#59. Neal Carty, a Business Solutions Consultant at Traction On Demand in Toronto asks:
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Is the Scrum Professional Product Owner certification relevant to Dynamics 365 projects? Welcome to the Amazing Apps show for Microsoft business applications makers who want to build amazing business applications that everyone will love. Hi there, I'm your host, Neil Benson. My goal on this podcast is to help you slash your project budgets, reduce your delivery timelines, mitigate technical risks, and create amazing, agile Microsoft Dynamics 365 and Power Platform applications. It's been a long time since we had a listener as Q&A episode on the show. I think it was back in Episode 42 when it was still called the Scrum Dynamics podcast when we had an episode about Scrum teams. In this episode, we've got a question, actually, it's a four-parter from Neil Carty. He's a business solutions consultant, at Traction on Demand, from Toronto. Neal left his question on the Amazing Apps voicemail service, which you can find at Customery.com and click on the 'Send Voicemail' button on the right-hand side. Let us know who you are, what you do and where you're from. Then ask your question. I'll do my best to answer as many of your questions as I can over the next couple of weeks. You'll find show notes for this episode, including links and a transcript at Customery.com/008. And just before Neal reads out his question, I wanted to say a quick congratulations to Michael Cross, senior consultant at eLogic from New York. Michael recently completed my Scrum for Microsoft Business Appstraining course and achieved his Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master certification. Good on you, Michael. OK, here's Neal Carty asking his questions about product owners and business applications. Hello, Neil Benson, this is Neal Carty speaking and I have a few questions about Professional Scrum Product Owner (or PSPO). Question one, what do you think about Professional Scrum Product Owner certification relative to Professional Scrum Master level one certification and also to Dynamics 365 projects? Question two, how would you recommend going about getting the knowledge before writing the PSPO certification exam? Question three, is there any way to accelerate the learning or avoid the high fees charged for the generic to date in-person courses? And finally, question four, can you mix certifications, for example, between Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance and does it matter? Thanks, Neil. Looking forward to hearing about your responses. Your first question, Neal, was about the Professional Scrum Product Owner certification compared to the Professional Scrum Master certification and their relevance for Dynamics 365 projects. So in Scrum, the product owner is responsible for maximizing the value of the product by prioritizing all the work done by the development team who build the product. In a Dynamics 365 project, that means it's the product owner's responsibility to collect all the requirements from the stakeholders and ensure those requirements are in the product backlog and are ordered by business value. They have to ensure there's a mutual understanding of the requirements within the development team and ensure that the development team receives feedback sprint over sprint. It's an important role, and in my experience, it's best when there's a senior leader from the business dedicated full-time to the product owner role. It's not the project sponsor, it's not a business analyst. It's a distinct responsibility in Scrum called a Product Owner. In my business applications projects, almost all of my product owner were first-time product owners. They had lots of experience running a department, being a manager and managing a team, but they had never been a product owner before and probably no experience working with Dynamics 365. Scrum training and certification for a first-time product owner is, therefore, a great idea, especially if it's tailored to product owners like the Professional Scrum Product Owner training and certification course.The second question was about how to acquire the knowledge for the Professional Scrum Product Owner exam. There's a lot of overlap between the knowledge required to achieve the Professional Scrum Product Owner and the Professional Scrum Master certification, which is kind of expected since they're both introductory assessments of your knowledge of the Scrum framework, they both cover your understanding of and the ability to apply the Scrum framework:
its values, events, artefacts and roles. They both cover developing people and teams, managing products with agility, the professional development and delivery of products, and evolving the agile organization. Compared to PSM, PSPO includes scaling Scrum, business strategy, product vision, engaging customers and stakeholders and evidence-based management. And there are a few areas of the PSM certification that are not usually part of people such as coaching self-organizing teams and continuous quality. So some small differences there between the courses and the topics you'll find in the exams.Scrum.org runs the Professional Scrum Product Owner training courses and certification. Meanwhile, Scrum Alliance runs Certified Scrum Product Owner training courses and certification. Very similar acronyms:
PSPO and CSPO. Both are two-day courses, they are available in person traditionally - these days they're also available online - they are normally live classes, and they cost between 1000 and 2000 USD. Your third part of your question was how to accelerate your learning and maybe avoid those high fees for generic in-person courses. For business applications Product Owners, I recommend the Scrum.org certification series like PSM I and PSPO I for a couple of reasons. One, because you don't have to take an official training course before you can set the certification assessment. You do with the Scrum Alliance and the Scrum Alliance's certifications expire after two years unless you pony up your renewal fee. If you feel like you've got sufficient product owner experience, you can register and sit Scrum.org's PSPO I exam at any time. It's 200 dollars per attempt (so it's not cheap) and you've got to answer 80 multiple choice questions in 60 minutes and achieve a passing score of 85 per cent.An alternative to taking the PSPO I training course could be to take my Scrum from Microsoft Amazing Apps course. It's got lots of relevant content for product owner as well as scrum master, and it's chock full of proven practices for Microsoft business apps professionals. It's got quizzes and there's a practice exam there, too. I'd also recommend reading at least two books. The two books I'd recommend if you're going to take the exam are the Professional Scrum Product Owner (the clue's in the name there); that's by Don McGreal and Ralph Jocham, and that was published by Scrum.org. And another book is Product Mastery:
From Good to Great Product owner by Geoff Watts. And I'll include links to both of those books in the show notes. And the fourth part of your question, Neal, was about mixing certifications between Scrum.org and Scrum Alliance. Yes, by all means, you can mix and match. If I've got the Certified Scrum Master and the Professional Scrum Master certifications from each of those organizations. Scrum.org is led by Ken Schwaber and the Scrum Alliance is led by Jeff Sutherland. They are the co-creators of Scrum. And although today they are distinct organizations, each with a slightly different focus on applying Scrum, their training courses and certifications are very similar and both highly respected. There are some other training and certification organizations out there, too, but none of them are led by Scrum.org co-founders and in my opinion, they're not as widely regarded. Thanks, Neal Carty, for your questions about product owners and Dynamics 365. Don't forget, you can find show notes for this episode, including links to those two books I mentioned and the certification and exam sites and a transcript as well by visiting Customery.com/008. And you can leave your questions about using an agile approach for building amazing business applications by visiting Customery.com then click on the Send voicemail buttons. I'd love to hear your question. We've had lots of great questions recently and I'll answer as many as I can in upcoming shows. That's it for now. Keep sprinting. See you later.