Why, anybody can have a brain. That's a very mediocre commodity. Every pusillanimous creature that crawls on the Earth or slinks through slimy seas has a brain. Back where I come from, we have universities, seats of great learning, where men go to become great thinkers. And when they come out, they think deep thoughts and with no more brains than you have! But they have one thing you haven't got - a diploma.

The Certified Scrum Developer diploma isn’t worth the paper it’s printed on. Come to think of it, it isn’t printed on paper unless you print it yourself. It’s a PDF file that the Scrum Alliance lets you download.

The Agile Alliance, not to be confused with the Scrum Alliance or the Rebel Alliance, says that employers should have confidence only in certifications that are skill-based, and difficult to achieve.

I support this notion entirely. If I’m any good at all, it is as a result of having dedicated a huge percentage of my lifetime to learning my craft. And no matter how talented an individual is, and no matter how many three-day classes they sit through, if they’re any good at all, it will be as a result of thousands of hours of intensive study, work, and practice.

And yet, Chet and I are offering a course “leading to the Certified Scrum Developer rating.” We’re doing this knowing that other Agile spokesmodels are objecting to the rating and refusing to participate in it. Here’s what we are thinking.

Our course is based on the well-known “XP Immersion” courses that Bob Martin, Kent Beck, and I used to teach with Object Mentor. It’s three days long, because that’s how long the Scrum Alliance wants it to be … and it will kick your ass.

In those three days, participants will experience three full Scrum Sprints, developing working software to satisfy their strict and demanding Product Owners, played with relish by Chet and me. They will have actual hands-on practice with the  XP Technical Practices, including

  • Pair Programming;
  • Test-Driven Development;
  • Automated Acceptance Testing;
  • Continuous Integration;
  • Simple Design;
  • Refactoring;
  • ... and more.

They will learn at least these  things about these practices:

  • why it is impossible to do a good job of Scrum-style development without practices like these;
  • what it feels like to do these practices;
  • how hard it is to do them well.

Participants will undertake this learning in a full-on Scrum-style, with Product Owner, Product and Sprint Backlog, Release and Sprint Planning, Sprint Demo, and Retrospective. We won’t just be talking about these things: participants will be doing them.

Our Agile Skills Development course, like the XP Immersions before it, will be as close to a live-fire Agile project experience as we can make it. And since we’ve been doing this for almost fifteen years, that will be pretty close.

Our Agile Skills Development participants will leave the course having experienced, for a few days, what Agile is really like, having been exposed to the critical practices, having tried the practices. Their eyes will be opened to what this stuff is all about.

We think that’s a very good thing. Participants may also get a PDF file, suitable for framing, if they print it on good paper.