Meet Sherry Hall


CSP-SM and CSP-PO Sherry Hall lives in Nashville, Tennessee, and is an enterprise Agile coach for Cognizant.

For you, what is the main difference between where you began as a CSM®, CSPO®, or CSD® and becoming a CSP®?
When I began as a CSM and CSPO several years ago, my context felt somewhat fragmented. The wonderfully diverse practical experience and more in-depth knowledge I gained during intervening years helped me round out my perspective and subsequently led me to earning qualifying credentials for my CSP.

What is your favorite part about becoming a CSP?
Colleagues and peers tend to value the merit of my having earned my CSP and often look to me for training, coaching, career advice, and more, often on an informal basis. Since I enjoy mentoring and fostering others, I welcome this aspect of being recognized as a "go to" person within Scrum organizations and for companies.   

Give us an example of how the CSP certification has helped you in your career?
Fairly consistently, holding my CSP has demonstrated that I am serious in my commitment to Agile and Scrum.

How did you first find out about Scrum?
My late sister introduced me to Scrum about six years ago when my former occupation was becoming less in demand. She had been instrumental in serving on an initial accrediting committee for another certifying organization and was well versed in Scrum through her own career. After reviewing the status and anticipated popularity of the Scrum Alliance® path, she recommended I start with my CSM.

What do you find easiest about Scrum?
Implementing and maintaining a quality approach to Scrum is not easy. However, once teams and organizations attain the "Ri" level, team satisfaction, participation, and support does improve. As a result, the work flow becomes smoother, creating win-win scenarios for all involved.

What do you find most difficult about Scrum?
As Scrum has become more established and globally recognized it seems as though nearly everyone has had some type of exposure, some good and some not so good due to poor interpretation, low-quality training, or poorly executed initial adaptation. It can be difficult to "undo" negative experiences. For this reason, organizations should seek to engage professionals who hold Scrum Alliance certifications along with solid practical experience.

What's your best/worst work experience using Scrum?
When a company's motivation for transforming through Scrum is to fix a plethora of issues within the organization, I practically cringe. However, if I am able to successfully instill a sense of what Scrum is and is not, and the organization comes to understand the true intrinsic value, then the implementation becomes one of my best experiences.   

How has using Scrum changed you?
Ironically, I was initially exposed to Lean concepts decades ago when my father shared information with the family about what he was learning within a manufacturing environment. Then, while working in health care for nearly 20 years, I gained firsthand experience with continuous quality improvement (CQI) to address situations and challenges to serving patients and/or facility-based personnel. What really changed for me was a convergence of of my Lean/Agile exposure, culminating in an "ah-ha" moment upon my discovering Scrum.

If you could add one thing to Scrum, what would it be?
As designed, Scrum is rather efficient and thorough. One aspect of programs or projects, in general, is a lack of consistent and clear communication. I tend to send very short summary notes from stand-up meetings to everyone on the team, product owners, stakeholders, and anyone who works with the team, such as subject matter experts, so that everyone receives the same message.

Do you use Scrum in your life outside of work? If yes, how?
Yes. After I attained my CSM and CSPO, my husband became intrigued and wanted to learn more. He pursued his CSM and, as a result, our household often runs with some degree of Scrum best practices. What's really cool is that we speak the same "language."

What advice would you give to someone new to Scrum?
Scrum is an organic, continuous learning journey that is very personal and specific to each individual. Join a Scrum Alliance User Group, if you are able, to attend the formal meetings and network with like-minded professionals. Seek avenues for continuous learning, such as webinars and gatherings, which are offered through Scrum Alliance as well as many reputable Scrum-related service providers. Participate in any offerings through your employer, such as a community of practice.

What is your favorite quote? And why?

My favorite quote is from the notoriously acerbic writer and poet Dorothy Parker: "The cure for boredom is curiosity. There is no cure for curiosity." Curiosity has been my driving force for many years, and, really, my inquisitive nature and strong desire to learn have been a huge part of my Scrum journey.