What Do We Need to Have in Place Prior to "Starting a Scrum / Agile Team" Training?

Premise

One approach you can take when going through initial Scrum / agile team training is to set yourself up for real work so that the very next day after you have gone through the training, you are operating in a Scrum / agile mode, actually doing it. There are huge benefits in doing it this way in that the training becomes a whole lot less theoretical, and a bunch more practical, so it is an approach I like to use where possible.

This is also what we'd do if, for example, an organization wanted to set up a pilot project to try out Agile and Scrum concepts and to understand how they'd be applied to their organization.

Pre-Work

In order to do this successfully, there are some things needed to be in place prior to the the team training session.

The most important item is that you have identified the teams and the key players. See What Should We Consider When Forming a New Team? for information based on experience. For the training session we need to have identified (see “Scrum Team” for specifics on the roles):

  • The Product Owner: determines what the Team will build,
  • The Scrum Master / Coach: coaches the Team in effective delivery, and
  • The remainder of the Team: cross-functional – development, QA, documentation, etc. on the team; 7 people +/- 2 in size.

Product Owners for teams have a little bit of homework to prepare for the training. Since we are training to set up the first real work to be delivered over, say, a 2 week period (Sprint / Iteration), we have to have an idea of what we are going to work on. This means that on the second day of training, Product Owners have speaking parts where they go over the reasons for the work and the top set of requirements with the Team. To prepare for this the Product Owner needs to:

  • Prepare a starting requirements list. This means having a list of high priority items that the Team could implement in the first Sprint / Iteration (say 2 to 4 weeks of work). Product Owners typically do this by getting with the technical lead and walking through a priority list getting at least an initial gauge of what can fit in the first Sprint / Iteration. The requirements need to be broken down so that a number of these can be worked on by the team in the first Sprint / Iteration, not just one. The idea here is not to be perfect – the Product Owner will work with the Team on these requirements during the training – but we need a starting point. We will need to get these printed on a 5×3 sized index cards so we can go through the planning exercises.
  • To have thought about the goals for the Team over the next 6-12 months so that you can articulate them to the Team.
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