that came out of it.
See that’s the funny thing about theory, you never know how true it is until you put it into practice.
A month back , I was asked to clear a trophy from the top of the piano to make way for a flower pot.
Based on the above, I shouldn’t have even flinched.
A cheap piece of bronze moulded into a cliche bodybuilders pose – I shouldn’t care.
But I did.
I cared. Allot.
Cause I didn’t want to bin the trophy. It represented something.
16 weeks of diet, 16 weeks of 4am cardio, 16 weeks of 5 weight sessions.
The manifestation of my achievement in this case was something that meant to me – it was one measure of my hard work.
Not the only measure I should stress.
Could I say the same about my ScrumMaster Certification?
Well it depends on how you define: “meaning something to you”.
From an competitive point of view: Yes, unfortunately it did. We are in a situation & have been for a while now where rightly or wrongly a large number of Recruiters look for the certification. Like a flag that shouts “pick me, pick me! I know what I’m doing”. There was & is as an industry pressure to be certified.
From an achievement point of view: My course was 2 days & I completed the exam in 10 minutes. This isn’t me boasting, but the multi-choice exam paper really did not challenge me. I did not feel a genuine sense of achievement in completing an exam that made me a “Certified ScrumMaster” so easily.
From a learning point of view: I was taught by Mike Cohn at the time. He’s a veteran of Scrum: you could learn quite a bit in a 10 minute chat at the bus stop let alone 2 days. So yes I was grateful & did learn.But, hand on heart: could a rookie go to that class & in 2 days walk out with learning that they can apply in their work place – effectively – as a new ScrumMaster? I’m not convinced.
But the ScrumMaster certification is “just an introduction”..
Then call it that.
If we are going to have certification, is it not reasonable that the name of the certification is proportionate to the level of knowledge “acquired”?
And if we do stick with a name where one becomes a “Certified ScrumMaster” – than – respectfully – make the exam, the coursework or whatever it is. *Harder*.
Certificates, Trophies & Medals ain’t the real problem…
It’s what these physical representations of achievement have become to mean that pose the real problem.
If a certification is named in a way which is not fitting to the “achievement”, that’s a problem. I’m not seeking perfection here, but Scrum 101 or Scrum Basics is more fitting for a 2 day course than “Certified ScrumMaster”.
If recruiters are always looking for a series of letters next to your LinkedIn profile, that’s a problem. I get it, people want an efficient way to screen candidates. But the world is moving forward, BarCap, PWC & others are asking their recruiters to look beyond certification to give ‘unmarked’ talent a try.
If newbies are certified by their bosses thinking they’ll come back from the 2 day course as experienced practitioners, that’s a problem. I’ve seen this and so have you. Like a new found religious member, people go forward with the Scrum Jihad & try to force it down everyones throat. Not only does it hurt the organisation it creates the wrong perception of Scrum.
In the spirit of Scrum & agile
I want to help.
My peer Lucky Byatt was someone who gave me heart when (to paraphrase) she said ” there are so many people who have the same concerns – that teach certification classes – why not try to help from the inside..instead of working from the outside?”.
And it was a fair point.
After much thinking I have re-directed my energy in the following ways with the hope to inspire others:
Educating Recruiters.Myself & a handful of peers are offering free training to Recruiters to help them learn agile & Scrum. This we hope may begin to enable recruiters to be able to look at CVs for ScrumMasters & enquire beyond a certificate.
Making learning the focus. Myself & a handful of peers are working out ways of running classes (both ScrumMaster & Product Owner cert classes & non- Scrum Alliance related) where the focus is learning, the certification (if Scrum Alliance related – is the bonus, less the focus)
Managing expectations. If you’re getting your cert. after 2 days, don’t expect to go in and change the world through shoe horning Scrum. I’m all for doing rather than thinking,but there needs to be some further learning to see if Scrum is the ‘best’ choice for the gig you’re working with.
Talking to the Scrum Alliance community. Making the effort to meet more with peers in the community -I’m sure- will surface others who have similar concerns. And that might provide the inspiration for an admission to a key note speech at the next gathering.
I can dream right?