May 31, 2024

Everything You Need to Know to Become a Scrumptious Scrum Expert in Switzerland

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This job series is part of all Project Management jobs in Switzerland series, check our other focus on the blog

What are the tasks and responsibilities of a Scrum Expert?

So, you are passionate about agile methodologies and dream of becoming a Scrum expert? This is what this scrumptious (sorry, we couldn’t help ourselves) job is all about:

You will guide and coach teams “the Scrum way”, which means:

  • facilitating daily scrum meetings, 
  • sprint planning, 
  • sprint reviews to ensure the smooth progress of projects, 

You will create and maintain the product backlog, track team performance, and ensure that the team adheres to Scrum principles. You will also work closely with product owners to define project goals and requirements, and with team members to promote self-organization and cross-functionality. 

What to expect as a Scrum professional?

On a day-to-day basis, you will guide and coach teams on how to use Scrum and Agile practices effectively to deliver high-quality products in a timely manner.

You'll play a crucial role in removing any obstacles that might hinder the team's progress. This could involve liaising with stakeholders, managing resources, or resolving conflicts within the team. 

You are also expected to foster a collaborative environment where open communication is encouraged. Your role involves promoting continuous improvement by conducting regular retrospectives and implementing changes based on feedback. 

Your expertise in Scrum should also extend to training and mentoring individuals or teams who are new to this methodology. 

What are the myths about Scrum Experts?

If you are new here, we hold the nickname “Mythbusters moonwork” for a reason. Let’s expose the most stubborn ones on Scrum:

1. Myth: Scrum Experts Must Have a Technical Background - Wrong. While it can be beneficial to understand software development or other technical fields, it's not a requirement. The role of a Scrum Expert is more about facilitating communication, managing resources, and ensuring the team adheres to the principles of Scrum.

2. Myth: Scrum Experts Are Just Project Managers - Also wrong! There are similarities between the two roles, but they are not the same. A project manager typically has full control over a project and makes most of the decisions. In contrast, a Scrum Expert acts as a facilitator and coach for the team, helping them self-organize and make decisions on their own. 

3. Myth: All Scrum Experts Are Certified - Certification can provide validation of one's knowledge and skills in Scrum methodologies, but it's not always necessary to be an effective Scrum Expert (more on that later). Experience with agile teams and a proven track record of successfully managed projects will trump theoretical knowledge.

What are the competencies required for a Scrum Expert?

1. Deep Understanding of Scrum and Agile Methodologies: This shouldn’t come as a surprise. A Scrum Expert should have a comprehensive knowledge of Scrum principles, practices, and theory. They should also be familiar with other Agile methodologies and how they can be implemented in different projects. 

2. Leadership and Facilitation Skills: A Scrum Expert must excel in facilitating Scrum events such as daily stand-ups, sprint planning, sprint reviews, and retrospectives, guiding teams efficiently through these processes to maintain momentum and focus on goals. This also includes conflict resolution, facilitating discussions, decision-making, and promoting teamwork.

3. Excellent Communication Skills: You will need to effectively communicate with various stakeholders, including team members, product owners, and upper management. You should be able to articulate complex ideas clearly and persuasively because this is what you will do on a daily basis.

Honourable mentioning:

4. Coaching and Mentoring Abilities: This involves the capacity to mentor and coach not only the Scrum team but also stakeholders and other organizational members in Agile and Scrum practices, helping them understand and effectively implement these methodologies.

What is the future of Scrum?

The demand for Scrum Experts will likely increase in various industries in Switzerland, such as finance, healthcare, education, and government sectors. Swiss organizations might also increasingly adopt hybrid frameworks that combine Scrum with other methodologies like Kanban or Lean. This approach allows for greater flexibility and can be more suited to complex projects that do not fit neatly into a single methodology. As more Swiss companies adopt Scrum, there will be a growing need to scale these practices across larger teams and more complex projects. Frameworks like SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework) or LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) may become more popular.

Additionally, with the rise of AI and automation, some aspects of project management could be automated. However, the human element - such as facilitating communication between team members and resolving conflicts - cannot be replaced. So, your job is safe! ;)

How to best start a career in Scrum?

First and foremost, gain experience in project management and software development. Understanding the basics of Agile methodologies is crucial, but you should have experience working in an Agile environment and be familiar with different Agile frameworks. Practice over theory here!

If you go the certification route, your choice should align with your career goals, role within Scrum, and the specific needs of the organization or team. The most recognised and respected ones, are:

  1. Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) – Offered by the Scrum Alliance, the CSM certification is one of the most popular and widely recognized certifications. It focuses on the fundamentals of Scrum, including team roles, events, and artifacts, as well as the principles and processes.
  2. Professional Scrum Master (PSM) – Provided by Scrum.org, the PSM certification comes in three levels (PSM I, PSM II, and PSM III). These certifications are highly respected and indicate a deep understanding of Scrum practices, values, and principles. PSM I starts with the basics, while PSM II and III delve into more advanced knowledge and practical applications.
  3. Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) – For those focusing on the product owner role within Scrum, the CSPO certification by the Scrum Alliance is highly regarded. It covers aspects such as managing product backlogs, stakeholder management, and product vision.
  4. SAFe Scrum Master (SSM) – Offered by Scaled Agile, this certification is focused on applying Scrum in the context of the Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe). It's particularly relevant for organizations that are implementing Agile at scale.
  5. Professional Scrum Product Owner (PSPO) – Similar to the PSM, the PSPO certification from Scrum.org comes in different levels and focuses on the product owner role, covering advanced topics in product backlog management, ROI, and product strategy.

How to find the best Scrum Expert jobs that suit you?

Most job listings will come with specific requirements. Apply for job openings where your skills, interests and experience most closely align with the job requirements, and you have a competitive advantage.

Also, don’t send the same resume and cover letter for each application. Tailor them to emphasize the skills and experiences that align with the company's specific needs in Scrum and Agile practices. Yes, this requires more effort, but it will significantly enhance your chances of appearing as the ideal candidate for the role. Consider creating a video application with moonwork to stand out from other applicants. Especially in a role that requires strong communication and leadership skills like a Scrum Expert, a video application can showcase your interpersonal abilities and Agile knowledge effectively.