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For the first time since Agile became a necessary capability and skillset for leaders, we’re seeing fewer role-specific Agile jobs in the marketplace. That’s right, there are fewer role-specific Agile jobs in the market than previously.

This is because Agile skills have become such a major necessity that they’re now required for non-agile-specific roles like project managers, engineers, and executives. In fact, the need for agile skills is growing. Big time. This Scrum Alliance article references data from a recent joint study they conducted with the Business Agility Institute (BAI), “Skills in the New World of Work.” Thousands were surveyed from hundreds of companies, and the majority of companies said that the demand for Agile skills has increased over the past year. Indeed, nearly 70% reported that at least a plurality of their organization is expected to work using agile skills.

While the report found that Agile acumen (practical knowledge and experience) is seen as “a crucial skill within most roles and is the 2nd most demanded functional skill,” it noted that organizations find it difficult to recruit individuals with the right combination of skills.

How can you develop the right combination of skills to future-proof your career in the current climate? Keep reading to explore what it takes to succeed in the new world of work.

Employers Want Pi-Shaped Professionals

In addition to an overall increased demand for Agile skills, the Scrum Alliance and BAI study revealed a rising demand for “pi-shaped” employees. This means “organizations are now expecting individuals to have expertise in two (or more) primary skills alongside the breadth of complementary skills. For example, a ScrumMaster with deep agile AND technical expertise or a Manager with deep financial management AND coaching skills. The classic depiction of T-shaped skills (where the depth of the person’s primary role skillset is the upright of the ‘T’ shape, and the breadth of supporting skills represents the crossbar of the ‘T’) is now seen as insufficient.”

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The study points out that skills and roles are two different things and states, “The skills relating to coaching, product ownership, or scrum mastery are applicable to multiple roles; not just Agile Coaches, Product Owners, and Scrum Masters.”

Unfortunately, most of today’s workers aren’t prepared for the current shift in the job market because they have inadequate training. Their Agile “training” might have been the equivalent of a TikTok video or a blog post. And while some may have had training at work, it was most likely from someone without deep expertise.

To thrive in this new world of work, you must hold a growth mindset about your career and work hard to develop your capabilities as a pi-shaped Agilist. Make yourself more marketable to employers and stand out from the competition with proper training from expert instructors. Start with foundational Certified ScrumMaster (CSM) and Certified Product Owner (CSPO) courses, which cover baseline skills essential for any Agilist. Let’s dive deeper into all the benefits of holding both certifications.

The Benefits of CSPO Training for ScrumMasters

ScrumMasters are at the heart of creating collaborative teams. You understand the impact a high-performing team can have on a company and its bottom line, and how critical team cohesion is to creating products that customers love. As you advance, you also learn how to scale Scrum to teams of teams and how to lead these teams effectively in product creation.

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However, there can be a gap in your ability to influence across departments that can halt your intent to spread the usefulness of agile. You may be great at working at the team level, but do you know how to get buy-in from senior management and understand the business value, outcomes, and metrics that matter most to them? The Scrum Alliance and BAI study emphasized the importance of ScrumMasters and other practitioners having the ability to see the big picture and understand how agile can be used to achieve strategic goals.

Certified Scrum Product Owner training will teach you these skills. You’ll learn all about the “business side” of agile. To create the best products possible, on time and within budget, Product Owners work with, persuade, and even learn to say “no” to the C-suite and other senior leaders. These valuable techniques will help you scale Scrum, explain its value to the overall organization (not just within the product and delivery organizations), and influence senior leaders to adopt Scrum in the shared services organization to ensure a total Agile Transformation.

The Benefits of CSM Training for Product Owners

As a PO, your job is to create value for the enterprise by delivering products that your customers love. To accomplish this, it’s fundamental to align your team and prioritize work appropriately for them. You must balance the needs of the product itself with the demands of stakeholders to add more features, as well as the realities of the product team’s constraints. While you may sometimes feel like the rope everyone’s using to play tug-of-war, you also have the people skills to balance these competing interests, soothe hurt feelings, and deliver a diplomatic “no” when needed. Your primary focus will always be to create value for the enterprise, and completing CSM training will give you two distinct advantages to further your impact as a Product Owner.

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First, you’ll develop facilitation techniques that will enable you to succeed better in Scrum ceremonies like backlog refinement. You’ll do a better job of leading the product team to detail the impact of each item and gain more clarity on its relevancy, priority, and estimated time to complete. We’ve all been in backlog grooming sessions where the team is disengaged and gives vague answers that they hope will satisfy management so they can get back to their desks more quickly. With ScrumMaster skills, you’ll be more prepared to engage the team and have better data insights for supporting stakeholders and predicting the future of your product.

Second, if you work in an enterprise environment, you’re probably already involved in quarterly planning. Not only does this involve having good data and sound judgment in understanding what to report and what will be most relevant and helpful for other teams and stakeholders, but you also need to have great presentation skills. Certified ScrumMaster training will teach you a variety of techniques to engage your audience. And if you find presenting to a group nerve-wracking, the course can help with that, too. With a suite of tools to help you get your message across, a CSM course is a solid investment.

Again, Agile acumen is the 2nd most demanded functional skill according to the Scrum Alliance and BAI study. Agile acumen is seen as crucial within most roles and includes ScrumMastery skills, which are applicable to multiple roles, not just ScrumMasters.

The Benefits of CSM and CSPO Training for Other Roles

Whether you pursue an advanced Individual Contributor role or hope to move into a Management position, there are many benefits to learning the soft skills that CSM and CSPO training provide. A CSPO course will teach you how to work effectively with the C-suite and other senior leadership, as the role is generally more strategic. Ultimately, the CSPO will help people understand product strategy and explore techniques for transforming customer needs into the actual product. A CSM course will help you learn excellent facilitation and negotiation skills to run effective meetings and build great team relationships. It will give you an understanding of how to think about accelerating operations and improving flow in your organization.

These two courses cover a baseline of skills essential for anyone working in an agile environment or hoping to pursue a career as an advanced agilist (e.g., as an Agile Coach). If you’re considering pursuing Agile coaching or training as a career path, completing both CSM and CSPO is often the first step in training for these roles. The coach or trainer should intimately know the roles of the ScrumMaster, Developer, and Product Owner. Understanding their skills and challenges is critical for becoming a competent coach or trainer and will help you gain the trust of those you work with as you pursue this new career path.

Take CSM and CSPO Training Today

To truly understand the scope of Agile and advance your career as an Agile practitioner, you need both Certified ScrumMaster and Certified Scrum Product Owner training. If you’ve already completed a CSM or CSPO course, take the other one. If you haven’t taken either and are wondering which one to start with, this blog can help. The bottom line? They’re better together. At Hyperdrive, you can even bundle both courses during checkout and save over 75%! Don’t wait to make yourself more marketable. Put yourself on the path to becoming a pi-shaped Agilist today.

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