Scrum Alliance Newsletter - February 2012


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Letter from the Managing Director


By Carol McEwan

I hope this newsletter finds everyone well. Welcome to all our new members! Please take a minute to check out our website and discover all that membership has to offer. Please let us know if there's anything we can do to make your journey as a Scrum Alliance member the best it can be.

The response we had to the Scrum Gathering Barcelona 2012 Call for Chairs was overwhelming and it was difficult to choose from so many exceptional candidates. I'm pleased to announce that Jaume Jornet and Heitor Roriz Filho have been selected as program co-chairs for the upcoming event. We give a big "thank you!" to all the candidates who applied, and to Jaume and Heitor for taking on this important responsibility. I am confident they will deliver an outstanding program!

Scrum Gathering Atlanta 2012 is fast approaching and the presentation submissions are rolling in. If you'd like to lead a session, don't forget to send us your plan for consideration; the deadline is February 20th.

The new CSM test went live mid-January and has been taken by thousands of class participants. We have received valuable input from several trainers and new CSM's with regards to the content of the new test. Based on this input, we understand there is room for improvement. While we review the feedback and work to make enhancements to the content, we feel confident that we will deliver a CSM test that provides added value to the CSM certification. As you know, the new CSM test is still in pass-only mode and, while our intent was to evaluate the test results and determine an appropriate passing score before implementing a pass/fail test by April 1st, we are re-evaluating that date.

Member-contributed content is an integral part of our website. We welcome your contributions, and thank you for taking the time to submit them for publication. You can view member-contributed content under the articles section of the site. Mary VanClay, the newest member of our team, assists with editing the terrific content we receive so it goes on our site quickly. Based in California, Mary brings to the table many years of journalism experience and says the world of Scrum is new and interesting for her. When she's not editing, she likes to garden, hike with her dog, and hang out with her husband and kids. If you'd like to contribute an article to our website, please review our guidelines and then get in touch with our editorial team.

Do you lead a User Group in your area? Would you like to? Community Liaison Jill Paul will be reaching out to User Group leaders in the coming weeks for ideas on starting and maintaining a local Scrum Alliance User Group (SAUG). Existing group leaders, watch your inboxes for an email on how to confirm your contact infomation in our database. If you'd like to lead a new SAUG, please get in touch with Jill and she'll help you get started in the right direction.

Carol McEwan
Managing Director
Scrum Alliance, Inc.


Certification Programs: An Update

 By Dr. Vicki Hancock, Certification Manager


So far, momentum is growing for the new Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) exam, launched in January, 2012. Ten pioneering Scrum Alliance members took the exam in January, and at the time this newsletter article was written, thirty candidates had registered to take the CSP exam in February.

Candidates for the CSP credential will no longer be required to complete a lengthy form and wait for many weeks to receive the results of a review. Instead, consistent with professional certification programs the world over, you are required to satisfy several eligibility requirements, then pass an examination designed to confirm your familiarity and experience with Scrum principles and best practices. The eligibility requirements: (1) be a current holder of the CSM, CSPO, or CSD credential; (2) have a minimum of 2,000 hours of Scrum-related work in the past two years; (3) maintain a current Scrum Alliance membership.

For more information about CSP requirements, visit the information page on the Scrum Alliance website. Send your questions by email to


Thousands have taken the new Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) test since it became available in mid-January, 2012. The new test is in pass-only mode at this time so that we may review the performance of students as well as test items before the “pass-fail” period begins.

Thanks to all the Certified Scrum Trainers (CSTs) who provided their input on the exam to help Scrum Alliance staff and volunteers during this review period. Send additional comments and questions to

Progress Update on the Agile Skills Project
By Ron Jeffries

There has been some physical progress on, and some learning as well. Here's our report.

We've put up a few articles, as you'll see on the home page. The articles are good, but the learning is precious.

  • A large number of article writers want to include graphics of some kind. We foresaw that, of course, but now we have a sense of what people will actually do. We'll use that information over the next weeks to build in a little infrastructure to make use of people's graphics while allowing the format of the site to belong to the site.
  • The articles are all over the map. Again, no surprise, but now that we can see some of them, we have a better sense of what curating this site will entail. If it is to become more than a huge collection of articles, we're going to have to do a lot of organizing. In particular, we think we're going to have to provide some orientation material that points off to other areas.
  • The mechanics of putting in an article are still awkward. People want to write in Word or some equivalent, not to type into a semi-friendly web editor. This has meant that in most cases, Chet and I have had to format the articles into Expression Engine. We need a better idea than that, and right now we do not have one.

Right now, we see two paths that we'll follow for a bit. First, we'll move the site toward more of an "Atlas" guide. There will be a bit of a map metaphor built into it, that we'll use to show which topics are related closely to each other, and which ones are "further away". We're not going overboard with this, but will try to give a bit of an overview of the shape of the land.

I might mention here that I really like Laurent Bossavit's London Underground style map idea and I'd love to rip it off. I hate to be quite such a blatant copycat, though.

The second path is that we'll begin to put up some orientation articles, such as a short overview of Scrum. Then we will connect that overview both to articles, and to sections of articles. "Click here for more about Product Owner", for example, giving you a list of links to the PO sections of several articles.

Next, let me say clearly right here that this has taken a lot longer than we thought it would to start looking good. We think you can see a glimmer of goodness there, but it has been slow starting. We're doing our best to keep progress visible, and welcome ideas as to how to do better.

Promised articles have not started flowing in, but that's not affecting progress as much as you might think. A few more might shine more light on how to organize things, but if we had a lot more we would have more confusion on the site as it stands, and more mechanical work to do instead of conceptual work. There will come a time for that. Meanwhile we're pushing forward.

Here are a couple of things to look at on the site:

  • The welcome page gives an overview of things ...
  • Thoughts for Primer Writers says a bit about what we're learning about the "Scrum Primer" idea
  • There is a forum for registered authors. It's not getting much use. Maybe we need a different venue.

As always, ideas and help are welcome. Get in touch!

Coaching Agile Teams

by Tushar Somaiya

Two words, Agile and coaching, seem to be the most-used buzzwords (after brain and neuro) of the last five years or so. The way things are progressing, I see them staying at the top of the list for decades.

Let’s understand these words individually first, and then see how they make sense together. More important, let’s understand why they make sense together. Read more...

Dealing with Negative Persuasion: Can the Product Owner Lead to Quality Destruction?

By Fernando Serrano

Quality: It's one of the common commercial arguments made when offering a software product. Those who have already mature products in the market justify their careers by emphasizing quality. Other companies, perhaps with more innovative products of shorter life cycle, refer to the quality of their development process and their previous successes. Others try to make quality a competitive advantage, pointing to international certifications (such as ISO 9001:2000 or climbing CMMI levels) to show their high level of quality control.

It's clear that it quality a powerful feature that has to be taken seriously. In this article I do not attempt to characterize a process of improvement, nor to summarize key points about software quality. But I will try to warn you about a situation that can deteriorate the quality of developed software. Read more...

CST applicants - If you would like your application reviewed at Scrum Gathering Atlanta, the entry deadline is February 29, 2012.

We are now accepting submissions to speak at the Scrum Gathering Atlanta! Make your mark in the Scrum community and have your ideas heard!

Submit NOW! The Deadline to submit is February 20th!

The Scrum Gathering Atlanta is taking place at the fabulous Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel & Conference Center, May 7th – 9th, 2012. Hope to see you there!

Check out the sponsorship opportunities HERE. Thank you to our signed sponsors: VersionOne, PMI, 3Back, Kitty Hawk Consulting, and KM Ware!

Mark your calendar for the Scrum Gathering Barcelona 2012 – October 1 – 3, 2012 at the Fira-Palace, Barcelona, Spain.

Please extend a warm welcome to our Co-Chairs Jaume Jornet and Heitor Roriz Filho!

Jaume Jornet is a software development enthusiast, working in software project for more than 15 years. Currently, he alternates his work as software architect with classes at La Salle university where he works as professor of Agile methodologies. He had been dealing with Agile since 2008, working closer with agile-spain community and especially with the agile-barcelona local group, where together with the rest of members he and the other members explore the use of Agile methodologies and the principles on which they hold.

Heitor Roriz Filho is an "agilero". He currently works as an Agile Coach and Trainer worldwide, based in Sao Paulo. He is a writer, speaker and trainer in the area of Technology Management. He has been dealing with Agile since 2004 and in addition to speaking for Agile/Scrum, Six Sigma and PMI conferences, he is the founder activist of the ScrumAmazonia user group. Heitor is passionate about Agile and Scrum. He truly believes Agile can change the way we work, helping us achieve excellent levels of precision and performance.

Extra! Extra! Read all about it!

Our very own Mike Cohn, CSM, CSP, CST and Mitch Lacey, PMP were featured recently in an article published in the Wall Street Journal. Check it out!

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PO Box 40097
Indianapolis, IN 46420 |