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Agile/Scrum for a self-taught developer?

Fabio Rosado
I'm The Flying Dev - flight attendant by day and self-taught developer by night. Founder and host of the Landing in Tech podcast.
・1 min read

I have browsing job offers for developers and a lot of those offers ask you to know/be/do Agile. Searching online provides a few articles that give a good idea of what is Agile and how to use it in software development.

I get the idea behind Agile and Scrum, it's a great way to manage a project, delivering incremental features within a certain time. It helps you become more productive and keep your projects tidy because you know exactly what to work on next.

The post The Beginner’s Guide To Scrum And Agile Project Management gives a good insight into Agile and the Scrum framework and how to implement it with Trello. But it assumes you are working as a team.

If you are working alone, how about the need to have a Product Owner and a Scrum Master, surely you can do all of it if the project is managed by you, but then the challenge lies in keeping yourself accountable which can somewhat destroy the whole method if you don't have enough discipline.

In essence, my question about Agile and Scrum is that if you are a self-taught developer, can you claim to know Agile if you follow the methods and the Scrum framework, but don't have any formal training/certification?

Discussion (3)

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ben profile image
Ben Halpern

can you claim to know Agile if you follow the methods

Yes. Maybe you don't know everything, but you've done your research. Don't mislead by saying you are certified, but claiming this as a skill is fine IMO. When asked, give an answer like "I've researched all about the methodology and have pulled out relevant pieces for my personal use because I like ascribing some order and goal setting to my work".

I'd hire that kind of person.

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Leighton Darkins

One very important thing to remember about agile as a methodology/philosophy is that it isn't prescriptive. Agile is a set of values that may or may not be applicable to a variety of situations - nothing is mandatory. You don't have to choose customer collaboration over contract negotiation for example, but it'd be better for everyone if you could.

You can very confidently join any team that works using agile principles after having read and appreciated the agile manifesto.

SCRUM (and frameworks like it) represent a significantly more prescriptive application of agile principles. It's in these frameworks that you'll start to run into hard and fast rules and roles. It can be super useful to understand what those roles might mean. But be prepared to find that every organization will sprinkle their own flavor on top of those rules and roles.

I could go on for days about why I think agile/SCRUM certification is for silly-bears. But I won't. All I'll say is that there's absolutely no need to be certified to work as a developer in a SCRUM/agile environment. Being familiar (even just in theory) about the principles and typical rules and roles is more than enough.

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Fabio Rosado Author

I appreciate your comments and opinions about this question Ben and Leighton, it sure made things more clear to me. I'll try to practice these methods and implement my own way to use scrum and hopefully it will be easier for me in the future when I have to work in a team that uses it