Agile Interview – Crystal Watson

Agile Interview – Crystal Watson

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 was a Business Analyst and was asked to work on the first Scrum team our company was running. I soon became the Scrum Master and have been hooked ever since. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Scrum Master. The area I really like to focus on is retrospectives. They are a chance to be creative and draw people out. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? I would say that experience by far out-weighs certificates. Certification do give employers an idea that you are serious and have some training. Certifications can get you in the door, but your passion and experience is what will get you the job. What certifications do you have and why? Certified Scrum Master (CSM) and Certified Product Owner (CSPO), and ICAgile Certified Professional—Agile Coaching (ICP-ACC). I think the CSM is good to have as a Scrum Master. The CSPO I have because I attended the class when they gave it at our company. I am interested in coaching and took the IC Agile Professional Coaching Class. What is your favorite agile related book? Coaching Agile Team by Lyssa Adkins & Agile Retrospectives: Making Good Teams Great, by Esther Derby, Diana Larsen and Ken Schwaber Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners? Keep...
Agile Interview – Nathaniel Bennink

Agile Interview – Nathaniel Bennink

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? We’ve been in the Agile space 17 years since the manifesto up in Michigan. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? We focus on using the best and most cutting edge practices, which for ht time being is Agile/XP. Pair programming, Test Driven Development, Continuous Integration, and Collective Code ownership, are just a few practices we focus on. We solve companies most challenging business problems. There’s no such thing as “best practices” to us, but a loaded toolbox with which to mix and match. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? We feel that certifications can be a good idea but it is no substitute for experience and willingness to learn. Many of them can be achieved by a one day course that doesn’t necessarily reflect mastery or competency. What certifications do you have and why? I don’t have any actually! What is your favorite agile related book? My favorite Agile books are Test Driven Development and Clean Code by Kent Beck/Bob Martin. Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners? Do more than Scrum. If you want real value and velocity it starts with having the right type of people and engineering practices. Adding only a Scrum or Kanban process can be helpful, but it is only a foot...
Agile Interview – Alissa Quick (PMP)

Agile Interview – Alissa Quick (PMP)

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 work for a company that is transitioning from a waterfall to agile software development methodology. With a background in Project Management, I was fortunate to be one of the first to transition to a ScrumMaster and pilot the new approach. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? I’m currently a Scrum Master for a kanban team and a scrum team. Both focus on software development. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? I firmly believe in them. Certifications are sought out by recruiters, so they are particularly valuable if you are looking to move into a new role or company. Certain certifications, like the PMP, require that you earn a certain number of PDUs every three years. This “forces” you to continue your own education, and a large part of the agile philosophy is continuous improvement. What certifications do you have and why? I currently have my PMP. Prior to becoming a ScrumMaster I was a Project Manager. The PMP ensured I was learning proper project management methodologies as governed by the Project Management Institute (PMI). Since much of my initial project management background was gleaned from self-education and hands-on experience, I wanted to ensure I was knowledgeable of industry standards and practices. I plan to pursue my CSM through...
Agile Interview – Robb Farris (SPC)

Agile Interview – Robb Farris (SPC)

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? Back in 2008, I was seeking new opportunities and was invited to attend a Scrum workshop. This was my first real introduction to the concepts and it truly inspired me to manage my work activities using the concepts I learned in the workshop. The workshop itself was a valuable experience in that it allowed me to learn and actively participated with others in executing a small project. From that point, I was hooked! What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Early on, my focus was managing projects and keeping my self sane with managing my workload. Later, I began to apply the concepts to help build teams to allow them to focus on getting work done versus getting stuck in processes. Now, it is really more of a focus on coaching teams and having good conversations around agile concepts. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? Honestly, I have never been a huge fan of certifications. However, one of the benefits of having a certification is that it provides a sense of credibility and a sense of comfort to potential clients. I think people should be very selective on which certifications to obtain. If you have too many, an email signature with a list of all credentials tends to...
Agile Interview – Paul Boos (CSM, ICP-ATF, ICP-ACC)

Agile Interview – Paul Boos (CSM, ICP-ATF, ICP-ACC)

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 with Agile RUP, maybe one of the few? Anyway, we agilified a Govt contract I was the ‘PM‘ for and released apps every couple of months. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Personally, executive & middle management now that I have become a coach. For teams, I have a desire to help those that help legacy maintenance. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? Certifications are a marketing tool; they are used to differentiate the unititiated. Here’s an anecdote. While I worked for one USDA organization, I saw an interesting job pop up on USAjobs within another part, so I considered applying. However, I noticed that they wanted a PMP, so I called the HR person and asked if it had to be current and whether an equivalent would work. (I had the Department of Defense equivalent, which actually was more rigorous to be honest.) They responded it had to be current or there was no chance of an interview. I thanked her and mentioned that it told me that they considered the knowledge flushed out of people’s heads as soon as expiration occurred I suppose. At the time, it was an administrative burden to keep up the PMP and yet most just cared you had...
Agile Interview – Mickey Gilch (PMP, CSM)

Agile Interview – Mickey Gilch (PMP, CSM)

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? After many years (20+) of practicing waterfall project management, I was interested in a position that was going to pilot Agile in an organization. I was hired into that position as Project Manager/Scrum Master. I was not a Certified Scrum Master(CSM) at the time, it was a role. The organization then hired an outside company to teach us how to do SCRUM Agile development and then to coach us “hands on” during the pilot using Scrum Agile framework. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Practicing Scrum Master What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? In order to earn certifications you must take formal training and pass the exams.  This gives a person a well rounded view of the inner workings of how a PMP or Agile frame work self managed team should operate. You also need to maintain your certification(s) by continuing your education by earning PDU’s every cycle (PMI certifications only). I think it is worth every penny. What certifications do you have and why? Certified Scrum Master(CSM) and Project Management Professional(PMP) Why? – for the educational value – validates my experience – shows dedication – creates awareness and professionalism of the trade – higher pay – keeps me current with trends and changes What is your...
Agile Interview – Samar Elatta (CSM, SPC, AHF, AHC, AHE)

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

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...
Agile Interview – Tim Lund

Agile Interview – Tim Lund

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? Was appointed a project lead the first week of my career, talked to one of my buddies from college. He recommended Scrum, so I bought the ugly black book, read it, and started doing it. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Kanban facilitator going into Program Management implementing SAFe. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? I think people should get them because it may expose them to new ideas, but when hiring I also realize that a certification does not make one good at agile, or vice-versa. What certifications do you have and why? I only have a CSM from Agile Alliance because my company paid for it at the time. I haven’t renewed it because I don’t see the value in doing that. What is your favorite agile related book? User Stories Applied by Mike Cohn. Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners? After you learn what to do, focus on figuring out why we do it that way. How can people contact you if they have specific questions? LinkedIn...
Agile Interview – John Le Goff (PMP, CSM)

Agile Interview – John Le Goff (PMP, CSM)

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? Since getting into Project Management early in my career, I have always been interested in better ways of executing and facilitating. Even in a traditional model which is why I pursued a PMP.  Agile is another way of executing and has been successful in many organizations, so it was of great interest to me. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Certainly my focus area is Project Management but specifically the ability to execute effective and efficiently to deliver value. This has always been my goal for project management whether traditional or agile. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? I am not a believer in certifications for certifications sake. If you are not going to utilize what you learn or grow your newly acquired expertise then do not pursue them. However, certifications give practitioners a place to start or a baseline. Once achieved the practitioner must grow the knowledge base they have achieved through further education and experience. In short, use it or loose it. As they move through their careers they can point to their achievement and more importantly share their knowledge with those who follow them. What certifications do you have and why? As I noted earlier, I pursued and achieved a PMP to improve my...
Agile Interview – Paul Oldfield (CSM, CSPO)

Agile Interview – Paul Oldfield (CSM, CSPO)

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 in research back when Waterfall was the standard. Far too many unknown unknowns for Waterfall to work; we often needed to refactor software architecture, for example. That was before the term “Refactoring” had been coined. What is your focus area/area of expertise related to agile? Pretty broad in terms of languages, domains, roles and methodologies; if anything I specialize in what makes a process appropriate to the context. What is your view on certifications?  Should people get them or not? Certifications are for mediocre people and mediocre organizations. If you’re mediocre, get a certification to show the mediocre organization you do know something. But the real agilist is learning all the time; you cannot test all that, and certification takes time away from learning and focuses on things that are less useful. What certifications do you have and why? I took CSM and CSPO about 20 years after starting, chiefly to meet the people running the course and the people on the course, to get a few more contacts. I’d already published in the Agile Alliance’s magazine by then. What is your favorite agile related book? “Implementing Lean Software Development: Concept to Cash” though ask me some other time and it might be one of about 3 others. Any final thoughts for other agile practitioners?...