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Just wanted to get your opinion on how you would utilize $1,000 by the end of the year for training? I'm a big agile fan and have received my CSM. Would it be beneficial to get a CPO as well? We have a use it or lose it type system when it comes to our training budget, so I want to ensure I maximize this allowance by the end of calendar year.

I've considered the PMP certification, CPO certification, CBAP (business analyst) etc, but just start questioning myself and wanted to hear some other's opinions on the matter.

  • Is this a team budget or an individual budget? – Thomas Owens Sep 16 '11 at 23:45
  • Individual budget. – Aaron Corcoran Sep 19 '11 at 14:15
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    I'm new to this particular stack exchange site, but from my experiences on others, this kind of specific-to-one-person-yet-open-ended question does not really work very well. See pm.stackexchange.com/faq#dontask – mattdm Sep 19 '11 at 18:10
  • Thanks Matt. Maybe you are correct and I should reword my question to something more specific such as: Being an existing CSM, would a CSPO be worthwhile, or would you focus on a different certification such as a PMP or CBAP. – Aaron Corcoran Sep 19 '11 at 19:04
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Have you looked into any Agile work groups / seminars / conferences in your area?

Attending such types of events for the material provided along with the ability to network with others, is in my opinion more valuable in the long term than certification programs like CSM or CPO.

On that note, Agile 2011 has come and gone, but as you mentioned that you are an agile fan have you considered attending Agile 2012?

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  • I do enjoy conferences and Agile 2012 is top of my list for next fiscal year. – Aaron Corcoran Sep 19 '11 at 14:19
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Some other ideas that occur to me:

  • Bring in a speaker for part of a day (not sure of usual rates)
  • Plan a day or half-day trip to another company nearby that uses Agile practices and would be willing to compare and contrast, use the money for transportation and lunch for coworkers
  • Build an Agile library*
  • Pay a consultant to come in and do an assessment of whatever $1000 is enough for, with the understanding that your going to be riding along for training (two stones, one bird)
  • Use the money to host a local UG meeting or somethign similar

Agile Library Idea: $1000 could afford a cheap reading chair, lamp, bookshelf, wall lettering, collection of Agile/Lean/Whatever books (buy as many used as possible), checkout sheet. I doubt your company wants people actively reading during the day, the purpose of the extra furniture is to give the area identity and a title. It's easier to move a bookshelf into the basement, harder to move "The Agile Library". Later training shortfalls can then be invested in expanding the books in the library, you could start a book club, etc.

If you have already used training budget money to improve your own skills or knowledge, it might be worth trying to use the remainder to affect as many people as possible. You not only receive good experience and training out of it for yourself, you also promote it amongst others AND gain more leadership experience.

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  • Y'know, if people in my group are actively reading work-related materials during the day, awesome. I mean, not every day, but to a reasonable amount. Way cheaper than a conference or professional training. – mattdm Sep 21 '11 at 3:10
  • I would agree, but I'm also aware that there are numerous environments that discourage it as well (the old, "we hire programmers to enter code in the computer and everything else is a waste" mindset). I was aiming for a solution that would work in a somewhat strict environment but scale for less-strict ones as well. – Tarwn Sep 26 '11 at 20:33
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I don't that it is a good idea to take another course right after the SCM. You'll need time to learn how to use the new knowledge in practice. If you attend a new course, you'll have twice as much of knowledge before, but yet zero field experience. Let's say after the SCM, you spend about half a year practicing what you've learnt. With this experience, you can decide whether you would like to deepen your knowledge as a SCM, or you would like to do something similar to a PO role.

Personally, I'm not a fan of certificates or trainings, but if you have a possibility to choose my recommendation would be user experience, testing and technical courses, in this order. As a Scrum Master, according to the book, you are not involved in the daily work, but this rarely happens in reality. Therefore, it is very important to understand what the teams are doing and how they are doing it, hence you have to deepen your technical knowledge as well.

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  • "As a Scrum Master, according to the book" - which book is that? I remember that both the SM and the PO can be developers. The only limitation is that they can not be the same person. Also UX seems more relevant to the PO than the SM. Perhaps softer skills like communication or management without authority would apply more to SMs. – Danny Varod Jul 4 '12 at 11:10
  • Danny it is just an expression. Of course the SM can be a developer, but his primary role and duty is to make sure that the Scrum principles are in place. I don't think that the product owner can be a developer. He can have development background, but product owners don't do active development. An SM works with a team and time to time the team could use new ideas, hence the UX. – Zsolt Jul 4 '12 at 11:18
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As a Scrum Master, soft skills such as conflict management, management without authority and etc. should come in handy.

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