Upcoming Courses: Click on date or course name for event details.

Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
New York, NY
New York, NY
Charlotte, NC
Halifax, NS
Montreal, QC
Montreal, QC
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
Toronto, ON
Toronto, ON
Toronto, ON
Charlotte, NC
Charlotte, NC
Halifax, NS
Halifax, NS
California
Charleston, SC
Charleston, SC
RDU, NC
RDU, NC
Nashville, TN
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little
Joe Little


Certified Scrum Master Course:

This is the basic Scrum course that most people hear about. It covers the basics of Scrum, with the hope that you will be interested enough, motivated enough, and now smart enough to go out and use these ideas effectively. The course will not make you a master practitioner, but an effective one.

Unlike others, we almost always combine a 1 or 2 day workshop with this course. The workshop is described further below.

Summary of the Course:

Through a combination of immersive team-based learning, exercises, and real-world case studies, you will learn:

  • To plan, initiate and lead a Scrum project
  • To establish a shared vision for the entire team
  • To generate an agile release plan utilizing user stories and story point estimation
  • To lead your Scrum team through planning, review, and retrospective sessions
  • To create an environment in which self-managing teams can flourish
  • To identify and remove impediments
  • To identify, engage and involve business stakeholders in your project
  • How to take most existing teams to the next level
  • Practical suggestions purchased expensively from the school of hard knocks

ScrumMaster training provides an applied understanding of the Scrum process and helps participants begin to develop the tools, insights, and skills required to apply Scrum on their projects and across their organizations.

Who Should Attend:

This course is for all people interested in Scrum and Agile. It was originally created to train ScrumMasters, but is now used to train teams and to train the managers around teams. It is particularly useful if a whole team (or team group) takes the course together. In any case, all team roles (coder, tester, analyst, Product Owner, ScrumMaster, etc) and managers and other interested parties can attend. For example, the CEO of a 50-person firm attended with benefit for all.

While it is a beginner level course, this course includes the practical knowledge to immediately start doing Scrum with a team. You will also learn not just the how, but also the why. This course is immersive and intensive, including practical, hands-on exercises and small-group discussions.

Additional benefits: You can receive 14 or 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) for this 2-day course and another 7 PDUs for a 1-day workshop. The course also fulfills the Agile PDU requiremensts of the PMI-ACP.

Course Material:

Participants will receive a copy of the slide deck at the course. In addition, participants should obtain (at their own expense) Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber, which is required reading for the course. You may also wish to obtain the first Scrum book, Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle, on which the course is also based. Of course, there will be updated material and training exercises in the course which you cannot get from books. 

Additional Information:

Assuming successful completion of the course and passing of the CSM Test (the test is not difficult), each participant is enrolled as a Certified ScrumMaster (CSM). This includes a two-year membership in the Scrum Alliance, where additional ScrumMaster-only material and information are available.

Information on the Workshop is provided in a separate section below.

The course typically runs from 8:30am-5:15pm each day. Breaks and lunch are typically provided.

 


 

Intermediate Certified Scrum Product Owner Course:

This is an intermediate course that assumes all attendees have the CSM certification or equivalent in experience doing Scrum "pretty well."

The focus is on the Product Owner and the flow of business information into the team. And on what it means to deliver higher and higher business value.

Summary of the Course:

This is an intermediate course, for people with some knowledge and experience.  We will spend some time reviewing the basic principles of Scrum to ensure a clear and unified understanding.  Experience shows that practitioners frequently need to explain the principles to co-workers, so you will get practice in the course explaining the basics.

Overall, we use a combination of immersive team-based learning, exercises, and real-world case studies to help you learn how to be a better Product Owner.

Topics and/or exercises include:

  • Plan, initiate and lead a Scrum project
  • Release Planning: what & how & why
  • Develop the initial Product Backlog
  • Breaking down user stories (epics)
  • The different sources of PBIs in the Product Backlog
  • Improving the identification of Business Value
  • Story point estimation: how the PO plays, why he cares
  • Managing the Gap between customer expectations and the Team's ability to deliver
  • Improving business value engineering: theory, tools, exercises
  • Balancing new features against digging out of technical debt
  • Refactoring the Release Plan continuously
  • Leading the Team and yet have the Team remain self-managing
  • Working with Business Stakeholders to make them more effective
  • Using the 80-20 rule
  • Fixing Product Owner impediments
  • Scaling & the Chief Product Owner role
  • Managing urgent items
  • You have to slow down to go fast
  • "Things aren't perfect at my place; what do I do when...?"
  • The PO's goals and actions in the basic Scrum meetings
  • Managing the flow of business information into the Team
  • Using the Release Burndown and other reporting

We will also get questions and issues from the group, prioritize them, and cover them as much as possible. We have ready far more material than can be covered in the 2 days, in part to be prepared for the different questions. We find that for half the questions at least, another attendee is thinking "oh, I should have asked that."

This CSPO course is unique in that we are moving beyond theory, and applying the Scrum framework in the course and the workshop in more real-world circumstances. It is designed to bring attendees to a level where they feel comfortable experimenting and improvising in Scrum. Thus, you can help the team be more creative and release more business value.

Who Should Attend:

The CSPO course is for managers, analysts, product managers, business stakeholders, business analysts, and ScrumMasters. And many project managers. In fact, since the Product Owner is integral to the Team, we recommend that the Team also attend at least the Workshop.

You will leave with solid knowledge of how and why Scrum works. Through practical, hands-on exercises and small-group discussion you will be prepared to plan your first (or next) sprint immediately after this class. ScrumMasters need this course, because they must coach Product Owners in these skills.

Additional benefits: You can receive 14-15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) for this 2-day course plus an additional 7 PDUs for a 1-day Workshop. The course also fulfills the Agile PDU requirements of the PMI-ACP.

Course Material:

Participants will receive a copy of the slide deck at the course. In addition, participants should obtain (at their own expense) Agile Project Management with Scrum, by Ken Schwaber, which is required reading for the course. You may also wish to obtain the primary Scrum book, Agile Software Development with Scrum by Schwaber and Beedle, on which the course is also based. Of course, there will be updated material and training exercises in the course which you cannot get from books.

Additional Information:

Following successful completion of the course, each participant is enrolled as a CSPO, which includes a two-year membership in the Scrum Alliance, where additional Scrum materials and information are available.

Information on the Workshop is provided in a separate section below.

The course typically runs from 8:30am-5:10pm each day. Breaks and lunch are typically provided.

 


 

Workshop: Agile Release Planning - plus

We lead Workshops in two contexts.  The first context is as a 1 day 'add-on' to a course. To us, the workshop is 'required' as part of the CSM course or the CSPO course.  (The Workshop can also be done as a stand-alone event, usually in-house for one company or organization.)

The main content is Agile Release Planning and Sprint Planning. 

Agile Release Planning means that the team does the following with a real set of work:

  • Agree on the Vision
  • Develop the Product Backlog
  • Estimate Business Value
  • Estimate Effort
  • Discuss Risks, Dependencies, Learning and other factors
  • Order the Work
  • Finalize the Release Plan

Working with a real team on their real work is an excellent way to start using Scrum.  It brings out the team's real issues, and some of the concerns (which often turn out to be insubstantial) start to go away.  They are then prepared to really start "on Monday."

After Agile Release Planning (and Release Plan Refactoring), we discuss the impact upon Sprint Planning.  We review details of how Sprint Planning should be done. And often the team does some part of Sprint Planning.   

Note: The Workshop can also be done over 2 days. 

Additional benefits: The Workshop provides 7 PDUs. And provides 7 SEUs for the Scrum Alliance CSP (Certified Scrum Professional). See here.

More details about the Workshop are available in this blog post.  And a customer describing why the Workshop is valuable is available in this blog post.

 


 

Workshop: Story Splitting / Feature Decomposition

The Agile Requirements Workshop is a great way to introduce all members of a project to the practice of writing requirements in the form of User Stories. Often they have been 'introduced' before, but lack skill in implementation.

This Workshop helps you develop those important skills.

This workshop is highly interactive and hands-­on, applying the theory and concepts as they are introduced. It goes into much more detail about the process of creating and managing User Stories, and how User Stories can be used with other forms of requirements.

Additional benefits: The Workshop provides 7 PDUs. And provides 7 SEUs for the Scrum Alliance CSP (Certified Scrum Professional). See here.


Workshop Outline:
  • Introduction to Story Splitting
  • Value of Story Splitting and delivering smaller product increments
  • Story Splitting Techniques (High Level & FURPS)
  • Hands-on exercise with a sample product
  • Instructor-led exercise with a sample product
  • Hands-on exercise using class participants' real work

 

Workshop: Scaling Agile

This 1 day workshop will provide an overview and in-depth introduction to Agile Scaling. Within the confines of 1 day. In this workshop, we will explore how to scale Agile from a single team to a large organization Agile transformation.

Additional benefits: The Workshop provides 7 PDUs. And provides 7 SEUs for the Scrum Alliance CSP (Certified Scrum Professional). See here. 


Workshop Outline:
  • Introduction to Agile Scaling
  • Applying Scaling to the Scrum Cycle
  • Implementing a Chief Product Owner & Product Owner group
  • Creating a single Product Backlog & synchronizing iterations
  • Scrum of Scrums
  • Techniques for optimizing geographically distributed teams
  • Scaling Impediment Removal
  • Scaling Patterns in the ScrumPLOP
  • Overview of Scaled Agile models including Scaled Agile Framework (SAFe) & Large-Scale Scrum (LeSS) & Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)


 

Business Value Engineering:

In this workshop we will discuss many basic concepts of Business Value Engineering. Please see this article for more detail.

We think the key benefit of this workshop is clear:  the creation of an action plan to increase the BV delivered by each team, without having the team work harder.

We will group into teams of 4-6 at tables and do the following:

•Develop a definition of business value for a specific project
•Develop a BV model (a way of calculating expected business value)
•Map out the current BVE process (see below)
•Identify the theories and assumptions underlying the current BVE process
•Make a plan or Business Case to improve the current BVE process

With feedback between the teams and additional discussions, those exercises will fill the 2 day workshop.

By BVE process, we mean those explicit or tacit things that you or your firm does to address the following kinds of questions.

  • How do we:
    • determine what the customers want?
    • innovate?
    • focus on 'the vital few'? (the Pareto Rule)
    • communicate requirements to the development team?
    • allocate people to work?
    • manage the projects?
    • deliver a 'finished' product to the customer? (Frequency, delay, quality level, test harness, training, etc etc)
    • integrate other things with the Product to form the Solution?
    • determine if we were successful?
    • learn?
    • adapt to change in all its dimensions?
  • Do we have feedback loops?
  • Is there a P-D-C-A cycle in there?
  • The attempt is to get as close to an end-to-end 'flow' as we can. (We do not wish to locally optimize, and then hurt the overall flow.)

The workshop and BVE is about things that happen outside the Scrum team. (We generally assume you have one or more Scrum teams, but that is not an essential assumption, we find.)

For the "product owner" of each team in the Workshop, we must be working on his real situation.  For others in each team, this should ideally also be a real situation (be similar to something in their real world), but may not be.

We will also get questions and issues from the group, prioritize them, and cover them as much as possible. 

Who Should Attend:

This Workshop is for Product Owners, managers, analysts, product managers, Business Stakeholders, business analysts, and ScrumMasters. And many project managers.  ScrumMasters need this workshop, because they must coach Product Owners in these skills.

PMPs: You can receive 14 Professional Development Units (PDUs) for this workshop. 

Course Material :

Participants will receive course materials (not books) at the course.  Of course, there will be updated material and training exercises in the course which you cannot get from books.

Additional Information :

The workshop will run from 8:30am-5:10pm each day. A continental breakfast, breaks and lunch will be provided.

 


 

Custom Workshops:

We have done many custom workshops, and generally find these very useful.  Please tell us if you would like a custom workshop based on an existing Workshop, or if you would like to design a different kind of workshop than anything mentioned here. 

 


 

Scrum Team Training:

We strongly recommend that the full Scrum team (Product Owner, ScrumMaster and Implementors) all learn Scrum at the same time, to see each other asking questions, doing the same exercises, and taking it in.  This is extremely helpful later.  Perhaps most obviously for the beginning ScrumMaster.

We recommend the CSM course + workshop for this "Introduction to Agile-Scrum."

Other courses also can be taken together as a Team.

 


 

PMI® Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) BOOT CAMP:

This boot camp provides a solid foundation in Agile, and will prepare you to pass the PMI-ACP exam. Through a combination of immersive team-based learning, exercises, and real-world case studies, you will learn the about the following topics and much more:

  • The 10 Tools and Techniques and 43 Knowledge and Skills areas to pass the exam.
  • The foundation of Agile including the Agile Manifesto and Principles
  • Scrum roles, meetings, tools, techniques and artifacts
  • XP (eXtreme Programming) roles and practices
  • Lean software development practices
  • Kanban and limiting work in progress
  • How to identify and remove impediments
  • Agile estimation techniques including relative sizing and story points
  • Agile team dynamics, soft skills negotiation and coaching
  • How Epics and User Stories are created and their role in analysis and design
  • The INVEST model for User Stories
  • Communications techniques including daily stand-ups, information radiators, team spaces and osmotic communications
  • Agile metrics including velocity, escaped defects, etc.
  • Incremental development, delivery and continuous integration
  • Value-driven delivery and product backlog grooming
  • How to effectively manage stakeholder involvement and expectations
  • Problem detection and resolution

In addition to providing a solid foundation in Agile, this course is designed to cover the topics that will be covered on the PMI-ACP exam so that you will come away from this course fully prepared to successfully pass the exam.

Additional Information:

When on a weekend, this boot camp will run from 8:30am to 5:00pm Friday and Saturday, and from 8:30am to 3:00pm on Sunday. A continental breakfast, breaks and lunch will be provided.

This course satisfies the 21 Professional Development Units (PDUs) required to take the PMI-ACP exam.

PMI and PMP are registered marks of Project Management Institute, Inc., and PMI Agile Certified Practitioner (PMI-ACP) and PMI-ACP are service marks of Project Management Institute, Inc.

 


 

Scrum 201 course + Workshop:

This course is for CSMs or CSPOs who want to go to the next level with Scrum.  Probably including earning SEUs toward the Certified Scrum Professional (CSP) designation.

In fact, it would be excellent for whole teams, who have sufficient experience, to take this course together.  And the managers directly involved would benefit too.  This is an intermediate level course.

Frankly we are strong advocates of playing Scrum professionally.   We think too many people are playing Scrum at what could be called an amateur level.  With good intentions, but not with enough training and enough discipline and vigor. Being an amateur in certain situations is a good thing, but not in playing Scrum.

Part of the purpose of the course is to help you to earn your CSP certification. This includes SEUs, but more importantly, the learnings you need to become more professional in Scrum.  In addition to the course and other courses, other conditions apply to become a CSP.

We think Scrum offers huge benefits if played professionally with vigor.

What is the basic problem?  What do I need to take Scrum to the next level? 

Our way of describing the problem is this:

  • Attitudinal: People don’t believe that the benefits are out there, and for a variety of reasons, do not play as vigorously as they should.
  • Practical: People have misunderstood some of the basic steps of Scrum. Or bad habits have seeped in.  This is universally common in any sport. And clearly true in Scrum.
  • Understanding: People either did not learn or have forgotten the underlying purposes of each part of Scrum and each part of the agile mix. In our opinion, this is the key reason for so much Scrum-Butt. (Ex: “We do Scrum, BUT we don’t have a good product owner…”)
  • Combinational: People have not made as good a combination of Scrum and other things to make it work as effectively as possible. (Other things always  must be added to Scrum. Of course, the other things should be agile-friendly.)

So, the goal of the course is to deal with these problems.

And to unleash, to a much higher level, the benefits of Scrum. For each person, for the Team, and for your customers.

Content:

There is plenty of content for the course.  In fact, too much.  So, part of the work will be to prioritize what the specific attendees want to learn. Or need to learn, to be more successful.

Content areas will include:

  • The basics of Scrum and how to present them.  One might expect that these were well-known.  But frankly it is remarkable how helpful it is to review the basics.  Of course, this is true in any sport.  For those who understand the basics well, we still find one always needs more practice explaining the basics to others.  It is said that most games in sports are won through a keen appreciation for, and a vigorous execution of, the basics (“basic blocking and tackling”).
  • The underlying principles. Why Scrum works, and all the reasons why each practice is useful.
  • The roundedness of a good ScrumMaster
  • Removing impediments more aggressively; making better business cases
  • Improving the product owner
  • Business Value Engineering
  • Better release planning
  • The agile contract (fixed-price issues)
  • Patterns of ‘implementer’ evolution (and related issues from the attendees)
  • Advocating for the agile team
  • Advocating for the Agile Transformation
  • Patterns for the agile transformation
  • What does the broader Agile Transformation look like?
  • Scaling
  • Distributed Agile
  • Too many projects at once
  • Other problems or impediments, as identified by the attendees
  • Taking the Scrum meetings to the next level
  • Taking the artifacts to the next level
  • Managers and Metrics
  • Knowledge workers and motivation
  • Hyper-productivity
  • Everything is not agile yet; what do we do?
  • What is the secret sauce?

As you read a list like this, you notice that each topic could be dealt with at great length. Some could even be stand-alone courses.  So, part of the effort is to balance the attendees’ needs in all these areas.

Part of the learning approach will include you teaching others.  (It is remarkable how much you learn when you must teach others.)
Part of the learning approach will include exercises. Some will directly include the real work of at least one person in the team for that exercise.

Workshop:

We strongly suggest you include the workshop (the third day). 

The workshop would take a team, select a product owner, and do agile release planning for a real 5-7 month project in one day. This takes many of the ideas discussed, and makes them real and concrete in the form on one real project.

The ideal situation is where the real whole team (or 5 members of the team) have come to the course. Alternately, we form a temporary team from the people who come to the course. In either case, it is one product owner’s real project.

Who Should Attend:

This Scrum 201 course + Workshop is for CSMs, CSPOs, managers and others experienced in Scrum who are looking for an intermediate Scrum course. The following people may find it useful: Product Owners, managers, analysts, product managers, Business Stakeholders, business analysts, coders, testers, and ScrumMasters. And many project managers. 

CSP Candidates: This course will give you 15 SEUs. The workshop will give you 7 additional SEUs. 

PMPs: You can receive 15 Professional Development Units (PDUs) for the course. The workshop counts as 7 additional PDUs.

Course Material:

Participants will receive a copy of the slide deck (not books) at the course.  (The slide deck will surely include many more slides than we will cover.) Of course, there will be updated material and training exercises in the course which you cannot get from books.

Additional Information :

The course and the workshop will run from 8:30am-5:10pm each day. A continental breakfast, breaks and lunch will be provided.

 


 

Payment Issues:

There are many ways to pay for courses.  These include: PayPal (credit card), Google Checkout (credit card), Phone (credit card), Intuit Payment Network (money transfer), check, bank money transfer, and cash.

We can of course provide an invoice and/or a receipt.

The general understanding is the payment will be received before the course or workshop starts.