CSM – from a Psychology Graduate’s Perspective

To quickly introduce myself; Hi, I’m James! I began working with AWA at the beginning of September after graduating with a degree in Psychology this past Summer. Having no background in Agile or Scrum, I was given the opportunity to attend one of our Certified Scrum Master courses with Tobias Mayer last week. The aim was to introduce me to the working world of Agile through the eyes of an AWA learner and give me some proficiency with the Scrum framework.

The Psychology in Scrum

Long story short – I had a fantastic time! I hence wanted to share a write-up of my experience, coming from someone with a background in Psychology, and who was truly getting their first real exposure to Agile and Scrum through this course

The psychological phenomena that went into building the Scrum framework were of the greatest interest to me, as concepts such as task-switch cost and the number 7+/-2 were both topics I had covered in my studies. I even did an experiment and lab report on the task-switch cost in my second year! It was extremely encouraging for me to see that Scrum was an approach to product development and working in teams that had clearly been built on empirical research. Having a basis in the scientific method allowed me to think about Scrum differently, more akin to a Psychological model than solely a system for software development. Much like how the Working Memory Model is a model for short-term memory, Scrum is a model of how to make an effective team with positive outcomes.

Learning by Doing

Tobias, who taught the course, was clearly astute in practical psychology and used this to deliver an incredibly engaging learning experience. We were rarely sat down for long; often involved in activities or playing games which were both fun and designed to experientially demonstrate the processes and effects being discussed.

Some games also simulated Scrum teams at work so that we could experience the Scrum framework in an applied practice setting. It was very much a learn by doing philosophy. Furthermore, a strong emphasis on the use of metaphor, which can be a powerful learning mechanism, encouraged the reformulation of concepts, to think about them in different ways, ways that had meaning to us, and thereby really cemented them in the mind.

Ubiquitous Scrum

The opportunity to experience Scrum in action was further enhanced by the whole course being structured within a Scrum framework. The learning objectives were broken down into user stories that were completed in several sprints throughout the two days. An omnipresent Scrum board oversaw the course so that by the end we were all extremely familiar with the system.

Get your Taste of Scrum

It was a thoroughly compelling couple of days and I would recommend the experience to anyone interested in the world of Agile or seeking certification for a Scrum Master role. If what I’ve described from this course has piqued your interest, we’ve got plenty more Certified Scrum Master courses with Tobias over the next few months in London. Check them out here.

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