Agile was created as a methodology for breaking complex and large projects into smaller, manageable pieces of usable value and providing teams with continuous feedback throughout their work. But who needs Agile training and is it right for your organization?
Acquiring Agile knowledge is more than just a project management strategy. Agile adoption involves an adaptive mindset designed to continuously improve productivity, encourage stakeholder engagement, and meet customer requirements. The Agile mindset helps project teams embrace change and leverage it to their benefit.
The idea of having the right people on your development team is much more important than just having useful tools and processes for performing the work. This is among the key points of Agile. With the right combination of abilities and talents, a software development team can react quickly to sudden problems, impediments, and changes in customers’ requests. Agile advocates that development teams are largely autonomous, with Agile project managers getting involved only to help their teams cope with organizational issues that they cannot solve independently. Teams deliver software to customers in frequent intervals to receive feedback and adapt every subsequent version of the product to that feedback.
Who Needs Agile Training and Certification Training?
It is best to have your teams trained in Agile if your organization will be tackling complex, extensive, and multilayered projects. Once you come to experience success in terms of quality, productivity, and customer satisfaction, you will know that it was worth the investment.
Agile teams usually feel like they already have a good grasp of Agile and Scrum while going through an Agile transformation. However, when asked about their progress toward business outcomes that their company wants to achieve by Agile transformation, their answer is not as confident. More often than not, business owners and executives haven’t fully considered what business objectives they hope to meet through implementing Agile. Their interest in Agile usually comes from wanting to achieve things like better market responsiveness, increased speed, and customer satisfaction.
Putting the focus on business outcomes enables the company to look at Agile transformation from a broader perspective and understand that it affects all levels of the organization (and not just the software teams).
We will look at the most important signs indicating that your leaders and teams need an introduction to Agile training to identify your enterprise’s desired objectives and increase business value.
- Teams are not working well together
Whether it’s throughout the entire development process, during sprint retrospectives, or in the daily standup, your team members are unwilling to adjust as needed, overly critical, or getting hung up on personality problems. These situations are slowing everything down and pose a threat to your project’s success. Thanks to an Agile training course facilitated by Agile-certified trainer, you can deal with these problems at their core. Adopting an Agile framework can help all team members understand all member roles and adequately fulfill their own. Furthermore, Agile coaching and training can help Product Owners and Scrum Masters identify and solve issues that creep up in the future.
- Teams lack a clear purpose
Teams that don’t understand how their work ties into the broader picture and cannot articulate the company’s customer-focused vision are disconnected from the business outcomes and urgency that drives the change. If your teams aren’t focused on your desired business objectives, they cannot operate with customers and stakeholders in mind. Through proper Agile training, team members and leaders can learn how to define what determines their success and effectively implement feedback to validate the value of their development work with customers.
- Practices are disconnected from Agile principles
Leadership and teams don’t understand the why behind Agile practices if they’re disconnected from the underlying Agile principles. Instead of embracing these principles and practices, they often view them as micromanagement and overhead. That often results in a lack of transparency and low engagement. Such disconnect from the Agile mindset and value of building empowered and self-organized teams leads to practicing Agile in name only.
- Projects are stagnating
The speed with which a development project can proceed to release iterations and rapidly incorporate customer feedback to adjust and optimize the previous iterations is one of the biggest benefits of Agile project management. However, you won’t see that benefit if your Agile projects are stagnating, extending the sprints’ length, and pushing product release dates forward. Stagnation is an obvious sign that something isn’t right, either in the way your team is being led or in the way it is working together. With Agile training, you can identify and fix this issue and get back on track where Agile methodology gives you faster quality.
- Teams lack clarity regarding responsibilities and roles
To create a foundation of accountability and openness from the start, you need to set expectations around how the team members and groups of teams prefer to work together. Enterprises requiring cross-team collaboration often lack good practices for effective collaboration and coordination between teams. When going through Agile training, teams will gain clarity around their responsibilities and roles, a shared set of working agreements, and a definition of when work is ready to begin. They’ll also understand what it means when work is “done,” which empowers them to implement the Agile way of working.
- Bottlenecks at the quality assurance process
If the entire development process runs perfectly until quality assurance (QA) and then significantly slows, you have an issue of fear of sending out an incomplete product. Such fear is understandable and rational, but it is not Agile. Infusing quality and assurance can help you detect bugs and errors early on. Still, Agile aims to continually deliver an imperfect product and allow the customers to participate in improving it. This means you are also giving them the privilege and power of helping you make something they will like even more (better than what you could make on your own).
Delivering working software frequently (every few weeks) is an essential Agile principle. if your teams aren’t regularly demonstrating their potentially shippable and fully-integrated solution in a production-like environment, your company is likely experiencing:
- Immature continuous integration/deployment practices
- Lack of automation
- Development silos
- Not using the sprint burndown chart
A sprint burndown chart is a tool that shows how focused your team members are. If they don’t use it, their progress will be unclear. They might feel like they have flat burndown while feeling that they’re doing tons of work. In other words, your team isn’t delivering, and it needs to regain focus to be able to deliver more frequently.
If your team asks to have its burndown chart, the chart should be based on user stories rather than tasks. A chart based on tasks gives an illusion of achievement, and you may be surprised by having so many finished but undelivered tasks. It happens because the entire score of a story (including testing) wasn’t finished.
- Ineffective work prioritization and story writing practices
The product delivery is incremental in an Agile environment, so it’s very important that the Product Owner and development teams constantly prioritize and refine work. That is why the Product Owner is required to work closely with teams and stakeholders to bring tough decisions. To be able to help them make the best decisions, the Product Owner should be taught effective Agile techniques. The Agile pull-based system requires great feature and story writing skills, transparency at all company levels, continuous refinement, and results in properly detailed, prioritized, emergent, and estimated backlogs.
Not prioritizing work on user stories is another sign that your organization needs Agile training. Besides missing on the concept of prioritization, teams that work on a user story in the middle or at the bottom of the sprint backlog could also signify a conflict with the Scrum Product Owner.
- Separate user stories for testing other user stories
This is a surefire sign that your team members either don’t understand the meaning of deliverability or don’t have a DoD (definition of done). Having separate user stories for developing automation tests is acceptable, but having separate user stories only for testing is a red flag. By going through Agile training, your team will be coached to define their DoD and deliver a working increment at the end of every sprint.
Agile training is necessary for teams that experience inconsistent alignment on Agile terminology, best practices, and experience. It often happens that Agile practices get translated from multiple team members whose experiences in implementing Agile differs. Such a lack of consistency in terminology and practices can create a confusing hybrid mashup of different practices (e.g., Scrum, ScrumBan, Waterfall, XP, Kanban, etc.). and affect team effectiveness. Agile training can help create and maintain a consistent and common foundation of knowledge that can allow your Agile team to focus on things that matter most.
Best Agile and Scrum Certifications
Whether you’re looking to expand your current knowledge or advance in your career as an Agile project management professional, accessing Agile training and obtaining Agile certifications is simple.
Accrediting body: Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe)
- SAFe for Teams (SP)
- Leading SAFe (SA)
- SAFe Scrum Master (SSM)
- SAFe Advanced Scrum Master (SASM)
- SAFe Product Owner/ Product Manager (POPM)
- Implementing SAFe (SPC)
Accrediting body: ICAgile
- Agility in the Enterprise
- Agile Fundamentals
- Agile Product Ownership
- Enterprise Product Ownership
- Agile Team Facilitation
Accrediting body: Scrum Alliance
- Certified Scrum Master (CSM)
- Advanced Certified Scrum Master
- Certified Scrum Professional – Scrum Master
- Certified Scrum Product Owner
- Advanced Certified Product Owner
- Certified Scrum Professional – Product Owner
- Certified Scrum Developer
- Certified Scrum Professional – Developer
- Certified Agile Leadership Essentials
- Certified Agile Leadership for Teams
- Certified Agile Leadership I
- Certified Agile Leadership II (Certification)
Accrediting body: The Project Management Institute (PMI)
- PMI-Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP)
- Disciplined Agile Scrum Master (DASM) Certification
- Disciplined Agile Senior Scrum Master (DASSM) Certification
- Disciplined Agile Coach (DAC) Certification
- Disciplined Agile Value Stream Consultant (DAVSC) Certification
To fully understand scrum methodologies and Agile approaches so you can start practicing Agile the right way, your team needs to go through Agile training. Do you have Agile of Scrum training needs? Reach out to the i4 Group and explore our Agile training services to find out more about Agile certifications, master certification, building a Scrum team, and how we can help you with team training. We are a transformation consulting and corporate training firm with decades of experience in Agile. We can seamlessly guide your staff through Agile education and corporate training.