I've just finished a 2-day training course with Mike Cohn, with the grandiose title of "Certified Scrum Master". It covers a basic introduction to Scrum, and details of how to implement the process into a company: roles, responsibilities, processes, etc. The format was very participative, with Mike setting frequent exercises that demonstrate aspects of self-organisation or collaboration, and got us thinking about issues which might affect Scrum teams.

We've been using Scrum for over a year now and I've been grokking this agile stuff personally since 2004, so I was pretty confident with the introductory side of things - but still came away with a load of tips, ideas and practices from Mike which I'm looking forward to trying out. I'm also thinking of trying to divorce our release planning from sprint planning a bit more - doing broad estimates for the former in story points, and finer-grained task estimates during sprint planning in hours.

All very interesting stuff, and particularly good to have a range of folks in the class: from different types of companies (startups to the QA departments of banks), with different levels of expertise and clearly different perspectives and needs. Our table exchanged cards at the end of the two days, it'll be interesting to see how much of a support group we can provide for one another when we take what we've learned home :)

Next stop for me is the follow-on qualification, Certified Scrum Practitioner. I'm actually ambivalent of the value of CSM myself, as it doesn't involve much in the way of tests or practice. It gives a great grounding, but I think that (as with so many things) the only chance to learn this stuff is by doing. But the CSP qualification involves having a years experience and being able to write cogently about real-world application of Scrum - something I feel able to do on paper as well as on this site :) As a small business, sometimes we talk to people who want reassurance of our ability to deliver; perhaps a certification of some sort can help here. Plus CSP seems to be a slightly more exclusive club - I counted about 35,000 registered CSMs on the Scrum Alliance site, but only 500 or so CSPs worldwide.

If you get a chance, I thoroughly recommend getting to one of Mike's courses.