The Roots of the Idea - Four InspirationsThe seed of my renegade stance was planted by Bob Martin when I watched a video that was recorded at the Norwegian Developers conference in 2011 entitled "The Land That Scrum Forgot". The video actually reinforced a lot of unease that I had been feeling about agile and Scrum in particular. I was feeling that agile has been moving away from what was intended by the manifesto.
I was excited to see that I was not alone in my feelings again when I read Tim Ottinger's blog on I Want Agile Back.
Martin Fowler was blogging about Flaccid Scrum - a common pattern of how Scrum was being misapplied most of the time. I was beginning to be bold enough to publicly identify Scrum as more of a problem than a solution and combined with Martin's material, Scrum certification to be a root cause of Scrum's wide acceptance.
Then my mind was made up to finally take a stance when I read Tobias Mayer's book "The People's Scrum". In the introduction he talks of his split from the Scrum Alliance as a CST due to disillusionment with Scrum certification - "I always struggled with the idea of certification. It seemed to hark back to exactly what we wanted to escape from: a hierarchical, check-box model of management".
The Fall From Agile Grace
- Scrum lends itself to be easily misapplied and become Flaccid Scrum. (There will be another blog coming just on this subject.)
- Scrum Certification was a large contributor of why Scrum became so widely accepted. Project Managers wanted a piece of the agile pie and they were used to having certification to prove their worth in the market. People want something on their resume/CV to show that they are "agile" in today's market and sitting a 2-5 day class is a low hanging fruit as it comes with little to no work for the return of putting letters after your name on LinkedIn.
- The widespread acceptance of Flaccid Scrum was the beginning of the end (and is what most people know agile as today).
Scrum is the best and worst thing that happened to Agile
Whilst Scrum brought Agile to the masses (the best thing), I feel it is a flawed framework because it is so easily misapplied and has left the masses with a poor understanding of what Agile should be like (and hence, the worst thing).
We now live in the era of Flaccid Agile. #TakeBackAgile and #SayNoToAgileCertifications are positions that I am standing behind in the fight to stop the agile rot.
Most Agile Certifications are Mickey MousePutting letters after your name used to be an indicator that you were a recognized professional by means of an examining body and rigorous testing. To pass those examinations meant study and learning - for more than 2-5 days!
Now understand - I have no problem with handing someone a certificate to say that they sat your course. That is good! But to certify someone as an expert just because they sat your class is very different to certifying that they sat your class. Anyone can sit a class, but not everyone can be an expert. And therein lies the key differentiation and why I dislike (most of) the agile certifications.
I have no problem with the content of any of the agile classes I have seen. But calling yourself a Certified
The one Agile Certification that is OK - the Trainer
The one certification that I feel is of value however is certifying instructors. This has value by way of ensuring that a message does not become diluted and granting a certification status to individuals only after they have proven that they are capable of delivering training and not diluting or changing the message.
A Possible Solution
Decorated Agile Certifications Take Away the Sweetness in your Name