The terms Agile and Scrum have been out in the marketplace for several years. Many organizations successfully use Agile principles and related frameworks (Scrum, Kanban, Lean, eXtreme Programming) 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. We’ll provide a quick overview of Agile and Scrum, show you how to select the right training program, and 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 but it’s also about solving problems and delivering value. The most well-known methods of implementing Agile on a real-world project, program, or effort include Scrum, Kanban, and eXtreme Programming (XP), with Scrum being the most widely used.
What is Agile Training?
Agile training is the ideal way to level-set your organization or project team on the basic concepts of Agile and how to implement it. While a lot of people talk about using Agile, there are many misunderstandings about the distinctions between different methods. 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 method. 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 are established. This shared understanding strongly increases the probability of the team inspecting and adapting together thus reducing future conflicts.
Where Do We Start?
There are a few different ways to get started with Agile training. Below are some of the most common paths to Agile our students take.
If your teams are using an iterative, incremental framework like Scrum, a strong baseline is most effectively obtained via a Certified ScrumMaster® (CSM) class. The CSM provides a foundational understanding of Agile principles and teaches students how those principles are executed using the Scrum framework. Once you have your CSM, the next step is 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 the uncovered needs. The CSPO also teaches how prioritization, planning, and forecasting works on Scrum teams.
If your teams are doing more operationalized work like a helpdesk, for example, Kanban may be an excellent place to start. The Certified Kanban System Design (KMP I) class provides a detailed look at how Kanban can be used to deliver faster and drive continuous improvement. Once you’ve completed KMP I, the next step is Certified Kanban Management Professional (KMP II).
The Kanban Management Professional (KMP II) class concentrates on the complex demands of a multi-teamed organization and explores how to maintain momentum realized from a successful Kanban implementation.
Continuing Your Agile Education
Many organizations (including Excella) offer additional Agile training which can help you deepen your knowledge of specific concepts. Some of the classes offered by Excella include the Certified Scrum Developer (CSD) class, the Certified Agile Testing and Automation course and the User Story Workshop.
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 coach. A coach is used to assist in the real-world application of Agile concepts and tactics. While training is critical in establishing a baseline 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.