A virtual Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) in 2020

December 18, 2020
Scrum Master

The world has changed dramatically in 2020, there is no disputing that. We have all had to flex our collective adaptability muscles, including businesses like us. Before the pandemic, we had become known for our interactive and lively training classes. But how do we perform this in an online environment, that is traditionally non-interactive?  

Our virtual Scrum Master simulation

In our simulations we start by setting the scene and grouping attendees into small teams of 5 or 6 people. Here is the scenario that we have been using recently:

As a creative team, you are looking to break into Vancouver's film industry. Your team is competing with the other teams in the class to get the funding for your film idea. You will be pitching a movie idea to CSM Studios based on combining a famous movie franchise with a movie or series genre.

The team will pitch 1-5 picture boards (or slides) and has to make a compelling case for your movie based on character, plot and audience appeal. Your team will be working on this in short Sprints and will be expected to review your work at the end of each Sprint. You don't know how many Sprints you have.

Using no more than 5 story boards, you have complete creative freedom to deliver your pitch.  

Within the scenario that is presented, attendees immediately begin working in their newly formed Scrum teams and using the basics of the Scrum framework. Much like a real team, members are from different disciplines and backgrounds. Some members may be technical people, artistic, or amazing story tellers. The team will have to manage their collective skills and play to the strengths of the team.  

With the compressed time period of a 2-day course, each Sprint is 10 minutes but still has all the elements of a full Sprint, like Sprint Planning, Sprint Reviews, a Product Backlog and a Definition of Done.  

At the end of each Sprint, teams present their product increment to investors (their peers and instructors). Teams will also create a functioning Backlog to work from. They create User Stories, to know what to deliver next, each of which have Acceptance Criteria.

The creativity that groups show in the presentations is extraordinary and sometimes surprising.  

Vision statement example

Why simulations and group work?

We learn best by doing. When you actively participate in a learning process, it becomes engrained in your mind and helps you retain information. People often have higher recall when there is an experience attached to information they are attempting to retain.  

We work really well on small teams. By creating smaller teams, everyone gets a chance to speak and each person’s voice gets heard. Members get to express their opinion, creating a higher personal investment in their work, and almost instantly start to connect with their newly formed teams.  

"I really liked how interactive this training was and how you were able to pull in examples from your own workplace to brainstorm and work through certain exercises. I went from thinking that I understood Agile and Scrum to realizing that I really didn't know as much as I thought! Now, I feel that I have all of the information to take back to my team!"

Participants are also challenged and work outside their traditional comfort zones. They start to feel safe in their groups and begin having fun, and this happens fast. With limited constraints or rules, creativity gets to shine, which creates a tonne of energy within the groups.  

Main characters example

Group activities and simulations do this much better than presentations where students are being talked at. By working with others, you are forced to collaborate and actively interact during your learning experience. This why creating a dynamic environment is at the core of our training philosophy, even when online.

If this sounds like a positive learning experience that you might like to get involved with, visit our training page for our upcoming courses. All courses are delivered in a similar format.  

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