Agile Training

Being Agile, not just Doing Agile

Joe Bergin and Fred Grossman offer an agile training course for teams learning to be Agile with XP and/or SCRUM. This has been used successfully to train teams at the onset of an agile development project as well as in a workshop setting at conferences such as XP and OOPSLA. The training is intended for key stakeholders, managers, and developers. Using the Whole Team concept, it should include anyone with an essential part to play in the success of the project.

The course is tailored to the client, but is typically four or five days long. The schedule might look like this for a group of about 20 participants, including the new team. This training is specialized to the needs of the team, whether co-located or distributed. The following schedule assumes the team is about to start on a new project soon after the training.

Monday:

AM: An Overview of Agile Development.
PM: A "Virtual Retrospective" of the process currently used by the team, with discussion of success and pain points.

Tuesday:

Extreme Construction: A hands-on agile immersion activity that lets you experience all of the agile (XP and Scrum) practices and values. Your agile team, complete with customers, developers, trackers and coaches, will plan, test, build and integrate an end-to-end, non-technical project by building a physical artifact. The exercise concludes with a retrospective and a debriefing of what you experienced and learned, and how the experience relates to real-world agile development.

Wednesday:

Iteration and Release Planning (the Planning Game) for your project. This includes instruction of Product Owner (Customer) in story writing as well as more on estimation and agile planning. Getting the overall system metaphor for the new project. What is a good story? The difference between stories and constraints.

Thursday:

Continuation of Wednesday's session. More stories. More estimation. Planning the team's daily practices. What practices does the team intend to use and the likely consequences of those choices. Discussions of the added dimensions of team size and team distribution.

Friday:

Special session for developers. What programming practices are needed to successfully be agile. Code requirements for refactoring, testing, integration, etc. Object-orientation beyond classes. Includes some discussion of Design Patterns.


Such a training course not only gives a team knowledge and skills it needs to begin a project, but has also proven instrumental, even essential, in bringing the participants together into a smoothly functioning team. While Extreme Construction is fun, it is also key both to giving a visceral sense of the agile world, and to team cohesiveness needed at the start.

We can include up to about thirty people in this training, though some parts of it are intended to get the team working fast. The first two days can be used in a larger group to give the organization a good feel for agile and what it offers. The last three days are intended to get the team moving so that it can potentially start an iteration (sprint) the following week.

Fred and Joe can serve as Coaches to the team over time. We can also lead retrospectives and provide continuing training of agile stakeholders as well as agile developers. Since we are also connected to many of the people who have developed agile methodology, we can arrange to bring in specialist consultants as needed.

Last Updated: April 3, 2007