Hybrid & Online Agile Scrum training & certification tailored to you

Depending on your knowledge and practical Agile Scrum experience, we have the following three options for you to train and certify yourself Agile as a Scrum Master or Scrum Product Owner.

Hybrid > Virtual Classroom + Physical Workshop day

If you have little or no knowledge or experience of Scrum or if you like to learn the theory together with other participants and have it explained based on practical examples, our Hybrid training is useful and nice:

  1. a few days before the training you will receive the written teaching material at home
  2. on the first and second half day of class you log in at home via your laptop or desktop in our Virtual Classroom. Both immediately following half online class days are from 09:00-13:00. Because you can see and talk to each other and there are a maximum of 7 other participants, the interaction is guaranteed, just like in a real Scrum team. In addition, you do not have to travel for these two half days and you have time in the afternoon for other activities.
  3. after the two half days of online classes you will receive a personal online e-learning for your laptop and tablet. Here you can further master the material on the basis of video material and quizzes and plan and take your exam.
  4. finally, you’ll follow the physical workshop day at our location in which we will practice the practice. Together you will go through an entire Scrum project on this day and you will experience how Scrum theory comes to life in practice and what it is like to be a Scrum Master or Product Owner in practice. Of course we plan this day in close consultation with all participants. And here too: because our teams are never larger than a maximum of 7 other participants, interactivity and safety are guaranteed.

Online > Virtual Classroom

If you already have a lot of practical experience as a Scrum Master or Product Owner and like to learn or refresh the theory interactively with others and to be able to ask questions and have them explained based on practical examples, but you do not need the physical workshop day, you can also choose to register for the Online training only. In that case, you will not participate in the practical workshop day and you will then go through the above steps up to and including 3.

e-learning Scrum Master Certified or Product Owner Certified

If you already have extensive experience with working Agile as a Scrum Master or Product Owner, you want to refresh the theory and certify yourself, then one of our e-learning courses is ideal for that. After registration you will receive a personal online learning environment that you can use via your laptop, PC or tablet. At the time that suits you, you can refresh your theory with videos and quiz questions and then plan your online exam to certify yourself as a Scrum Master or Product Owner Certified while you spend an hour for specific questions and exam preparation. -on-1 guidance from one of our trainers.

Agile working: what is it actually?

Agile working, you have probably heard of it. Just like with terms like agile coach, agile training, agile scrum, and so on. But what does it mean and what is agile working actually?

Flexible

Agile working literally means ‘flexible’ or ‘viable’ working. And agile working is an important theme of this century. Due to globalization and rapid technological developments, such as the advent of the internet, customer wishes are changing at an ever faster pace.

This makes it a challenge for many teams and companies to stay competitive. Agile, agile organizations adapt faster to changing market conditions and are therefore more likely to survive and grow.

Classic examples of companies that changed their approach insufficiently quickly and were therefore miserably lost are Nokia, Kodak, Xerox, IBM, BlackBerry, Polaroid and V&D. If you look close to home in your own shopping street, you will see the same pattern: shops that often open in good spirits but often close their doors again quickly.

Many of these companies could have survived if they had started working agile in time. But what is agile working?

The emergence of Agile working: adaptive project management

To stay one step ahead of the competition, organizations had been looking for ways to be more agile long before the concept of ‘Agile working’ existed.

At the end of the last century, for example, a lot of thought was given to new ways of making adjustments more easily during projects: ‘Adaptive project management’.

This made it possible to respond better to fluctuating market conditions. In such a way that the end result is more relevant and valuable for the customer and end user.

Different ways of adaptive project management

Due to the rapid development of the IT industry at the end of the last century, this was logically one of the first fields in which new methods for adaptive project management were devised and tested.

Just a few of the large number of methods that have been developed over time are: Crystal, DSDM (Dynamic Systems Development Method), XP (eXtreme Programming), FDD (Feature Driven Development), ASD.

And yes, Scrum too.

Unlike other Agile methods, Scrum did not originate from software development in 1986, but emerged from comparative business research [1].

More about that in a future blog.

From different methods to an overarching vision

At the end of the last century there were already a lot of different methods for adaptive project management.

Agile working and the resulting agile methods stem from the ‘Agile Manifesto’.

This manifesto, which began as “Software Manifesto for Agile Development”[2], was conceived around a fire at the Snowbird ski resort in Utah’s Wasatch Mountains in the winter of February 2001.

It arose because the participants of the meeting, after undoubtedly a day of snow fun, tried to formulate a common vision for the various adaptive methods that had been developed up to that point.

Scrum, for example, saw the light of day as a concept at the end of the previous century in 1986.

The Agile manifesto briefly describes four prioritizing values ​​and thirteen related principles.

“People and their interaction over processes and tools

Working products/services over extensive documentation

Customer collaboration over contract negotiations

Responding to change over following a plan”

Freely translated, according to the manifesto, organizations work ‘agile’ if they: develop new products and/or services in close collaboration with their customer and thus respond flexibly to changing market conditions during development.

They do this because they prioritize people and their interactions over processes and tools and through an explicit focus on delivering added value for the customer, the end user.

The Agile Manifesto is thus the overarching vision or thought that brings together the various adaptive project management methods developed separately over time under one heading.

Agile working is therefore a vision for organizing people’s collaboration. Agile working and the agile methods that have arisen have various characteristics when implemented in the right way in an organization: from agile management to agile teams in day-to-day business operations.

Features Agile organizations: small self-managing teams

Agile organizations often work in small independent multidisciplinary teams that work in short cycles on relatively small tasks and receive continuous feedback from the ultimate customer or end user.

Have you ever been involved in a small team where communication is effortless and the group seems to think and act as one?

Such an agile team can analyze a situation, make a choice and act as if it were a single continuous flow

movement.

The A Team!

No supervisor tells them what to do. They trust the other team members.

That trust is rewarded when they perform.

It’s almost as if the group has a mind of its own. Direct conversations resolve all differences of opinion.

Working in such an agile team is great fun, if that suits you.

Characteristics of Agile organizations: strong customer focus

Agile organizations focus strongly on delivering value to customers.

Globalization, deregulation and new technologies, especially the Internet, offered the customer choices. Choices based on reliable information about these choices and the ability to interact with other suppliers.

Suddenly the customer was in charge and expected this value to come to him directly and without any effort.

In today’s competitive market, where customers expect immediate, trusted answers, a bureaucratic approach is becoming less and less effective.

The customer thinks: “Why should I wait? If you don’t deliver it now, I’ll find someone else who will.”

In a hierarchical bureaucracy, “the customer is number one” is really just a slogan. In true Agile organizations with agile management and agile teams, everyone is passionate and obsessed about delivering more value to customers.

Everyone in the organization has a clear view of the ultimate customer and can see how their work adds value to that customer – or not.

Characteristics of Agile organisations: the organization as a network

Agile organizations try to organize the organization as a transparent network of employees who work together towards a common goal of happy customers.

Hierarchical organizations often operate like a gigantic oil tanker: large and efficient, but slow and difficult to maneuver.

When the entire organization embraces Agile, the organization looks less like a giant ship, and more like a fleet of small speedboats.

Instead of a stationary machine, the organization is an organic living network of self-managing teams. The entire organization, including the top, is obsessed with delivering more value to customers.

Agile teams take the initiative themselves and work together with other Agile teams to solve common problems. Agile management also offers the teams this freedom.

How organizations can start working Agile

Agile working seems ideal, is necessary in many cases, but is not easy.

Certainly not for the larger organizations.

For example, organizations that want to work Agile because of their competitive position often choose a framework or method. Scrum is the most generic Agile method. It is therefore the most chosen.

And because Scrum is more of a framework than a method, many different types of implementations of Scrum have emerged over time, each of which meets specific needs of companies.

The question is what the meaning of agile working is for a specific organization. How is it implemented correctly and how does it align with the goals of the organization?

More about that in a later blog.

Agile working: in summary

Agile working means agile working. Agile working of organizations meets the rapidly changing market requirements of today.

In order to grow and remain competitive, organizations therefore want to work in an agile, agile way.

Working in Agile involves multidisciplinary teams that realize products and services in close cooperation and with a strong customer focus in short development cycles.

Agile working is a vision. To put that vision into practice, organizations use Agile methods. One of the most used Agile methods is Scrum.

 

Sources and references:

Harvard Business Review, the new new product development game: https://hbr.org/1986/01/the-new-new-product-development-game
Agile Manifesto: https://agilemanifesto.org/
Denning, S. Explaining agile -Forbes magazine, September 8, 2016-

Agile Scrum: what does it mean?

In a previous blog I wrote about Agile working. But what does ‘Agile Scrum’ actually mean?

The scrum in rugby

In rugby, scrum stands for a restart after a foul. All players then stand together in a circle, with teammates bracing themselves against the opponent with their arms over each other’s shoulders. That’s called a scrum. As soon as the rugby ball is thrown into the circle, the game can start again.

The term Scrum is also widely used as the name of an agile method for organizing projects. To make it clear that this is a scrum way for agile working instead of rugby. That is why the term agile is often added: agile scrum.

Agile Scrum is also about teams that put their shoulders to the wheel and together build a solid and stable foundation for organizing projects

Adaptive Project Management

People are always looking for methods and techniques to deliver products and services faster and more efficiently than the competition. Then you are at an advantage. It’s ‘survival of the fittest’: Darwin to the fullest!

That is why all kinds of adaptive project management methods have been devised over time, on the basis of which you can adjust more easily and faster during the project so that the result matches the changing needs of your customer even better.

One of those methods is Scrum. The major advantage of Scrum is that it can be used for many types of projects due to its generic nature. This makes it more popular than more specific agile methods.

Origin of Scrum

The term Scrum as a way of organizing work first surfaced in the 1980s in an article by business scientists Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka, “The New New Product Development Game” in the Harvard Business Review of 1986[1]. .

Yes 1986, now more than thirty years ago.

The business scientists conducted worldwide research into the mutual differences in the effectiveness of companies. They found that small, self-organizing teams that are in close contact with the customer delivered better results in shorter cycles – i.e. faster – than less agile teams.

The analogy of standing shoulder to shoulder during a set game in rugby appealed to Takeuchi and Nonaka, which is why they named working in self-organizing teams as Scrum.

Years later, the American IT specialists and entrepreneurs Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber picked up on this Scrum principle, put it into practice and developed ‘Scrum’ and told about their experiences at a developers conference in 1995. From that moment on, Scrum gained more and more ground, first within ICT, later also within many other disciplines.

What is the difference between Agile and Scrum?

A frequently asked question. Agile is not a method, but a philosophy, a vision. A vision that started in 2001 as ‘Agile Manifesto for Software Development’. This was supplemented and explained in 2005 with the ‘Declaration of Interdependence’.

To put Agile working into practice, you can choose from many methods. Including Scrum, which of course also endorses the four basic values ​​of Agile. Fruit is to apple the way Agile is to Scrum.

The principles of Scrum

The ‘elevator pitch’ of Scrum is: ‘achieving the highest value in the shortest possible time’. The focus is on six principles:
Empirical process control: instead of detailed planning at the front of the project, Scrum planning runs during the project itself and is based on empiricism: the intermediate results achieved in practice.
Self-organization: in an Agile Scrum project, the Scrum teams organize themselves. The Scrum Master is only there to guide and Bye bye command-and-control type of leadership.
Collaboration: in Scrum, a strong focus is placed on collaboration with all ‘stakeholders’, according to the adage: together you create the end result. Instead of just throwing wishes over the wall and waiting to see what the project team comes up with. Prioritization by value: to deliver the highest value in the shortest possible time, a Scrum project relies heavily on prioritizing p value. The higher the expected added value of a component, the higher the priority for that partial result of the project.
Time-boxed: many meetings within Scrum are time-boxed. This means that it is known in advance how long a certain meeting may last. This provides structure, overview and promotes that meetings do not last longer than absolutely necessary.
Iterative development: within a Scrum project, the delivery of products and services is iterative, ie step by step. This makes it possible to assess a product or service during the project and make adjustments if necessary.

Scrum Roles

There are three roles in Scrum. These roles have no hierarchy among themselves.

There is, however, a clear division between who does what.

For example, the Scrum Product Owner has contact with the customer and determines in close consultation with the customer/client what needs to be made and with what priority. The Scrum team determines how something will be made and plans its own work. The Scrum Master guides the Scrum process and coaches and facilitates the Scrum team.

5 Phases, four of which are recursive.

There are five successive phases in Scrum. At first glance, these stages look very much like a classic waterfall project:

Firstly, the initiative phase, followed by the planning and estimation phase. Then the realization of the project results during the implementation phase, the assessment of the product results during the review & retrospective phase and finally the products are released to the market during the release phase.

So far no details. But: appearances are deceiving.

Because after the completion of that first initiative phase, you go through the other four phases, in repetition, over and over in a cycle. Until the end product – whether that is a service or a tangible product – is ready.

Each of these cycles is called a sprint within Scrum.

Scrum delivers value faster

Within Scrum, each part of the project is prioritized in advance based on value. A product that adds more value is given a higher priority and will therefore be dealt with sooner.

In that process, the power of Agile Scrum is the repeating pattern of the sprints.

Because as a result, partial products are already finished during the current project. So you can deliver it faster and that means a faster delivery of value. And the knife also cuts both ways. Because the experiences with the interim delivered partial products are also used to make the product even better in subsequent phases. As a result, the product matches the wishes of the customer even better.

Take, for example, the banking apps of ING and ABN-AMRO. In the beginning, customers could only view their bank balance. Nowadays such an app can do everything. As a consumer, you have your entire bank online with you. All that extra functionality has been added, bit by bit, over time.

That means a constant addition of value over the years. Due to the smooth introduction at the time, you as a consumer were able to use the app a long time ago. At that time, just checking your balance online was already of great value. By closely monitoring user experiences over time and responding to new needs, developers have been able to deal with changing user needs.

Is Agile Scrum a method or a framework?

Scrum is certainly not as methodical as, for example, PRINCE II (PRojects IN Controlled Environments) and therefore feels much more like a framework that you as an organization can draw from as needed.

After all, in the end it’s not about how you reach the highest value in the shortest time, but that you reach the highest value in the shortest possible time. At least before your competitor does. Because Scrum has the character of a framework, it can be used in many different ways.

Is Agile Scrum the most convenient organizational method in all cases?

No, certainly not in all cases. Scrum is an important consideration for companies and organizations that provide products or services in competitive markets and want to survive or grow in their market by delivering the highest value in the shortest possible time.

But if it concerns, for example, the production of products or services with a long life cycle at the lowest possible price, then the process optimization of, among others, Lean is a better choice. Scrum can make the difference in terms of market retention and market share. The theory behind working according to Agile Scrum is easy. A successful practical implementation, certainly in organizations that have existed for some time, is a different story and more unruly.

More about that in a later blog.

The Future of Agile Scrum

Just like the Agile philosophy, Agile working according to Scrum is indispensable. More and more organizations are therefore switching. It started with companies that started using Scrum because of the stiff competition in their markets. Many customers and suppliers are now also deciding to use Scrum. For example, the national government also uses Scrum at all kinds of levels.

The Scrum framework is evolving along with it. Derivatives of Scrum now exist for large organizations that want to organize themselves according to Scrum. Such as SaFE, Less, the Spotify model, etc., new updates are added regularly.

The bottom line, however, always remains: delivering the highest value in the shortest possible time!

Agile Scrum: in summary

Agile is a philosophy. To actually work Agile, there are many and diverse methods and frameworks.

One of those methods is Scrum. Scrum is popular because you use it for many

can use different disciplines.

The pitch of Scrum is: delivering the highest value in the shortest time.

Scrum does this by: prioritizing the value that a (sub) product delivers and by delivering (sub) products to the customer during the project.

Scrum is the method for companies and organizations that want to survive or grow in a highly dynamic market.

Sources and references:

Harvard Business Review, the new new product development game: https://hbr.org/1986/01/the-new-new-product-development-game
Agile Manifesto: https://agilemanifesto.org/
Would you like to learn more about Scrum? Then consider one of our certifying courses to e.g. Scrum Master or Scrum Product Owner.

Are you looking for which Scrum role suits you best? Then take this short quiz.

Howto organize large projects with Scrum? SoS!

More and more companies are interested in the Agile organization of projects with Scrum. As a result I am regularly asked what the maximum size of a Scrum team is and whether the size limits the maximum capacity of projects.

The short answer to that is yes and no: yes, there is a maximum size of an efficient self-managing Scrum team. However, because a Scrum organization is scalable, this has no influence on the maximum project capacity. Even large projects can be organized using Scrum.

A Scrum team is self-organizing

An efficient and self-managing Scrum team ideally consists of 5 to 8 team members. The team members are often generalist specialists who, in addition to their own expertise, are able to look beyond the boundaries of their own specialism. So they also have the soft skills to work collaboratively. Had the Magnificent Seven could ever function as a Scrum team?

The Chief PO decides and the Scrum Master coaches

Of course, a Scrum team of a maximum of about 8 members has a limited capacity. However, agile working according to scrum is scalable by using SOS. That means not in this case Help! but: Scrum of Scrum. A project organization in which multiple Scrum teams work together on a project in parallel. Each of these teams has its own Scrum Master and Product Owner. For the coordination of activities, communication between the teams is an important responsibility and task of the Chief Scrum Master who therefore regularly Scrum or Scrum meeting is organizing.

Depending on the status and need of a project, the frequency is several times a week or weekly and it is the Product Owner, Scrum Master or one of the team members who represent their team in the Convene Scrum or Scrum meeting.

How decisions from one team might impact the other team

Analogous to the setup of the Daily Standup meeting, the following questions are answered by the representative of each team at the start of the Scrum of Scrums meeting:

  1. what has your team been working on since last Scrum or Scrum meeting?
  2. what will your team finish until the next one Scrum or Scrum meeting?
  3. what obstacles are there that the other teams can help with?
  4. What decisions have been made in your team that may affect other teams?

 

After which, in contrast to the Daily standup meeting, there is not only coordination during the Scrum of Scrums, but often solutions are also sought.

From Scrum or Scrum to alternative methods

Just like a maximum number of scrum team members, the number of scrum teams in a Scrum of Scrums is also limited. As soon as more than 10 teams work within a Scrum or Scrums, they are split into scrum-or-scrum-or-scrums. So there are parallel Scrum or Scrums. The coordination of a scrum-of-scrum-of-scrums has its own challenges. And because the Scrum of Scrums offers (too) little guidance here as a tool, alternative methods have been developed over time for the implementation of large projects. Below SAFe (Scaled Agile Framework), LeSS (Large Scale Scrum) and the Spotify model.

Some of these methods are suitable for large organizations while others are better for organizing large projects in smaller companies. In addition, a model such as LeSS, for example, is more of a framework of principles, while SAFe, for example, describes almost a complete blueprint in detail. However, what they all have in common is that they allow (scrum) teams to work together in parallel in a coordinated manner: Scrum or Scrums.

Analogous to scaling projects, programs, collections of similar projects, and portfolios, collections of programs can also be well organized in the Scrum way, more about that in a later blog.

summarizing

Scrum teams are therefore limited to a maximum of 10 members per team, but Scrum projects can be scaled by structuring them as pure Scrum or Scrums, SoS, or depending on the organization one of the variants as indicated above.

 

 

The tips for a quick start as a Scrum Product Owner

Well, recently I said it: ‘as a Scrum team we realize the highest value in the shortest possible time’.

That elevator pitch is also too good not to use, right? As a Product Owner, I also thought that I would have to determine that value together with my client. Because only then can something be prioritized and realized together with my team.

Success only comes when I and my client have the same idea of value, I know the users of the product and … have confidence in the Scrum team.

Pheww, get on it!

Determine the idea of value together with your clients

Euros, dollars, dukes, drops, flaps. Well, if only it were that straightforward.

Where one company expresses its most important value in turnover or net profit, another does, such as the NS , that in values such as safety, pleasure and affordability of services.

Still others, such as startups like Felyx , express their main value in growing their user base as quickly as possible: the number of customers.

Because how else do you cope with all those other providers of electric scooters that you see on the sidewalk everywhere in cities nowadays? For such companies, rapid growth in their market is more important than making an immediate profit: profit will come later, many customers first. As an end user, you do not want a lot of different apps on your phone to use such a scooter, so your app must be the first

Tip : Don’t delay discussing the idea of value. Discuss the idea of ‘value’, find words for it and write them down. They make it easier to quantify the value and link numbers to it.

Tip : Also describe the idea of value in the Product Vision of your project. In this way, it comes to life even more and the idea immediately becomes an inseparable part of your new product. Do you remember how handy it is to make a Product Vision? If not, read one of the following blogs where I will tell you more about it.

But isn’t the idea of value also very much about end users?

Absolutely and ten points to you! You may then have wonderful ideas about the added value together with your client; as long as it does not meet the needs of your customers, you will not go game changing create a product or service.
Therefore, know what your user feels and thinks and knows what he wants. Not just today, but also tomorrow, the day after and beyond: needs change. “Accelerated information propagation,” remember? Following that changing need is the best way to keep up.

Tip : Therefore, look for and talk to users of your product as soon as possible. And yep, those aren’t your closest, well-meaning colleagues.
Think carefully about how you want to communicate with those users. By addressing a room? Do you want to send them questionnaires and read the research results? Or, more directly, do you want to sit around the table with them to look at them and feel what they think of your new product ideas?

And how do you ensure the highest value in the shortest possible time?

The short version: By ranking everything that needs to be realized by value: the value it adds for your clients and the users. This way, the parts of your new product that deliver the highest value are added to the ‘wish pile’. And yes, the parts that deliver less value are thus lower on that pile. First come, first served: the items on top of the stack are more likely to be realized by the Scrum team than the items below. And yes, that stack is called the Prioritized Product Backlog in Scrum terminology.
Tip : For now, remember that one of your main responsibilities as a Product Owner is defining and maintaining that stack. And read my next blog, in which I give some tips on how to determine that priority effectively.

Have faith in your Scrum team

As a Product Owner you determine in close cooperation with the customer and your client what needs to be made and with what priority. But how your product is made is up to your Scrum team. The more you are able to trust your team members and leave the how to them, the faster they can take responsibility and the better they can develop the new product.

In practice, however, I still regularly come across Product Owners who want to let go of the how, but secretly still keep control. How do they do that? By simply naming too many acceptance criteria. And you know: the more acceptance criteria you set, the less space you give your Scrum team to determine the how.

Tip : So be aware of your possible desire for control. And let it go as much as possible. And oh yeah, take another look Frozen : ‘let it go, let it flow’!

Finally

As a Product owner you are the representative of the customer and the users and thus the embodiment of the new product or service: radiate that and be the true owner of product vision and value. Be enthusiastic and involved with your team and support them where necessary in the development of your vision.

So:
Vision, Enthusiasm, Value, Prioritization and Letting Go. Yup, no one said it would be easy. It’s damn fun to do, put it on!