The agile development process was generated by Ken Schwaber and Jeff Sutherland in the mid 1990s as a more efficient way of developing software that has customer value. These seasoned software developers noticed fatal flaws in traditional software development projects that include over budget, behind schedule work that provided little or no value to the user at the end of the effort. Their revolutionary software development method focuses on presenting usable functionality to the customer approximately every thirty days. The transparency of the process and its simplicity has drawn many adherents from the software development community and praise from a variety of multi-industry customers.
Learning The Basics of Agile Project Management
There are several agile training options available to those operating in system and software development environments. One of the founders of the methodology hosts training and seminars on the subject himself in the Boston metro area. There are also many different venues for agile training around the country and conveniently online. Some of the common themes of introductory agile training include descriptions of the roles and elements within the development process.
The four main roles in an Agile development project are; the product owner, customer, scrum team, and the scrum master. The product owner is responsible for the usable functionality presented to the customer at the end of each 30-day increment as well as the final deliverable.
The project’s customer primarily interfaces solely with the product owner who is the only official project representative for the customer. The customer and product owner develop the project’s vision and user requirements. The product owner communicates the customer’s vision and requirements to the team along with priorities through a document known as the product backlog.
The scrum team consists of; a multi-functional group of software architects, developers, and testers. Schwaber and Sutherland borrowed the term “scrum” from rugby terminology, and it refers to the scuffle to gain ownership of the ball once play commences at different intervals in the game. In the same manner, team members move with a sense of urgency to pick up interesting project tasks from the sprint backlog which contains the prioritized requirements needed to create the usable functionality within the 30-day period.
The scrum master coaches the team, attempts to remove obstacles in the way of goal achievement, and protects the team from outside distractions. This person keeps time for the team’s activities and captures lessons learned for each 30 day sprint.
Agile Project Management Certification
While the agile process is simple enough, it is not intuitive and is challenging to implement. People need agile training to understand the process and to become the change leader required to make agile development a part of their company’s culture. Agile training usually culminates in certification as a Scrum Practitioner for scrum team members, Scrum Master, Scrum Coach, or Scrum Product Owner.