Agile Certifications

Agile Kickstarter for Recruitment

Agile Talent, Agile Certifications, Scrum, Scrum Master

By Joel Oosthuizen; Course by Embrenchia Snyman

So you’re a recruiter and you receive a one liner job specification for a Scrum Master. Your client doesn’t mention much, but they do mention the candidate must be a Certified Scrum Master (or CSM). What does this mean to you, and should you explicitly hunt for candidates with an entry level Scrum Master certificate?


Well the short answer is NO. Agilocity successfully held its first Agile Recruitment Kickstarter on Wednesday 31 August 2016 in Menlyn, ZA. The delegation, consisting of Senior Recruiters and Networking agents were taken through Agile Principles, Values, frameworks and techniques. We recognize that there is room for improvement when dealing with Agile and Lean related talent fulfillment, and want to help recruiters to firstly understand Agile, how it differs from traditional methods, and how to match the correct talent for the job at hand.

We live in a country that is just starting to feel the economic crunch and things are looking bleak for large enterprises that ignore digitization and disruption. Statistics show that an impediment to digital disruption is the time that a CIO is in office. It’s usually just short of executing such a strategy to the point where returns are harvested. Lack of recognition of the importance to adapt with technology and times will drive your customers to startups or companies that can change course instantly.

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is most adaptable to change.

The number of companies looking at either internal disruption or insourcing the help of a startup disrupter to perform some disruptive activity within the larger enterprise is growing by the month.

So who cares?

If you are a CIO, COO or CEO you should be concerned about micro environments in your organization that provide all the right ingredients for disruption, which you are either ignoring or think they still serve a purpose. These spots are in many cases by-products of an extinct era, or simply don’t fathom the opportunity that this inefficiency is presenting on a silver platter. Should you wish to ignore these spots, give it a year or two and watch some unknown startup eat your inefficiencies for breakfast, and put that part of your business in serious emergency mode.

Examples of such micro environments ready for disruptive innovation include outdated paper processes, inefficiencies in your value stream from the customer’s vantage point, reluctance to transform to digital channels and platforms etc.

What does Agile have to do with any of this?

Agile, which is a by-product of disruption to project management and excessive processes in itself, enables your organization to initiate and capitalize on change. It provides an environment where there is constant focus on the most valuable thing in the organization, it creates the DevOps mind-set for continuous deployment and testing of production ready product, it dispurses decision making power to the people closest to the information, and enables the organization to become a learning organization (Empiricism).

Who do I hire to be my Agile Catalyst?

In South Africa companies and stakeholders dealing with vacant positions that exist due to some acknowledgment to the fact that adaption is required often just don’t get it. Overly fixated on the Scrum Master certification or CSM, with high bets on their ability to drive lasting change across a broad spectrum of the SDLC or department, often lead to a situation where the impact is not as profound as it could be and gives Agile a bad name. Due to that which is unknown to us the first thing often stated on a Job Description, if the position is Agile related, is that the candidate must be a CSM. A two-day course of playful activities that quickly covers Iterative “Project Management” (only) in an Agile fashion. I say Project Management very loosely in this context as you will see through this diagram.

Scrum, PMI-ACP, ScrumMaster, Scrum Master, Agile Practitioner, LEAN, XP
Comparison of Scrum and related certifications

In essence the diagram is saying that in order to get a well rounded person that would add value to the entire SDLC, PDLC, department or organization, you should be looking at people that have a holistic skillset. The PMI-ACP for examples requires one to have 2500 hours of actual experience in Agile projects alone accompanied by a rigorous examination.

To explore this mystery, we looked at a few other territories where Agile is further ahead of the curve, or on the Ri level of Agile mastery, so being able to innovate standing Agile practices. In countries such as New Zealand, Australia, Asia and the US we found that the ICAgile ICP qualification is actually regarded higher than the CSM or PSM. Second to the ICP was the PMI Agile Certified Practitioner certification. If you look at the curriculum of the four certifications you notice that the ICP and PMI-ACP covers a whole lot more than the CSM or PSM. The latter focuses purely on the development execution management while the others actually teaches the candidate how to set projects up, softskills negotiation, how to prioritise portfolio’s of work, what to work on, personification of personas, analysis derived through progressive elaboration, various measurement and improvement techniques, effective backlog management, team facilitation, test- and behavioural driven development, and I can go on.

What is covered in the Agile Kickstarter for Recruiters?

  • Journey through industrial era to information worker era
  • Transition from waterfall mindset to one of being Agile
  • How to read your client’s spec, and their on-site culture
  • High level Agile and Lean theory, with some scaled methods
  • How to up- and cross sell when dealing in Agile positions
  • Types of leadership
  • Culture
  • Myths and misconceptions

What’s Next?

  • To join our next Agile in Recruitment Kickstarter, please contact us here with “Agile in Recruitment Kickstarter” as the subject.
  • If you need assistance with your job specs and would like to soundboard some ideas contact us here.
  • If you need coaching or consulting help, please contact us here.
  • Should you wish to contribute, feel free to share your thoughts below or by using any of the social media buttons.
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