The popularity of Scrum has increased enormously through digitalisation. As an agile methodology Scrum enables teams to self-organize. This gives developers more power over the decision how to develop software. This lack of choice was one big drawback when using the waterfall model, where developers are only carry out tasks. At the same time, this leads to more pressure because developers have to finalise and release often.
Much of this pressure is self-made. Companies underestimate how much they have to invest in order to enable the power of agility. Developing software self-organized in a team requires a lot more than only executing tasks and developers have to be more committed into their project. The requisitions are higher and the necessary skills are more widely diversified than in traditional project environments. Developers have to understand the Scrum framework, work in a team, do the testing, create an software architecture, write clean code, review the created product, keep documentation updated, and also regularly should do refactoring of their own source code.
A look at these requisites makes it obvious. In Scrum projects developers need many skills. Remarkable is that other roles of the Scrum framework have a much higher visibility. Anyone into Scrum knows about the importance of the Scrum Master and many know how important a good Product Owner is. Both roles are often discussed. And really important they are, but in the end the developers will transform the backlog into a releasable product. And the quality of the product only depends on their skills and experience.
Good, better, agile
So it is even more surprising that when selecting developers, too little focus on how they fit in agile Scrum environments and teams. Closing gaps and improving knowledge often is also given less or no attention. And agile does not mean to act spontaneous, unplanned and unprepared. Even when using Scrum, software does not develop itself, and even agile developers need to know what they are doing, and when and how they should do it.
The qualification of the developers is a key factor for Scrum projects to deliver fast and with high quality. A team that lacks the proper skills will lose its motivation and the results will be below expectations.
A look into the subject areas of the Professional Scrum Developer shows which knowledge areas are important for a Scrum Developer. The list is long and it contains advanced disciplines that in traditional development environments would be staffed with a Senior Developer rather than a Junior.
It will pay off
To invest in qualified Scrum Developers is no failure. It pays off to ensure that every role in a Scrum team is staffed with the same standards and quality in mind. The motivation of such a team will higher and it will grow to be more than its individual members.
Organizations such as Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance may help with qualifying employees. They have a high interest to improve the reputation of Scrum developers and offer suitable trainings and certifications. Scrum Alliance calles the training and certification Certified Scrum Developer® (CSD) and at Scrum.org you have to look for the Professional Scrum Developer™ (PSD) certification. Content and requisitions are equal for both organisations.
Uwe M. Schirmer
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