Transcript: Scrum Alliance A-CSM and CSP-SM virtual programs with Cherie Silas

Tandem Coaching Academy Founder and Head Coach Cherie Silas, MCC, CEC, discusses the newly launched Scrum Alliance A-CSM and CSP-SM online programs.

Q: What can you tell us about the online self-paced Scrum Alliance A-CSM and CSP-SM programs Tandem Coaching Academy just launched.

Cherie Silas: Oh, these are great programs. They’re designed for people who like to dig in and kind of learn on their own.

For people who like to dig in and learn on your own, these are self-paced courses

So they’re self-paced courses where you sign up, you get to login to our online system, and you’re doing coursework. So there’s lessons there, some of its videos, some of it is reading, some of it is go practice this thing that you just learned with your team, and then come back and tell me about it.

Include a variety of activities: readings, videos, practicing what you learnt

So it’s designed for people who have a learning method that is more experiential, so they want to be able to read something or learn something and then go practice it and really build competency with this.

For those who prefer the experiential learning method

And then it’s also designed for people who have busy lifestyles that don’t always mesh up with the rest of the world.

People who have busy lifestyle will find these courses fit their schedule perfectly

And so if they need to learn at 2am, then they can learn at 2am because they have access to the work at that point.

Q: How long does it take to complete these A-CSM and CSP-SM classes and what are some activities that students take to complete it? What are some learning activities students will experience?

Cherie Silas: Some people finish it in a month, and some people actually finish it in three or four months. It’s up to them how long it takes. And what’s important is that as they’re learning, they’re actually implementing those learnings in practice.

You get to practice what you learn right away

But the big thing that I stress with these classes is it’s not about getting a certification. This is not intended to be a certification factory where they you just go in and click a few buttons and, “Yes, I’m an Advanced Certified Scrum Master.”

It is not about the certification you get, it is about the learnings

It’s really about the learning that they take. So in order to enhance that one, people submit their activities and their answers to their tests and stuff like that. And I actually manually grade every single one of them. So that way I’m able to look at them and learn what they’re learning.

All activities results are submitted online and graded manually by the course leader

And by the way, I’m learning a lot from my students. So I get to learn what they’re learning. And if I see things that don’t quite seem like, “maybe they can grasp this,” then I reach out to them and then we either set up a call, or they join one of the weekly mentoring sessions.

Weekly mentoring sessions are valuable opportunities to enhance knowledge

And we make sure that that’s a topic of discussion during that weekly mentoring session, so that they can really get the learning that they need and then go back into their workplace and re implement that and see what they can come up with, and then resubmit that exercise. So that way, we’re both assured that it’s more than just getting knowledge, it’s actually growing some competency along the way.

Q: How do the live mentoring sessions make this program different from other A-CSM or CSP-SM courses?

Cherie Silas: One of the things that makes it special is that the people who are in this class, so there’s this self paced learning. But there’s also the extra piece where I have mentoring sessions that are set up every week.

Live online mentoring sessions are an integral part of the learning process

And the people who are taking the class can join these mentoring sessions. In fact, they’re required to join a certain number of sessions. So they have to attend four sessions live, live virtual, so we get online just like this. And in those sessions, we’ve got a group of people who are all on this same learning journey.

Build a learning backlog with fellow students and learn from each other

And we build a backlog of what are the experiences that you’re having right now that you want to talk about. So some people will bring problems and challenges from their real world and we will discuss how others are handling them.

Solve together real-world problems and have a chance to learn from your mentor

It’s a mentoring session, so I give them my perspective and how I would handle it if I was in that situation. So we learn from one another. In those sessions, we also address any challenges with the learning material itself. And then we practice professional coaching.

Practicing professional coaching skills is the only way to get competency

Because in order to really gain this competency of professional coaching and bring it into the way you work, you really need to experience it and practice those skills. So we make that a part of those weekly sessions.

Q: How are students responding to your Scrum Alliance A-CSM and CSP-SM courses and mentoring sessions?

Cherie Silas: Most of the feedback has been that they were able to learn more in this type of program than they would have learned had they taken in a two-day class.

Learnings are more easily consumed than typical 2-day class

Because when you go to a two-day class, it’s like drinking from a firehose, right? It’s just like swoosh, you throw a bunch of information at people, and they only retain if you’re lucky 10%. So by doing things this way, they get to customize their learning experience to what they want.

Students experience multiple ways of learning

And the course is specifically designed so that people who are visual and audio learners, or there’s, you know, there’s videos and then there’s things to go read. And then there’s also the kinesthetic learning where you are actually practicing. So it hits all of those different learning methods.

Variety of learning methods ensures better understanding and knowledge retention

It teaches over time, so they can stop and digest. And there’s the live mentoring sessions with a CEC or a CTC who is there to guide you along your journey. So those are the big things that they’ve said.

The program provides face to face access to CEC or CTC mentor

The mentoring sessions have been really key part of it, because when else would they be able to sit down with a CEC or a CTC and say, “Hey, this is what I’m going through? Can you help me?” And so they’ve got that live access. And that’s been a really key part of their learning journey.

Q: Who should attend the Scrum Alliance A-CSM and CSP-SM virtual program and what are the prerequisites?

Cherie Silas: A-CSM is for people who have been a scrum master for at least a year, and have their CSM, those are prerequisites.

Scrum Alliance prerequisite requirements for A-CSM and CSP-SM apply

For the CSP Scrum Master, it’s going to be people who have been a Scrum Master for at least two years, and they have their Advanced CSM certification also. So outside of just the requirements of Scrum Alliance, I think people who need to attend this course are people who want a stronger learning journey and who are willing to commit to the work it takes to get that done.

Enroll if you want to have a more powerful learning journey

I’m not sure how else to say it, other than this course is not for the faint of heart. It’s not for people who just want a quick certification, they just want to do more of the, “Yeah, I was there, give me my certificate.” That’s really not going to happen with this program.

Commitment to learnings, grit, and perseverance are required

So if people are not willing to invest the time and learning for themselves, and they just want an easy path to a certification, this is definitely not the course for them. But if they want to learn and they want to dig deeper, then this may be the right course for them.

Q: Why did you create these A-CSM and CSP-SM programs in their current format and why is it important to you personally?

Cherie Silas: When I designed this program, I had a very specific scenario in mind. So I have a lot of compassion for people who have really busy lives. Because I had a really busy life. So men and women who have full time jobs, and many of those people are contractors, right?

I designed these programs for those who have busy lives, as I know what it means

So if they take a day off of work, they don’t get paid. So not only are they paying for their own training, but then they’re losing work. And what I noticed was that many of our advanced learning programs, first of all, there’s not a lot of them available worldwide. So if you if you can find one that you can afford, you have to add on top of it travel to be able to get there.

The program is designed to be accessible and affordable to many

So what I saw and the whole reason I built these courses was I saw that they were expensive. I saw that there was travel involved. I saw that people would have to take days off of work, and that they would have to leave their families in order to better educate themselves so that they could experience success in their career. And while yes, I understand that, that is an investment that needs to be made. I also understand that just because some people can make that investment, it doesn’t mean everyone can.

People should not be forced to choose between their family and their career

And I wanted to provide a way where people who were paying for their own and had busy lives and have families could still be in the running and get the education they needed, without compromising their lifestyle, without having to spend money that went beyond what they could afford, and then their family is then hurting. Or to be or to have to say, “Well, I can’t grow in my career because I can’t give up all these things.” So this program was designed with them in mind, I want them to be able to have something that you can afford.

I want people to be successful without negative impact on their families

I want them to have something that fits into their lifestyle. I want something that they can have that 20 years from now when their children grow up they’re not saying, “My parents cared more about work.” That’s awful that I’m crying. But that’s really important to me. I want people to be successful, but not at the detriment of their families. It’s not fair that we put people in that position.