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The Case for Co-Training

13 November 2013

Angela Johnson
Collaborative Leadership Team

One of the things that I valued, and continue to value, as a Certified Scrum Trainer is co-training. With each co-training I was fortunate to be a part of while in the CST pursuit, I learned new perspectives, nuances of the Scrum framework that I had not realized previously, and fresh approaches to conveying fundamental information. Not every co-train resulted in an endorsement or recommendation. What every co-train did yield, however, was valuable feedback, experience, and a deeper connection to the CST community.

It is concerning to me that many view co-training as a negative or as something that should not be necessary in order to achieve or maintain the CST credential. CSTs teach Scrum. Scrum is about people. How can we strengthen the Scrum community if we do not engage with other people?

If we just view teaching in a traditional sense for moment, nearly every faction of this requires some type of apprenticeship or co-training. In the U.S., in order to teach elementary school, high school, or any type of higher learning within most accredited universities, work is required as a student teacher, teacher's assistant, etc.

If we view other professional organizations, such as Dale Carnegie Training, work as a graduate assistant is required a number of times before a candidate can pursue teaching a Dale Carnegie course on his or her own.

As a CST, I continue to co-train with those pursuing the credential or with other CSTs for a couple of reasons:

Growing the Scrum community: What better way for existing CSTs to grow our community than to cultivate those who are interested in achieving a deeper understanding of Scrum? What better way for candidates who want to join the CST community to get to know the very group they are seeking to be a part of?

Learning from each other: Many who participate at Scrum Gatherings indicate that they do so to get new ideas and fresh perspectives, to connect with other like-minded people, etc. Co-training with potential candidate or with peers provides us the opportunity to do this all year long -- not just at events.

If we are looking to transform the world of work, we will need to work with each other. What is your case for not co-training? What is your case for co-training?

Opinions represent those of the author and not of Scrum Alliance. The sharing of member-contributed content on this site does not imply endorsement of specific Scrum methods or practices beyond those taught by Scrum Alliance Certified Trainers and Coaches.

Article Rating

Current rating: 4.8 (4 ratings)


Glen Wang, CSM, 11/13/2013 1:59:58 AM
Great! Many people don't know this secret of agile: learning from each other!
David Lowe, CSP,CSM, 11/13/2013 2:41:59 PM
I'm not a CST, but may I suggest a potential reason for other's lack of desire to co-train: they're protecting their patch.

Although you appear to have integrity and a passion to promote agile for the right reasons, I can imagine some CSTs might fear that the more wannabe CSTs they help qualify will dilute their income stream when the compete for the same business.

Or am I just too cynical?
Anonymous, 11/13/2013 7:18:47 PM
Hi, David,
You probably have good reason to be cynical. Many do behave this way in our community which is unfortunate. There is so much work for everyone! I have found that co-training and having others join our community forces me to continue "up my game". Hmmm...I think I read something about a continuous improvement process somewhere :).
Lizzy Morris, CST,CSP,CSM,CSPO,REP, 11/14/2013 9:07:06 AM
Personally I found it very challenging to find CSTs that would co-train, some have had scars from being taken advantage of. I think co-training should not just be something for the wannbe CSTs it should be something anyone who is training wants to do.

We need a board of CSTs who truly embody the heartbeat of all the Scrum is oversee the process and coach other CSTs who have lost their way. A community not only needs to be built it also needs to be protected.

We should all collaborate, collaboration builds community. Those who have been honored with co-training opportunities should seek to do more the with those CSTs they co-trained with other than just get the stamp of approval and hit, duck and run. There should be community projects they engage in.

Why when CSTs hit a city aren't they meeting up with local CSTs for dinner, and meeting each others families. This isn't a corporation its a community, our Scrum community. Lets really do some Retrospectives and make the action plan transparent.

We need to re-engage purpose, and our value core needs to be lived not just taught. Personally I continue to reach out to CSTs and will seek to co-train beyond the 'stamp of approval'. I believe continuous improvement is a journey not a destination. I still believe in the Scrum Alliance as a every growing learning fellowship of lovers of Scrum
Sriramasundararajan Rajagopalan, CSP,CSD,CSM,CSPO, 11/29/2013 10:27:06 AM
I personally don't see any co-training as negative. Scrum is all about self-organized teams and so the focus for Scrum practitioners should also be "people-focus." However, I must admit that my one-year search for emailing so many CSTs for an opportunity to co-train with them has got only 10% response. My experience also resonates with Lizzy. Besides, even those that reached out seem to make the cost of co-training with them so expensive that it is almost impossible to get the co-training possible. I think that Scrum Alliance should assign trainers for Scrum practitioners who want to pursue CST? Is anyone in this thread willing to collaborate so that we can present our findings to Scrum?

Bob Jiang, CST,CSP,CSM,CSPO,REP, 12/4/2013 9:21:07 PM
Hi Angela, I agree with you totally although I am not CST now. Openness is one of five core values of Scrum, which also makes sense to CST. And for co-trainer, he/she should RESPECT the copyright of game or facilitation skills learned from CST. Absolutely co-trainer needs to digest the learning and deliver it by his/her way, instead of just copy.
Bob Jiang, CST,CSP,CSM,CSPO,REP, 12/4/2013 9:25:13 PM
Hi Srira,
I think writing email to CSTs to get co-training opportunities, which is not a good way. Thinking in their foot, if you were a CST and received an email to apply co-training, how do you think?
So I suggest you could join some agile/scrum community activity, and extend your networking, including to meet and get to know some CST/CSC, and after know well each other, request co-training.
I got 3 co-training opportunities, and provided my feedback during training and after training to CST, which also showed respect to them.

Gurpreet Singh, CSP,CSM,CSPO, 12/6/2013 4:48:41 AM
Awesome Angela! Learning at all the junctions of life is a neccessity rather than a will. This applies to Scrum as well! Keep blogging!
Richard Cheng, CST,CSP,CSM,CSPO,REP, 12/23/2013 12:08:00 PM
Angela's points are right on. As a CST, I fully support co-training as part of the path to achieving a CST and part of the requirement to renew your CST credential.
Mohammad Nafees Sharif Butt, CSP,CSM, 1/17/2014 4:20:14 AM
Robert C. Martin (aka Uncle Bob) in one of his books expresses the high professionalism of doctors and credits it to the fact that they have adopted a mentoring career path for newly graduated doctors. The software craftsmanship is his thing to do the same in software development. I think it is about time that all careers realizes that the only way to professionalism is through mentoring. Just like doctors Scrum professionals also need to do a "house job" and then working with a registrar for x-years to become a ...., you get the idea.
Sandeep Lad, CSP,CSM, 8/31/2014 3:23:34 PM
Angela, I agree with you on the need for co-training. I am a new CSP and an aspiring CST. I reached out to a few CSTs for mentoring me and co-training, and I have received no responses which is frustrating. Your views are very refreshing.
Sandeep Kshirsagar, CSP,CSD,CSM,CSPO, 10/27/2014 3:04:17 AM
Angela, definitely learning from each other helps in growing the community. It'll help us a lot if CST's provide us with opportunity to co-train or be a part of the CSM, CSPO, CSD sessions. As mentioned by Sandeep and Sriram, either getting opportunity to co-train is difficult or affording to co-train with a CST is difficult
Anonymous, 1/12/2015 9:45:15 PM
Thank you everyone for you great posts! I recently co-trained with someone who had been turned down by other CSTs claiming "their styles are too different". Personally, I learn just as much...if not more...from those who have different styles from me. Well put points in the posts - we can always learn from each other!
Tony Iraia, CSM, 7/9/2015 2:13:58 PM
Angela -
Can the case for co-training be extended to higher-ed institutions?

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