After completing this course, students will be able to:
- Practice and maintain a regular cadence when delivering working software each iteration
- Follow the team approach; start as a team, finish as a team
- Gain knowledge and understanding of Agile principles with context on why they are so important for each team
- Embrace planning from Vision down to Daily level, recognizing the value of continuous planning over following a plan
- Build a backlog of prioritized stories that provides emergent requirements for analysis that also fosters customer engagement and understanding
- Engage in more effective estimating (story points) and become more accurate by being less precise
- Pull together Agile release plans that connect you back to business expectations – including hard date commitments and fixed price models
- Apply Agile testing strategies based on unit and acceptance testing, which creates a bottom up confirmation that your software works
- Avoid the top mistakes made when rolling out Agile practices and how to craft an adoption strategy that will work in your organizational culture
Agile Introduction and Overview
- Why Agile
- Agile Methods
- Agile Benefits
- Agile Basics - understanding the lingo
Forming the Agile Team
- Team Roles
- Process Expectations
- Self organizing teams - where flexibility exists
- Communication - inside and out
Teams will engage in a fun exercise that will reinforce the importance of, and power behind, self organizing teams. As with sports teams, individual roles are important, but even more important is the need to work toward a common goal together. At times that means blurring the lines of traditional roles. Great teams will not define themselves by their individual roles.
- Five Levels of Planning in Agile
- Importance of Product Vision
- Creating and communicating vision
Writing a vision statement. This can be very relevant if teams have not been operating with this level planning. If teams are already operating with a clear vision, it is an opportunity to revisit. Each team is expected to have an actual vision statement for their product that would be a solid foundation to build upon. The Product Vision is then posted in a very visible place for the team to reference throughout the remainder of the exercises.
Focus on the Customer
- User Roles
- Customer Personas
- Customer Participation
Each team is tasked with identifying key customer roles, giving them a name, and describing key attributes about the customer. These customer personas are presented to other teams and good idea sharing takes place.
Creating a Product Backlog
- User Stories
- Acceptance Tests
- What makes a good story (sizing and substance)
- Story Writing Workshop
Each team will conduct a brainstorming session for creating a product backlog in the form of user stories. Each team will present some of their user stories and the instructor will lead discussion about where teams hit the mark and areas for improvement (Instructor will not have all of the ideas, this is a great opportunity for team dynamic). After some feedback and sharing, each team will take a second pass at creating some user stories.
- Product Themes
- Importance of Focus
- Creating the Roadmap
- Maintaining the Roadmap
Each team will group their user stories into common product themes and present them to the larger group. This helps teams to recognize that at times it makes sense to prioritize beyond just individual user stories. Teams then utilize the product themes to establish a desired product roadmap. Like the vision statement, the roadmap is then posted for the team to reference throughout the remainder of the course.
Prioritizing the Product Backlog
- Methods for prioritizing
- Building Trust
- Expectations for prioritizing stories
Teams are tasked with assigning a priority to their user stories at the appropriate level of detail.
- Actual vs Relative estimating
- Story Points
- Planning Poker
- Estimating Team velocity
Teams are tasked with assigning story point estimates to enough user stories to extend at least a few iterations into the future. The method for determining the story point estimates will be Planning Poker. Teams will be given enough time to begin to see some consistency in their team and triangulate relative sizing of their stories. Teams are then asked to estimate their team's velocity.
- Utilizing velocity
- Continuous Integration
- Regular cadence
Teams are tasked with building a release plan by incorporating priority, story point estimates, team velocity and customer/product owner input to assign stories to iterations with desired release points.
- Getting to the details
- Keeping cadence
At the appropriate time, teams need to get to the precise details of what is expected. This can be done in a number of ways, including screen mockups, data design, process flows, use cases, etc. Teams will have an opportunity to get to the details of the user stories that are planned for the upcoming iteration planning. This practice helps teams maintain a regular cadence when delivering working software each iteration.
- Task breakdown
- Time estimates
- Definition of "done"
- Active participation
Team Exercise:Teams are tasked with discussing the details of the stories that, based on the estimated team velocity, may be completed in the first iteration. As the details are discussed, the tasks will be identified that would be needed to achieve the desired result. Teams will discover that at times user stories need to be split into multiple stories and re-estimated. Next, with all of the tasks identified, teams assign actual time estimates to the tasks identified. Finally, the team will revisit the sizing of the iteration to determine if they have the appropriate time and resources to meet their commitment. Led by the instructor, the larger group discusses the pitfalls of committing more than can be delivered and the importance of making and meeting commitments for both the team and the customer. One of the keys to success in Agile is a regular cadence of commitment and delivery for both customer and developer teams.
- Collaboration - value individuals and interactions
- Daily Standup (Scrum)
Taskboards are an invaluable communication tool during each iteration. Each team is tasked with coming up with their task board that communicates clearly their commitments for the iteration and progress against those commitments. This usually proves to be a very creative and engaging exercise. Teams present their taskboards to the larger group, generating further good idea sharing among the larger team. At their task boards, each team then can hold a daily standup, with one person on the team responsible for ensuring the integrity of the meeting and other team members playing out assigned behavioral roles. With the larger group we will discuss the critical role of an effective daily scrum. Finally, the entire group can share perspectives on the definition of done and the importance of determining that as a team. The instructor will share his or her perspective from experience on an iterative approach to the definition of “done.” Team approach is reinforced...start as a team, finish as a team.
Measuring and Communicating Progress
- Actual effort and remaining effort
- Burndown charts
- Tools and Reporting
- Your company specific measures
Instructor will lead a discussion on the effectiveness of the measurements appropriate for Your company. We need to have further discussion regarding what measurement and communication tools are needed/expected at your company.
Iteration Review and Demo
- Iteration Review
- Demos - a change from the past
- What we did well
- What did not go so well
- What will we improve
Teams will hold a retrospective on their experience during the course, specifically on what they learned during the exercises with their team. Each team is then tasked with identifying what things they plan to incorporate into their next iteration.
Bringing it All Together
- Process Overview
- Team Roadmap
Teams will establish a roadmap for adopting the most useful principles and practices learned during the course. The larger group will discuss how this Team Roadmap will be maintained as part of ongoing retrospectives. The instructor will share insights into how teams have successfully adopted Agile principles and practices as well as what pitfalls to avoid. Most teams find this to be the most useful exercise of the course as they apply what they have learned to their situation.