Agile Interview – Samar Elatta (CSM, SPC, AHF, AHC, AHE)

Agile Interview – Samar Elatta (CSM, SPC, AHF, AHC, AHE)

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Welcome to the Agile Interview Series.  As part of this series, we ask agile practitioners 7 questions, focused around agile and agile related certifications.  Our goal with this series is to give you multiple perspectives from a variety of practitioners within the agile space.

How did you get into the agile space?

I started as a developer and decided to use an iterative approach, after a few milestones of waterfall.. Didn’t please my client… So decided to co-locate closer and collaborate more with my client and show them progress as I was developing. This made such a huge difference, that I fell in love with working this way. Unknown to me at that time, it is called Agile :-)… When I found that out, I wanted to learn more about it and help others work in this same way.

What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile?

I love helping the business unit with agile, and helping the enterprise as a whole transform to Agile. I’m also passionate about helping agile management and individuals within the organization understand the value working in an Agile way can provide them.. So I’d say enterprise transformations, and one on one coaching.

What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not?

I believe in learning, but experience is always more valuable…

I think for people who are starting out a certification may help them get a job as a scrum-master, etc. But once you’re past the entry-level, I don’t believe it is helpful.

With that said there are a few certifications I’d recommend:-

I just recently got the Agility Health Certification, because it offers me the ability to offer to my teams a way to measure their maturity and helps me build a backlog of coaching that is focused on their needs..

I’d also recommend the SPC (Scaled Program Consultant certification, I did it more because I wanted to learn about the SAFe framework, but I like the benefits it provides as far as being able to train SAs and teach more people about different ways to apply agile.

What certifications do you have and why?

See above.. I also have the Scrum-Master certification from Agile Alliance.. I got that in 2006, when I was first getting started.. But in retrospect now, I’d recommend the PMI-ACP..

What is your favorite agile related book?

I like reading books that related to servant leadership.. So I’d recommend The Heart of Leadership

The Heart of Leadership Becoming a Leader People Want to Follow Mark Miller

and also Positive Intelligence

Positive Intelligence Book

I much more like watching videos so I’d recommend agilevideos.com

Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners?

Be flexible, and never a purist. It is important to realize what is in books, isn’t always real-world… Remember system thinking and providing value always trumps theories that may not work for a team.. So learn about real-world methods, not just pure theories and ideas.

How can people contact you if they have specific questions?

Samar Elatta, samar (at) agiletransformation (dot) com

  • Great interview Samar. I was glad to see that you recommended two books that I have not read as I’m always looking for new thoughts/concepts. I also love your final thought. It’s such an important lesson for practitioners.

    “Be flexible, and never a purist. It is important to realize what is in books, isn’t always real-world… Remember system thinking and providing value always trumps theories that may not work for a team.. So learn about real-world methods, not just pure theories and ideas.”

  • I love this website! Amazing job putting this together Tom 🙂 a shameless plug… If you want to learn more about agilityHealth and measuring team maturity. Go to http://www.agilityhealthradar.com/learnmore/