Are You Agile?

Are You Agile?

Agile is much more than an approach to running projects; it’s a movement that continues to expand in the fields of IT and software development. Organizations running complex projects recognize the benefits of adaptivity and responsiveness, and those who certify their expertise in Agile practices are filling a vital role in modern business.

What is Agile

To understand Agile, it’s best to begin with a quick break down of the Waterfall Method. The Waterfall Method follows a sequence-based process in which development flows downward through specific phases of the project. While this rigid system has worked well in construction and manufacturing, it fails to meet the requirements of software development.

The focus of Agile is to be flexible and adaptable to changes rather than following an existing strategy that may become obsolete during the project. Agile project management provides evolutionary development, faster delivery, on-going revision, and quick reactions to change. Compared to the Waterfall Method, the flexibility and adaptivity provided by Agile project management makes it a much better solution for software developers tasked with complex requirements.

The History of Agile

The practice of adaptive software development has roots spanning back to the early 1970s. While mostly little changed in lightweight tactics through the 1990s, The Manifesto for Agile Software Development published in 2001 by Jeff Sutherland, Ken Schwaber, and Alistair Cockburn changed everything. Today Agile project management continues to gain popularity as the demand for software continues to rise.

Careers in Agile Project Management

One of the great benefits about careers in Agile project management is the higher-than-average salaries. According to Payscale, Agile practitioners are making on average $72,000 to $137,000. These salaries include entry-level practitioners as well as advanced ones. While Agile project management provides a great income for those with the right qualifications, it takes about seven years on average to become a qualified Agile project manager.

Achieving an advanced career in Agile project management requires a certification. This is typically accomplished by accumulating work-related experience and passing a high-stakes exam. Here’s a breakdown of two of the most popular Agile project management certifications in the IT and software development industries.

Certified ScrumMaster – CSM

Scrum Alliance is a nonprofit association with over 500,000 certified professionals all over the world. Founded in 2001, this organization remains focused on inspiring, enabling, and guiding the use of Scrum and other Agile methods. According to Scrum Alliance, “Scrum is simply a framework within which people can address complex adaptive problems, while productively and creatively delivering products of the highest possible value.”

The certified ScrumMaster (CSM) is Scrum Alliance’s most popular certification and provides validation for 460,000 practitioners worldwide. This certification helps Scrum professionals expand their career opportunities by staying relevant and marketable across all industry sectors. The CSM also encourages engagement through a community of established Scrum and Agile experts committed to the advancement of Scrum and Agile practices.

Certified ScrumMasters are experts in Scrum and Agile project management and are typically more experienced than most project managers. CSM’s focus on helping project teams and improving project successes.

Achieving the CSM requires the following:

  • Attend an in-person, two-day CSM course taught by a Certified Scrum Trainer
  • Pass the CSM exam – Correctly answer 24 of the 35 questions
  • Accept the License Agreement and complete a Scrum Alliance membership profile

PMI Agile Certified Practitioner

The Project Management Institute (PMI) is an industry-leading certifying body for a number of project management certifications. Established in 1969, PMI provides validation for over 2.9 million professionals around the world. PMI is also focused on improving careers, enhancing organizations and promoting best practices through globally recognized standards.

The PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner is rapidly growing in popularity as the demand for Agile project management increases. Practitioners learn Agile principles and mindset, value-driven delivery, stakeholder engagement, team performance, adaptive planning, problem detection and resolution, and continuous improvement.

The PMI-ACP explores many approaches to Agile including Scrum, Lean, Kanban, extreme programming and test-driven development. Anyone working in software development and IT will find a lot of opportunity by achieving the PMI-ACP.

Achieving the PMI-ACP requires the following:

  • 2,000 hours of general project experience working on teams. A current PMP will satisfy this requirement but is not required to apply for the PMI-ACP.
  • 1,500 hours working on Agile project teams or with Agile methodologies. This requirement is in addition to the 2,000 hours of general project experience.
  • 21 contact hours of training in agile practices.

Summing It Up

Agile is certainly more than a process for running software development projects; it’s a revolution that’s changing the way developers create software. Software development teams all over the world are realizing the benefits of adaptivity and responsiveness, and this trend will likely keep expanding.

Anyone interested in learning more about training resources required for a career in Agile project management are encouraged to speak with a friendly KnowledgeNet representative about all the available options.

Tom Hurst has been working in the information technology industry since 2008, and is currently writing engaging and informative articles about his experiences. Hurst also enjoys a life outside of IT that includes hunting, fishing and music composition.

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