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Here are the top questions discussed in our Open Hour Episode#41 session, which was streamed live on 7 Oct 2022, many queries asked by Participants regarding the right certification/training for professional growth were discussed by our expert Saket Bansal.
Here is the summarised answer given by Saket Bansal for each question asked by participants-
Question: I have done B-Tech + MBA and currently working as a Senior Business analyst having 6 years of experience in the Edtech space. So, can you please suggest which certification I should go for?
Saket: For someone who has done MBA + Engineering, I can say that Product Management, Business Analyst etc are the right profile or role as you have already covered the foundation.
From the certification perspective, I recommend you can go for Certified Scrum Product Owner, which will help you understand how to do Product Management/Product Ownership while you are working in a system.
Question: I’m scrum Master certified, what’s the next certification should I do PMP or SAFe certification?
Saket: PMP is a good foundation for a project management profile where you might be dealing with an agile or non-agile project.
If you are working on a contractual basis where you work and get money and things are closed or if you are working on an IT service-based or projectile based. I recommend you do PMP it will be a great value addition to your profile.
If you are working or want to work in a large-scale Agile space you want to understand how Agile is getting used on large scale, then doing the SAFe program is a good idea.
Also, if I talk about time and effort, Leading SAFe will require 2-3 days of effort whereas PMP will require 2-3 months.
You may want to check our Blog : Should Scrum Master do PMP ?
Question: What is the ideal career path for a business analyst? should I continue in the BA space or jump into a PO role?
Saket: A Product Owner (PO) is an extension of a Business Analyst (BA). As a Product Owner, you will be doing all the Business Analyst tasks which you are doing so far with some extra responsibilities like coming up with the business case, partner development, pricing strategy, identification, and validation of features.
Question: Should I go with PSM or CSM?
Saket: Looking at the market demand CSM is much more popular compared to PSM especially if you are targeting North America or India. However, it’s better to explore the market you are targeting if they are looking for PSM certification but generally, people opt for CSM over PSM.
Question: Throw some light on project infrastructure cost estimation, budget, and risk discussion with stakeholders
Saket: Basic approach here is we need to work and identify the high-level requirements and convert those requirements into the scope and convert the scope into manageable pieces which are also called work breakdown structures.
After that, a chart is created which overall tells us the component which needs to be developed in a project. Let’s say you have a hierarchical diagram of the whole project, and once that is ready you start working on each node/activity/task and that is called Scheduling.
Working on these Scheduling requires the understanding of resources which will be required for development and what will be the sequence of those Scheduling activities.
Now while you are doing this all you need to continuously communicate with the stakeholders. You should also consider the impact of quality-related activities, procurement of some parts, and the possibility of something which may go wrong in the whole process. So, stakeholders and risk holder communication, quality consideration, working with the team and motivating them is a continuous job and once you have all these you can execute.
Initially, this whole process will also help you in the Cost Estimation based on resources and time for each activity.
These things in the PMP space are called a baseline. You create a scope baseline, schedule baseline, and cost baseline and then you execute it. After that, you keep monitoring if things are going against the plan, and if there are any deviations it required analysis.
This is something which we do in the PMP program as a theory or topic, and we do lots of discussions around it.
Question: I worked as a software QA for 4 years (mostly in agile projects) then became a global educator at Edtech company for 2 years and last 6 months I am working as a SCRUM Master. I have 2 questions–
Saket: You have quality assurance experience that might be creating your interest in Product Ownership or Product management.
In answer to your first question, SAFe is a very popular certification and as you are already working in SAFe environments, I recommend you focus on SAFe for at least for next 2-3 years. Having SAFe experience with the Scrum Master profile is a good value addition and you can get the maximum use of it as your organization is already using it. So, try to get established by doing the SAFe Scrum Master Program or you can directly go for SAFe Advanced Scrum Master Program as you already have experience in the Scrum Master role.
Second thing if you want to get into the Product Management space you need to build your skill. You need to identify what is needed for Product Management. As you are working as Scrum Master you have a fair chance to work closely with Product owners. So, try to get involved more and more with the Product Owner, and assist/facilitate various events and while doing this you will gradually gain knowledge about how and what they are doing. Product Management is majorly like a domain role as of now, as a Product Manager, you should be an expert in the domain/business you are working with. So, I recommend you get a good hold on the domain knowledge with help of the product owner and that can probably open a door for you as a Project Manager.
Learn SAFe with our SAFe Videos
Question: PMP versus MBA in Project management?
Saket: Usually PMP may give results in 2 months whereas MBA will take 2 years so I can say that PMP is a short-term investment whereas MBA is a long-term investment. MBA may give you some benefits in the long run that is a return on MBA investment may take 5-10 years whereas a PMP return on investment can be 6 months – 1 year. Also, you can go for both and doing one will give you benefits in doing the second one.
Saket: In general, I believe that understanding Kanban is significantly needed if you are working in the SAFe environment or a multi-team complex environment where pure scrum is not the only solution. You need to work with a mix-up of on-demand scheduling or Kanban way of working or something else. Understanding Kanban is not just about the understanding board but it is also about understanding how to design a Kanban system, how to decide various policies, how to create different service levels of agreement, how to create a different class of services, how to drive work in progress limits, how to visualize bottleneck and way to remove it, how to look at matrices like lead time, community flow diagram, and various kind of flow efficiency. The scale agile framework is using Kanban extensively, they do teach inside SAFe but I believe learning inside SAFe is one way of using Kanban there could be multiple ways of Kanban implementation which are not covered in Scale Agile Framework (SAFe).
If you want to speed up the process of learning Kanban then doing certification is a good idea, we do see more and more people attracted towards the Kanban certification program because they want to understand what is there beyond the board, various matrices, how things work in the on-demand way of working. Understanding Kanban will be a good value addition if you want to work at the organizational level because most people may not be able to use the Scrum way of working.
Question: I have done a certified Scrum Master program and wondering the best way to get a scrum master role with no relevant experience.
Saket: Probably you can see what is there in your experience like unique competencies and try to grow those competencies. Then look for the companies which value your experience/competencies rather than looking for something which you don’t have.
To understand how Scrum works, what are the terminologies, and all those things we have a program, and we call it Industry Enabled Scrum Master Program. In the certified Scrum Master program, you get an understanding from the theoretical and standard perspective and in this program, you will learn what the processes followed in any organization hence our IESM program will work as a filler between the theoretical knowledge which you have and the practical knowledge which is required. This program will also give you a platform to explore various interview questions which you may get in your upcoming job interviews.
Question: How can we measure the effectiveness of our job as Scrum Masters or Agile Coaches?
Saket: As a leader my role is all about mentoring, coaching, and developing team members. If you develop them and use some mechanism to assess to understand how the development is going, how productive the teams are, how the code quality is improving, and there could be a measurement of how happy/satisfied the team is, how collaborative the team is.
If collaboration is increasing, productivity is increasing, customer satisfaction is increasing, and value delivery is increasing then probably you are doing a good job.
Another dimension of measurement is the Servant leadership dimension, which is how well you can resolve impediments, how many open impediments are there, and how are you able to influence stakeholders. So, these are the few areas you need to focus on to measure the effectiveness of your job.
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