I have heard the argument that agile is a con. A way to get the certification industry money and a case to get high paid consultants to fill their coffers.
I don’t think this is true for the simple reason that if you look and you don’t have to look hard, you can find resources to learn agile techniques for free. The way I see it, most agile methodologies such as scrum and Kanban are like open source. Free to use, but if you want more support you can pay for it.
For example, with scrum, you do not need to get a CSM or PSM to practice scrum. You can download the scrum guide for free. Learn from blog posts, videos, podcasts and do your own practice. If you want more support, then you can buy books. Still need more, do a course, still need more then bring in a consultant, Even if you do a training course or bring in a consultant, you still have to do the work. There are no short cuts. The concepts of Agile simple simple, but they not easy.
As for the perceived requirement that you need a certification. Well, that started by a requirement by businesses. Not the people who developed the methodologies in the first place. A lot of businesses generally do not want to invest in their people. They are more likely to buy or rent expertise already than grow internally. They will try any shortcut whether or not it works in the long term. What better way to know if someone knows Agile or any other technology/methodology than to have them certified in such technology/methodology. People see the requirement, get certified so they can be hired. Right or wrong this becomes a vicious cycle that feeds itself and creates the requirement for certification.
If you or your company is serious about being agile. Not for the kudos or bragging rights, but just to be better, I suggest learning the history, reasons and purposes behind the methodology.
The following resources both from a google search and my own resources should be of help.
There are software companies that want to share their methods, help people learn.
- Mountain Goat Software
- Atlassian (Yay and Aussie Company)
- Most tech companies have a blog where they share their development methodology which is usually some form of agile.
This set of books is specifically not Agile related, they deal with Lean and TPS and learning from mistakes. Agile/scrum have their roots in Lean. Agile is also a learning methodology, and to learn, you have to make mistakes.
- Lean thinking. James P Womack and Daniel T Jones
- The Toyota way. Jeffrey K Liker
- Adapt: Why Success Always Starts With Failure. Tim Harford
- Out Of The Crisis. W. Edwards Deming (You can get this book really cheap on Abe books.
This is only a handful of resources, there is probably a billion other resources out there that are free or cheap that will help you learn any type of agile methodology that takes your fancy.
I’m always interested in learning new sources. If you have a favorite free or cheap learning resources, please add them in the comments.
I myself have gone through the Certified Scrum Master course. I had done this after spending about a year learning about Agile and DevOps using some of the above resources. I did the course because I wanted the alignment of what I had learned myself, and unashamedly the piece of paper.