I hate conferences.

Panels and speakers inspire us, but don’t leave us with actionable skills or knowledge. Even as an extrovert, I’m overwhelmed by the forced networking. Vendors aggressively compete with their neighbors for your attention. I can personally attest to this; as a vendor I once wore a carrot costume to attract passerbys to our booth.

So while exploring professional development options, I knew two things:

  1. I’m not signing up for another conference
  2. I want to walk away with a new skill that would add value to my day-to-day job (and future career)

Naturally, this lead me to the Certified Scrum Master (“CSM”) Certification.

As a digital project manager, I’ve been deploying forms of Agile at ISL for over a year (and even applying its principles to interagency teams). I signed up for the CSM Certification training with the goal of further developing my understanding of the Scrum team, roles and principles. After completing the training and passing my exam, I have three new letters on my resume and a deeper level of appreciation for the practice.

If you’re on the fence about investing in the certification, here are three reasons why you should consider doing it:  

To understand servant leadership, you have to experience it.

Certified Scrum Masters are servant leaders. They coach team members. They remove obstacles. They’re humble listeners. It’s difficult to truly understand how to be selfless unless you’re faced with the opportunity. The CSM training curriculum emphasizes hands-on learning, prioritizing team role-playing exercises over lectures. It allows you to experience common on-the-job scenarios that you might not directly encounter, especially if you’re not actively on a Scrum team.

You’ll learn just as much from your classmates.

Through the team building exercises, you’re strongly encouraged to engage with other classmates. I learned about their professional backgrounds and experiences on other Agile projects. My class included everyone from web developers to project managers. During the breaks, we discussed our approaches to testing and product launches. I left the class with new business cards, but also notes and diagrams on how to improve my own processes. I’ve never gained this peer-to-peer knowledge from a conference.

The credentials are an asset for business development.

Some organizations, like government contracting, encourage or even require employees to achieve a level of certification to maintain a competitive advantage when responding to proposals. Digital marketing requires less red tape, but a certification can display an understanding and expertise of process. These three letters will go a long way in establishing a trusted relationship with potential clients.

Once you pass your exam, you’re certified for up to two years. Scrum Alliance also provides advanced certifications to further expand your knowledge and gain new credentials. Next year, I’m planning on taking the Certified Product Owner Certification. Want to join me?

Interested in Learning More? 

If you’re interested in learning more about my experience, shoot me an email at Liz@isl.co. I promise this article was not sponsored by Scrum Alliance.