Many of us have been working hard in the past few years to revive interest in the technical – craft – side of Agile software development. Looking back, we have had some impact: the craftsmanship movement, Agile Developer Skills, and so on.

I perceive a unique opportunity right now to move further. I’m not sure what the best moves would be, so I’m providing this place to begin to talk about it.

Like it or not, I think we have to acknowledge that Scrum has the bulk of the Agile mindshare. Influencing what Scrum people think and do is a strong move if we want to influence Agile.

The Scrum Alliance, and scrum.org, and many in the Scrum community, are seeing that Scrum is being held back by the lack of technical practices. Better yet, the Scrum Alliance is doing something about it.

As referenced here, the Alliance is creating a new “certification”, the Certified Scrum Developer. Go ahead and laugh. I’ll wait.

Thanks. Now let’s face some facts. The CSM rating has made a huge difference in the ability to sell training in Agile. A course granting a CSM will draw perhaps double the students as the same course without. We can anticipate that the CSD rating will draw similar attention and interest.

Here’s the good news: the camel has his nose well inside the tent. Here are some reasons why:

  • The thinking behind the CSD rating is based in large part on the work that Uncle Bob, Brian Marick, Jim Shore, Chet, and I did in Chicago.
  • That same thinking also spawned Agile Developer Skills, which is forming a rather good picture of all the skills developers need.
  • The Scrum Alliance has to look mostly outside for people to teach to the CSD.
  • Courses toward the CSD have to be approved. The sole approving party today is our own Jim Newkirk.
  • Trainers have to be what the Alliance calls SA-REPs (Scrum Alliance Registered Education Providers).
  • Chet and I are the first two CSDs and expect to be the first approved SA-REPs.
  • We can authorize anyone we want to teach our course, shortcutting the process of getting a course approved or getting approved as an SA-REP

I’m really not sure what this all means, but I am envisioning something like this:

  • We define CSD-related courses that are as rich with material as we can make them;
  • We use the Agile Developer Skills matrix and other means to distinguish solid material from weak, experience-based training from lecture-based;
  • We work to toughen-up the acceptance criteria for courses;
  • We bring in  known good Agile developers and influencers, putting them through CSD training and filling the CSD ranks with people who are obviously qualified;
  • We might produce a rating of our own, analogous to the wevouchfor idea, like "Recognized Agile Developer", and we begin to use it and refer to it when we write and advertise;

I’m sure there are good ideas beyond these. Mostly I feel that Scrum is teetering on the brink of a move in a good direction, and it needs a good shove.

Advise me.