Here’s the good news: the camel has his nose well inside the tent. Here are some reasons why:
Whether we like it or not, the words “certified” and “developer” are going to be adjacent in the minds of 50 or 100 thousand CSMs and other followers of the Scrum approach. That train has left the station.
The train has left the station. But this is OK, see, because the Scrum Alliance paid for some wonderfully smart people to get together and talk about it, and this is our BIG OPPORTUNITY to finally influence the Scrum Alliance and the developers out there. And even if you vehemently disagree, well, it’s too late. It’s a done deal. Game over.
Before I start this, let me say that my stand on this blog post has certainly cost me business, and opportunities. When I first got invited to be CSD Trainer / SA-REP, I thought long and hard about abandoning my stance on this and falling in line. After all, I have a family, and I like to be able to put food on the table for them. And the CSD program is a way to put a *lot* of food on the table (see specific numbers in one of my earlier posts)
But instead, I rejected the invitation. Further, I requested (and received) a refund of my Certified Scrum Practitioner fees from the Scrum Alliance in protest of this whole movement, and the retitling of the CSP to “Certified Scrum Professional“. Meaning, I suppose, I’m neither a Scrum Practitioner nor Professional anymore. But I am still a Scrum Master!
But I digress.
When Wal-Mart comes into a small town, there is usually a cry from the mom and pop shops, the townsfolk, the community. They come out to county commission meetings. They organize protests at the store. They swear they won’t shop there.
And then the store opens. And they don’t. But everyone else does. The old adage that integrity is what you do when no one is looking applies to community as well. Community is who shops at Wal-Mart after its grand opening.
For many years, I was proud of our community, what I deemed the “agile community”. We rejected certifications as useless. We knew there was a better way, that it was way more important to network, and gain experience than to get some piece of paper. We had several discussions over the years, including one where I posted:
Personally, if there was going to be a certification, it should be as a Development Team Health Inspector. The practices of XP would just be part of the prescription. After all, one can’t be certified in Viagra, but you can be certified when to tell people they should use it.
And then, suddenly, the store opened and everyone went inside saying, “Well, heck. The store is open now. Maybe by working here we can influence them to change”
We have a big opportunity as a community. Oh, let’s be realistic. We had a big opportunity as a community. We had the opportunity to kill the CSD program. And send a message that all certifications needed to be on notice. But there’s too much money to be made. Which is why I’ve gotten emails from Scrum Trainers asking me not to talk about this because it hurts their business.
Certification does not advance the craft. Pair programming, code retreats, craftsmanship swaps, book clubs, practice – those advance the craft. Phlip summed it up nicely way back in 2006:
One of the original validations of XP is it’s entirely community-supported. There is no big-budget Industry XP Consortium, no fierce corporate marketing, no sponsorship, no branding, etc.
If I sold you a certificate, and if a company picked you over another XP-oriented programmer, that company would be putting processes and paperwork above people and interactions. They would perform the same abdication of power as a company that requires "only BS degree or hire" for a programming gig. They want someone else to tell them if a candidate is qualified, because they don’t trust their own meritocracy to find out.
The train left the station because we all lined up at the ticket counter and happily handed over our money. Well, I’ve gotten my refund. Hope you all enjoy the ride.