December 5, 2019

Professional Scrum Developers and Their Importance

What baffles me each time I look at the numbers with regards to Scrum certifications, is the low amount of PSD Certified Software Developers in relation to the certified Professional Scrum Product Owners and Professional Scrum Masters out there.

The beating heart of Scrum is getting to "Done". Delivering a "Done" Increment of usable and potentially releasable Product which is subject to inspection and adaptation. By doing so, the Scrum Team (and particularly the Dev Team) better understands the needs of stakeholders, clients, end-users and the competitive market they operate in.

All the work in the Sprint Backlog is carried out by the Development Team and they are responsible for the success of your product. Yet, there seems to be the smallest effort in teaching the Development Team (the ones that are building the increment) better ways of working and to think and act in an agile environment. You can see this from the number of PSD certifications as well as number of classes.

So, if this is the case: how do you expect them to build Products of the best possible quality in the context of the Scrum Framework? How do you expect the Development Team to build Products in an Empirical environment with only the guidance of a Scrum Master, without having the hands-on experience, learnings and conversations?

The last couple of days I have attended a PSD class for the third time in 4 years. Not only because I am a PST, but also because deep inside lives a passionate developer that seeks to continuously improve and has a responsibility for bringing quality to the table. The PSD course is by far the most interesting course for no less than 80% of a Scrum Team.

I'd like to encourage all organizations that have embraced Scrum, to actively invest in their Developers to broaden their knowledge and perspectives through a PSD class. Even though the Scrum Master will be a servant leader for the Scrum Team, they cannot give the Development team the experience and guidance that comes out of the PSD course.

Certifications as per December 2019

With the number of the picture in mind, I can make some interesting conclusions:

  • There are 270K Scrum Masters out there and more than 60K of Product Owners
  • Assuming that each PO is part of a Scrum Team, it means that the 10K of certified Professional Scrum Developers are distributed to at least 6 Scrum Teams which have in turn have 4,5 Scrum Masters serving them ;-)
  • Or we have multiple PO's on the same Scrum Team.

Both statements are silly right?

So if proper Product Management and the need of Servant Leadership is important within Agile organizations for the success of the Product(s)...Why neglect the fact that the success of our Software stands or falls with the level of knowledge and experience of the Development Team? Are we aware of the RISK that this puts on the Product?

What if you as an organization can't push out business value just in time, while the competitor can?

Food for thought! I'd like to hear your thoughts on this subject.