By Tim Townsend, CSM, CSPO
Creating effective teams capable of working together toward a common mission is one of the most important goals of any organization. Whether it’s software development or how to bring a new product to market, no large project can succeed without collaboration from an organization’s employees.
Knowing how important this is and making it happen are two very different things.
One of the trainings offered by the KAIP Academy teaches a framework that allows a team to put Agile product development practices into action.
“Scrum” has been around since the early 2000s and traces its origins towards looking at organizations that are able to develop products quickly and respond more deftly to change. Most importantly, it’s a framework instead of being a prescriptive process. This allows Scrum to be adapted to any organization or situation.
I completed both KAIP Academy’s Certified Scrum Master® (CSM) and Certified Scrum Product Owner® (CSPO) classes. In the process, I learned a lot of useful strategies to maximize the effectiveness of teams in the workplace. Each class focused on the role of a particular team member in Scrum.
Through the CSM class, attendees are taught through a series of interactive exercises and lectures what Scrum is, the tools it utilizes, and the team events needed to carry it out. The role of the Scrum Master is to facilitate the use of the Scrum framework and help resolve any impediments that arise while a team is working on a project. It’s a role that requires strong soft skills and a high degree of emotional intelligence—things that cannot be learned in a two-day training program. However, taking the Scrum Master class will certainly give someone the tools to develop these skills.
One of my favorite elements of the CSM class was the freeform it took. Instead of learning a linear curriculum in a predetermined order, the class was asked to set the agenda and the order of the topics. This was true to the Scrum method where teams determine how to best accomplish their goal and how their work will be completed.
The second class I took was the Certified Scrum Product Owner® (the person in charge of delivering the highest business value from the product). Being a Product Owner is arguably the most difficult role in the Scrum framework. Unlike a traditional project manager, a Product Owner in Scrum doesn’t rely on a hierarchical authority to direct a team towards their goal. Instead it’s about collaboration and negotiation with the team while keeping an eye on the ultimate objective.
I found it particularly helpful to learn how to refine a large project into small actionable items and how this is a constantly evolving process as the project moves forward. We were even able to put these principles into practice during the training through a team exercise where we planned, built, and refined our own product (in our case, a new type of cell phone holder).
Going forward, I will be using many of the skills and strategies taught through the CSM and CSPO courses and would highly encourage others to further their professional development through these courses.
Interested in taking the CSM or CSPO course through the KAIP Academy? Click here for all our KAIP Academy course information!
About the Author: Tim Townsend is an Associate Consultant for KAI Partners and a communications specialist with on IT project developments. Prior to joining the company, he was a Chief of Staff in the California State Legislature, where he worked for eight years. He enjoys snowboarding with his wife and is a parent to two rescue dogs.
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