January 18, 2021

PSD becomes APS-SD - From role-specific to domain-specific training

Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/steps-staircase-climbing-1081909/
Source: https://pixabay.com/photos/steps-staircase-climbing-1081909/

As of January 10, 2021, Scrum.org has renamed the former Professional Scrum Developer Training (PSD) to Applying Professional Scrum for Software Development (APS-SD). At the same time, the Professional Scrum Foundations (PSF) training has also been renamed to Applying Professional Scrum (APS). There is much more behind this renaming than just new names for the trainings. In this blog post we will take a closer look at some of the reasons and implications for the APS-SD training.

Overview of changes regarding APS-SD

  • A training for the whole Scrum Team
  • Using the Scrum framework in the context of software development
  • Experience Scrum

A training for the whole Scrum Team

When Scrum.org was founded by Ken Schwaber, it was an obvious choice to offer specific trainings for each of the 3 roles in Scrum. Thus, the Professional Scrum Master Training (PSM) for Scrum Masters, the Professional Scrum Product Owner Training (PSPO) for Product Owners, and the Professional Scrum Developer Training (PSD) for members of the Development Team were created. Over time, it has become apparent that this approach has some drawbacks. When Scrum Team members attend different Scrum trainings, the collaboration aspect between these roles is missing out.

The PSD training has always provided the ideal conditions to experience the importance and structure of this collaboration not only in theory, but also practically in sprints. The recommendation that the entire Scrum Team including Product Owner and Scrum Master should participate in a PSD training has been in place before the renaming. However, the "Developer" in the name discouraged many non-programmers from attending the training, as they feared that the training would be too technical for them. The new name APS-SD now eliminates this misunderstanding and makes it clear that this is a training for Scrum Teams in the context of software development.

Using the Scrum framework in the context of software development

While Scrum originally comes from software development, the Scrum Framework and the Scrum Guide have become more and more agnostic to the respective problem domain over the years to show that Scrum can also be used in other areas successfully. Thus, Scrum today is defined as a framework that helps to solve complex problems. However, this generalization also has the disadvantage that the framework becomes less concrete. While the APS training explains Scrum in general and without reference to a concrete domain, the APS-SD training has a very clear focus on the area of software development. Here, concrete practices and concepts are taught that support the benefits of Scrum in this domain and participants receive concrete recommendations for complementary practices and tools besides the framework. These suggestions are helpful for teams that are new to Scrum to get a good starting point. For teams already using Scrum, these recommendations highlight areas where they have potential for growth. Based on this, the teams then start a continuous improvement process (Inspect & Adapt) to be able to adapt their individual process even better to their situation.

The better recommendations fit the team's work and domain, the easier it is for them to integrate them into their work and improve them. For example, the APS-SD training discusses in detail what Done means for a software product and which practices and techniques may be helpful to achieve this state without much stress. Challenges such as the maintainability of software architecture, code base and, above all, the collaboration between Product Owners and Developers in this area of conflict are explained and helpful concepts for mastering them are taught. The case study, which is used by participants to develop a realistic software solution in the APS-SD training, offers a variety of challenges and gains in knowledge, which significantly simplifies a transformation into the everyday work of the participants compared to abstract simulations.

So, if teams and organizations want to introduce Scrum or improve their Scrum implementation and practices, we recommend the APS-SD for teams creating software products. The APS Training works very well for teams from other domains.

Experience Scrum

The trainings of the APS training series are characterized by the fact that the participants can experience Scrum in the training. Instead of just discussing it, Scrum is applied by the participants. Thereby context and dynamics can be explained in a much better way and skeptics can feel the difference and improvements in teamwork. The better this Scrum simulation reflects the everyday life of the participants, the easier it is to transfer knowledge. If the entire Scrum team participates in the APS-SD training, a rhythm can already be established in the Sprints, that the participants can continue in their work after the training. This reduces the time it takes for the Return On Invest (ROI) to be achieved and increases the impact the training has on the team's work.


This article has been authored by Thomas Schissler & Peter Götz, the two Stewards for the APS-SD training.