Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Scrum Alliance vs. vs. Scrum.

I just finished reading the following article: I was going to comment there, and then decided it was really worth its own blog post.

Full disclosure: I am a CSM and a CSPO, and (while not a CST) have co-taught CSM courses in the past. I firmly believe that good education is essential to getting started well with Scrum, and that having some way to identify baseline knowledge and expertise in a field is a boon both to knowledge workers and to potential employers.

I believe that we need a crowd-sourced, community-based Scrum education/certification organization.

Some meaningful alternative to the Scrum Alliance's strategies and methods has been needed for a long time. I had hopes when I first read about the split between the Scrum Alliance and that could be that alternative, but this is plainly not the case.

We have seen, in venues ranging from YouTube to Wikipedia to OkCupid, the power of crowd-sourcing knowledge and creativity. Let's brainstorm on what a crowd-sourced Scrum organization might look like:

1) It needs to have *no* financial interest in owning its ideas, teaching its ideas, etc. The profit motive has arguably distorted the judgment of the professionals at the Scrum Alliance, and seems highly likely to distort the judgment of the professionals at in the same ways.

2) It needs to grow, adapt, and change over time. It needs to take feedback from its users, alter with the increasing knowledge of the community, and always be focused on inspecting and adapting to improve itself.

3) It needs to be small, lightweight, and agile (not "Agile"). We don't need a huge organization with pages of bylaws and a board of directors, we need a website, a few programmers, and a bunch of Scrum practitioners sharing their knowledge to improve the way everyone builds software.

There are already wikis out there that capture and share crowd-sourced knowledge about different aspects of Agile (e.g. ). Without re-inventing the wheel, how could such a crowd-sourced Scrum organization draw from the community as a mass of creative, experienced individuals, to give back to the community in the form of useful, free educational resources, or a meaningful certification process?

I'm much enamored of the OkCupid model, which combines mathematical analysis with user-provided data-gathering mechanisms. Something as simple as a correlational model which accepts questions from the community, correlates individuals' answers to them with those same individuals' Scrum experience (number of years doing Agile, number of years doing Scrum, number of Scrum projects, number of successful Scrum projects), and then allows community members to take a selection of the questions and receive a "Scrum Experience Score", might be all that is needed.