Monday, 28 March 2011

Certified Scrum Professional

Chances are you’ve never heard of the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) certification, you’ve most likely heard of the other certifications – Scrum Master, Scrum Developer, Scrum Product Owner, Scrum Coach, Scrum Trainer but the CSP seems to not have had as much publicity which is a shame.

So you’re probably asking what is the CSP? well the Scrum Alliance has this to say:

“Taking a course introduces you to the basic concepts, practices, and principles you need to fulfill your role on the Scrum team. But there are certain things about an agile approach like Scrum that are only learned through time, experience, and continous learning. If you are an active CSM, CSPO, or CSD who has reached that next level of experience and expertise in the art of Scrum, share that accomplishment with others by applying for a Certified Scrum Professional credential.”

So its a certification that is based on actual experience with Scrum, not a 2 day course about concepts, you need to show that you can and have applied the concepts and principles and to me this is far more valuable than a certificate for attending a 2 day course.

I believe more should be made of this certification as to a potential employer this should show that the person they are looking at knows about Scrum and has shown that they have implemented it on a project (or projects).

My application

So following on from my Certified Scrum Master course I applied for the CSP, I met all the prerequisites (have existing certification and at least 1 year of active Scrum practice), so I downloaded and completed the application form where I had to provide details of my experience with Scrum and how it had been used plus a  few questions relating to the concepts & principles behind scrum itself.

My only issue with the application process was that the form was in Word and used word fields for the area’s which gives the impression that you should put your details in these fields, which I did, but when you get to the end of the form it tells you that you have to print it off, sign it, scan it in and mail it back.  I do have to ask if in the 21st centaury can we not come up with a better way of dealing with this?

I then submitted this application which goes through a process of being reviewed by the Certification Review committee (which in my case involved 2 separate people reviewing the application) and I was recently told that I had succeeded in my application.

This means I am now a fully fledged Certified Scrum Professional having been recognised by a professional body of having real world experience with Scrum.  My hope is that will strengthen my CV and stand me in good stead with current and future employers and if along the way I am able to publicise the CSP a bit more and raise peoples awareness of the certification then so much the better.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Why Internet Explorer will never be a ‘cool’ browser

So IE9 was released last week and there was a flurry of tweets & blog posts about its problems and this got me thinking about IE as a browser and why, IMHO, it is unlikely that IE will ever be a cool browser.

So lets break the problems down in much the same way that the blog posts & tweets did: Installation, upgrade cycle, previous versions, performance, display.


Many tweets and a few blog posts complained about the need for a reboot once installation was complete or that when they came to install IE9 that it requested a number of apps be shut down before proceeding.

The reason behind this as far as I can make out is the tight integration between IE9 and hardware via the OS, which effectively means that your new shiny web browser is really an extension of the OS its running on rather than a separate application.

This then is the reason that you have to close programs, or at worst reboot, and in fact in a positive light the fact that for many people they only have to close programs rather than reboot could be seen as a big step forward.

Upgrade Cycle

Now there’s a couple of reasons that I can see that will mean IE won’t ever have an upgrade cycle like Chrome or Firefox, the first one we’ve touched on already being the tight coupling to the OS the other reason is the use of IE in the enterprise.

So if we have a browser coupled to the OS making changes is going to be difficult since any change to the underlying OS due to a patch could effect you and also something you do in developing the browser could cause a problem in the OS.  This then leads to a slower development cycle as you need to ensure everything is ok as you develop so that you don’t end up with an unstable application or worst OS.

Within the enterprise space I would bet fairly heavily that IE is the dominant browser and in this IE could be a victim of its own success. Most enterprises don’t move versions of software very quickly as they will want to make sure that all software that they have which uses the browser isn’t broken by implementing a new version, and in my own experience I’ve actually seen software that works with IE6 but not with IE7 or above.  What this can then lead to is problems with other software having to be upgraded/altered before a new browser can be rolled out which can be expensive which can lead to no change at all.

Since Microsoft listen to their bigger enterprise customers it may have an impact on the release cycles since as much as we geeks bitch about it we don’t actually contribute to the profits in a big way like the medium & large enterprises do.

Previous Versions

More than one blog pointed out that there are now 4 different versions of IE ‘in the wild’ but IE is not alone in this as Firefox also has 4 and I’m willing to bet there are other browsers out there that still have older versions.  Look hard enough and you’ll probably find an IE4 somewhere.

There will always be older versions of applications be they web browsers or any other software it is a decision to be made by a business as to what they will support, IE is not alone in this so I don’t think any blame can be attached to it.


The speed of any of the browsers is a hotly contested thing and IE9 was touted as being very fast and I will admit I never found IE9 to be any faster, then I found this article which shows a decent comparison between Chrome, Firefox & IE9 and explained why.

It would seem that if you installed the 32-bit version of IE9 you got the new JavaScript engine but if you installed the 64-bit version you got the IE8 JavaScript engine.

Now I think that this is pretty unforgivable, if you’re going to release a new app with a new JavaScript engine to make it fast it should be supported on all versions, if not then why release that particular version? (thinking of 64-bit here)

So I’m going to be uninstalling my 64-bit version and installing the 32-bit version to see how fast IE9 appears to be for me.


There weren’t many people complaining about display issues but this article showed that for some people IE still isn’t complying with standards or even a modern browser but I haven’t seen many blogs or tweets that are specifically complaining about these display issues.


So why won’t IE be a cool browser?

  1. Always likely to need a reboot due to tight coupling to OS
  2. Tightly coupled to OS which means slower release cycles
  3. Used in larger enterprises so pressure from them to not upgrade so quickly
  4. Some display issues and question marks over if its support of standards

Does all this mean IE9 won’t be a success? of course not! IE9 will be a success because most of the people on the internet aren’t geeks and if they are using windows they will update when Windows update pushes the app to them.

Having said that, it still doesn’t make it cool.