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July 20, 2018

5 Ways to Grow Your Skills and Career with the Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) Course

3 mins read

ScrumMasters, raise your hand if you play more than one of these roles daily: team protector, facilitator, motivator, problem solver, bridge, process owner. Chances are you play all of them (and more!) depending on the situation.

The role Scrum creators envisioned was simple enough—someone to ensure the team’s process was effective. But what seems straightforward conceptually often demands multifaceted qualities and skills in practice. Co-creator Jeff Sutherland described the role in Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time this way:

“Not a manager—more of a servant-leader, something between a team captain and a coach […] He or she would facilitate […] the meetings, make sure there was transparency […] help the team discover what was getting in their way […]. It was the Scrum Master’s job to guide the team toward continuous improvement—to ask with regularity, ‘How can we do what we do better?’”

As a ScrumMaster, you emphasize continuous improvement because when the team improves, the process improves and the work improves. To help your team, you also continually seek new ways to improve your own knowledge and skills. The Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) course builds on your foundational knowledge to help you implement challenging Scrum and Agile techniques and enhance your leadership skills to help your team – and your career – grow.

Here is what you can expect to learn and improve with the A-CSM:

  1. Servant Leadership: Being a servant-leader and someone without authority is a complex balance. Strong servant leadership isn’t about being in charge, it’s about creating a system where everyone succeeds. The course focuses on deepening servant leadership practices that support and enhance the Scrum process.
  2. Shared Expertise: The A-CSM draws ScrumMasters with a range of backgrounds, but unlike the CSM, most also bring relevant on-the-job experience as Certified ScrumMasters. The course offers key opportunities to share and learn from peers.
  3. Facilitation Skills: As a ScrumMaster, you facilitate – it’s one of your many roles – but some scenarios are more challenging than others. The course provides techniques to help facilitate difficult conversations and meetings (e.g., running retrospectives for struggling teams).
  4. Coaching Skills: While a ScrumMaster is not an Agile Coach, a broader understanding of Agile coaching concepts, philosophies, and techniques strengthen a ScrumMaster’s ability to support their team’s continuous improvement and live Scrum and Agile values.
  5. Professional Progression: In the Japanese concept of Shu Ha Ri, popularized by Alistair Cockburn and other well-known Agilists as an Agile maturation pattern, Shu is the beginning phase, Ha is the intermediate and Ri is the expert. By becoming an Advanced Certified ScrumMaster, you’ll progress to the Ha phase, applying Scrum and Agile practices in context and not merely as classroom ideas.

For most, obtaining the ScrumMaster Certification (CSM) was just the first step in a lifelong journey of continuous professional improvement. The Advanced Certified ScrumMaster (A-CSM) course is ideal for ScrumMasters and coaches with at least one year of experience, who, as Sutherland states above, want to “do what they do better.”

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