All posts by Paul Heidema

Paul has been coaching, consulting and training many organizations in the use of Agile methods since 2008. He has transformed teams using Scrum, Kanban, Extreme Programming, and OpenAgile. He is a Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner and a Certified Scrum Professional.

Paul @ Scrum Gathering Seattle – Day 1 Recap

I have now just returned from Day 1 of the Scrum Gathering in Seattle. This is my first Scrum Gathering and it is turning out to be great!

Participants at the Scrum Gathering in Seattle
Participants at the Scrum Gathering in Seattle

This is what I did throughout the day and some take-aways and learnings that I have gathered:

The Business Case for Agile: What Every Executive Needs to Know with speaker John Rudd
– there are now fewer constraints, with more variables in our world
– example of horse races, move bets to the horses in front
– use examples of failures in your organization to encourage the change
– benefits and ROI model
– waterfall: 15%
– agile: 30%
– agile with reduced scope: 50%
– People that I met in the session:
– Bill Rosner from Capital Group who is on a Scrum team in California
– James Kauffman who is the ScrumMaster near Seattle

Do We Have a Good Coach or a Bad Coach? with speaker Alan Atlas
– all about learning: good or bad
– results for a coach: direct (eg. launching a Scrum team), indirect (eg. less bugs produced)
– the SKERT framework: Skills, Knowledge, Environment, Results, Type of coach
– get feedback on coach throughout the year

the SKERT framework by Alan Atlas
the SKERT framework by Alan Atlas

30 Minute Chat with Alan Atlas
The Scrum Alliance set up this great thing: Scrum To Go. A participant can sign up for a private session with an experience Scrum coach, I believe that all of them were Certified Scrum Coaches (CSC). So I signed up to speak with Alan Atlas. He was very kind and knowledgeable. I asked him about becoming a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST) and many questions about helping teams to use Agile and Scrum. He offered three things to help when team members are not buying-in or becoming empowered on the Scrum team. (1) Team members to convince themselves of its usefulness and validity. (2) Peer pressure from other team members to become active participants. (3) Cheap coaching tricks such as putting those against Scrum in charge (you are now the ScrumMaster) or getting those team members to research something and share it with the team. He said that we don’t like to do bad work, so they will try to get the task done.

Scrum To Go: coaching sessions
Scrum To Go: coaching sessions

Met Other Great People
Talked with Roger Brown (a CST) about the Certified Scrum Coach (CSC) process and how it has evolved. I also asked him about co-training with him for me to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). I also met Vernon Stinebaker (a CST) who lives in China and was trained by Mishkin Berteig, my colleague, many years back. I had the honour of meeting Lyssa Adkins (a CST) in person for the first time. I spoke with Lyssa, emailed back and forth, and I was part of her Agile Coaching Circle which took place over conference calls and emails. She is a wonderful person who is extremely motivated to work with coaches who, in her words, are the change catalysts in organizations. She introduced me to Carlton Nettleton (a CST) who I spoke with about co-training with him to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST).

Overall it was a great day. I look forward to learning more and meeting more great people. My take away for the day: Scrum people just like helping!

Warm regards,
Paul Heidema


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Paul @ Scrum Gathering Seattle – Airport 2

Now I am in Vancouver only one step away from Seattle, which is the location for the Scrum Gathering. I will go tonight to the hotel and register. I am excited to see the layout and look into the sessions.

I just read that the 3rd day of this 3 day conference has many sessions called “un-conference” open sessions. I like that this is a creative way to hold sessions which are normally setup with a speaker and a bunch of learners.

I hope that we will experience what we train. An environment where individuals interact to learn things, instead of a bunch people that have cups needed to filled up by an expert.

More to come!

Warm regards,
Paul Heidema


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Paul @ Scrum Gathering Seattle – airport

I, Paul Heidema, am currently waiting at the Toronto airport for my flight to Vancouver and then to Seattle where I will be attending the Scrum Gathering. This will be my first Scrum Gathering, so I am excited, curious and a little nervous. What will it be like? Will I enjoy myself? What talks should I attend? Will I feel lonely? What is expected of me? These are just a few questions that I have rolling around in my mind.

Usually when I attend a conference, Agile or not I am with others that are familiar with the movement of the event. Not this time. However, my wife Laila is coming for the trip which makes it that much more enjoyable even though she is not attending the conference.

I hope to meet many trainers, consultants, people new to Scrum and all kinds of unique and wonderful people.

I am also in the process of applying to become a Certified Scrum Trainer (CST). I hope to meet other CSTs and learn from there experience.

I will post more throughout the event.

Warm regards,
Paul Heidema


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Coaching Agile Teams – Interpersonal Skills a Must

I know that coaching is hard. It requires many skills including: facilitation, encouragement, experience, an openness to learn, and interpersonal skills. I have learned that many believe that good Agile training and coaching requires technical skills (in a software development environment) above any other ability. I do believe that technical are important. However, those skills can be learned and advanced within the time with a team, training and/or coaching.

I have met many people that would like to train and coach. The one thing that seems to be lacking in many of them that would like to be effective is strong and well-developed interpersonal skills. I mean skills that include the ability to relate well with others, the ability to walk shoulder-to-shoulder with others as they learn and practice the art of being Agile, and the ability to observe and offer suggestions with humility.

Technical skills can be learned over time. Interpersonal skills are much harder to learn and have a much deeper impact on those that are being trained and coached. The second set of skills help teams develop, aid management in becoming part of the Agile transformation, and allow individuals to become partners in the process of culture change.

Wouldn’t you want an Agile coach that has integrity, wisdom, and humility over one that is proficient in .Net, Java, and can build databases?


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Coaching is Accompaniment

I have been coaching an Agile-Lean team in Waterloo over the last month or so. It has been very rewarding for me (and the team I hope). I have learned that coaching is very much about accompaniment. To have a positive effect on the team that one is coaching, we need to walk shoulder to shoulder with them. The exhaustion of coaching (physically) is well worth the learning and advancement (mentally and spiritually). It is so valuable to witness the “a-ha” moments and have some of my own light-bulb insights. It is such an honour to serve as a coach for any team, especially if that team makes you feel like one of the team members. (Paul J. Heidema)


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Agile Links and Articles from Twitter

Hi All,

Here is a collection of interesting reads and articles that either Mishkin Berteig (@mberteig) or Paul Heidema (@paulheidema) reposted on Twitter.

RT @daverooneyca RT @gilbroza: Mincing no words: People are NOT resources! http://bit.ly/3iZwpI [A-freaking-men!!]

RT @jbrains jbrains.ca classic: Forget velocity http://mee.bo/dB2sw3

RT @AgileAdvice Comparison of OpenAgile with Scrum http://bit.ly/dBLCxP #Agile #Scrum #OpenAgile

RT @flowchainsensei Culture change is Free “I discovered the folly of culture change programmes years ago” ~John Seddon http://bit.ly/9Nwv8e

One of my favorite books! RT @mr_alan_cooper @flowchainsensei In return I offer J. Gall: http://bit.ly/bMPtoC

RT @estherderby RT @jasonlittle Simple Exercise to Demonstrate Value of Collaboration http://ow.ly/1nK4wm

RT @mohamed_rafie RT @sf105: Agile Learning Design: Periodic Table http://bit.ly/7K7Eyy

RT @jeffpatton good points in this piece – emerging practices for adding ux work to agile development by http://bit.ly/6HpkOe

RT @davidparker9 OpenAgile – New Management Methodology by @titusperide: http://bit.ly/5pD1ps

RT @agilenature Keep the Balance – The Scrum Product Owner http://ff.im/-foXWY

You can join Twitter by visiting http://twitter.com and following their steps.

If you are interested in what OpenAgile or other agile methods are all about please follow @mberteig @paulheidema and many others of the ones listed above.


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What makes a true team?

Interesting article about a team:

EIGHT TEAM MUST-HAVES

On certain kinds of problems, Prof. Richard Field says a team always comes up with better solutions than does an individual. He offers these eight must-haves for a successful team…

  1. Must have a meaningful purpose that all members care about.
  2. Can’t be too large. Some experts suggest capping at 20. Field cautions against there being too little work for all members.
  3. Needs a diverse set of skills appropriate to the goals.
  4. Needs to be physically together. Even having some team members on different floors can hurt the team.
  5. Succeeds or fails together. No stars or scapegoats.
  6. Shares leadership. Of course there is one leader, but he or she should be willing to step aside when another team member’s skills are required.
  7. Has strong shared norms and expectations of behaviour. These are soft skills that often need to be taught.
  8. Needs time. “You lose advantages if you hurry,” Prof. Field says. “Slow it down for the process to work.”

Note: Was originally posted on the Financial Post!


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First Public OpenAgile Team Member Training in Ottawa

Great News!

We at Berteig Consulting have been developing OpenAgile with the OpenAgile Champions and we are ready to hold the first ever public OpenAgile Team Member training session.  OpenAgile is a new method of using Agile methods for all kinds of work (beyond just software and IT).  Now we have our first ever public OpenAgile Team Member Training. The first seminar is taking place in Ottawa, our nation’s capital.

Details:

City: Ottawa

Date: January 26-27, 2009

Price: $750.00

For more information visit: http://www.berteigconsulting.com/OpenAgileCertificationOATrainingJanuary2010OttawaOntarioCanada

OpenAgile is a system for rapidly delivering value that is based on Truthfulness, Consultative Decision-Making and constant learning. OpenAgile is an “open source” process – a community of practitioners is helping to build it, and anyone can learn about it and use it and then contribute back to it!


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Certified Scrum Product Owner training – New Seminar

We are pleased to announce a new seminar: CSPO – Certified Scrum Product Owner.  We have found in our coaching assignments with our various customers that they were struggling to find qualified and well trained Product Owners.  Therefore we are offering this new seminar.  During this seminar we will train the participant how to do the fundamental tasks of the Product Owner in the Scrum environment.  The attendees will learn how to develop a comprehensive Product Backlog, competently add value to the Scrum team during the Sprint, fully understand how Scrum works and their role within it.  With a maximum class size of five people, this seminar is designed to allow participants to dig deep into the role of the Product Owner.  The first day will be an introduction to Scrum slanted towards the role of the Product Owner.  The second day will be an in-depth look at this role.  Our first CSPO seminar will take place soon.  Please refer to our website http://www.berteigconsulting.com/CSPOCourseDescription to reserve space for yourself or others on your team.

We look forward to adding value to your team!

Upcoming Certified Scrum Product Owner training seminars:
April 23 – 24, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
June 25 – 26, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
July 23 – 24, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
August 20 – 21, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)
September 17 – 18, 2009 in Newmarket (Berteig Consulting Office)

If you would like more information contact us at sales@berteigconsulting.com


Affiliated Promotions:

Try our automated online Scrum coach: Scrum Insight - free scores and basic advice, upgrade to get in-depth insight for your team. It takes between 8 and 11 minutes for each team member to fill in the survey, and your results are available immediately. Try it in your next retrospective.

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Symbian Partner Event: Innovation in Action – Free Developers Event

Here is a free course…

For the first time the Symbian Partner Event (SPE) opens its doors not only to Symbian partners, but also to mobile developers, handset manufacturers, network operators, the Open Source Community and members of the press. Whether you are new to mobile or an experienced Symbian developer, SPE has something for everyone.

SPE is a free, full-day event that will immerse you in the Symbian community. With an agenda featuring keynotes, seminars and panels from the leading minds in the global mobile industry, and an exhibition hall packed with the latest and greatest Symbian solutions, SPE is ‘dressed to impress´.

Not only do you get all the above, but you can also apply for exhibition space and to participate in our renowned Fast Pitch session – all free of charge.  Curious about Fast Pitch? This is an amazing opportunity for 15 companies to get face-to-face with handset manufacturers and network operators and present a 5-minute pitch of their solutions.

Remember this is your chance to meet and network with movers-and-shakers of the global mobile industry. Space is limited so register now to guarantee your spot!

Symbian Partner Event – December 4, 2008
http://www.symbianpartnerevent.com
Palace Hotel, San Francisco, California
2 New Montgomery Street
San Francisco, California, 94105

REGISTER:
http://www.symbianpartnerevent.com/Registrar/Index.php?sEventCode=SYM08002


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Why we like working at Berteig Consulting

From Paul Heidema:

Most people despise the end of Sunday. This means that Monday, the dreaded start of the work week, is just around the corner. Most people don’ have a team that they trust at work. Most people are unable to be truthful with their boss, or even truthful with themselves about their work.

Fortunately, I am not one of those people. I work with great people. They are kind, honest, caring, and very professional. I work at Berteig Consulting. My team is made up of four people, one of which is me. Travis, who is very gifted in the arts is also very professional and down to earth. Mishkin is an ideal boss who cares deeply about his co-workers, and treats us all like brothers and sisters. Laila is pure and able to make others feel completely at home (she is also my wife).

I never know what will happen each week but I do know that I will be happy and enjoying the experience with such a wonderful team.

From Mishkin Berteig:

Every day that we start work, I’m happy to be here.  It’s a bit cliche, but I love the people I’m working with.  I also love the work we are doing.  The vision of the company is maturing and our focus on education has already changed the way some things are being done.  I like our work environment: there are three of us “crammed” into a small office room – we are constantly collaborating, discussing options and problems and reminding each other of work to do.  Hiring Laila to work with us part time has been an incredible change.  She thinks systematically about our way of working and makes suggestions in such a loving way that it is impossible to feel like we were even doing anything wrong in the first place.  For me personally, having Travis focus on the role of Process Facilitator (ScrumMaster) has also been a huge relief for me.  He keeps us in line with a lightweight agile process and I’m loving it!!!  Finally, for me, focusing my own efforts on business value has been great – with the help of Paul, Laila and Travis, I now have the mental space and the actual time to devote to this critical part of running a business.  I’m still learning like crazy, and it’s great fun!  I wish everyone could work in an environment like this… which is, of course, why we offer the services that we offer! 🙂

From Travis Birch:

At Berteig Consulting, we practice Agile.  I am currently working in the role of process facilitator for our new team of 4.  We work in 1-week iterations.  As a couple of the team members have a 4-day work week, we have our retrospective on Monday mornings at 10 AM, followed by the planning meeting for our next iteration at 11 AM.  The remaining work days begin with a daily stand-up meeting using the reporting methods of a daily Scrum (each member reports 3 things to the team – “What I did yesterday”, What I’m doing today”, and “What are my obstacles”).  We work in a collocated team room, with items, tasks, obstacles, definition of done and burn-down chart all up on the walls.  We just completed our second iteration.  As part of today’s retrospective, team members actually did some demos – Mishkin showed us some of the great changes he’s made to his course material and Paul demoed our beautiful newsletter.  Laila even demoed some travel tools that she’s been working on for the trainers.  We also decided to each write our reflections in order to share them with those who might find it useful as a way of wrapping up the retrospective for this iteration.

Visibility of work and openness of consultation feeds an overall feeling of excitement and optimism in the team!

From Laila Heidema:

Having worked at Berteig Consulting for merely two weeks, I already feel that I am part of a team. I feel that I am contributing in helping people with their business in an environment that is creative, supportive, joyful and cooperative. I know that each week will bring interesting new tasks that will not feel like a mundane set of work, or carried out in order to finish the week. Rather, each project is completed with a sense of contribution towards the company’s quest to be the best corporate educator for humanity. Were it not for Berteig’s positive atmosphere and team dynamic, this would not be possible.


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Crystal Clear – A Book on Small Teams (pt. 2)

Crystal Clear: Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams - Book Cover

I recently started writing a book review on Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams by Alistair Cockburn. Check out the first part of my review. I have read Chapter 1 entitled Explained (View from the Outside). It was a very interesting chapter that set Crystal Clear as the answerer to Alistair Cockburn. It made many aspects of the Crystal family clear in my mind. I enjoyed the questions, and the answers were insightful and helped me to put the ideas into a whole picture.

At the moment I am reading Chapter 2 entitled Applied (The Seven Properties). Frequent Delivery, Reflective Improvement, and Osmotic Communication made sense to me and aligned somewhat to my own beliefs. When I started reading the fourth property, Personal Safety, certain parts seemed fine, while others set off warning bells. I believe that the purpose of any team is to progress. This is achieved through trust, respect and unity.

Cockburn says “Once personal safety and amicability are established, a useful, playful dynamic may emerge. People may wage competition with each other. They may argue loudly, even to the verge of fighting, without taking it personally. In the case where someone does take it personally, they sort it out and set things straight again.” – page 31.

The statements above concern me. Cockburn addresses trust by saying that people will not take it personally. Respect is lost because they “… May argue loudly, even to the verge of fighting”. I would be unable to say that I respect someone if I yell at them or even raise my voice. Now unity is completely destroyed. For some reason our society and many societies around the world not only condone competition, it is seen as a way to judge attributes of excellence in an individual. This is not a good sign for our progress towards unity in human civilization.

I agree that being polite and not stating one’s opinion is harmful for trust. However, it is preferable to use consultation instead of competition. Imagine that a team is encouraged to compete with itself to achieve better results. Would there not be feelings of resentment or heightened levels of stress? Now imagine a team that is encouraged to consult and raise the team together without focusing on individual success. Would not this team feel excited to be around each other? Would they become fast friends and grow as a unit? Would family members of the team be enthusiastic to be included in picnics and socials?

Now the big question:
What is better, individual success or team unity that add value to not only the team but all who interact with them?

I will continue to read this book and post my reviews. I find it interesting that this book has helped to see the confusion that is happening all around the world in terms of progress, success, and human development.

I welcome any comments on my posts.


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Crystal Clear – A Book on Small Teams

I have just started reading Crystal Clear: A Human-Powered Methodology for Small Teams by Alistair Cockburn. I was not too sure what this book would provide for me in the way of relevant learning.

I am intrigued that this work came out of years of experience by Alistair. This quote from the book “Crystal Clear does not aspire to be a “best” methodology; it aspires to be “sufficient,” in order that your team will shape it to itself and then actually use it.” gave me hope. I work on a small team and I wonder about which practices will best suit our situation. I also wonder how our team can use tools and processes then reflect on their usefulness to decide if we will continue their implementation.

I am interested in reading the whole book, but a little concerned that there will be too much techno-words used throughout. I have a background in business, marketing, and the web but not to the degree of the some of the other books that I have read.

What learning have you gained from working on small teams? Have any of you read this book? If so, did you gain any insights that would help my team to develop?


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Agile Tools vs. Agile Books

Agile Tools vs Agile Books

I have been working with Agile for a few months. At Berteig Consulting we are using OpenAgile to run our small business. As such we try to use various tools to make our life easier. I have already mentioned that we use CardMeeting for our cycles and tasks. I have tried using PlanningPoker for online estimation. It seems useful, but maybe our team is too small to make great use of it. I am also looking for other ways to manage the reflections and learning from each cycle.

I have received an email from David Wolrich of CardMeeting that states: “Anyways, I rely on the trickle of news from legitimate organizations like yours to let users know that CardMeeting is still around, that I am still adding features, and to generate interest; thanks again.” So maybe some of you could try it and give him a shout. Much like other free applications on the net such as Drupal and Neo Office this one could become more robust and useful.

I am wondering if I am spending too much time on tools and not enough reading and researching Agile methods. I am enjoying reading about Agile success stories. Anybody know of small businesses that have documented or written about achieving success in Agile? Is there an Agile bible or maybe a book about the best ways to succeed using Agile?

So this is the question that I am wondering: Are tools better than books when it comes to Agile?


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Agile Project Management with Scrum – A Tough Read at Times

I have been reading a book entitled “Agile Project Management with Scrum” by Ken Schwaber. It is an interesting read. The examples and stories that he shares of companies who have struggled with Scrum and those that have succeeded are fantastic. The way Schwaber breaks up the book and explains all the roles then gives example makes it a great learning tool. It is also really funny and clever.

One complaint I have with the book is that it is very technical, it seems that the reader is assumed to have many years of software development experience. It is interesting that the projects that Schwaber discusses that have the most trouble with Scrum are those that are “stuck” in their old ways of working. It’s almost as if the old saying of “A little knowledge is a dangerous thing” is true for Scrum implementations. “Scrum means doing things in small cycles – so I will do everything the same except in shorter cycles.” Anybody ever heard of that type of reasoning?

I definitely recommend this book for those who have considerable experience in the technology field. For those who don’t this book might be challenging at times, espcially with the computer language words that are used.

I want to continually learn for my own personal and professional growth. So I  would like to know which books do you suggest? Are there any books that share examples and stories that are not focused on software development? If you disagree which my review of the book please comment.


Affiliated Promotions:

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Professional Scrum Master® (PSM I)
Toronto
C$1270.75
Dec 10
2019
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Kanban System Design® (KMP I)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Dec 11
2019
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Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Dec 12
2019
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Certified Scrum Professional - ScrumMaster® (CSP-SM)
Online
C$1869.15
Jan 10
2020
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Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP)
Toronto
C$1015.75
Jan 16
2020
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Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Jan 17
2020
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Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Jan 21
2020
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Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Jan 23
2020
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Licensed Scrum Master Product Owner® (LSMPO)
Toronto
C$1695.75
Jan 28
2020
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Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Feb 1
2020
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Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Feb 4
2020
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Kanban System Design® (KMPI)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Feb 6
2020
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Leading SAFe® with SA Certification (+FREE Scaling Workshop)
Toronto
C$1185.75
Feb 11
2020
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Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Feb 25
2020
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Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Feb 27
2020
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Team Kanban Practitioner® (TKP)
Toronto
C$1015.75
Mar 4
2020
Details
Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Mar 7
2020
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Licensed Scrum Master® (LSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Mar 10
2020
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Advanced Certified ScrumMaster® (A-CSM)
Online
C$1359.15
Mar 21
2020
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Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
Toronto
C$1355.75
Mar 24
2020
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Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Mar 26
2020
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Kanban System Design® (KMPI)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Mar 31
2020
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Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM)
London
C$1525.75
Apr 1
2020
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Kanban Management Professional® (KMPII)
Toronto
C$1525.75
Apr 2
2020
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