When you work in the software industry, you hear a lot about the new up and coming fads. You hear about the next new language or process improvement. This was the case with “Agile” when it first came out. Now, however, it is a known standard in the industry. If you haven’t had experience with Agile, you may be at a disadvantage in today's market. Don’t worry! There are TONS of resources out there to help you gain insight into the world of Agile.
Think about what your goal is when it comes to learning more about Agile. Many times, our first instinct is to get a certification or become a new role like a Scrum Master. But these are not your only choices! There are many aspects to the Agile methodology. The trick is thinking about what your goals are with regards to learning. Are you interested in learning more about facilitating meetings so that everyone in the group has a voice? Are you interested in learning all you can about Agile and/or Scrum? Do you really want to be a Scrum Master? Depending on your question, your training and reading material can be different. Here are some suggestions:
So, you want to learn how to be a more efficient facilitator. This is GREAT! No matter your role, you will either be leading meetings or attending them. In both cases, it can be helpful to have tools in your toolbox to help keep the meeting focused and have full participation. Here are a couple of books you might find helpful:
You are interested in Scrum. Did you realize that Agile doesn’t mean Scrum?! I know...that is crazy talk! There are many implementations of Agile, but scrum is the most popular in the industry. If you have limited time or budget, I would recommend starting here.
Agile as a Methodology
So, you realize that Scrum is not the only Agile implementation. Where do you start to learn about more implementations of Agile? Well, I would start with the Agile Manifesto, then move on to a couple of the other well known practices: Lean, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP). Some resources:
As you research more about Scrum, you hear a lot about the Scrum Master. The Scrum Master is a servant leader that helps the teams follow Scrum and removes impediments for the team. Being a Scrum Master well takes a lot of the knowledge mentioned above. You have to be a good facilitator, a mentor, think out of the box, work with other groups, as well as help your team in multiple capacities. If you are interested in being certified, there are multiple options for you. There are philosophical debates on whether the CSM or PSM is the more valuable test. Please take the time to go out and research what will work best for you.
Each of the books that are linked have other recommended books in Amazon. Do some research, look for blogs, and go to conferences. It is amazing how a single conversation with someone at a conference or reading a blog can open up doors and answer questions you have been thinking about. When you go into research mode with a focus on what you plan to gain, you will gain so much more than just another certification. The sky is the limit! If you are already a scrum master, maybe you should research being an Agile Coach! As long as you are impassioned and interested, keep learning and gain as much knowledge as you can!
Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any other interests or would like to work on a detailed path for your own interests in Agile.