Beginner’s Guide to Learning Agile Project Management

Beginner’s Guide to Learning Agile Project Management

Maybe you’ve heard the whispers in the hall about the famous agile project management structure. You might have even heard the word thrown around during your morning meetings. If you’ve noticed small changes in your workday aimed at making the workplace just a little more adaptable, you’ve probably encountered the basics of agile project management.

So, what exactly is this agile project management you hear so much about, and how do you learn it? Read on to discover the answers to these questions and more.

What is Agile Project Management?

If the combination of work flexibility and high-quality results sounds enticing to you, your workplace may want to consider learning agile project management. The agile methodology basics are meant to introduce your workplace to a world of adaptability and smoother processes to create content or products that wow your clients.

The agile approach includes breaking down the work process into multiple steps intended to reach bi-weekly team goals. The agile project management style fosters a higher level of collaboration between team members and reduces the number of mistakes made during the creation process.

In short, agile project management is a collaborative and iterative approach to creating and delivering value to stakeholders that relies on flexibility and adaptability to drive results.

Dive into the unique backstory of agile and why so many companies are favoring this methodology over traditional project management styles.

A Look Into Agile History

Let’s take a step back to the 1990s. Companies are beginning to notice a major lag in the development process, falling behind with the advancing technology of the time. The current creation process being widely used lacks a certain flexibility and autonomy that feels necessary to adapt to the changing times. Instead of a proactive approach to the design and development of software, companies are in a responsive state in an attempt to keep up.

The lag in the development process has major repercussions for companies. Customers are not happy with the results. The lack of flexibility and autonomy delay time to market — problems go months, if not years, unsolved, giving rise to new problems.

Fast forward to 2001. After years of re-evaluating the work process to create a more adaptable environment that still produced reliable results, the Manifesto for Agile Software Development was born. The agile project management structure arose in the workforce and took on the form we know now. We’ll take a closer look at the Manifesto in the next section.

Today, companies across industries have adopted the agile project management style. With this versatile system in place, companies can create consistently high-quality and dependable products that meet and even exceed industry expectations. By establishing a system that revolves around the four main core values, companies can streamline processes and improve team-wide collaboration.

The Agile Manifesto

The Manifesto for Agile Software Development is evergreen — so much so that a range of industries are able to adapt their workplace to fit this methodology. So what exactly are these values and principles we should be working toward as we shift to an agile mindset?

According to the Manifesto, the four core values are:

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

 

In the Manifesto, the creators highlight the idea that the bolded left side text above takes precedence over the right side text. Though both sides of each phrase are of high value, the agile project management style focuses greatly on the relationships between people emphasized by the bolded left side. When first implementing an agile project management style, keeping these four core values in mind will help in establishing the agile basics.

12 Principles of the Agile Manifesto

In addition to the four core values, there are 12 principles that make up the basics of agile project management. These 12 principles were established in the original Manifesto and find their way into the agile workforce daily. The agile principles are as follows:

  1. Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
  2. Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
  3. Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
  4. Business people and developers must work together daily throughout projects.
  5. Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
  6. The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
  7. Working software is the primary measure of progress.
  8. Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
  9. Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
  10. Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
  11. The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
  12. At regular intervals, the team reflects on how to become more effective, then tunes and adjusts its behavior accordingly.

 

While these values and principles can feel a bit overwhelming, many of them will come naturally as you focus on the agile project management basics in your workplace.

Who Can Use Agile?

Though the agile methodology got its start in the software business, its principles and core values can be applied across a variety of industries. Companies in fields from marketing and finance to radio stations like National Public Radio (NPR) have tackled the challenge of shifting to an agile mindset in the workplace to produce high-quality results. These industries and more have seen a change in the way their teams handle day-to-day problems using this more flexible and team-oriented method. The entire agile process, including its project management methodology, provides the wiggle room to accommodate the needs and necessary processes of your organization.

The Benefits of an Agile Environment

Though there are a plethora of benefits to learning the agile methodology, we’ve highlighted a few key ones you can take back to your team when discussing the agile project management style.

Improved Client Satisfaction

Happy clients = happy work life! In the agile methodology, customer collaboration takes on such a high priority that it has made its way right into the four core values. Working closely with your customers improves the level of communication and sets clearer expectations for your team. With a well-established funnel of collaboration, your team can produce quality deliverables and problem solve to increase customer satisfaction.

Increased Employee Morale

By learning agile project management, you’ll likely see employee morale boost. Having the flexibility to take on new projects in a collaborative format gives employees the freedom to work on deliverables that match their skills. This allows them to share ideas and opinions openly and problem solve together within their agile teams. Employees understand their value to the team and are more likely to collaborate freely with other team members efficiently and creatively.

More Flexibility = High Productivity

On top of working with projects that draw employee interest, the increased flexibility typically leads to a higher rate of productivity. Priorities can adjust as needed in this adaptable environment and feedback is available to improve processes and deliverables. Furthermore, learning and implementing agile project management offers a sense of predictability as it decreases the amount of work that an employee is facing by breaking deliverables into smaller time periods.

Start Your Journey with LurnAgile

Now that you’re equipped with the agile project management basics, it’s time to become agile! The first step after you’ve built your dream team of employees is to get certified. Luckily, LurnAgile offers various certification courses to prepare you and your team for this new method of work. We pride ourselves in our experienced team of agile coaches with 10 years or more of experience in the environment. With LurnAgile, your team will have the opportunity to receive fun-filled, interactive training to prepare you for the transition into an agile atmosphere. Contact us today to learn more about our programs and how you can bring the agile mindset to your workplace.

 

SAFe Scrum Master

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Course Description

Applying the Scrum Master role within a SAFe® enterprise

With SAFe®5 Scrum Master Certification

Summary

Build your skills as a high-performing team member of an Agile Release Train (ART)—and prepare to support the facilitation of team and program events— when you become a SAFe® 5 Scrum Master (SSM).

In this two-day course, you’ll gain an understanding of the role of Scrum Master in a SAFe enterprise. Unlike traditional Scrum Master training that focuses on the fundamentals of teamlevel Scrum, the SAFe Scrum Master course explores the role of the Scrum Master in the context of the entire enterprise, and prepares you to successfully plan and execute the Program Increment (PI), the primary enabler of alignment throughout all levels of a SAFe organization.

Who Will Benefit?

Intended for people new to the role of Scrum Master, or people wanting to better understand the role and how it fits in a SAFe enterprise, attendees typically include:

  • New or existing Scrum Masters
  • Team Leads
  • Release Train Engineers

Topics Covered

  • Introducing Scrum in SAFe
  • Characterizing the role of the Scrum Master
  • Experiencing Program Increment planning
  • Facilitating Iteration execution
  • Finishing the Program Increment
  • Coaching the Agile team

What you’ll learn

To perform the role of a SAFe® Scrum Master, attendees should be able to:

  • Describe Scrum in a SAFe enterprise
  • Facilitate Scrum events
  • Facilitate effective Iteration execution
  • Support effective Program Increment execution
  • Support relentless improvement
  • Coach Agile teams for maximum business results
  • Support DevOps implementation

Prerequisites

All are welcome to attend the course, regardless of experience. However, the following prerequisites are highly recommended for those who intend to take the SAFe® Scrum Master (SSM) certification exam:

  • Familiarity with Agile concepts and principles
  • Awareness of Scrum, Kanban, and Extreme Programming (XP)
  • Working knowledge of software and hardware development processes

What You Get

Class registration includes:

  • Printed workbook
  • Preparation and eligibility to take the SAFe® 5 Scrum Master (SSM) exam
  • One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform
  • Certification of completion

Attendees must attend both days of the course in order to qualify for the exam.

Annual Renewal

Certifications expire one year from the date of certification is earned.

  • Renewal fee: $100/year

Professional Development Units (PDUs) and Scrum Education Units (SEUs)

  • You may be eligible to apply for 15 PDUs toward your continuing education requirements with the Project Management Institute (PMI) for PMP, PgMP, and PMI-ACP certifications
  • You may be eligible to apply for SEUs under Category C, toward earning or renewing your CSP through the Scrum Alliance
Claim Code 4446CQX5MO Duration 2 days
PMI Certification Technical Leadership Strategic Total
PMP® 12.00 2.25 0.75 15.00
PgMP® 12.00 2.25 0.75 15.00
PMI_RMP® 0.00 2.25 0.75 3.00
PMI_SP® 0.00 2.25 0.75 3.00
PMI_ACP® 12.00 2.25 0.75 15.00
PfMP® 0.00 2.25 0.75 3.00
PMI_PBAsm 0.00 2.25 0.75 3.00

 

Is Scrum Always the Answer?

Is Scrum Always the Answer?

Since the inception of the Agile manifesto, Agile principles have revolutionized how companies manage their team, paving the way for a modern style of project management.  Teams no longer rely on tedious and time-consuming waterfall models and can deliver projects in a timely and cost-efficient manner.

As agile project management became popular, organizations adopted several agile methods, of which Scrum is the most used. While Scrum is useful for delivering projects incrementally, it isn’t ideal for all situations.

In this article, we will discuss some of the issues with scrum in varying situations and how they can be addressed with other alternatives.

What Is Scrum?

Scrum is a part of the agile methodology that aims to deliver business value in the least amount of time possible. Scrum achieves this by rapidly creating usable chunks of the product and making changes according to user feedback.

Since Agile was originally designed for software development, most agile methodologies are tailored for this field, and Scrum is no exception. Development teams create parts of software that customers can directly use and give their feedback on. This helps your team skip tons of straining documentation and move forward with the project faster.

Typically, a scrum team has three roles; the product owner, the scrum master, and the development team. On top of managing the team directly, the scrum master is responsible for being a bridge between the development team and the product owner.

The product owner here represents the interests of all stakeholders, where the development team is similar to other project teams. However, development teams in Scrum are more independent and self-organized, and they must share responsibilities with the Scrum Master.

People in all three roles have daily scrum meetings. In these meetings, they outline what they must achieve and set daily goals. Besides that, they all have to participate in meeting related to sprint review, sprint planning, and sprint retrospective based on the phase of the project going on.

Scrum is ideal for managing highly complex and unpredictable projects where requirements are more likely to change. Scrum gives you the space to deal with unexpected changes in project requirements and deliver features urgently needed.

Scrum emphasizes the importance of accountability, continuous and iterative progress, and teamwork, leading the product towards specific goals. You can learn more about the Scrum Methodology by reading the official Scrum Guide in detail.

Why Doesn’t Scrum Always Work?

In the Scrum methodology, everyone is dedicated to delivering value as rapidly as possible. Therefore, developments must strive to complete value-driven components deliverables in less than a month. In most cases, teams are required to deliver these deliverables inside two weeks.

While the management pushes teams to work on tight deadlines, they also expect the team to develop production-quality deliverables and have working software as they submit an increment. This is why teams must write code, design code structures, and test it. Moreover, they must also create presentations and demos to stakeholders, that too in a short period.

Because of this, many people consider Scrum’s approach to be too unrealistic or rigid. While Scrum is extremely useful to counter unpredictability in projects, for teams with no prior experience, it is also one-dimensional and difficult to implement.

Project managers must eventually grow out of the basic scrum framework and adopt lessons from other agile methodologies. Scrum only gives you and your team a reliable structure to begin with, but you must be adaptable to be successful in the long-run.

It doesn’t make sense to force-fit Scrum to every project you come across. Instead, you should analyze the requirements of every project separately and experiment with other methodologies, as well. Similar to the Design Patterns in the 1990s, Scrum can be used on its own or in combination with another methodology.

As you may have multiple teams in a project, you can use Scrum as a pattern for one team in the beginning. Once you have established a structure for the project, you can monitor the progress on the project and shift to a more suitable agile technique if Scrum isn’t working for your team. Incorporating other tools/patterns can help you develop a more robust and effective approach to management.

Exploring Other Options

You can use other methodologies in combination with Scrum too.

Effective Agile Practices

The high-paced Scrum methodology gives you little time to test products effectively, making software quality dubious. To ensure software quality, you can leverage agile techniques such as Unit Testing, Acceptance Test Driven Development (or BDD), Pair Programming, Continuous Integration, and Test Driven Development. These techniques prevent your code from degrading over time, so they are ideal for software projects.

Kanban

Kanban is a project methodology that leverages a linear approach to project delivery. It teaches teams to focus on continuous delivery but relieves them from the excess burden. That said, many managers criticize this technique for lacking a defined structure like scrum.

For this reason, many experts suggest using Scrum and Kanban in conjunction with each other. Managers can first adapt Scrum and develop a more optimized workflow.

Once your team is in tune with Scrum’s structure, you can leverage Kanban’s continuous delivery towards the end of the project. Alternatively, you can also use Scrum to develop your project in your desired way and later use Kanban or other agile methodologies for review. Doing so can help you ensure the quality of your final product.

Several companies choose new ways to manage their teams. They use different combinations for different teams. SysAdmin teams are put under Kanban workflows to relieve them from rigid time-boxed sprints, while teams responsible for developing urgent features can leverage Scrum. 

Conclusion

In agile project management, no one size fits all. Every situation has unique requirements and you may have to switch your approach from time to time. Regardless, one thing is clear that agile project managers must display exceptional leadership and strategic planning.

Being well-versed in Agile Methodologies prepares you to tackle difficult situations effectively and deal with challenges with greater skill.

At LurnAgile, we are determined to teach you the tenets of the Agile Methodology and help you master Agile Project Management. With our training, you will learn how to augment Agile to your brand of management and nail challenging projects with ease.

To learn more about what we have to offer, consider visiting our website, or contact us directly for a consultation

DevSecOps Foundation

DevSecOps Foundation

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Course Description

Learn the purpose, benefits, concepts, and vocabulary of DevSecOps including DevOps security strategies and business benefits.

 

OVERVIEW

As companies deploy code faster and more often than ever, new vulnerabilities are also accelerating. When the boss says, “Do more with less”, DevOps practices adds business and security value as an integral, strategic component.  Delivering development, security, and operations at the speed of business should be an essential component for any modern enterprise.

Course topics covered include how DevSecOps provides business value, enhancing your business opportunities, and improving corporate value.  The core DevSecOps principles taught can support an organizational transformation, increase productivity, reduce risk, and optimize resource usage.

This course explains how DevOps security practices differ from other approaches then delivers the education needed to apply changes to your organization. Participants learn the purpose, benefits, concepts, vocabulary and applications of DevSecOps.  Most importantly, students learn how DevSecOps roles fit with a DevOps culture and organization. At the course’s end, participants will understand “security as code” to make security and compliance value consumable as a service.

No course would be complete without practical application and this course teaches the steps to integrate security programs from the developers and operators through the business C-level.  Every stakeholder plays a part and the learning material highlights how professionals can use these tools as the primary means of protecting the organization and customer through multiple case studies, video presentations, discussion options, and exercise material to maximize learning value.  These  real-life scenarios create tangible takeaways participants can leverage upon their return to the home office.

This course positions learners to pass the DevSecOps Foundation exam.

COURSE OBJECTIVES

The learning objectives include a practical understanding of:

  • The purpose, benefits, concepts, and vocabulary of DevSecOps
  • How DevOps security practices differ from other security approaches
  • Business-driven security strategies and Best Practices
  • Understanding and applying data and security sciences
  • Integrating corporate stakeholders into DevSecOps Practices
  • Enhancing communication between Dev, Sec, and Ops teams
  • How DevSecOps roles fit with a DevOps culture and organization

    AUDIENCE
    The target audience for the DevSecOps Foundation course are professionals including:

  • Anyone involved or interested in learning about DevSecOps strategies and automation
  • Anyone involved in Continuous Delivery toolchain architectures
  • Compliance Team
  • Business managers
  • Delivery Staff
  • DevOps Engineers
  • IT Managers
  • IT Security Professionals, Practitioners, and Managers
  • Maintenance and support staff
  • Managed Service Providers
  • Project & Product Managers
  • Quality Assurance Teams
  • Release Managers
  • Scrum Masters
  • Site Reliability Engineers
  • Software Engineers
  • Testers


LEARNER MATERIALS

  • Digital Learner Manual (excellent post-class reference)
  • Participation in exercises designed to apply concepts
  • Sample documents, templates, tools and techniques
  • Access to additional sources of information and communities

PREREQUISITES

Participants should have baseline knowledge and understanding of common DevOps definitions and principles.

 CERTIFICATION EXAM

Successfully passing (65%) the 60-minute examination, consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions, leads to the candidate’s designation as DevSecOps Foundation (DSOF) certified. The certification is governed and maintained by DevOps Institute.   

COURSE OUTLINE

  • Realizing DevSecOps Outcomes
    • Origins of DevOps​
    • Evolution of DevSecOps​
    • CALMS​
    • The Three Ways
  • Defining the Cyberthreat Landscape​
    • What is the Cyber Threat Landscape?​
    • What is the threat?​
    • What do we protect from?​
    • What do we protect, and why?​
    • How do I talk to security?​
  • ​Building a Responsive DevSecOps Model
    • Demonstrate Model
    • Technical, business and human outcomes​
    • What’s being measured? ​
    • Gating and thresholding​
  • Integrating DevSecOps Stakeholders
    • The DevSecOps State of Mind​
    • The DevSecOps Stakeholders​
    • What’s at stake for who?​
    • Participating in the DevSecOps model​
  • ​Establishing DevSecOps Best Practices
    • Start where you are​
    • Integrating people, process and technology and governance​
    • DevSecOps operating model​
    • Communication practices and boundaries​
    • Focusing on outcomes ​
  • Best Practices to get Started
    • The Three Ways​
    • Identifying target state​s
    • Value stream-centric thinking​
  • ​DevOps Pipelines and Continuous Compliance
    • The goal of a DevOps pipeline​
    • Why continuous compliance is important​
    • Archetypes and reference architectures​
    • Coordinating DevOps Pipeline construction​
    • DevSecOps tool categories, types and examples​
  • Learning Using Outcomes
    • Security Training Options​
    • Training as Policy​
    • Experiential Learning​
    • Cross-Skilling​
    • The DevSecOps Collective Body of Knowledge​
    • Preparing for the DevSecOps Foundation certification exam

DevOps Foundation

DevOps Foundation

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Course Description

Learn about DevOps to support organizational efforts in reducing costs while increasing agility, quality and customer service; leverage case studies, real-world success stories, and metrics to demonstrate business success in this foundation-level course to support digital transformation.

 OVERVIEW

As organizations are facing new entrants in their respective markets, they need to stay competitive and release new and updated products on a regular basis rather than one or two times a year.

The DevOps Foundation course provides a baseline understanding of key DevOps terminology to ensure everyone is talking the same language and highlights the benefits of DevOps to support organizational success.

The course includes the latest thinking, principles and practices from the DevOps community including real-world case studies from high performing organizations including ING Bank, Ticketmaster, Capital One, Alaska Air, Target, Fannie Mae, Societe Generale, and Disney that engage and inspire learners, leveraging multimedia and interactive exercises that bring the learning experience to life, including the Three Ways as highlighted in the Phoenix Project by Gene Kim and the latest from the State of DevOps and DevOps Institute Upskilling  reports.

Learners will gain an understanding of DevOps, the cultural and professional movement that stresses communication, collaboration, integration, and automation to improve the flow of work between software developers and IT operations professionals.

The course is designed for a broad audience, enabling those on the business side to obtain an understanding of microservices and containers. Those on the technical side will obtain an understanding as to the business value of DevOps to reduce cost (15-25% overall IT cost reduction) with increased quality (50-70% reduction in change failure rate) and agility (up to 90% reduction in provision and deployment time) to support business objectives in support of digital transformation initiatives.

Unique and exciting exercises will be used to apply the concepts covered in the course and sample documents, templates, tools, and techniques will be provided to use after the class.

This course positions learners to successfully complete the DevOps Foundation examination.

 COURSE OBJECTIVES

The learning objectives for DevOps Foundation include an understanding of:

  • DevOps objectives and vocabulary
  • Benefits to the business and IT
  • Principles and practices including Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, testing, security and the Three Ways
  • DevOps relationship to Agile, Lean and ITSM
  • Improved workflows, communication and feedback loops
  • Automation practices including deployment pipelines and DevOps toolchains
  • Scaling DevOps for the enterprise
  • Critical success factors and key performance indicators
  • Real-life examples and results

 AUDIENCE

The target audience for the DevOps Foundation course includes Management, Operations, Developers, QA and Testing professionals such as:

  • Individuals involved in IT development, IT operations or IT service management
  • Individuals who require an understanding of DevOps principles
  • IT professionals working within, or about to enter, an Agile Service Design Environment
  • The following IT roles: Automation Architects, Application Developers, Business Analysts, Business Managers, Business Stakeholders, Change Agents, Consultants, DevOps Consultants, DevOps Engineers, Infrastructure Architects, Integration Specialists, IT Directors, IT Managers, IT Operations, IT Team Leaders, Lean Coaches, Network Administrators, Operations Managers, Project Managers, Release Engineers, Software Developers, Software Testers/QA, System Administrators, Systems Engineers, System Integrators, Tool Providers

 LEARNER MATERIALS

  • Sixteen (16) hours of instructor-led training and exercise facilitation
  • Learner Manual (excellent post-class reference)
  • Participation in unique exercises designed to apply concepts
  • Sample documents, templates, tools and techniques
  • Access to additional value-added resources and communities

PREREQUISITES

Familiarity with IT terminology and IT related work experience are recommended.

CERTIFICATION EXAM

Successfully passing (65%) the 60-minute examination, consisting of 40 multiple-choice questions, leads to the DevOps Foundation Certificate. The certification is governed and maintained by the DevOps Institute.

 COURSE OUTLINE

  • Exploring DevOps
    • Defining DevOps
    • Why Does DevOps Matter?
  • Core DevOps Principles
    • The Three Ways
    • The First Way
    • The Theory of Constraints
    • The Second Way
    • The Third Way
    • Chaos Engineering
    • Learning Organizations
  • Key DevOps Practices
    • Continuous Delivery
    • Site Reliability & Resilience Engineering
    • DevSecOps
    • ChatOps
    • Kanban
  • Business and Technology Frameworks
    • Agile
    • ITSM
    • Lean
    • Safety Culture
    • Learning Organizations
    • Sociocracy/Holacracy
    • Continuous Funding
  • Culture, Behaviors & Operating Models
    • Defining Culture
    • Behavioral Models
    • Organizational maturity models
    • Target Operating Models
  • Automation & Architecting DevOps Toolchains
    • CI/CD
    • Cloud
    • Microservices/Containers
    • DevOps Toolchain
  • Measurement, Metrics, and Reporting
    • The Importance of Metrics
    • Technical Metrics
    • Business Metrics
    • Measuring & Reporting Metrics
  • Sharing, Shadowing and Evolving
    • Collaborative Platforms
    • Immersive, Experiential Learning
    • DevOps Leadership
    • Evolving Change