Agile Training: What it is and why you should adopt it

The software development world is a notoriously hectic one with ever-approaching deadlines and ever-changing customer requirements posing a constant challenge to development teams. The ability to manage uncertainty, keep one’s bearings and consistently produce exemplary work is indispensable in such an environment.

Naturally, organizations are continuously on the hunt for methods to streamline what their software teams do and help them do it faster and better. One such important method is by embarking on Agile training.

Ever since the publication of the “Manifesto for Agile Software Development” in 2001, and even for some time before that, implementing Agile methodologies has been an increasingly important way of enabling companies to crank out better-quality software to customers more efficiently.

So what is Agile development, and how should organizations train their teams to adopt it?

What Is Agile Development?

At its essence, Agile is a mindset. As stated in the 12 principles of the “Agile Manifesto,” it is an outlook according to which professionals, teams and the broader organization should strive to be agile and adaptive, embrace change and learn to leverage it to their advantage.

Among the key points of Agile is the idea that having the right people in your development team is of far greater importance than merely having good processes and tools with which to do work. With the right combined set of talents and abilities, a software team can be truly cross-functional and react well to sudden difficulties and changes in customers’ requests.

Beyond this, Agile advocates planning development in a way that is roughly analogous to the process of evolutionary change. Delivery teams are to be largely, if not entirely, autonomous with managers only stepping in to help teams cope with organizational problems that they can’t solve on their own. Teams are to deliver tangible, working software to customers in frequent intervals, measured in weeks or months, to receive feedback from customers and adapt subsequent versions of their programs to that feedback.

Alignment and communication—both internally between team members and externally between team members, customers and clients—is a crucial source of feedback. With this continuous feedback, teams will be able to organize and create business solutions that are best adapted to the clients’ needs.

With this general overview of the Agile methodology out of the way, we can proceed to asking the all-important question: What is Agile training?

An Introduction to Agile Training

Training your development team to adopt the Agile approach entails training them to be especially consumer and end-user-focused. There are a number of different Agile frameworks where ZenAgile can assist in training your teams. We have developed training courses for the following major Agile frameworks and Agile roles.

Scrum is an Agile framework that supports flexible, incremental, high value product delivery to customers

Agile Foundations and Scrum Training

One of the most widely used Agile frameworks, even extending to projects beyond software development, Scrum is well-organized and easy to understand, but it requires some work to master.

The main principles behind scrum are simple. It is a framework optimized for software teams consisting of 10 members or fewer. Development goals are broken up into units of time called sprints. Sprints are of a fixed length—usually two weeks but never more than four weeks—and are to be repeated as many times as the overall project requires.

During the sprint, there is a daily 15-minute stand-up meeting, called a daily scrum, in which members track their progress toward their sprint goal and adjust their plans according to changing conditions.

At the end of each sprint, the team and stakeholders as appropriate convene to review the working increment of the product that was built during sprint. The intention is to get feedback for ongoing, continuous product improvement. This is followed by a sprint retrospective which allows for continuous process improvement within the team.

These Scrum events culminate to form a closed-loop system that supports the ability to quickly and continuously deliver the highest value to customers while meeting the shifting demands of the marketplace.

Agile Coaching Training

For organizations adopting Agile who seek to get the most out of Agile, an area to consider is training project managers, scrum masters and change leaders in the discipline of Agile Coaches.

The Agile Coach is a catalyst and change agent who works to foster excellence in teams and achieve the organization’s agenda through skills of facilitation, mentoring, coaching and teaching of Agile. They may differ from a traditional Scrum Master role in that they go beyond facilitation and may support multiple teams or operate at the program level and above.

While Agile Coaching can be consider a role in its own right, it can also be seen as a transferable discipline or set of competencies that managers, scrum masters and leaders can employ to help teams and organizations become the very best version of themselves.

Is Agile Training Right for Your Company?

Agile is designed to break large and complex projects into manageable pieces of usable value and provide software teams with continuous feedback throughout their work. As such, it is best to have your teams trained in Agile if your organization will be tackling large, complex, multilayered software projects. If you anticipate uncertainty and frequently shifting conditions for your software team, then giving them training in Agile is doubly important.

Teams that we’ve worked with have come to experience great success in terms of productivity, quality and customer satisfaction which offers a strong justification for the investment.

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