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Sacred Cows?

Mike Cottmeyer Chief Executive Officer
Reading: Sacred Cows?

I have to say, I’ve been a little surprised by some of the responses to my last post on Scrum Certification. For the record, I’d like to restate my position as simply and with as few words as I possibly can:

1. Scrum is a simple framework for empirical process control. That is why it is so effective.

2. Scrum does not tell us how to write code or how to be good product owners. It is up to us to bring our knowledge and experience in ways that are unique to our context.

3. I do not believe it is right to offer certification when there is not standard or a published set of competencies. We should not certify more than Scrum is willing to include in its body of knowledge.

I am all for holding classes that teach us how to be better developers and better product owners, and even better ScrumMasters. I do not believe this training should be called certification.

That is my point. If my point makes you angry, just remember… sacred cows make the best hamburgers!

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Comments (6)

  1. David Wright

    "sacred cows make the best hamburgers!"… I am glad I dropped by just to see that line.

  2. Mike Cottmeyer


    See my most recent post for more on this. The question isn't if developer practices are forming within the Scrum community, the question is if they SHOULD.

    As I understand it, right now dev practices are NOT part of Scrum. If that is true, while I realize that some folks are talking about it, what is there to certify under the Scrum banner?

    I think the answer is nothing.

  3. Mike Cottmeyer

    David… do a Google Image search for the phrase Sacred Cows. There are some sites selling t-shirts with that phrase on it. I had to work it in somehow!

  4. Sylvain


    I totally agree with you, perhaps it's just a question of money… Scrum (and Agility) seems to become a very good way to make money…
    But for me it can be very dangerous for all the community… Indeed, "pseudo-agile" (everything but agile) companies will hire people who have the CSx because it sounds very cool, it's fashion to be "agile"… but, it's not with a two day certification that we can make good and reliable software… so unfortunately Scrum (and agility) will be accused…
    As a consequence, I love groups like "Agile Skills Project", witch I think are very pragmatic.
    To conclude, Scrum is great, Lean is great, good software engineering practices are great, and I think we have to make a good mix and adapt them to make reliable and usable software.

    PS: I'm a french guy, so I apologize for my poor english writing… I hope you understand what I mean…

  5. Mike Cottmeyer

    Thanks Sylvain. I could tell there was an accent but your point is coming through very clearly.

    When I first got into the agile space, I was a purist. I felt like if we were in it for money, that was the wrong reason. Now I realize that it is IMPOSSIBLE to put the necessary time and energy into this without an economic driver. It is okay to make money.

    That said, the title of this series started out as something like "you can't have your cake and eat it too". Well, all I hope for is some intellectual consistency in what we are certifying. Either Scrum has dev practices or it doesn't. Either it is a simple framework or a more extensive set of "best practices".

    I can live with it either way.

    BTW – I am a big tent agile guy too. Scrum, XP, AUP, Lean, and Kanban are all part of the tools I think we need to run really effective agile projects.

    Thanks for all the great comments.


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