Tag Archives: CSM

Promotional: Video About our Agile Training

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

BERTEIG offers agile training for Certified ScrumMaster, Certified Scrum Product Owner, Certified Scrum Developer, Leading SAFe, and more.  This promotional video gives you a glimpse into the classroom for these fantastic events.

Find out more on our BERTEIG / WorldMindware course registration site.

Note: all prices in Canadian dollars.  Most courses are delivered in the Toronto area, but we also come to you to deliver training upon request!

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Announcing New Agile Training for Coaches, Executives, Job Seekers and More

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

New Agile Certification Training

Certified Real Agility Coach LogoOur new premium offering: the Certified Real Agility Coach course is delivered in an unusual format of 40 days (yes, forty) spread over one year.  This in-depth, advanced training program is designed to help people with experience on Agile teams to become fully-capable independent Agile coaches.  Worried about the time commitment?  A substantial portion of the course is delivered as on-the-job training and a significant number of course hours are outside regular working hours… and the schedule is flexible to accommodate participants’ unique scheduling needs.  Spots are extremely limited for this course.  Reserve your spot now! (Contributes all the training hours required for the Certified Scrum Professional designation.  As well, if you do not already have the CSM and CSPO designations, you will receive free enrolment in either or both of those courses once your registration has been confirmed.)

Scaled Agile Framework - SAFe Agiilist LogoSince Travis Birch and Mishkin Berteig have become Certified SAFE Program Consultants, we are now offering the Leading Safe 2-day course for project, program and functional managers, change agents and department leaders.  Learn about the Scaled Agile Framework; one the most popular enterprise Agile frameworks.  SAFe combines Scrum, Extreme Programming and Lean to effectively allow larger groups of people to execute programs while interfacing effectively with traditional corporate governance.  Do you have 25 people or more working on a program?  Then the Leading SAFe training is for you!

New Agile Introduction Courses

Scrum and Enterprise Agile for Executives is a half-day workshop designed to help you solve one of the biggest problems organizations have: how to become more Agile?  Using the tools and techniques of the Real Agility Program, participants will be guided to make effective long- and short-term plans for increasing productivity, innovation, quality and customer satisfaction.  This workshop is delivered by Mishkin Berteig who has helped numerous executives at organizations large and small with successful Agile transformations.  Just $250 per person!

Travis Birch, a Partner at Berteig Consulting who has years of experience helping Agile teams reach award-winning levels of performance, is going to be delivering two of our new offerings:

Choosing an Agile Career is a one-day workshop designed to help people who don’t yet know how they can best fit into the most important revolution sweeping the corporate world.  Should you be a ScrumMaster?  A Product Owner?  An Agile Coach?  Something else?  Ideal for people who have been asked by their executives to sort out their career path in a newly Agile organization or department.  $450/person with an early-bird discount available for some dates.

Kanban: Gentle Change is a deep-dive immersion into a critical process-improvement and teamwork technique  Learn how tools for making work visible can improve productivity, throughput and efficiency..  Ideally suited for team leads, project and functional managers, HR managers and process improvement managers.  $450/person with an early-bird discount available for some dates.  Counts as 7 PDUs with the PMI and contributes to the Agile Certified Practitioner designation.

Other Workshops

CSM Certified ScrumMaster LogoCSPO Certified Scrum Product Owner Logo

Of course, we continue to offer our extremely well-received (often sold out!) Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Product Owner training courses.  These courses are immersive, intensive, and designed to help you to become great ScrumMasters and Product Owners.

Please see our complete 2015 Agile and Scrum course schedule here!  Most of our courses are held in the Toronto area which has a great international airport, fantastic food, amazing entertainment, and is just generally a fun place to come for a bit of training and a bit of sight-seeing.  Some courses are also offered in other cities including Vancouver, London Ontario, and Waterloo.  Most of our courses are also available for in-house private dates.  Please contact learn@worldmindware.com for more information about group discounts, corporate savings programs or in-house private offerings.

COMING SOON We are working to offer Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) training as a complement to our already successful Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Product Owner training courses.  The CSD course will help technology professionals learn the critical Agile engineering and teamwork practices that are absolutely required to make Scrum successful in delivering software products.  This training is highly technical and participants are expected to already be strong software developers.

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Evolution of a Scrum Diagram

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

Over the many years that I have been teaching Scrum (since 2005!), I have had a Scrum diagram as part of my slides and/or handouts.  The diagram has gone through several major and minor changes throughout that time.  Here is the progression from oldest to newest:

First Attempt

This diagram was used in some of my earliest slides when I first started delivering Scrum training.  It is bad.  It is woefully incomplete.  But, here it is:

01 Scrum Process Diagram

Second Diagram

I knew the first one was bad so after not too long, I created this next diagram as a supplement that was meant to show the whole Scrum process all in one page. Similar to other Scrum “cheat sheet” style diagrams. I used this diagram until about 2008 when I got some very good feedback from a great trainer, Jim Heidema.

02 All of Scrum Diagram

Third Try

The changes I made were small, but to me, significant.  Changing from a “mathematical” language of “Sprint N”, “Sprint N+1” to a more general language of “Current”, “Future” was a big deal.  I really struggled with that.  Probably because I was still relatively new to being non-technical.

03 All of Scrum Diagram

Diagram Four

This fourth diagram made some minor formatting changes, but most importantly added “Backlog Grooming”.  It’s funny how long I talked about grooming in my classes before realizing that it was missing from the diagram.  I used the previous diagram and this diagram for a couple years each before making a rather major change to create the next one.

04 All of Scrum Diagram

Fifth Go

A couple years ago I realized that I wasn’t really talking about the Scrum values in my classes.  I started to introduce them in some of my other handouts and discussions, but it still took a while for me to reflect those values in my diagram.  I had also received a lot of feedback that having two Product Backlogs in the diagram was confusing.  Finally, I realized that I was missing an opportunity to use colour more systematically.  So, a major reformatting, systematic colour coding and the addition of the Scrum values was my next change.

05 All of Scrum Diagram

Branded Diagram (ug.)

In a rush, I added some logos to the diagram. Just made it gross, but it’s badness, combined with feedback about said badness, actually inspired a major change for the next version.

05 All of Scrum Diagram - Branded

Seventh Diagram (Sep. 2014)

I was showing my brand-new branded diagram to a bunch of people who really care about design and UX.  The very first comment when I handed out the diagram was: “wow, you can really tell this wasn’t done by a designer!”  Well, that got me thinking deeply about the diagram (again).  So, here is my newest, latest and greatest (still not done by a designer) version of my Scrum diagram!

06 The Scrum Process

Latest and Greatest Scrum Diagram

This new diagram represents many small changes including a much stronger focus on Scrum “by-the-book”.  The most important and significant change is the addition of a bit of information about the definition of done.  It also includes some other very minor layout and content changes, and updated branding (again) with the new BERTEIG logo.  This one has been in use since some time in 2016, but I don’t remember the exact date.

All of Scrum Diagram

The Future

I would absolutely love constructive feedback about this latest diagram. Of course, if you like it, please let me know that too! The thing I like about this is that it is a way of looking back at almost 9 years of my teaching history. Continuous improvement is so important, so I welcome your comments! If you have your own diagrams, please link to them in the comments – I would love to see those too! In fact, it would be really cool if a bunch of people could make little “Evolution of a Scrum Diagram” posts – let me know if you do!!!

PS.  Here is a Scrum diagram created by my colleague Travis Birch.

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A Conference Call in Real Life (youtube)

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

I’ve started to show this video in my public CSM classes (see sidebar for scheduled courses) as part of the discussion about why co-location for Agile teams is so important.  The video is a humorous look at what conference calls are like.  Probably the most notable part of it is the fact that on a conference call you can’t see people’s body language and facial language which are important cues for efficient communication:

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Certified ScrumMaster one of the top paying certifications of 2014

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

Interesting list here on Global Knowledge (a certification and training vendor (just like Berteig Consulting 🙂 ) ).  CSM is #6 in pay at $107,396 (is it really 6 significant figures of accuracy?  Wow!).  Anyway, it is cool to see the CSM cert on such a list since I’m one of a small number of Certified Scrum Trainers.  If you’re interested in coming to one of my classes and getting this certification for yourself, please check out my course listings in the sidebar on the right here on Agile Advice.  There’s many in Canada, there’s some in the US and there’s some in China.  Hopefully see you at one of them sometime soon!

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Scrum Training Discount

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

We know that our Certified ScrumMaster Seminar is already the best value out there: 3 days of intensive training for just $2000 Canadian Dollars (that’s about $1700 USD), with all sorts of great exercises and practical advice, and mind-changing concepts.  However, we also know that if you have attended a CSM course already, you can’t easily justify going to another one.  That’s why we are offering a substantial discount if you are already a Certified ScrumMaster.  If you have gone to any CSM training in the past at any time with any trainer, you can take advantage of a 50% discount to come to our course.  That means attending, refreshing, rejuvenating and getting a great opportunity for just $1000 Canadian Dollars (that’s about $850 USD).

Contact us at sales@berteigconsulting.com if you would like more information.  Applicable to all public courses offered in Canada by Berteig Consulting.  Offer valid for all paid registrations made for classes being held before the end of August 2009.  (Also a great opportunity to visit Canadian relatives, see the CN Tower, or just get away during the summer…)

Here are the classes:

May 13-15, 2009 – Toronto (Markham)

June 3-5, 2009 – Ottawa

July 15-17, 2009 – Waterloo

July 22-24, 2009 – Toronto (Markham)

August 12-14 – Toronto (Markham)

August 26-28 – Ottawa

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Scrum Gathering – Orlando Florida – Beta CSM Exam

Learn more about transforming people, process and culture with the Real Agility Program

This afternoon I took the Beta version of the knowledge exam for the Certified ScrumMaster credential.  I’m not allowed to provide any details on the questions, but I will provide my impressions.

I’ll start with a story.

Microsoft Certified Application Developer

About six years ago, near the end of my career as a technical contributor, the company I was working for, Solution Architects (who still have my profile on their “people” page), decided that I should become a Microsoft Certified Application Developer.  At the time, I was doing .NET development and I had a long background in Java and Objective-C development.  The approach we decided on was for me to go to a “Boot Camp” where I would be immersed in all things .NET and after nine days of solid training, write the Microsoft exam.

I arrived at the Boot Camp (which was very much a outdoorsy camp environment) quite excited.  I got a room for myself, and it looked like I would be treated very well.  One the first day of classes, the instructor gave us some strong advice: come to class, and then in all your spare time, do the practice exams and study them hard.  I was a bit baffled by this.  We were also given the huge Microsoft Press books to study for the exam (I kept them for a few years, but recently got rid of them).  My first night I studied the books and my notes from class.  To be frank, the instructor spent most of the time going over exactly what was in the books and giving us all a little time on computers to do the “exercises” in the books.  Instruction was really limited to rote recital of the book content.  Any time someone would ask a question that was in any way deep, the instructor would simply redirect with another reminder to study the practice exams.

The second night I decided I would try the practice exam since the first of three real exams was in the afternoon of the third day.  It was fairly simple multiple choice test questions.  I went through all the questions, made sure I found the answers for ones I didn’t know in the books or in my notes, and then after I had done a once-through, I did a quick second pass.

And then, the next day, I took the real exam.  I was utterly, completely shocked.  The real exam was exactly like the sample exam.  The only difference was that the word problems change the names of the fictional people and companies used in the problems.  The structure of the questions was identical.  The answers – including the ordering of the multiple choice answers – were exactly the same.  And of course, it was a breeze.  Anyone could have passed.  In fact, it was completely unnecessary to attend the classroom training part.  I was extremely dis-illusioned.

Why do I mention this experience with a certification exam?  Simple: it has made me extremely sceptical of exams.  They simply cannot measure any level of competency.  They simple measure people’s ability to pass exams.  And since there are many fair and unfair ways to do that, exams are not relevent.

Now I will say that I have changed my mind just a wee bit about this… but that’s a topic for a completely different blog post.

So, when I heard that the Scrum Alliance was going to add an exam to the CSM certification, I felt that it was a waste of time, and probably would encourage all sorts of bad behaviors.  I still think that.

The Beta CSM Exam

Okay.  A few facts about the exam.  It was administered in a room in the convention center here in Orlando.  There was a registration desk and when you sign in you are given a password.  You then go to a workstation which has Internet Explorer running pointed at the exam site.  The exam has bookends: at the start an experience self-assessment that is used to help interpret the exam results, and at the end a satisfaction survey.  Throughout the course of the exam, you are able to comment on the questions.  These bookends and the feedback along the way are a great way to help improve the exam and I really like that.

As I mentioned, I am not allowed to discuss the details of the questions.  I will make some general comments about the questions.  Some questions are about Agile, some are about Scrum principles and some are about Scrum practices.  Some are fairly standard fact-based kinds of question like: what are the roles in Scrum, while others are more scenario-based question like: you are the ScrumMaster and X-bad-behavior is happening… what do you do?

There were 99 questions in total and I was told that it would take approximately one hour to go through the questions.  Now, just so you know, I normally do _really_ _really_ well on multiple choice exams, and I normally complete them extremely quickly.  I read fast, and my mind seems to be able to eliminate incorrect options almost subconsciously.  So, for this exam, I completed it in 35 minutes including the time it took me to comment on about a third of the questions.  If I hadn’t been commenting as I went, I estimate it would have taken me about 20 minutes.

How Did I Score?

Well, I got 84%.  Not bad.  The summary page of the exam said this was a “mastery” level.  I should explain why I didn’t score higher (after all, Certified Scrum Trainer (TM) Mishkin Berteig should be able to do 100%!!!).

I decided before I even started, that I would answer the questions as if I was a “perfect” student of my own training.  In other words, I would deliberately get things wrong if I taught them differently than the “right way” that the question implied.  As well, if I didn’t cover a topic in my training, I would do a best guess putting myself in the shoes of someone who had attended my class.  There were two broad topic areas that I don’t teach about that showed up: Product Vision and Release Planning.  As well, there were a few topics that I teach slightly differently: Scrum Team membership, burndown charts, and Sprint Planning/Sprint Backlog Tasks.

Apparently, despite these differences, a student of my class would do pretty well on the exam.

The Problem

When I first became a Certified Scrum Trainer (no TM, this was before the existance of the Scrum Alliance), Ken Schwaber had a clear policy that as a trainer I was encouraged to integrate into my training materials and approach things that I had discovered through actual practice about Scrum.  I loved this.  It meant that Scrum was not a Canonized Body of Knowledge, but rather a living framework for doing excellent work.  When we put in place an exam like this, it changes the nature of Scrum.  Is this good or bad?  I think it has aspects of both.  The clear down side is that it will have the tendency of freezing Scrum which might make it less relevent.

Another problem is more personal: as a trainer, there will be clear pressure for me to teach to the exam.  If a student of mine goes and does the exam, and fails because (in part) I have taught things differently than what is on the exam, then does that mean this person can blame me?  Sure!  Why not?!  So then I am faced with a problem: do I teach what I know works or do I teach what I know will be tested?


There is a simple way to avoid this second problem and in fact to mitigate the first problem at the same time: the exam should be taken before taking the CSM course.  The exam is clearly based on the reading materials: Agile Software Development with Scrum and Agile Project Management with Scrum.  Then, if people don’t pass the exam, they can blame only themselves for not studying these excellent books deeply enough.  And, it will simplify training since as trainers we will know that people coming into the class are already _knowledgeable_ about Scrum.  We can then teach our variations, see the dynamic of people in the class, and offer Certification based on that.

This solves the trainer’s dilema easily and obviously.  What is not so obvious is that it also helps prevent Scrum from ossifying.  The Certification becomes based on living interaction with an experienced Scrum trainer rather than an exam.  The long term effect of this is that people will place less importance on the exam (rightly) and more importance on making a good showing in the course (rightly) and then we have a relationship-based Certification.  Since it is based on a relationship, it can live more easily as an organically changing framework rather than a defined (simple) methodology.

After all: Individuals and Interations are valued over Processes and Tools (Agile Manifesto).

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