Why add a Workshop Day to the CSM course?

Apparently I am one of the few Scrum Alliance CSTs (Certified Scrum Trainers) who always adds a Workshop day (or 2) to the CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) course.

Why do I add the workshop day?

The simple reason is because the attendees demand it.

Honestly, before they have taken the course the attendees don’t really know to ask for it or not. And often, after they have taken the course and the workshop, they can’t compare — with or without the workshop day.

But, for example, I had a manager at a major corporation near NYC send his whole team to our NYC CSM+Workshop course this week. His reasons:
(a) he knew me from having taken a course with me last November (with a workshop), and
(b) I was the only CST he could find who had the workshop day.

Next, I want to give credit to a friend and colleague, Catherine Louis (also a CST), who made me add the Agile Release Planning Workshop. (I was originally skeptical.) So, it was her idea originally. Now, based on experience and attendee feedback I am a strong advocate.

Note: I still let attendees sign up only for the 2-day course. That is all that is required by Scrum Alliance to get a CSM.

Why do I consider the Workshop ‘necessary’?  Or maybe better: why do attendees find it so valuable?

I get a few answers that are, to me, fairly similar:

1. It makes the ideas real.

In the 2 course days, we talk and do exercises, but the exercises are never about the ‘real work’ that each person will return to on Monday.   Maybe similar to real work, but not their own real project or product. In the workshop day, we use a real project at each table.  Ideally this is a real project for all the members of the ‘team’ at that table. Then the team starts doing Scrum (or at least release planning in a Scrum context) with their real work.

And the real questions come up. And get resolved. Or at least they see that their worries are not as great as they had imagined.

2. The ideas stick.

An attendee yesterday said, “well, we need the first two days [the course days] because that gives us the ideas. But then we put the ideas into action on the third day.”

And by putting the ideas into action, the ideas stick better. And, having put them into action, even if limited action, you know that when you go back to the real world, you can do this new agile stuff. You have that added confidence.

It is reactions like these (the two points above are based on attendee reactions) that lead us to always strongly recommend the workshop.

Here is another discussion and another customer reaction about the workshop day.



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