Kitee Fu is a manager in the IT-commerce services division at Robert Walters in Hong Kong.
How do I become a Scrum consultant?
I work as an in-house product development manager for a multinational software company in Hong Kong. Recently the company brought in an external consultant who trained the whole team in Agile and Scrum and worked with the managers on their leadership. I would love to do what this guy does one day – go from company to company and work with software teams to make their development processes more effective, whether using Agile, Scrum or other frameworks. How might I go about this? Do I just need to take some courses or are there skills or experience I need to build up first?
When moving into a consulting role of this nature, a proven track record and relevant experience working in a similar industry or environment is highly desirable.
Your current company is a good place for you to gain knowledge and build experience, as it is running on an Agile and Scrum framework. This will enable you to see things from a client’s perspective and speak their language when you become a coach or consultant in future. If possible, ask your managers if you can be assigned to projects in which you can work more closely with the consultant or coach.
Continuous learning is vital in any industry, but in such a technology- and process-driven field, it’s important to stay on top of the newest trends and practices. If there is something you don’t fully understand, your capacity as consultant or coach would be fairly limited. If there is a short course that could help, take it now.
It is also necessary for you to keep abreast of latest trends in technology, and take courses to get the appropriate certifications. Look up the job descriptions of an Agile or Scrum coach so that you know what the basic requirements are.
Trade magazines and conferences also offer a good chance for you to gain exposure and keep up-to-date in the market. Continuously improving your skills will only help your career prospects.
You could also consider joining a consulting company. Speak to firms about possible entry-level jobs where you can later step up to a consulting or coaching position. Note that, in addition to specialists, firms also look for consultants with multiple skills that can fulfil more than one role. For example, they may want to combine the skills of a business analyst with those of an application support professional.
Apart from acquiring technical skills, you should also be updating or refining your project management, presentation and communication skills. You need to be a creative thinker who can provide alternatives to existing or proposed solutions.
You should also be proactive, dynamic and have the desire to make a difference, as well as have strong business knowledge. As a consultant, you must be able to understand the detail but also be able to take a big-picture approach.
This article appeared in the Classified Post print edition as How do I become a Scrum consultant?