For some time I have been asking myself if the certification of the Scrum Alliance and more recently of Scrum.org is really what European organizations need. I don’t think so. Why do I think this?
Scrum Alliance – Standstill in further development
Inspite of all efforts the Scrum Alliance is not much more than the brandname owners of CSM, CSPO, CST, CSC. As an organization it combines all trainers and coaches, that operate with registered trademarks. Since 2009 the licensing of the trademarks function as a means of recommending trainers and candidates to each other. What is missing is a form of assessment from an independent agency – like the Scrum Alliance. An elite club has been created. That is why in my opinion the Scrum Alliance is actually only representing the interests of the providers. This is also being expressed in recent rumors, changes and developments. I am not aware of all of these, but from what I do know, I see tendencies that point in this direction.
It is also true, that the Scrum Alliance considers themselves responsible for safeguarding the standards and best practices of Scrum, but up to now they have taken little action to ensure or to further develop these best practices.
Scrum.org – same concept in different clothes
A once successful concept was repeated by Ken Schwaber this year when he created a parallel institution. What the Scrum Alliance the “Certified Scrum…” is Scrum.org the “Professional Scrum …”. Even here the team of founders attempts to collect a critical mass of providers and create a common motto for them. This succeeds because Ken can gather everyone together, who was rejected by the Scrum Alliance as they did not meet the continually increasing standards. The new Scrum.org considers itself to be the preferred certifications institute and consciously attacks the Scrum Alliance.
Two unsuitable hats for Europe
Both organizations, the Scrum Alliance as well as Scrum.org, are US initiatives and in my opinion represent the interests of the trainers. Already in 2003 when I first started working as a CSM it became clear to me that companies in Europe have completely different problems to solve than in the United States. Our companies are smaller, we have employees who have been trained in an entirely different and often more thorough manner and the structure of our organizations is clearly different. Both the Scrum Alliance as well as Scrum.org were founded in principle by Ken Schwaber. This means both organizations not only have been adapted for US culture but throughout their history have strongly been influenced by Ken Schwaber’s opinions. Today Scrum.org has fewer emancipatory leanings than the Scrum Alliance.
The users continue to develop
But…the world continued to turn. Scrum is no longer what is was ten years ago. Ken’s, Jeff’s and Mike’s book has become outdated in many practices and the Scrum Guide is today not adequate or up-to-date enough to show people how Scrum actually functions or to show what Scrum really is. Neither the Scrum Alliance nor Scrum.org have initiated Scrum changes or improvements in the past five years. Just the opposite has happened: the best practices and even the present varieties of Scrum are initiatives that have been developed by the users of Scrum, not the Scrum Alliance, i.e. the task board, the retrospectives, the burn down chart based on story points …. all of these were developed by users.
These three reasons
both organizations primarily represent the interests of the trainers, secondly they are tied to US and Ken’s opinions, which thirdly have stagnated - have led me to set out on a new road. Starting in 2011 I will no longer advocate as a Certified Scrum Trainer of the Scrum Alliance for an organization, that in my eyes can no longer offer additional value to my clients.
Tomorrow I will continue…