I Am a Project Manager - How Do I "Go Agile"?

January 10, 2020
4 minute read
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I had a question from an IT project manager who is a potential participant in our public training:

I was planning on signing up for the CSM [Certified Scrum Master] course that you are scheduled to teach… in Toronto. In preparation, I viewed the Youtube videos on Scrum myths that you have posted, which, by the way, are highly informative and engaging. However, I am no longer sure this is the right course for me and wonder if you could provide some clarification or guidance. For many years I have done waterfall project management in the information technology space and am now wanting to get trained to transition to Agile. Scrum seemed the obvious choice until I watched your Scrum Myths 04 Youtube video, where you mention that “Scrum is for product development” and not for IT Projects. What methodology then should I be looking to learn for running IT projects?

Any insight you can provide will be greatly appreciated.

Thanks so much for reaching out! It is gratifying that you have taken the time to watch the videos…

Your concern is well-placed.  I will provide guidance based on two different ways of looking at your question:

Project Manager to Agile Career:

From a career perspective, the CSM is still a good choice. The certification will help with your understanding of agility in general, and the certification is a common well-recognized one for people who are project managers… even though the fit between roles (project manager to Scrum Master) is not particularly good. A closely-related alternative is the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) class which is also a recognized certification, and the content of the class is a little more aligned to the project manager role. If your primary goal is career advancement, then I recommend the CSM as a first step.

However… you really need to supplement the CSM to stand out from a career perspective. I strongly recommend taking the 1-day Team Kanban Practitioner (TKP) certification class as a supplement to the CSM as it is also very pragmatic for anyone in IT (projects, operations, or management).  Having the CSM and TKP on your resume will make a big difference vs. just the CSM. NOTE: BERTEIG offers a substantial discount if you take the TKP in combination with the CSM or CSPO – contact us for details.

One other important alternative to consider if you would like a Scrum-related certification for career reasons: our Licensed Scrum Master and Project Owner 3-day combined dual-certification class. This class has a more pragmatic approach than either the CSM or CSPO separately. You receive a dual certification for both SM and PO. Jeff Sutherland, one of the founders of Scrum, established the “Licensed Scrum” program just a little over two years ago.

Usefulness for a Project Manager:

From a utility perspective, I strongly recommend the Kanban System Design (KSD) and Kanban Management Professional (KMP) courses leading to the Kanban Management Professional (KMP) certification. BERTEIG delivers these as two separate 2-day classes. Their focus is super-pragmatic and evidence-based.  The curriculum provides managers (including project managers) with extensive tools, skills, and techniques to effectively manage service delivery. Topics covered include everything from day-to-day work up to portfolio management.  You will learn the “Kanban Method” which is the “Gentle Path to Real Agility™”.

The Kanban University grants the KMP certification.  Some organizations recognize the certification, but not as many as recognize the Scrum certifications. As such, it may not have as much immediate benefit to your resume. However, coming out of these courses, you will have the ability to make substantial bottom-line and top-line improvements to your work in IT projects. One of the things these courses are particularly strong on is the techniques for dealing with dependencies.  They also help you understand efficiency and variation in work in complex service delivery environments.

This is just about starting points.  I’m working on a more extensive article to provide a map for Project Managers and other leaders to understand their options for training and certification.  I am going to organize the map depending on goals.  Contact me directly if you have questions or suggestions for improvement to this article.


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