Boost’s free Friday Agile workshops

By Kirstin in Agile on June 13, 2012

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Every Friday we run free workshops about Agile development here at the Boost offices in Wellington. To find out more, read on. If you’re already keen to sign up, scroll down to the end of this post, or email [email protected].

Here at Boost, our Agile development practices – Scrum in particular, are well embedded. We’re now running both internal projects and all of our client projects with Scrum. We keep meeting more and more people curious about how using Agile might help their organisations. So in the latter half of last year we sat down and developed a two-hour workshop, Introduction to Scrum, which introduces the main Agile ideas and practices, with a special focus on the Scrum techniques that we use. We tested the workshop with clients and other people, and got really good feedback.

In fact, the feedback was so good that we developed and tested a second workshop,Writing Great Agile User Stories. This two-hour workshop is focused on understanding how user stories work within Scrum, and lots of hands-on practice writing user stories and acceptance criteria.

We’ve been running these as public workshops since late last year. There’s a workshop session available every Friday from 2pm to 4pm, and we’re alternating between Introduction to Scrum and Writing Great Agile User Stories. We’re also looking at developing further workshops.

Workshop 1: Introduction to Scrum

The Introduction to Scrum workshops are run by Boost’s managing director Nathan Donaldson, a certified Scrum master.

We start off by talking about where Agile has come from, and how it’s different from traditional Waterfall development.

Then we’ll talk about the different roles in Scrum:

We’ll cover off the core ‘artifacts’ in Scrum:

And then run you through the Scrum sprint rhythm:

After this, we’ll talk about some of the improvements we’ve seen in projects and organisations that have adopted Agile, like more communication, better specifications, less waste and less rework, better prioritisation and planning, and happier, more productive teams. We’ll talk about the challenges of introducing Agile practices to an organisation for the first time.

In the last five minutes we’ll run a quick retrospective on the session, so you can tell us what you liked and what we could improve. Continuous improvement is one of the core principles of Agile, and we apply it to these workshops too.

Workshop 2: Writing Great Agile User Stories

Writing Great Agile User Stories is run by Courtney Johnston, one of our project managers, a certified Scrum master and experienced Product Owner. The workshop is a focused and hands-on introduction to writing user stories and creating a product backlog.

You’ll learn:

As with Introduction to Scrum, at the end of the session we do a quick retrospective to figure out what worked well, and what improvements we can make.

The nitty-gritty

Who are the workshops for?

Introduction to Scrum

This workshop will be helpful for anyone involved in website and software development. We’ve had project managers, usability analysts, programmers, designers and writers attend, and everyone has found something useful in them. It doesn’t matter in the least if you’re public sector, private sector, work for a charity or a start-up, or are just plain curious.

Writing Great Agile User Stories

This workshop will be helpful for people who have already had some experience or exposure to Scrum, and who want to learn more about this particular aspect. It will be especially helpful for people new to or thinking of taking on the Product Owner role.

How many people can attend?

We cap attendees at 6 people; this is the best number for discussion and sharing experiences.

You can come  along as a team – that way, you can talk about how you manage things currently, and what you’re looking to change. But we’re also happy for people to sign up in ones and twos; it’s just as useful and sometimes even more interesting to have a bunch of different perspectives in the room.

Where are the workshops held?

We hold the workshops here at the Boost offices in central Wellington. You won’t be trapped in a stuffy little room – it’s nice and spacious, with great views over to Mount Victoria.

What does this cost?

Nothing. The workshops are completely free, and completely obligation free.

We’re running these as free sessions for two reasons:

  1. We really think people would benefit from using Agile methods to run their projects
  2. We’ve learned a lot from the Wellington and international Agile communities, and want to keep the sharing going

How do I sign up?

It’s easy. You can fill out an online form:

Sign up for Introduction to Scrum

Sign up for Writing Great Agile User Stories

or email us at [email protected], and we’ll work with you to find a suitable date and book you in.

If you have any questions, just drop us a line. We hope to see some of you soon!