The Scrum Alliance: What It Is and Why It Matters

Sep 3, 2019

Gone are the days when traditional project management helped a company thrive. There was a time when project managers had to create a fixed scope for software development. It also meant that various teams were responsible for their respective tasks. The entire process was sequential. This meant only after completing one stage could the process move to the next one. But changing times call for changes in software development. 

Most companies are switching to an agile framework, meaning they’re also adopting a team-based and iterative approach. Building on that, scrum is the most vital application of the agile method. It facilitates proper organization and prioritization of tasks. Moreover, scrum helps in the smooth running of an agile framework by eliminating silos.

This post will guide you through what the Scrum Alliance is, explain in detail the importance of scrum for an organization, and show you how Scrum Alliance certifications can help crank your game up a notch. 

Let’s get started!

What Is the Scrum Alliance?

Since scrum is a new technology, many people don’t have in-depth knowledge about it. The Scrum Alliance is an organization that addresses this issue. It provides support, resources, and education to practitioners of agile and scrum. The paradigm shift from a traditional to an agile environment is on the rise globally. The Scrum Alliance is a part of a movement and a mindset. It focuses on this massive change and enables the transformation of the world of work. The Scrum Alliance is the largest certification and membership organization for agile and scrum.

The organization enables more and more companies to adopt scrum. Besides this, it also facilitates proper and effective scrum practices. Their primary aim is to build member advocacy. Additionally, it facilitates a strong network of scrum practitioners. With the adoption of scrum in most enterprises, career prospects have also increased. If you’re planning to thrive in a scrum career, the Scrum Alliance is ever-ready to lend a helping hand.

The three most prominent offerings of the Scrum Alliance include education, community, and advocacy. Let’s take a look at each in detail.

1. Education

Even if you’re a very skillful person, certificates help you showcase your expertise in any technology. Having scrum certificates are proof that you possess scrum application knowledge. Moreover, you can prove that you’re a skilled and experienced scrum practitioner when you apply for the position of a scrum master or another role. The Scrum Alliance is the one-stop destination for different scrum courses. 

2. Community

The Scrum Alliance has 350,000+ members across the globe, allowing you to connect with like-minded peers. And new people join every day. So there’s no shortage of innovative and brilliant ideas. You can join the community in person or virtually. This includes both local groups and online communities.

3. Advocacy

The members of the Scrum Alliance advocate for each other. They help employers realize the benefits of hiring certified scrum practitioners. They also advocate for all their members, thus helping them build a sound career. As a result, they help people succeed with scrum knowledge. 

The History of the Scrum Alliance

The founders established this nonprofit association in 2001. Founders included Mike Cohn, Esther Derby, and Ken Schwaber. Over time, they have certified 750,000+ practitioners globally. Mike Beedle is the creator of the Enterprise Scrum framework. Schwaber mentioned that Beedle helped take scrum forward. Also, Jeff Sutherland and Schwaber were together responsible for the creation of scrum processes in OOPSLA’95.

Their mission is to provide guidance and inspiration to organizations, leaders, and individuals. In other words, their vision is to create prosperous, joyful, and sustainable workplaces. The Scrum Alliance plans to achieve this with the best principles, values, and practices.

What Certifications Does the Scrum Alliance Provide?

Scrum Alliance certifications help individuals and organizations distinguish themselves. You can establish yourself as a professional agile practitioner after acquiring one of these!

scrum alliance

Certified ScrumMaster

A scrum master facilitates an agile team and enables the implementation of scrum. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is an introductory course for those who wish to be perfect for the role of a scrum master. To become a certified scrum master, you’ll need to attend a 16-hour course. A certified scrum trainer will teach you the basics of scrum and the scope of your role. Once the course is completed, take the CSM test, which needs you to answer 37 out of 50 questions correctly.

Advanced Certified ScrumMaster

If you have a year or two of experience being a scrum master, it’s time to amp up your game. Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) by the Scrum Alliance will help you develop a mastery over the subject. Besides this, it helps a scrum master polish their skills. You have to be a certified scrum master to enroll in this course. The course will enhance your foundational knowledge and help you to stand out in the global market. You’ll be a member of the Scrum Alliance community and be of great value to your employer as a highly trained professional in agile.

Certified Scrum Professional-ScrumMaster

If you’re on the scrum master track, develop the ultimate expertise. The Certified Scrum Professional-ScrumMaster (CSP-SM) course requires an A-CSM as a prerequisite. You’ll also require a valid two years of work experience as a scrum master. This certificate will create a gateway to attract more potential employers. It’ll also reward you with a premium subscription to Comparative Agility, the world’s largest platform for agile assessment and continuous improvement.

Certified Scrum Product Owner

A scrum product owner has the responsibility of maximizing the value of a product. If you’re close to the business side of any project, then this introductory Certified Scrum Product Owner course is perfect for you. You’ll learn the scope of a product owner’s role and connect with certified agile practitioners. You’ll also receive a two-year membership to the Scrum Alliance.

Advanced Certified Scrum Product Owner

If you’ve been a part of the scrum team for over a year, this course is for you. As a prerequisite, you have to have a Certified Scrum Product Owner certificate. This course will make you a product expert, and the industry will recognize you as someone who defines business value and delivers business results.

Certified Scrum Professional-Product Owner

If you’re certified in Scrum Product Owner and wish to explore the details of the product owner track, the Certified Scrum Professional-Product Owner (CSP-PO) course is for you. Get the most out of the business environment. In this course, you’ll learn how to interact with users and customers. You’ll become an expert in managing product backlog and eventually strengthen your way of validating product assumptions.

Certified Scrum Developer

A scrum developer is a skilled member of a scrum team. They have excellent skills in the scrum method and can work with any scrum team. The Certified Scrum Developer Track course is ideal for software developers wishing to flourish in the scrum environment. The course will enhance your skill and make you an expert in agile development. You can also showcase your skills and understanding of scrum methodology to your peers or potential recruiters. 

Certified Scrum Professional

Certified Scrum Professional is for developers wishing to achieve the best in a scrum-based firm. This course requires an active CSD for enrollment and a minimum of three years of experience in scrum methodology. You’ll also receive a premium subscription to Comparative Agility and attract more recruiters.

Team Coach

A certified team coach manages a subset of a company or a faction of people involved in a project. If you have good leadership skills, it’s time to put them to use. Prerequisites for the Team Coach course include an active CSP-PO, CSP-SM, or CSP.

Enterprise Coach

Agile and scrum call for a lot of challenges. Thus, a company needs someone to take charge and guide everyone involved through the functioning of a scrum environment. A certified enterprise coach is an ideal person for this. Prerequisites for the Enterprise Coach course include an active CSP-PO, CSP-SM, or CSP.

Scrum Trainer

Become a certified scrum trainer if you have in-depth knowledge on the subject. Explain to others what makes up the foundation of scrum. Also, help them grasp the principles and values involved in the scrum environment. Prerequisites for the Scrum Trainer course include an active CSP-PO, CSP-SM, or CSP.

Certified Agile Leadership

The Certified Agile Leadership (CAL) courses focus on exercising proper leadership in a scrum-based firm. The first level of this course focuses on leaders looking forward to improving their workplaces with agile metrics, practices, and values. The second level of this course consists of workshops. In the workshops, you’ll connect with experts from around the world. The workshops will teach you to practically implement your skills. You’ll share your ideas and learn from leaders at renowned global organizations. It also dives deep into agile and scrum-related topics.

How Does Scrum Help Improve Application Delivery?

Application delivery refers to the quick and efficient delivery of functionalities to users. For instance, online flight ticket booking software is becoming mainstream nowadays. Delivering a flawless interface free of bugs to the customer is the end goal. In this case, they should have access to different airlines, facilities, and flight durations. Besides this, the application is responsible for keeping the costs updated.

Now, a flight booking application is quite complicated since it has multiple modules like flight searching, passenger profile, and booking management. If you use scrum, the application is divided into multiple sprints. After each sprint, the client can check the status of the application. They can convey their queries and let the developers know if they need any additional features. Unlike traditional methodologies, the development, as well as the testing team, gets less burdened with the workload. The load of the application and defect count during the final deployment gets reduced, thereby resulting in quicker and easier delivery.

Scrum helps in improving application delivery. When different teams work together, they can eliminate flaws early. There are many ways it facilitates efficient delivery of functionalities. Let’s take a look at how scrum promotes enhanced application delivery.

Continuous Improvement Leads to Periodic Deliveries

A project is all about fulfilling client needs. For that, early feedback is a must. When feedback comes frequently, teams can make changes quickly. As a result, scrum facilitates continuous improvement. In some cases, the client doesn’t provide full project requirements. Sometimes, all the team has is a vague outline. Continuous feedback and periodic deliveries become even more necessary. In conclusion, scrum allows a firm to meet customer expectations. Moreover, the process takes less time. Companies like Plutora that follow scrum values and have experienced and certified scrum professionals can deliver quality product in the expected time.

In most cases, scrum sprints are shorter than expected. For instance, results are ready for testing in about one to four weeks. Thus, it encourages the development of new features. Additionally, it speeds up the fixing of bugs and doesn’t give customers much chance to complain!

Incremental Development Meets Market Conditions

First of all, let us understand what incremental development means. First, the client provides the project requirements. In a scrum-based environment, a company holds a planning meeting. After that, team leaders and managers analyze their needs. Then, they set priorities for different tasks. After that, the team members have to clarify their doubts. They further estimate what to develop in the next iteration. 

Most importantly, if the sprint permits time, they analyze the upcoming requirements. All the while, the team members have to keep priorities in mind. This kind of incremental development helps a firm meet market conditions. These market conditions include on-time delivery, easy navigation, and a bug-free interface.

The Higher the Product Quality, the Happier the Clients

High-quality products are one of the biggest benefits of scrum. But maintaining the quality with partial deliveries can be challenging. Teams can solve this problem by calculating metrics. Usually, the calculation of metrics should occur at the end of each iteration. It allows teams to concentrate only on aspects that need improvement. The development team can focus on fresh issues. Thanks to frequent testing, they can resolve issues sooner. Better performance also leads to a fast response to different market demands. 

Better Communication Within Different Teams

Delivering all functionalities to customers flawlessly is a firm’s responsibility. In an agile framework, communication between teams improves. The members can collaborate well to achieve the goal of the company. When there’s transparency among team members, sprint objectives are clear. Teams make advancements with every iteration. 

After that, in the client meeting, they present the client with the progress. It increases task visibility as each team member can track the progress. All in all, a scrum meeting helps in getting a better retrospective. It also enhances the scope for betterment of the product.

Faster Delivery of Products to Customers

Scrum delivers value to the end-user about 30 to 40% faster than the traditional model. A dedicated team analyzes client needs and provides clarity in real-time. Also, separating high-priority tasks from lower-priority ones reduces risks. As we know, clients have certain expectations from a project. 

Because stakeholders and product owners are closely involved, there’s better transparency. This also leads to the effective management of expectations. Since scrum involves sprints, you release the product early. No need to wait for the entire development cycle to complete!

Higher Customer Engagement and Satisfaction

One of the most vital goals of scrum is high customer satisfaction. The enterprise can keep the customers involved in the process. When client engagement is better, the company can quickly respond to change. Moreover, every sprint review demonstrates functionality to stakeholders. With every release, customers can offer their opinions on the product. In the next sprint, the team members can accommodate the fixes. 

Additionally, the flexibility to point out a change at any point increases client trust. Moreover, when they can see a firm implementing the changes right away, it creates a positive impact on clients. Thus, better business engagement is key to customer satisfaction. 

Why Should I Care as an Organization?

Scrum benefits companies more than you think. Besides increasing customer satisfaction, scrum encourages togetherness in a firm. Let’s take a look at how scrum can benefit an organization. Then, we’ll go on to see why you should care about the Scrum Alliance as an organization.

The Importance of Scrum for an Organization

We’ve already seen how scrum benefits the end user. But it also offers benefits for teams. Since the sprint durations are short, team members have to learn new concepts in a short time. They can push their spirits up and go beyond limits to learn these new concepts. As a result, they learn to adopt an accelerated learning approach. Let’s take a look at how important it is for a firm.

1. Boosted Employee Morale and Motivated Teams

When the entire team collectively makes a decision, they realize their true potential. Knowing their capabilities enhances employee morale. In every company, there are unspoken barriers between managers and team members. In a traditional environment, team members have no control over the decision-making process. They rely on managers for big decisions. But in a scrum environment, there are better relationships between people working in a firm. A peer relationship with the product owner breaks uncomfortable barriers. It keeps employees motivated to reach the company goal.

A cross-functional work environment also allows people to learn new skills. Team members with knowledge about something are free to share their expertise. They feel liberated and others gain knowledge. All in all, it’s a win-win situation for product owners, managers, and team members. Moreover, sharing knowledge also provides a firm business development base. For instance, if a team member abruptly leaves, such a situation can usually cause great panic. Also, it can create pressure to recruit someone new instantly. But with scrum, everyone has basic knowledge about company procedures. This ensures that the work in progress doesn’t pause.

2. Greater Job Satisfaction, Increased Productivity

The active involvement of every team member makes them feel valuable. When a person feels valued, it increases positivity among a group of people. The same goes for a company. When everyone is a part of a process, it increases job satisfaction among employees. They love what they do and increase the productivity of a company as a whole. 

Every sprint has working hours allocated to it. This makes sure that the employees don’t have to work overtime. Everyone wants to go home and relax after a hectic day at work. Otherwise, it results in burnout. Sustainable work practices prevent burnout. Creating a work-life balance enables people to indulge in hobbies. When employees have enough time to engage in leisure hours, they can contribute a lot to a firm. It’s important to take a break from work and give some time to personal interests. 

Scrum also encourages team members in achieving autonomy. As a result, it empowers them to take a step further for the sake of the organization. Additionally, they’re likely to stay for the long haul and enable the company to reach new heights.

3. Increased ROI and Relevant Metrics

Scrum projects have a shorter time to market. As a result, the returns on investment are high. Thanks to regular feedback, teams can make frequent corrections. All in all, it’s less time-consuming in the later processes. With reduced expenses and greater efficiency, ROI is bound to increase. Scrum involves up-front testing and automation. Consequently, this means less wastage of work. It also enables quicker deployments. It might seem like the investment is higher in the beginning. But in the end, it’s worth it. The returns are likely to be higher than expected in a scrum-based environment. 

Scrum teams use metrics for time and cost estimation. It also measures the performance of the project with optimum accuracy. Scrum metrics facilitate accurate decisions. These decisions are also more relevant to increasing profits. In a very short time, the developers can present visibility of task progress. Metrics help in comparing the expected outcomes with actual outcomes. In a traditional environment, you have to wait until project completion to know its value. But in a scrum-based system, you can know the value of a project before it reaches its end. 

4. More Control Over the Project

Scrum teams can adjust priorities at each sprint interval. Consequently, the entire team gains more control over any project. It also becomes easier for a company to have fixed-price and fixed-time projects. Besides, better control over a project enables easy accommodation of changes. This, in turn, allows the project team to handle market demand. Overall, it leads to refined project practices. 

Since the teams communicate well, they can carry out tasks according to a set plan. As long as team members feel confident about their abilities, they’re free to implement. When the product owner, managers, and team members all have the chance to take charge of company processes, the result is impeccable. In other words, complexity decreases when everyone puts their heads together. 

5. Fewer Risks, Negligible Losses

Before diving into how a scrum-based approach reduces risks, let’s look at the worst-case scenario. After planning and implementing procedures, someone realizes that it’s all going to fail. The ROI is going to be zero. What’s the best you can do in such a situation? Of course, you need to focus on minimizing any losses. If a project is bound to fail, it better fail as early as possible. In the initial stages of project development, less money is at stake. As it progresses, the company incurs more costs.

We usually associate failure with high losses in a traditional environment. Scrum ensures that if a project fails, it fails early—meaning it follows the concept of inexpensive failure. Scrum acts as a driving force in the quick release of tangible products. As a result, unsuccessful attempts come into the limelight as soon as possible. Even if the product owner and managers decide to terminate the project development after the first sprint, the risks of losing it all are mitigated.

As for fewer risks, regular feedback mitigates the risk of not meeting the expectations of the client. Similarly, transparency reduces the risk of failing to detect bugs at the right time. The flexibility to add or modify requirements reduces the cost of change. Thus, it lowers the risk of investment and protects the business environment from unforeseen circumstances.

How Is the Scrum Alliance Beneficial to Organizations?

The Scrum Alliance helps a firm enjoy financial benefits more than ever. A certified agile coach can benefit your organization by enabling teams to see below the surface. This means they can help teams assess areas where they’re lacking. Thus, it will help them reach their full potential. Through questioning, sharing expertise, role modeling, and self-discovery, a scrum certification can benefit everyone associated with a firm. 

Summing It Up

Scrum is an important part of any enterprise based on an agile framework. It adopts a collaborative approach to achieve the best results in a firm. Improved engagement and enhanced coordination are some prominent perks. It’s the best approach in the case of changing requirements. As a result, enterprises that need quick results thrive in a scrum environment. For example, by providing continuous feedback, scrum promotes a high-quality product. 

Moreover, scrum increases the overall value offered too. Even if you’re already used to the scrum framework, the Scrum Alliance can help you take it a step further. Every day, new agile techniques come up. Certified scrum professionals can bring them into the limelight and help a company achieve its true potential.

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