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Agile Boot Camp: An Immersive Introduction


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An Interactive Introduction to Agile Software Development

Summary:

Technical Training Short On Site Course Quote While not a silver bullet, Agile Methodologies are quickly becoming the most practical way to create outstanding software. Scrum, Extreme Programming, Lean, Dynamic Systems Development Method, Feature Driven Development and other methods each have their strengths. While there are significant similarities that have brought them together under the Agile umbrella, each method brings unique strengths that can be utilized for your team success. Rarely do organizations adopt one methodology in it's pure form. Rather success is achieved by combining the best practices, creating a hybrid approach. The only way to Agile success is practice. Agile is an art more than a science. The art of Agile must be practiced and finely tuned over multiple iterations. In this three-day Agile Boot Camp you will put the knowledge, skills, tools and techniques taught to work. The classroom will be broken up into Agile teams and your expert instructor will drive each team through the Agile process from Vision down to Daily planning and execution. Your instructor will answer questions with real world experience, as all of our instructors have Agile experience "in the trenches."

This three-day, classroom is set up in pods/teams. Each team looks like a real-world development unit in Agile with Project Manager/Scrum Master, Business Analyst, Tester and Development. The teams will work through the Agile process including Iteration planning, Product road mapping and backlogging, estimating, user story development iteration execution, and retrospectives by working off of real work scenarios.
Specifically, you will:

  • Practice how to be and develop a self-organized team
  • Create and communicate a Product Vision
  • Understand your customer and develop customer roles and personas
  • Initiate the requirements process by developing user stories and your product backlog
  • Put together product themes from your user stories and establish a desired product roadmap
  • Conduct story point estimating to determine effort needed for user stories to ultimately determine iteration(s) length
  • Take into consideration assumed team velocity with story point estimates and user story priorities to come up with you release plan
  • Engage the planning and execution of your iteration(s)
  • Conduct retrospectives after each iteration
  • Run a course retrospective to enable an individual plan of execution on how to conduct Agile in your environment

Who Should Attend:

Because this is an immersion course and the intent is to engage in the practices every Agile team will employ, this course is recommended for all team members responsible for delivering outstanding software. That includes, but is not limited to, the following roles:

  • Business Analyst
  • Technical Analyst
  • Project Manager
  • Software Engineer/Programmer
  • Development Manager
  • Product Manager
  • Product Analyst
  • Tester
  • QA Engineer
  • Documentation Specialist

The Agile Boot Camp is a perfect place for cross functional "teams" to become familiar with Agile methods and learn the basics together. It's also a wonderful springboard for team building & learning. Bring your project detail to work on in class.

What You Will Learn:

  • 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

Course Outline:

  1. Agile Introduction and Overview
        Why Agile
        Agile Methods
        Agile Benefits
        Agile Basics - understanding the lingo

  2. Forming the Agile Team
        Team Roles
        Process Expectations
        Self organizing teams - where flexibility exists
        Communication - inside and out

    Team Exercise: 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.

  3. Product Vision
        Five Levels of Planning in Agile
           Vision
           Roadmap
           Release
           Iteration
           Daily
        Importance of Product Vision
        Creating and communicating vision

    Team Exercise: 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.

  4. Focus on the Customer
        User Roles
        Customer Personas
        Customer Participation

    Team Exercise: 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.

  5. Creating a Product Backlog
        User Stories
        Acceptance Tests
        What makes a good story (sizing and substance)
        Story Writing Workshop

    Team Exercise: 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.

  6. Product Roadmap
        Product Themes
        Importance of Focus
        Creating the Roadmap
        Communication
        Maintaining the Roadmap

    Team Exercise: 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.

  7. Prioritizing the Product Backlog
        Methods for prioritizing
        Building Trust
        Expectations for prioritizing stories

    Team Exercise: Teams are tasked with assigning a priority to their user stories at the appropriate level of detail.

  8. Estimating
        Actual vs Relative estimating
        Story Points
        Planning Poker
        Estimating Team velocity

    Team Exercise: 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.

  9. Release Planning
        Utilizing velocity
        Continuous Integration
        Regular cadence

    Team Exercise: 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.

  10. Story Review
        Getting to the details
        Methods
        Keeping cadence

    Team Exercise: 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.

  11. Iteration Planning
        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.

  12. Iteration Execution
        Collaboration - value individuals and interactions
           Communication
           Daily Standup (Scrum)
           Taskboards
        Cadence

    Team Exercise: 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.

  13. Measuring and Communicating Progress
        Actual effort and remaining effort
        Burndown charts
        Tools and Reporting
        Your company specific measures

    Course discussion: 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.

  14. Iteration Review and Demo
        Iteration Review
        Demos - a change from the past

  15. Retrospectives
        What we did well
        What did not go so well
        What will we improve

    Team Exercise: 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.

  16. Bringing it All Together
        Process Overview
        Transparency
        Cadence
        Team Roadmap

    Team Exercise: 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.


Tuition:

This course is not on the current schedule of open enrollment courses. If you are interested in attending this or another course as open enrollment, please contact us at (410) 956-8805 or at ati@aticourses.com and indicate the course name and number of students who wish to participate. ATI typically schedules courses with a lead time of 3-5 months. Group courses can be presented at your facility. For on-site pricing, request an on-site quote. You may also call us at (410) 956-8805 or email us at ati@aticourses.com.

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