It’s an advanced course that follows on from the Certified Scrum Master course and builds on the knowledge and experience you will have gathered in the year or so since you became a Scrum Master.
My course is broken down into 5 key areas:
- The theory of Agile
- Coaching and Facilitation
- Service to the team
- Service to the product owner
- Service beyond the team which includes elements like organisational change and scaling.
The Theory of Agile
In the Advanced Certified Scrum Master course, we dig deeper into the history of Agile and the frameworks that brought about the Agile Manifesto and subsequent Agile movement.
We look at the history elements and understand how it is still relevant to us today.
A lot of people don’t fully understand how Agile came to be and this section introduces you to the challenges that Waterfall style project management presented to software engineering and why these lightweight frameworks were developed to help build great new products whilst solving complex problems.
Knowing why and how things came to be and being able to provide a rock-solid context for Agile within your organisation is really going to help your credibility and empower you to have more productive conversations about the potential applications for Agile within your organisation.
We’re also looking to build your toolset.
There are a lot of great tools and techniques that were developed to overcome the bureaucracy of waterfall project management and many of those tools and techniques will help you in your everyday quest to become a better Scrum Master.
Coaching and Facilitation
In this section, we look at the 2 key skills of a Scrum Master. Coaching and Facilitation.
We’re looking into why coaching is such an important element of your job and how to do that effectively. From effective listening skills through to questioning and other valuable coaching techniques, we walk you through the foundations of becoming a great Agile coach.
You will be working through coaching exercises in the ACSM course, and it is often one of the most enlightening elements for people attending the ACSM course. Some people have a little experience with coaching, but many Scrum Masters will be encountering these skill sets for the first time.
You get to practice coaching in a safe environment and learn with your cohort through simulations and exercises.
One of my favourite elements of the Agile world is retrospectives and how you can facilitate great retrospectives that really help the team improve.
We will be having conversations around people’s experience with retrospectives, sharing knowledge around what works, what needs work and how people have effectively facilitated great retrospectives in the past.
It’s a balance between coaching, teaching, and sharing that combines incredibly well to provide you with new tools and techniques to become a more effective facilitator and Scrum Master.
As a practical exercise, we sit down and start to build some plans. Plans that you will be able to take away with you and use in your own facilitation and retrospectives.
Some people will have experience with a single team retrospective whilst others will have worked with multiple teams. The shared experiences really provide some great insights for the whole class and will give you some useful tools and techniques that you can take away and implement immediately.
Service to the product owner and team
A great Scrum Master works as the bridge between the product owner and the development team.
In this section we will be exploring how Scrum Masters can help Product Owners build a vision and product roadmap that truly inspires the team.
As an advanced Scrum Master, you will have the opportunity to work closely with product owners and may even be coaching product owners on how to be more effective in their roles.
This section will teach you how to do that more effectively and the shared experiences of people on the course with you will give you some great insights into what has worked for others as well as give you an action plan for how to tackle any challenges you may currently be facing.
Servant leadership is the hallmark of a great Scrum Master and Agile Coach, and in this section, we will walk you through impact mapping and how you can use this tool to help product owners understand why a product vision is so critical and how it can be leveraged to motivate the team.
Beyond the team
In this section we explore the concept of scaling but we don’t delve too deeply into it. It would be more a case of understanding the challenges of scaling and providing insights into how people have successfully scaled in the past.
As a Scrum Master, you will have experience of working with a single team but some scrum masters have experience working with multiple teams. The conversations, exercises and discussions around scaling will introduce you to the successes and failures around scaling.
Often, even if scaling is a bad idea, you are still going to have to do it so this section gives you tools to manage the problems and challenges of scaling.
We also explore organisational change with a specific emphasis on systems modelling and systems thinking.
In short, how do we optimise for the whole rather than local optimisations.
We live in highly complex environments and there are a host of interdependencies. Systems modelling empowers us to see the big picture and understand how small changes at the local level result in broader changes across the dynamic system.
It’s hard to find a single cause of any problem in our world, often we need to look at the various areas that have been impacted and understand how each element of the system impacts the whole.
So how do we map that out? How do we explain that? How do we explore that?
We bring all of this together in the beyond the teams section and look at how to provide you with the tools and techniques you’re going to need to thrive in complex environments.
We cover an awful lot of ground in the ACSM course. You will learn a great deal over the 2 day course and walk away prepared to deal with some of the more advanced challenges of being a Scrum Master within a dynamic organisation.