Agile Training

Agile is a Mindset which adopts tools and techniques that help you develop better products. By reducing waste in the development process, your products will more effectively meet your business and customer needs. We can offer you and your team coaching and mentoring to assist you on your journey.

Project Cooks delivers training licensed from SoftEd. We are currently offering Agile Fundamentals, Agile Project Management, Agile Product Ownership, and Agile Facilitation and Iteration Management.

We think this is the best introduction to Agile course in the world! Designed and built in Australia/New Zealand, it is offered in a variety of countries including the USA, Australia, Singapore, NZ and India.

This ICAgile accredited course examines the roles and responsibilities of team members working on Agile projects, explores the specific practices which are used on Agile projects, explains the theory and concepts behind the Agile approach and prepares team members to be immediately productive working in an Agile environment.

SoftEd’s “Agile Fundamentals” is a proven, world-class course: As of late 2014, it has run over 250 times around the world.

During three dynamic days, participants will gain a comprehensive understanding of what to expect on an Agile project and the skills needed to be effective.

The course covers the philosophy, values, principles and background of the Agile methodology. It explains the flow, the processes and the environment of an Agile project, giving participants an overall understanding of the Agile world and the tools and techniques used in delivering value. It presents a structure for defining value and ensuring the project delivers the right product at the right time for the right customer. All participants receive a  pack of Agile Sizing Cards.

This course is not tied to a particular tool.

Certification:

 IC Agile Accredited course

This course aligns with the Foundation learning objectives of the International Consortium for Agile’s “Fundamentals of Agile” track. Successful completion of the course results in the participant becoming a “Certified ICAgile Professional”. For more information go to www.icagile.com

PMI® Accredited Course

PMI_REPThis course is accredited with the Project Management Institute (PMI®) for 21 PDUs (Professional Development Units). The PMI® course code is: AFD26092014X

More About This Course

Intended for:

  • Team members starting out in Agile projects
  • Project managers entering the Agile environment
  • Managers of teams involved in Agile development
  • Consultants looking for a solid grounding in Agile software development

Prerequisites: There are no prerequisites for this course.

Learning outcomes: By the end of this course you will be able to understand:

  • The background to participating in an Agile project
  • The roles and responsibilities of a typical Agile project team
  • The various tools available to Agile teams to facilitate the project
  • How Agile teams cooperate and collaborate to deliver business value
  • The important interpersonal skills Agile environments encourage and foster
  • How discipline and standards contribute to agility

Content:

  • The genesis of Agile – where these approaches came from and why they work
  • The Agile lifecycle and iterations
  • Roles on an Agile project
  • The phases of an Agile project
  • Project initiation activities – making sure we start right, focus on value, and build the right product
  • User stories
  • Agile tools – big visible charts, things on walls, velocity, burn-up and burn-down
  • The ‘pulse’ of an Agile project
  • Agile without iterations – Kanban flow
  • Supporting tools
  • Testing on Agile projects
  • Design and development practices in an Agile setting – test driven development, continuous integration, refactoring, pair programming, simple design
  • Project leadership roles and responsibilities, how to nurture self-organisation
  • Working effectively in empowered teams
  • Listening and collaboration skills
  • Dealing with issues and conflict in the team
  • Where to from here?

Method used: Lecturing is kept to the minimum necessary, most of the learning is achieved through applying the practices and techniques in group exercises and a case study.

Successful Project Leadership in Agile environments

ic-agileThis ICAgile accredited course will help you learn the skills, techniques and mindset needed to orchestrate a team effort, collaborate with stakeholders, and support self-organizing teams in continuously adjusting and refining their efforts to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

While some organizations using Agile development do not use the title of “Project Manager” and put a strong emphasis on self-organizing teams, it is nonetheless beneficial for one or more people on the team to have skills in helping the team work more cohesively, communicate more effectively with their stakeholders and support the team with an appropriate level and combination of leadership and guidance, coordination and facilitation.

Certification: This course covers the first step in the Agile Management Track of the IC Agile pathway and covers all the Learning Objectives of the Project Management Certification (ICP-APM). The ICP-APM Certification is granted on the successful completion of this course.

Please note: This is an expert level course designed for people with prior experience and fundamental training within Agile. See prerequisites.

More About This Course

Intended for:

  • Project Managers responsible for software development projects
  • Managers and Executives responsible for software delivery
  • Iteration Managers and ScrumMasters working on Agile delivery
  • Business Analysts gathering requirements for software development

Prerequisites: You will need to have a good understanding of Project Management to gain maximum benefit from attending this course.

Learning outcomes: By the end of this course you will be able to understand:

  • The background to and the driving forces for taking an Agile approach to value-driven development
  • The core practices and philosophies behind a number of Agile methodologies including, Scrum, XP, Lean, DSDM, SAFe etc.
  • How to apply a number of tools and techniques to develop the project community, from structuring and coordinating self-organizing teams to ensuring continuous feedback across all layers of the organization
  • How to use Agile techniques to plan, track and monitor Agile projects, programs and portfolios
  • The importance of value-driven delivery and continuous customer and user feedback in increasing team effectiveness
  • How to apply a variety of Agile tools and techniques to provide a guidance and decision-making framework for self-organizing Agile teams to ensure their continuous alignment to organizational goals

Content:

  • The genesis of Agile – where these approaches came from and why they work
  • The Agile lifecycle and iterations
  • Roles on an Agile project
  • The phases of an Agile project
  • Projects, programs, portfolio
  • Delivery models
  • Characteristics of Agile projects
  • Benefits of Agile project management
  • Teams and teamwork
  • Aspects of team formation
  • Self organization
  • Culture and trust
  • Environment and distance
  • Project initiation activities – making sure we start right, focus on value and build the right product
  • Project flows
  • Initiate phase – to rapidly get enough understanding to be able to produce a reasonable plan and further validate an idea
  • User stories:
    • What’s a story?
    • How big is a story?
    • Identifying stories
    • Characteristics and content of stories
    • What does “Done, Done, DONE” mean?
    • Quality stories
    • Stories and epics
    • Estimating from stories
    • Release planning
    • Acceptance tests and verifying stories
    • Elaborating stories to be useful without wasting time or effort
  •  Agile tools – big visible charts, things on walls, velocity, burn-up and burn-down
  • The “pulse” of an Agile project:
    • Iteration planning
    • Collaborative work
    • Make flow visible with the story wall
    • Daily stand-up
    • Showcase
    • Retrospective
  • Agile without iterations – Kanban flow
  • Supporting tools
  • Testing on Agile projects
  • Design and development practices in an Agile setting – TDD, continuous integration, refactoring, pair programming, simple design
  • Project leadership roles and responsibilities, how to nurture self-organization
  • Working effectively in empowered teams
  • Listening and collaboration skills
  • Dealing with issues and conflict in the team
  • Where to from here?

Method used: The course starts with a self-paced ‘Introduction to Agile’ four hour eLearning course that covers the theory and concepts behind Agile and provides an overview of the core practices and techniques of Agile methods such as Scrum, XP and Kanban. Then during three dynamic class days, you will gain a comprehensive understanding of what to expect on an Agile project and the skills to be effective on one. Most of the learning is achieved through applying the practices and techniques in group exercises and case studies.

Build your skill-set and ensure that the right product is built the right way, to most effectively solve the right business problem.

ic-agileProduct Ownership is a team sport. It is also a crucial and complex activity; easy in principle hard in practice. Your role is an important part of any product development approach, irrespective of the approach being taken.  As a Product Owner, you require clarity of vision, alignment with organizational strategy, understanding of the development process and the ability to communicate with a wide variety of stakeholders across all levels, both inside and outside the organization.

Attend Agile Product Ownership and gain the techniques and tools to enable you to become an effective product owner that is equipped to guide product development, and lead product ownership teams. This IC Agile accredited course will focus on the roles in the value management team, and how they collaborate to identify the most important aspects and features of a product. You will provide guidance for technical team members who build the working product.

Certification: This course covers the first step in the Agile Value Management Track of the IC Agile pathway and covers all the Learning Objectives of the Business Value Analysis certification (ICP-BVA). This ICP-BVA certification is granted on successful completion of this course.

“The hardest part of building any software system is determining precisely what to build.” — Fredrick Brooks

This course does not focus on the technical practices of product development, rather on the guiding and leadership aspects needed to ensure the right product is built in the right way, and how these practices fit into an Agile development lifecycle.

More About This Course

Learning outcomes: By the end of the course you will be able to understand:

  • The roles and responsibilities involved in product ownership
  • How to help identify which products should be built to maximise business value using tools such as purpose alignment model, Kano analysis, value stream mapping
  • How to build a product roadmap and link that to business outcomes
  • How to use personas and product design workshops to help define features and quality goals for building a product roadmap
  • The shape of a well-formed backlog and how to populate it progressively
  • Techniques such as story mapping, prioritisation and backlog grooming to build a release plan
  • How to use paper prototyping and usability heuristics to guide the design of the product
  • Stories for development on a just-in-time basis while ensuring the design principles and architectural guidelines are adhered to

Content:

  • The product owner role
  • The value management team
  • The product development lifecycle
  • Vision
  • Product roadmap
  • Personas
  • Design workshops
  • Story maps
  • Prioritization
  • Backlog grooming
  • Story splitting
  • Story elaboration
  • Frequent releases
  • Successful closure

Intended for: Those filling the roles of:

  • Product Managers
  • Product Owners
  • Product Champions
  • Agile Customers
  • Subject Matter Experts

And those that form part of the extended team of people supporting the Product Owner including:

  • Technical Architects
  • UX Designers
  • Business Analysts
  • IV & V Specialist Testers
  • Auditors

Prerequisites: You will need to have completed formal Agile training such as our Agile Fundamentals course.  You also need to understand your organisation’s product development process and to have mastered the skill of building user stories in order to get the maximum benefit from this course.

Method used: Lecturing is kept to the minimum necessary, most of the learning is achieved through applying the practices and techniques in group exercises.

ic-agileMuch of the work on Agile projects happens in group sessions, team members collaborate to identify and prioritize stories, plan work to be done, elaborate stories, identify risks and issues, communicate progress in stand-ups and other shared activities.  Working in collaborative self-organizing teams can be challenging and it is important that all team members understand the group dynamics involved and how to effectively facilitate these sessions.

As Agile matures within an organization, quite often an Iteration Manager (sometimes called ScrumMaster) is the member of the team that takes on the facilitator role as they have a deep understanding of the Agile process, organizational dynamics as well as the ability to foster team dynamics and culture.

This ICAgile accredited course provides an in-depth understanding of how collaborative workshops can be planned, organized and run, and how each member can contribute to the team achieving maximum effectiveness, while identifying potential pitfalls (smells) and how to avoid/address them. The course also assists Iteration Managers in addressing aspects of their role to build capability across the team.

Certification: This course covers the first step in the Agile Coaching Track of the IC Agile Pathway and covers all the Learning Objectives of the Agile Team Facilitation Certification (ICP-ATF). This ICP-ATF Certification is granted on the successful completion of this course.

Please note: This is an advanced level course designed for people with prior experience and fundamental training within Agile. See prerequisites.

More About This Course

Intended for: Those filling the roles of:

  • Product Manager
  • Product Owner
  • Product Champion
  • Agile Customer
  • Subject Matter Expert

And those that form part of the extended team of people supporting the Product Owner including:

  • Technical Architects
  • UX Designers
  • Business Analysts
  • IV & V Specialist Testers
  • Auditors

Prerequisites: You will need to have completed formal Agile training such as our Agile Fundamentals course and have at least 12 months’ experience working in an Agile team.

Learning outcomes: By the end of this course you will be able to understand:

  • The value of facilitation skills in collaborative work environments
  • How to apply a variety of tools and techniques and the context in which they are useful
  • How to facilitate the various agile work practices
  • The role of the Iteration Manager (ScrumMaster) and how it can help collaborative teams on their Agile journey

Content:

  • The mindset and role of the Agile team facilitator
  • Facilitation tools and techniques
  • Facilitating the Agile practices
  • Iteration management in context

Method used: Lecturing is kept to the minimum necessary, most of the learning is achieved through applying the practices and techniques in group exercises.

What is Agile?

“I like to define agility as “the ability of an organization to react to change in its environment faster than the rate of these changes.” This definition uses the ultimate purpose or function of being agile for a business, rather than defining agility by a labeled set of practices.” Philippe Kruchten, Agility across time and space.

There are a broad range of documented approaches that fall under the Agile banner, including:

  • SCRUM
  • Feature Driven Development – FDD
  • Crystal Methods
  • Dynamic Systems Development Method – DSDM
  • eXtreme Programming

The broad range of Agile methods have many aspects in common including iterative and incremental software development, collaborative teams, high-bandwidth communications, time-boxed iterations, low ceremony documentation, and most importantly, the underlying philosophy and approach embodied in the Agile Manifesto.

Is Agile right for our organization?

Agile contains a lot of good key principles, however they might not always be the best practices for your project. Depending on whether you adopt all Agile principles or just a selection will be the difference between your organization ‘doing Agile’ and your organization ‘being Agile’. In both cases ‘doing agile’ or ‘being agile’ your organization will benefit in terms of its improved ability to react to change in its environment faster than the rate of these changes.

Lastly, studies have shown improved success rates and significant cost savings from the implementation of Agile techniques, and the Chaos Survey (2003-2009) has identified projects which use Agile techniques as being more likely to succeed.

What are the benefits of Agile Fundamental Training over ScrumMaster Training?

Scrum is not a methodology — it is a framework which doesn’t provide any specific techniques or tools for delivering projects. Scrum doesn’t provide any tools for starting a project beyond “build a backlog”, nor does it provide a structure for doing work inside iterations. This is deliberate as the authors of Scrum say that it needs to be complimented by “good technical practices”, most commonly the XP practices.

Scrum training is 2 days, which provides a good understanding of the scrum process, what it lacks are guidelines on initiating projects, specific technical practices to be used inside iterations, and handing work off beyond the development.

The SoftEd approach is a defined process with a clear structure and guidelines for all phases of a project, drawing from work by a number of authors and approaches which can be implemented as a complete methodology. The four-phase structure (Concept-Initiate-Deliver-Deploy) covers the whole project or product lifecycle, providing advice, techniques, practice guidelines and structure which fits well with the more “corporate” environments of our customer base. We draw from Adaptive Software Development which provides the concept & initiate activities ensuring the project “solves the right problem”, Scrum and XP for the practices inside the iterative cycle, focusing on “building the product right”, the whole process is overlaid with a governance framework that is adapted to the organization’s ecosystem.

The three day Agile Fundamentals course has the additional time to delve deep into the project initiation, governance and leadership practices which are typically not covered in Scrum training.

I am a certified ScrumMaster, what is the equivalence with ICAgile certification?

Fundamental Scrum training comes with a certification called ScrumMaster. This is an extremely important role that requires a deep understanding of the Scrum process, organizational dynamics as well as the ability to foster team dynamics and culture. In our opinion, two-days of training doesn’t sufficiently prepare participants for this role.

The more generic term for this role is that of an Iteration Manager and the progression for this role within the SoftEd curriculum is; 1. Agile Fundamentals training; 2. Experience on at least one agile project and 3. Agile Facilitation and Iteration Management training.

How do roles change on Agile projects?

Business Analyst — The Business Analysis gets involved from A to Z in the project. Analysis is not a one-time, up-front activity, but a continuous discovery process that takes place over the whole life of the project. Analysts get involved in story identification and elaboration, creating the environment for active customer involvement.

Software Tester — Testing is a core practice which starts at the beginning of the project and continues throughout the life of the project. This change in approach requires testers to be more collaborative, and to work in the team environment focused on delivering working software that meets the business needs.

Software Engineer — Writing program code is a core activity in any software development initiative, and agile doesn’t change that. Agile demands a focus on quality, craftsmanship and professionalism in a collaborative environment. Requirements aren’t presented as bulky documents but as acceptance criteria accompanied by conversations. Constant feedback helps to ensure that the development is focused on delivering the maximum value to the customers.

Team Lead — Agile projects are collaborative environments with a focus on self-organization and effective communication. Teams may need help to remove internal impediments and get the maximum benefit from the process. There is a place for an internal supportive leadership role (sometimes known as Scrum Master or Iteration Manager) who helps the team apply and adapt the process, acts as a mentor, guide and process coach.

Project Manager — The project manager on an Agile project is primarily responsible for the provision of resources and the removing of obstacles — the team is empowered to be self-organizing and the PM is there to manage by exception, guide and assist the team to achieve their goals.

Architect — Architects and other technical direction roles (UI design, security etc) do not go away in Agile projects, but they become consultants to the team, providing answers and guidance in their specific areas of expertise.

Do we need special tools to do Agile?

Tools can be useful, however are not required.

Do we need a coach to help us?

Having access to an Agile coach will make your transition to Agile projects easier.

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