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:
Our highest priority is to satisfy the customer through early and continuous delivery of valuable software.
Welcome changing requirements, even late in development. Agile processes harness change for the customer’s competitive advantage.
Deliver working software frequently, from a couple of weeks to a couple of months, with a preference to the shorter timescale.
Business people and developers must work together daily throughout projects.
Build projects around motivated individuals. Give them the environment and support they need, and trust them to get the job done.
The most efficient and effective method of conveying information to and within a development team is face-to-face conversation.
Working software is the primary measure of progress.
Agile processes promote sustainable development. The sponsors, developers, and users should be able to maintain a constant pace indefinitely.
Continuous attention to technical excellence and good design enhances agility.
Simplicity — the art of maximizing the amount of work not done — is essential.
The best architectures, requirements, and designs emerge from self-organizing teams.
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.
What are the top metrics you recommend for measuring an Agile Team?
To help you to find a great metric to measure your agile team, we asked marketing professionals and business leaders this question for their best advice. From burndown charts to story points, there are several different metrics that may help you to measure your agile team.
Here are eight recommended metrics for measuring an agile team:
Incremental Delivery of Value
Development and Sprint Velocity
Work in Progress
Measuring a team is always tricky and what is measured will change over time depending on
team maturity. However, if I had to pick one metric, I would have to pick the burndown chart.
When done openly and honestly it can uncover several anti-patterns for the team and the
process. Are we planning too much work or too little? Is the work we planned in small enough
bites to avoid sharp drops? Is the team getting injects in during the sprint? Lastly, I like the
The guiding measure for an agile team is the incremental delivery of value. Teams can meet this goal through the accuracy of estimates. Many elements like reducing dependencies and multiple inputs can help improve accuracy of estimate. However, breaking down the work into smaller pieces makes it easier to estimate, easier to predict effort, and easier to identify risks. Although it may take some discipline, accurate estimates also help eliminate unnecessary work to deliver value each iteration and at an optimal pace.
While it isn’t a precise measurement, it is still a strong indicator of issues. If your team is dealing with issues such as distractions due to other internal commitments, it will show in the velocity. It also works the same the other way around: If your team sees an issue resolved it will show a strong uptick in velocity. Sprint points are a very rough measurement, so look for ~20% week-over-week variations before you decide something has seriously changed.
While most Agile teams assign (and bicker over) points for productivity, points are only part of your equation. Measuring quality is more important, and it can be more difficult. Our Agile content team uses a rubric to measure our writing quality against internal standards. The rubric includes scores for SEO, subject expertise, voice, and engagement. We grade a rubric for each writer for each of their 1:1 meetings with their managers, and we expect an average score of 90% across all rubrics. It took us a couple of weeks to write the rubric, but the writers have risen to the standards we set.
In all my time working within an agile framework only one metric has proven to me to be an accurate predictor of team success: work in progress or WIP. The point of an agile team is to focus heavily on small pieces of work until they are done. As much of the team as is feasible should be focused on the same User Story until that story is accepted, then they shift to the next story. Too often teams will settle into a routine where each team member takes on a story by themselves, rather than swarming them. This makes the WIP high and when the WIP is high, so is the risk. When the entire team is working on multiple stories, it means that QA is going to be slammed at the end of the iteration and something will likely get missed.
Agile development is built on the ability of the business to weigh the ROI of certain features. They need to be able to accurately know how long it will take to deliver a feature to the users in order to reap the rewards. Of all of the metrics in agile, the one that feeds this system most is the team velocity. Based on this metric the stakeholders can determine just how much development time (and development dollars) it will take to deliver the feature before we see any benefits. If the velocity is inaccurate, all decisions are based on bad data. And any decision based on bad data is a bad decision.
Whether a company is pre-launch or in a growing stage, the agile team should be working towards a single goal. How well they do so can be categorized as effectiveness. Pre-launch, the key metric is to get to market as soon as possible. Release velocity would be critical. But more than product features, it’s an alignment between research and development to ensure the right thing is being built. This is effectiveness. When you’re a product startup trying to get sales, getting users is critical. But this can’t all fall on sales. Product has to be involved as well to ideate ways to get users more engaged and help grow the network. This is effectiveness. An effective agile team is one where everyone on the team is working on things that get to a singular goal. That goal drives the product roadmap and release cycle. And like a sprint cadence, the team should have an analytics cadence to determine which sprints were the most effective and why.
We just had this conversation with our development team. What software development metric within an Agile team would best inform our shareholders about the state of our business? We arrived at Story Points as one metric to measure weekly in our team meetings. We felt that by having a weighted metric like Story Points, we could better capture elements like efficiency and productivity than if we paid attention to metrics like “lines of code written.” And, through Story Points, we could better monitor the progress of our team for the milestones that really matter.
How do you stay agile while completely remote? What is your number one tip?
To help you with staying agile while being completely remote, we asked business leaders and HR professionals this question for their best tips. From making face-to-face time to weekly L10 meetings, there are several tips that may help you to stay agile while working remotely.
Here are six tips to stay agile while completely remote:
Inspect Daily to Identify What is Working
Break Up Work into Discrete, Independent Chunks
Create “Rules For Your Tools”
Hone in Asynchronous Communication
Weekly L10 Meetings
I can sum up how to stay agile in three words…communicate, communicate, communicate.
The entire Agile Manifesto centers around this, from individuals and interactions, to responding
to change it all requires communication. Put energy into ensuring the teams have ways to
communicate with each other in real-time with as much face-to-face time as possible. Do online
team building, weekly peer 1:1’s, an always-on chat room, anything to allow the communication
to as closely achieve colocation as possible. It is harder now because we do not get the benefit
of sitting next to each other, so we must find new ways to have water cooler conversations and
In addition to morning coffee, meditation, and your favorite sweatpants, reaching out often for feedback creates transparency with yourself and the team. Too often, teams working remote sit in their corner and work until they feel something is complete. Unless the team members share throughout the entire process, the lack of transparency could create misalignment with the team, the project, or both which may result in tech debt accumulation. The most efficient and effective method is to inspect daily and identify what is working and what isn’t. Encouraging continuous connection virtually through video conference keeps the lines of communication open, encourages dialog that leads to productive solutions, and facilitates the real-time removal of blockers. No technology can replace one-on-one communication.
My best advice is to lean deeper into the agile mindset and move towards full continuous deployment. It will always be much, much harder to coordinate work into a normal sprint breakdown when you have remote work. We just need to embrace that, as it’s likely to last. Break your work up into discrete, independent chunks that can be deployed independently and quickly, and you’ll find that having removed the distraction of the office, the now-freed engineers will actually increase their velocity.
With so many remote tools ranging from Teamwork to Dropbox to Google Suite; identifying how you and your team will utilize them is hypercritical in today’s remote environment. Setting a specific naming structure will help manage and ensure items are consistently shared to eliminate confusion and/or redundancy. Regularly communicating those utilization and management tool structures will ensure your team and tools eliminate the inevitable digital frustration that can occur, if “rules for tools” aren’t established.
Get good at both short-form and long-form written communication. Use a messenger like Slack for your daily communication. Go asynchronous. This will help you determine whether you need to have time to sync up. See how the team does and decide. At that point, find the minimum necessary time you need to sync up. Scale up from there, as needed. For daily updates, use organized and to-the-point text, with bulleted and numbered lists. Make action items very clear. Think in an abbreviated essay format: Background, Main Content, Next steps. For strategic threads, use Google Docs. Also, think in an essay-like format. Others can collaborate and add their notes.
I’m not a developer. But, we recently implemented weekly “L10” meetings with our development team to ensure that we stay Agile while completely remote. In our meetings, we will bring up “People Headlines” to talk through accomplishments or time out of office. We will revisit our “To-Do’s.” But most of the meeting is talking through “Issues” that have bottlenecked throughout the day. By addressing these issues together as a team, we’re able to find solutions much more efficiently than if we relied on IM’s or email communication. Sometimes, you just need to get together as a team to ensure nothing stands in the way of accomplishing the work you need to do.
As organizations aim to do more with less and better serve customers, an Agile Transformation may be in order.
What is the largest obstacle an organization faces when starting or going through an Agile Transformation?
To help you prepare for an Agile Transformation, we asked agile experts and business leaders about the challenges they’ve faced.
Here are ten obstacles organizations face in an Agile Transformation.
Complexity in culture
Unlearning traditional ways of thinking
Unraveling the non-differences
Mid-level management not being brought in
Shifting control from leaders to teams
Expanding from the team level to the organizational level
Misalignment of a belief system on all levels
Complexity in culture
The largest obstacle to an organization is culture. Culture drives behavior and decisions within
an organization and is paramount to successful transformation. Culture is also the last thing to change and is complex. It is complex in numerous ways, but it starts with what type of culture you want in your organization. Do you want a family atmosphere focused on doing things together like Google? Do you want an adhocracy where innovation is paramount, and employees take chances? Maybe your organization wants a complete culture that is results-driven and competitive? Lastly, do you need a process and procedures for everything? Most organizations need some type of hybrid culture which is another reason culture is the biggest obstacle.
The biggest hurdle an organization faces in Agile transformation is the ‘Mindset or culture change.’ Organization leadership or executives are usually veterans of an industry or business line. They would have worked in that industry or business line for years or decades. However, the new type of problems in today’s digital era needs newer thinking and way of working. Thus these executives’ ability to unlearn their traditional ways of thinking is the biggest difficulty.
Agile, as you may know, is a way of working where it is only successful if you follow some simple principles such as empowering the teams to take decisions instead of controlling, aligning to the outcomes rather than following the processes blindly, purpose-driven instead of financial-focused. Thus inside-out approach, from Culture -> Structure / Processes – Enablers/Tools, is the winning approach. Leadership’s understanding and drive can make-or-break the Agile transformation.
In a word, people. Stakeholders must understand the transformation and how we are going to deliver differently, but better. Teams need to be trained on how to execute this new process and change their mindset. Leaders must also go through a shift in mindset. Anytime you attempt to change someone’s mindset, it’s a difficult journey.
Simply put, it’s the buy-in from the employees that Agile will work. We have all heard the saying, ‘it’s easy to do Agile, but it’s hard to be Agile’ and it’s true. We can’t start to go through a transformation without the buy-in from the employees, where they are empowered to make decisions and have ownership of their products. Leaders are employees too, and they have to buy-in, as they navigate their employees through the ‘waters’ of Agile, in changing mindset and empowerment. Listen to your employees as you go through an Agile Transformation, they hold the keys to being Agile.
Organizations tend to believe that they’re very different and that their problems are unique. Therefore, they tend to think of complicated solutions. Although each organization is unique, the problems they face with a transformation are not that unique. Therefore instead of reinventing the wheel and coming up with complex solutions, they should look around them and see what has worked for other organizations and tailor it to fit their needs and organizational culture.
The largest obstacle an organization faces when undertaking an agile transformation is mid-level management not being brought in. This is crucial, as their roles radically change in an agile environment. They must understand that their new criteria is for being successful and be advocates for the transformation.
When agile adoption is not a strategic priority, organizations default to command and control leadership practices. Individuals and teams are not trusted to make decisions, clogging up the to-do list, stunting innovation, and impeding progress.
Expanding from the team level to the organizational level
Organizations need to have strong executive leadership for agile transformations to be successful. Many organizations think Agile is simply a team level project management methodology. Agile is more about cultural change than it is about process change. Agile is a way of working. Without strong executive leadership to influence the change in culture, agile transformations will eventually lose traction and fail, or the transformation will forever remain at the team level and never expand to the organizational level.
The largest obstacle of an agile transformation is the misalignment of a belief system on all levels – up, down, and out. Leadership can communicate the mission, vision, and direction of the agile transformation but if the C-suite, V-suite, D-suite, and M-suite do not align the transformation will die on the vine. A common belief in lean-agile principles is critical because an agile transformation is a long and hard journey that changes the operational model, funding, and culture. Leaders of all levels have to be on board with and agree on the values and goals they want to achieve throughout the transformation. It’s on leadership to continually cultivate the belief system to all of the suites down to the teams.
Employees have their roles change when an organization undergoes an agile transformation. Not all employees like or embrace change, especially when it impacts a daily routine. Organizations can prepare by knowing that there will be detractors, embracers, and employees who will be indifferent. It’s important that all employees understand why their role is changing, how it is changing, and that there is still an opportunity for them to add value to the organization.
You may have heard of the term “business agility” being used in a book, on a Zoom, or from a leader within your organization.
What is Business Agility?
We asked twelve agile experts to share their definition of business agility. From strategy pivots to empowering employees, these diverse perspectives may help provide a solid definition of just what business agility really is.
Here are twelve definitions of business agility.
The unique ability to adapt to change
An organization’s culture of minimizing problems
Fluidity and flexibility
Attentiveness to trends and market changes
Removing sources of disruption and delay
Adapting to evolving customer demands
Detecting and responding to new data points
Everyone is involved in delivering solutions
Empowering employees to solve complex problems fast
Evolution to product-market fit
The unique ability to adapt to change
In essence, it is the emergent qualities, capacity, or unique ability of an organization to sense, respond, react, and adapt to change. This is done in such a way that they are able to do so and retain or enhance their competitive advantage without compromising quality, integrity, or losing momentum.
There is a myriad of definitions of what business agility is. My facile definition is: Business
agility is an organization’s culture of minimizing the impact of problems. Problems, in this case, can be internal or external and range from disruptors in the marketplace bringing in a new product, to application uptime and infrastructure. I boil it down to culture because in an agile culture the organization will make the necessary investments in tools, training, processes, hiring, etc., to ensure that the agile culture is achieved and sustained.
Business Agility means the business is set to deliver better quality products, faster than the competition. This is done by creating an agile ecosystem where people, products, and customers are aligned using techniques that drive transparency, communication, and collaboration.
Business agility means fluidity and flexibility, with staff and teams able to move seamlessly between roles for the benefit of maximum customer satisfaction. What’s more, resources must be made available wherever they are most needed at any one time. Business agility can be a tricky proposition to get on board with.
Business Agility represents the ability of a company to pivot its strategy. While the vision or goal needs to be static, how we get there needs to be flexible. It also represents how we as a company must be able to pivot our products to fit our customers’ needs
Business agility is a team or organization that pays attention to trends and market changes, responds and adapts to these changes, and takes action to pursue opportunities rather than stagnate in the face of uncertainty.
Marti Konstant, Workplace Futurist and Author of “Activate Your Agile Career”
Removing sources of disruption and delay
Agility just means flexibility, so “business agility” is flexibility in service to the shifting needs of the business. This sounds great but it is so challenging! Management is keyed into all the new opportunities and the fluctuating market so they want frequent changes. Meanwhile, the downstream developers need time to finish the current work. To maximize business agility, you need to look at all parts of the process. Analyzing and profiling incoming work requests helps to organize and sequence the work. Removing sources of disruption and delay will improve the flow of work, clearing the decks to take on new work sooner.
Business agility is the ability of an organization to adapt to changing customer demands as well as to changes within its industry, supply chain, and core competencies. Business agility is achieved by a) streamlining information flows throughout an organization; b) encouraging leadership at all levels of an organization, and c) embracing continuous improvement across all business processes.
Business Agility is defined by an organization’s ability to detect and respond to new data points in a timely and positive manner. An organization with a high degree of business agility can detect an event such as a pandemic and reprioritize its efforts in enough time to minimize risk as well as create a competitive advantage. For example, an agile company in the entertainment business would understand the implications of the pandemic and immediately seek to acquire a digital asset that would allow them to transfer their events into virtual space. Business agility is accomplished by instrumenting your organization with high-fidelity feedback loops at the micro and macro levels. What do your customers want? What does the market want? And then creating a culture and systems to respond to information as soon as possible.
The term agility is often referred to with software teams. Business agility is not just software related, it’s the organization as a whole. What does that mean? For an organization to develop business agility that means that everyone involved in delivering solutions— and I mean everyone — including business and technology leaders, development, IT operations, marketing, finance, legal, support, compliance, security, human resources, and even customers — must all use agile practices to allow their organization to respond rapidly to changes in the internal and external environment without losing momentum or vision. Key aspects essential to long-term business agility are adaptability, flexibility, and perseverance of relentless improvement.
Empowering employees to solve complex problems fast
Adapting. Pivot. Fast. Continuous. People. All words that come to mind when thinking about Business Agility. For me, business agility is adapting to technology, listening to the customers, and empowering our employees and leaders to make the decisions to meet the demands of the market. It’s also embracing a culture of innovation to solve complex problems, fast.
Finding a product-market fit is the key to building a good business. It’s also really hard to do, which is why a term like business agility even exists. Business agility is a continuous evolution towards finding product-market fit, which is a match between your value proposition and customer segments. No business nails product-market fit on their first go, which is why the most successful startups are ones who aren’t afraid of adopting an agile approach.
If viewing this with a mobile device, click on the Name of the Course to view more details on each course.
Applying the Scrum Master role within a SAFe® enterprise
With SAFe®5 Scrum Master Certification
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
Release Train Engineers
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
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:
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.
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
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 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.
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 prepare myself to give the SAFe Advanced Scrum Master training classes, it took a good amount of prep time prior to class, much more than any other course I have taught. To prepare myself as a trainer I used the Scaled Agile offered materials. They offer us a great array of tools for delivering the training (both in-person and remote) such as videos, prepared courseware, PI Planning tooling workbooks and more. After putting myself in the shoes of the learner, I realized some additional materials (links with more details on some of the topics as well as a couple videos) would be useful to really help the content sink in.
I tracked down the information I felt that I would need and added them to my course delivery plan. Combining these new materials with the materials Scaled Agile provides would provide the students the right foundation to take the learning back to the real world and apply it to their current roles
As for the course itself, if you’re wondering if you should take it, do you fit into one of these roles?
Existing Scrum Master
Certified Scrum Master (CSM, PSM I, PSM II, and so forth)
Team leader, project manager, or Agile Team facilitator in a SAFe or enterprise Agile context
Engineering or development manager who are responsible for Agile execution and coaching teams, including teams of teams
Agile Program Manager
Prospective RTE (Release Train Engineer)
If you do, great! If not, feel free to reach out to me (email@example.com) and I can certainly help you track down the learning that would fit you the best.
The course itself is advanced to say the least. It’s a 2 day course (8 hours per day) and is packed with content. On day 1, it’s mostly a review of the SAFe framework. Day 2 has a lot of XP / Lean / Kanban content that is new to many learners such as : Cumulative Flow Diagrams, PI burn-down charts, and Pair Work . The learning objectives show just how advanced this course is
Apply SAFe principles to facilitation, enablement, and coaching in a multi-team environment
Build a high-performing team and foster relentless improvement at scale
Address Agile and Scrum anti-patterns
Support the adoption of engineering practices, DevOps, and Agile architecture
Learn to apply Kanban eXtreme Programming (XP) frameworks to optimize flow and improve the team’s work
Facilitate program planning, execution, and delivery of end-to-end systems value
Support learning through participation in Communities of Practice and innovation cycles
So glad you asked! Beyond the time with a certified instructor to guide them through the learning and entertain you (such as yours truly), students also will receive the following:
Shared experiences with your peers
Digital workbook with links to all videos and copies of all of the slides presented
A study guide for the exam
A practice test that is scored, but not recorded anywhere. So you can take it as many times as you like!
One-year membership to the SAFe Community Platform
Once you pass the exam (NOT IF, let’s be positive!), you’ll receive a SAFe digital badge you can share on social media
Up to 15 PDUs to renew PMI certifications
Up to 15 SEUs to renew Scrum Alliance certifications
The exam is online, and time boxed to 2 hours. The test consists of 60 questions, which gives you an average of 2 minutes per question. The passing score is 44 out of 60 (73%) so it’s achievable. However, don’t let the 73% fool you. The exam is challenging, but it’s fair. You need to pay attention during the course, actively participate in the activities, and digest (not just read) the course materials.
As you can see this is definitely much more than you will find in the SAFe Scrum Master (SSM), Scrum Alliance Certified Scrum Master (CSM), Scrum.org Professional Scrum Master (PSM I) or any other Scrum Master course. The extra knowledge and the classroom experience will greatly grow your skill set as Scrum Master, especially if part of a Scaled Agile enterprise.
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Learn the purpose, benefits, concepts, and vocabulary of DevSecOps including DevOps security strategies and business benefits.
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.
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
IT Security Professionals, Practitioners, and Managers
Maintenance and support staff
Managed Service Providers
Project & Product Managers
Quality Assurance Teams
Site Reliability Engineers
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
Participants should have baseline knowledge and understanding of common DevOps definitions and principles.
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.
Realizing DevSecOps Outcomes
Origins of DevOps
Evolution of DevSecOps
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
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 states
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
The DevSecOps Collective Body of Knowledge
Preparing for the DevSecOps Foundation certification exam
If viewing this with a mobile device, click on the Name of the Course to view more details on each course.
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.
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.
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
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
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
Familiarity with IT terminology and IT related work experience are recommended.
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.