Today, I got my Scrum Product Owner certification (CSPO). I also have ScrumMaster (CSM) and PMP certifications. No I am not a certification freak in-fact, these are the only certifications I have acquired in my career. I did my PMP training 3 years ago and using conventional project management processes for last 16 years. I have worked in CMMI level 5 companies, you probably know what I mean. These companies follows processes line by line, every day and every minutes :). Everything that I have done in my professional career or in my personal life has been some shape of waterfall process. I admit that waterfall way of thinking is ingrained in my thought process.

Agile is a whole new world which is completely different than PMP/waterfall/conventional project management. Being at both side, I know that both sides disrespect each other. Because my foundation is PMP/waterfall, this transition will be hard for me. In past, my team and I have planed 1 to 2 years long projects with accurate timeline, schedule and due dates. Limiting our predictability to just 3-4 sprints (2-3 months) will be very uncomfortable. On the other hand, using new way of creating product/project vision, roadmap, stories, backlogs, sprints are very effective and organic.

I am committed to the new way of thinking and still utilizing my past experience of managing complex projects in other areas of my responsibilities. PMP is close to my heart and I believe a good project manager can turn measurable project in to a successful project. PMP methodologies are used in all industrees while Scrum stated with software projects in mind and now being adapted in other industrees.

If you do not have PMP or Scrum certifications then my recommendation will be to go for Scrum certifications and not PMP certification. Obviously you will have to see what your organization uses. Scrum requires hands-on practice and change in the way you think and work. Scrum also requires changes in the team structure. Many companies claim that they are Agile and Scrum, but they are not. I have been guilty of doing it myself. Daily stand up meetings are not scrum. So you have to have your organization’s buy in to adopt to Scrum otherwise it will not be useful.

The reason I am recommending Scrum is that it is innovative. It gives new way of thinking and working. It is handson and effective. Whether you are new to software development or a legacy like me, Scrum will make you fast and effective. You will able to think in smaller chunks which can be accomplish. In PMP you start with big idea and then break it into smaller chunk while in Scrum, you start with smaller chunk which may lead to a big idea.

These are my initial thoughts but I will add more to this conversation as I practice more scrum. For some of our projects at my work, we are following our regular project management (driven by our PMO office) as well as Scrum (driven by our Agile coach Ally). While Scrum is primarily helping development teams, regular project management is keeping everything rolling outside the development. Also, I would not think that we will ever use Scrum to merge a hospital we may buy in future. It has to be conventional project management. The way I see is that the core team may use Scrum while other 100 other peoples who are involved in some way would continue to use conventional project management.