CSM Course + Workshop: Why?

My colleague Catherine Louis got me, reluctantly at the time, to do a workshop at the end of a Certified ScrumMaster course, and then a client wanted the workshop with the course. (I have done many courses with workshops since then.) Now I am ‘hooked.’ As I have said before, the feedback from participants is always that the workshop portion (one or two days) is essential, fun and it solidifies the learning.

So, now I am trying to get everyone who does not know to ‘see the light.’

This is actually not great for me personally. I make less money per day with the workshop. It means more days away from my family. I am too busy already, but still it is the right thing to do.

I have described elsewhere (here) what happens in the workshop. I won’t repeat that in this post.

What I am adding below is an email from a client (he is a manager) to a potential client, describing why he always pays extra for the workshop. (Well, I not sure he *wants* to pay extra for the workshop, but he does, and, as you will read, he does want the workshop.)


Hi Alex,

We have been going through a large scale Agile transformation for the past 18 months and have had many of our teams attend CSM and CSPO trainings with Joe. I highly recommend him. His courses are highly educational, interactive and fun. I always receive great feedback from people who attend his courses.

My rationale for a four-day course over a two-day course is as follows;
[Ed. Note: ‘four-day course’ means two days of CSM/CSPO course + two days of workshop]

If you read about Scrum on Wikipedia, it seems simple enough, actually pretty obvious. And it is, but there is significantly more detail when you actually start working this way. Going to Agile/Scrum is a significant change in the development cultural, it is a transformation that doesn’t happen overnight — it will take weeks, months or even years depending on the size of your organization. Most of the people in my teams have been doing software development in Waterfall for 10 to 15 years, so this is a big change for them. More training is better than less in this context.

The four-day CSM/CSPO course is two days of theory followed by two days of ‘hands-on’ workshop for the teams. I think the workshop is the best part of the course; it brings the people together as teams and gets them going in the right direction. The bulk of the time is spent planning their first Sprint, but it happens in an environment where they are coached, can ask questions and get professional/experienced feedback and advice. Teams leave the workshop with a common vision and a shared understanding of the next set of things they will work on — really cool stuff.

Dave (at a large telecom company)
[Identifying details withheld; he has a ‘day’ job too, although he was kind enough to write this note. He probably would correspond with you if needed.]


Another note: The two days of course are not pure theory (as the note above might imply to some), but as Dave says, they are comparatively ‘theory’ and the two workshops days are, comparatively, practice.

The first two days include some theory and they include some experiential exercises that are not real work to the participants. Some of the exercises in the course might have come from real work at another firm, but they are not ‘real work’ at the participants’ firm(s).

By contrast, the workshop uses live ammo, so to speak. As much as possible, participants are doing real work at their firm. At the very minimum, the work is real work to the Product Owner for each team/table.

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