Free Friday Agile workshops at Boost

By Courtney

4 August 2011


[Here’s the tl;dr version of this blog post. Every Friday we run free workshops about Agile development here at the Boost offices in Wellington. To find out more, read on. To sign up, scroll down to the end of this post, or email [email protected]. To learn more, view all our Agile training options.]

Here at Boost, we’ve been using Agile development practices – Scrum in particular – to run our internal projects for five years, and with our clients for three years.

We keep meeting more and more people curious about how using Agile might help their organisations. So a few months ago 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’ve 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 and acceptance criteria.

We’re now opening the workshops up to the world. 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. Further workshops are being worked on right now.

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:

  • Product owner
  • Scrum master
  • Scrum team

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

  • user stories
  • product backlog
  • sprint backlog

And then run you through the Scrum sprint rhythm:

  • sprint planning
  • estimation
  • demonstration
  • retrospective

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. And we’ll talk about the challenges that have to be overcome when Agile practices are introduced into an organisation for the first time.

And 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

  • How to write user stories
  • How not to write user stories
  • How to write acceptance criteria
  • About Done definitions
  • How to create and maintain your product backlog
  • How user stories are estimated by the team.

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 Cuba Street.

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?

Check dates and book the Introduction to Agile on Eventbrite

Boost Agile training

What our Agile training offers

Agile Professional Foundation certification – two-day ICAgile-certified course in Wellington, NZ

Introduction to Agile methodology – free two-hour workshop in Wellington, NZ

Agile Accelerator team assessment – Agile review and action plan

Make a bigger impact tomorrow

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