You are cordially invited to join us for our planned open-hour sessions where you can ask your questions and receive expert answers from industry leaders. We welcome all your inquiries related to project management, including topics like Agile Awareness, Agile Coaching, Kanban, Scaled Agile Certifications, and follow-up queries. We encourage active participation and engagement in our sessions. The details of our open-hour events are shared beforehand, and they usually take place on the second and fourth Fridays at 7 PM IST (+5.5 GMT).
Our expert Saket Bansal recently led a Live Open Hour Episode#54 session, which took place on April 28th, 2023. During this session, participants raised several questions about the Scrum Master role, including inquiries about the most appropriate certification or training for career advancement. Mr. Bansal provided expert guidance and advice on these topics.
Question: What is iZenBridge ICF-ACC Program?
Question: How to restart a career after a break?
Here is the summarized answer given by Saket Bansal for questions asked by participants-
What is iZenBridge ICF-ACC Program?
The iZenBridge ICF-ACC Program is a coaching program designed to prepare individuals for the ICP-ACC certification offered by the International Coach Federation (ICF). This program has been approved for the Level-1 path, which is a simplified coaching program that integrates all training, mentoring, and formal assessment components into a single package. The program has been reviewed and is now available for enrollment as a Level -1 program that includes everything needed to prepare individuals for ICF-ACC. This program is particularly recommended for individuals interested in developing coaching as a future skill, particularly for those who want to enhance their people skills.
What is the benefit of developing coaching as a competency?
The ICF-ACC program focuses on developing coaching as a skill, specifically for people skills required to create high-performing teams and influence individuals through listening and asking powerful questions. Through the program, individuals can acquire the knowledge and skills necessary to help others find their path, design actions, and progress on their journey to achieve goals.
In today’s world coaching is a core skill in leadership, and it is more and more going into the facilitation and coaching space. The ICF provides a structure and certification process for individuals to demonstrate their coaching competency. Additionally, for those interested in building a career in coaching, the ICF-ACC program can be a path forward toward various fields like life coaching, executive coaching, career coaching, team coaching, and business coaching. Overall, the ICF-ACC program is an excellent choice for those who are interested in developing coaching skills for leadership, as well as those who want to pursue coaching as a career.
I am in HR I want to get into development and I have done a Scrum Master program
Since you have a background in HR, the focus should be on developing leadership skills, facilitation, and coaching. To create a good profile, you can mix your HR experience and project delivery I think these two can create a good profile for you. Also, organizations are currently in need of change managers who can drive and coordinate change during times of transformation. Therefore, your previous HR background can help you also in positioning yourself as a change agent and coach. If you feel confident in these areas and can handle them with your HR experience, you can position yourself as a change agent or Coach. I advise targeting Agile Coach change agent and change facilitator kind of jobs. You can also consider taking programs such as ICP-ACC or ICF-ACC coach program, especially since your HR experience will be helpful in getting coaching and mentoring kinds of profiles.
Instead of simply focusing on taking courses, it’s recommended that you first create a target job profile. This involves researching and identifying the type of job you want to apply for, and then identifying the gaps you have. Based on these gaps, you can add certification programs to your profile.
If your gaps are related to technical and management areas, then you can consider taking programs such as the Industry-Enabled Scrum Master program, Kanban program, or project management program. You can also consider taking programs such as ICP-ACC or ICF-ACC coach programs, especially since your HR experience will be helpful in getting coaching and mentoring kinds of profiles.
I am a Scrum Master, and looking to become an Agile Coach. should I consider getting the ICF-ACC certification to increase my competency and efficiency as a Coach?
The answer is Yes, but it could be too early for you as coaching skills are the higher level of leadership skills. I recommend starting with team management and leadership, then moving on to influencing stakeholders and top management, and only then considering pursuing the ICF-ACC certification. I suggest that gaining experience in facilitating, mentoring, and coaching through a certified Scrum Master will be useful in becoming an Agile Coach. Once you have a few years of experience in a scrum master job, then you can think about pursuing the ICP-ACC program and, after gaining more experience, consider getting the ICF-ACC certification.
How can a lead developer move to project management job or gain minimum two years of experience in project management?
It is recommended to demonstrate facilitation and leadership skills at a team level, starting with a role like Scrum Master in the agile space or team leadership in a non-agile space. Educational certification like Certified Scrum Master and Project Management Professional (PMP) can help in developing leadership skills. It is important to add skills through current job opportunities while also adding education to gain knowledge on what it takes to become a good leader or manager. Experience may not always be required for project management positions as organizations may look for management skills and tools skills rather than experience.
What are the most sought-after skills for new Scrum Masters?
The most sought-after skills for new Scrum Masters include the ability to facilitate various interactions, conversations, and meetings; expertise in Scrum and the ability to explain it; the ability to focus on team dynamics management and develop team members; the ability to ensure good quality work and define user stories; the ability to work well with the product owner and mentor them and stakeholders. These competencies vary based on geography, technology, and industry, so it’s recommended to research job postings and create a list of competencies that align with your profile. iZenBridge has a detailed blog on the roles and responsibilities of Scrum Masters and the competencies that are frequently asked for, which can be found on their website.
Why is it important to analyze various types of processes in value stream mapping?
It is important to analyze various types of processes in value stream mapping because it helps to identify the flow of customer request handling or customer order handling. By identifying the whole process from the point the customer gives an order to the point where the order is fulfilled and cash is collected, it becomes possible to improve the process and make it more objective-oriented. Instead of doing isolated process improvements, organizations are looking for end-to-end process improvement to fulfill customer requirements faster. Value stream mapping is a tool that helps in the identification of the whole value stream, which is like a pipeline through which value is delivered. When you know your value stream, you can make it better and see the whole impact of it rather than only focusing on one part of it. It is a lean concept that is widely used in the agile and scaled agile world.
What could be the next career move after being an agile coach?
It depends on the competencies and skills of the individual and where they want to go next. Unlike lower levels where there may be defined career paths, once you cross middle management level, there may not be a defined path. As an agile coach, the focus should be on competency in influencing change and doing transformation. The possibilities for the next move could be doing bigger transformations, becoming an independent consultant, or moving into other spaces. It depends on what kind of things attract the individual, and people have moved in all possible directions after being an agile coach.
What are the common functional defects that can occur?
A functional defect is something that is expected from a product but is not working as intended. In my personal understanding, it cannot be common because it is a functional thing. It is not like a boundary level defect that is easily forgettable such as dividing by zero. Functional defects occur due to misunderstandings or misinterpretations of requirements by different parties involved in the development process. Once discovered, a common understanding of the specification is needed to resolve the issue.
What are the matrices or techniques that need to be used for performing change management?
The most important technique for change management is impact analysis. To perform impact analysis, we need to first understand where we are currently, including our budget, costs, milestones, and overall performance. Once we know where we are, we can assess the potential impacts of the change we want to make, both positive and negative. These impacts could be technical, quality-based, timeline-related, or financial. We also need to consider the impact of not making the change, as there may be consequences for not complying with regulations or other requirements. As a project manager, it’s important to submit a project performance report along with any proposed changes, outlining the expected consequences of making or not making the change. The group reviewing the proposed change will then make a decision based on their broader understanding of the problem.
After complete development lifecycle experience in a startup, How should I move forward?
My recommendation is to get PMP certification and target yourself as a project manager. When you have experience in multiple roles, it can become a problem when you want to move to a bigger organization, as they look for experience in a specific area. Getting a certification will give a formal structure to your experience and targeting one or two roles will help you maximize the area you want to build as a career. Focus on project management with the help of Scrum and Agile, with delivery responsibility. Bring the right vocabulary into your profile with the help of education and put those right words in your profile, and that should be good for your targeting the next job.
Do SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) practitioners use JIRA for project management?
Yes, they do. Atlassian has a special module or product for scaled agile mainly focused on SAFe, which they call Jira Align. It is the same JIRA software but with additional features like PI (Planning Increment) planning and managing ART and portfolio-level Kanban boards. JIRA is the foundation, and the top layer is provided by the SAFe framework. JIRA is pretty popular in the SAFe way of working, and they have SAFe-specific products that also support scaled agile project management.
How to restart a career after a break?
While there may not be programs specifically designed for women returning to work after a career break, there are various options available to help them restart their career. The first step is to focus on the target role and position oneself accordingly. For example, if targeting a Scrum Master job, then doing a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) program is a good choice. If the candidate has experience in business analysis, then studying about business analysis and product ownership could be useful. In addition, studying tools like JIRA can help in familiarizing oneself with how things are happening in today’s environment. It is important to think about what skills one can bring to the table and how past experiences, both professional and life, can make one capable of delivering value.
What should be in a project closing report?
A closing report should have a final project performance report, a summary of the overall lesson learned, and changes in skills that were developed during the project. It should be used by someone, so the focus should be on what someone would want to know and how they can use that information. The closing report may also include details on the involvement of project team members, vendors, and customers, as well as signatures on deliverables and other facts. It may consist of multiple documents or a single document, depending on the organization’s processes and requirements.
Can someone become a Scrum Master without having any prior experience as a Scrum Master?
It is possible to become a Scrum Master without prior experience, but it is important to demonstrate the necessary skills and capabilities to the organization. This can be done by showcasing relevant experience in related roles, such as project management, or by bringing unique advantages to the organization. It may be easier to transition into a Scrum Master role within the same organization, where your skills and capabilities are already known and trusted. However, if you are changing organizations, you will need to work harder to demonstrate your readiness for the role.
Does a Scrum Master need to know JIRA or other electronic tools?
It depends on the organization, but many organizations ask for this skill. In today’s virtual work environment, digital tooling skills are becoming increasingly important for managing transparency and communication. Electronic tools like Jira can facilitate information exchange and help ensure clear communication among team members. Therefore, organizations may want Scrum Masters who are proficient in these tools to ensure efficient project management.
What is the future of project management in the AI era?
As much as we use various AI tools, they are helping us get repetitive jobs done faster, and they are taking care of low-skills and medium-skills jobs. However, strategic decision-making, high-level decision-making, conflict negotiation, and overall more soft skills and power skills will be needed in project management. Project managers can do their job faster by using AI tools, and their team members can also do their work faster by relying on these tools. As a result, we need to find out what is left and focus on more complex work that requires more creativity and specialization. While some tasks, such as creating documents, can be done better by AI tools, the real message still needs to come from human input. Overall, we are seeing more specialized work and greater need for creativity in project management in the AI era.
What are the concepts of throughput, lead time, work in progress, limit cycle time in Kanban?
These concepts are important in Kanban and can help in getting things done efficiently. Throughput is the number of completed work items in a given period of time. For example, if a pizza shop delivers 1000 pizzas in a week, that’s the throughput. Work in progress limit refers to the maximum number of work items that can be processed at a given time, which is important to ensure that too many things are not being done at once. Lead time is the time between when the customer places an order and when they receive the order. Cycle time is the time it takes for a work item to be processed from start to finish, and it is a subset of lead time. These metrics can be used to improve processes and efficiency in Kanban, and historical trends in work in progress limits can be seen through a cumulative flow diagram. Our Kanban training program explains these concepts in length.
What is the agile meaning of the term “feature”?
There is no universal agile meaning of the term “feature.” Its meaning depends on the context in which it is used. In the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe), a feature is defined as having a benefit hypothesis and acceptance criteria, and should be small enough to fit into one Planning Increment (PI) for one Agile Release Train (ART). However, not all agile approaches may use “feature” as a requirement artifact, and may instead use user stories and epics. Generally, features in industry are market-oriented and represent an end-to-end customer flow, and should have test criteria attached to them.
Does a Product Owner (PO) in SAFe also do user research?
In SAFe, the team level product owner is expected to contribute and participate in user research to have a better understanding of the end-user rather than blindly keep writing user stories about the end-user. The leadership role for doing user research and finding the user-centric requirement is done by the Product Management (PM). The organization’s structure and the capabilities of people determine the overlap between SAFe Product Manager and SAFe Product Owner (PO). The more overlapped, the better. Therefore, if there is a capability in the organization, we should promote the team level Product Owner (PO) also to participate in customer service, customer interactions, market research, and overall Agile release strain backlog refinement. The refinement of the ART backlog is led by Product Management, supported by Business Owners, Product Owners, and System Architects, who are expected to participate. Our blog on the Roles and Responsibilities of SAFe Product Owners (PO) can assist in getting more details.
How has productivity been impacted for agile teams delivering in a virtual setting?
Productivity for agile teams delivering in a virtual setting has been impacted, and it is essential to have good skills in digital tools and more explicit communication. The stress on digital tools such as miro, Jamboard, Zoom, Jira, and other collaboration tools has become increasingly necessary. Communication needs to be explicit, and the process needs to be brought back to the ground to maintain productivity levels. It may be more productive as virtual teams are becoming more productive since many people spend hours commuting to the office in many cities.
We hope you could have related to some of these questions, and they might have helped you in some way.
To get more assistance, you can connect with the iZenBridge Team.
📧Email us at (firstname.lastname@example.org)
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For more such insights and a lot of interaction with the industry experts, stay tuned for our next “Live Open Hour” which is conducted Every second and fourth Friday at 7 PM IST on
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You are cordially invited to join us for our planned open-hour sessions, where you can ...
We cordially invite you to our scheduled open-hour sessions where you can freely share your ...
Join us for our open-hour sessions, where you can post your project management queries and ...
Join us for our open-hour sessions, where you can post your project management queries and ...
At our open-hour session, you are invited to post your queries and get them answered ...
At our open-hour session, you are invited to post your queries and get them answered ...