The terms Agile and Scrum have been out in the marketplace for several years. Many organizations successfully use Agile and related implementation methodologies (Scrum, Kanban, Lean, XP) every day.
But what do these terms really mean to organizations attempting to implement these concepts and methods? And how can you get started if you’ve never done it before? There are a lot of options, but how can you ensure your organization does not waste time or resources on the road to Agile adoption?
In this post, we answer common questions about Agile training and make the case for finding and selecting the right course. This could help you learn more about Agile and Scrum, select the right training program, or help you sell your boss on the value of training as a necessary first step to Agile transformation.
What is Agile?
Agile is primarily a way of thinking about software development (and to a greater extent, solving problems and delivering value). The implementation methods are how the principles of Agile are applied in a real-world project, program or effort. The most well-known methods of implementing Agile include Scrum, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP), with Scrum being the most prevalently used.
What is Agile training?
Agile training is an ideal way to level-set your organization or project team on the basic concepts of Agile and associated implementation methodologies. While a lot of people talk about using Agile, there are many misconceptions and misunderstandings about the distinctions between them. Training can help expose the underlying Agile concepts and clarify the differences between the various implementation methods.
What are the benefits of Agile training?
Often when organizations describe problems with “Agile” they are actually describing challenges with executing an Agile methodology. Having all project team members attend common training ideally, in the same class, can mitigate some of these issues.
When an entire team can hear the same message, concepts, and implementation tactics simultaneously a common language and perspective is established. This shared understanding strongly increases the probability of the team inspecting and adapting together using a common language and practices. Thus reducing the conflicts in the future. This commonality is best obtained via project teams attending the same training, the same class if at all possible.
Where do we start?
As with most training, it is best to start with the basics. A strong baseline is most effectively obtained via a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) class. The CSM class provides not only a strong understanding of Agile principles but also how the principles are executed using the Scrum framework. The next step would be the Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) class.
The CSPO teaches teams and organizations how their visions, goals, ideas, and requirements can be effectively defined and refined so that Scrum teams can produce valuable solutions based on these needs. The CSPO also teaches how prioritization, planning, and forecasting works on Scrum teams.
Finally, for Agile and Scrum to be successful in a development environment, teams need to understand how to create refactor-able high-quality code/solutions in an iterative and incremental framework. The Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) course arms the developers to do that. The CSD teaches the core engineering best practices suggested for Agile-based projects, as well as ways to incorporate the practices into day-to-day work.
As with most professional education, it is recommended the classes be held away from the primary work environment. This will reduce interruptions and encourage concentration.
How do we put our new skills into practice?
After training, it is common for teams to solicit the assistance of an Agile/Scrum coach. A coach is used to assist in the real-world application of the concepts and tactics. While training is critical in establishing a baseline of understanding, coaches are incredibly useful in taking those concepts to “the real world.” This is especially important given the nuances of each project team and business environment.
How do I know if training is reputable?
Look for organizations that offer training by a Certified Scrum Trainer, or CST. The CST certification is only given after a thorough vetting process by the primary governing body, the Scrum Alliance. Trainers must:
- Demonstrate significant, verified practitioner experience
- Provide references from a minimum of five references from current CSTs
- Hold Agile/Scrum training observed by other CSTs
- Complete a peer-reviewed application and interview process
Given the extensive process to obtain a CST, it is no wonder there are less than 150 CSTs worldwide!