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Agile Fundamentals for BAs and Product Owners

Course Dates, Location & Prices

This course is currently only available for on-site delivery but we will add the course to our public schedule in mid-2018. If you are interested in attending a public course then please contact us.

Course Overview

The focus of this 3 day course is on identifying business change and improvement opportunities and driving business value in an agile project. Attendees will identify and document epics, user stories or features and build an understanding of the challenges faced in matching business priorities with technical capabilities. Attendees will understand how to form and manage a product backlog by working with technical and business stakeholders. They will see how business value is delivered through a series of sprints. The focus of the training is on taking an organisational view to delivering value through the development and enhancement of IT solutions.

This course focuses on learning practical skills that can be applied in the workplace. It is aimed at existing business analysts who are moving into an agile environment and anyone taking on the role of Product Owner in an agile project environment.

The course is run in the style of an agile project during which the delegates will attend daily stand-ups, produce a product vision and user stories, perform poker planning and engage with other stakeholders. A simple case study is used throughout the course enabling attendees to experience the lifecycle of an agile project.

Course delegates will learn how to develop a product backlog starting with epics and transforming these into user stories.

Course delegates should return to their working environments understanding their role in an agile project, their relationships with other agile roles and able to apply the techniques they have learnt.

This course does not include an exam which means that the focus of training is entirely on practical application in the workplace.

Intended Audience

The course has been specifically designed for 2 key types of attendee:

  • business analysts who are moving into an agile environment
  • those currently performing an organisational role who have been asked to take on the role of product owner in an agile project environment.

We recognise that the boundaries between the role of the business analyst and the product owner are sometimes unclear and the course seeks to define how the two roles relate to each other.

The course may also benefit business analysts who are relatively new to the role and are working within an agile project environment to help them gain an initial insight into agile projects and the aspects of business delivery.

The course will also be suitable for those working as project managers, scrum masters, testers and developers who want an insight into the challenges faced from a business perspective when working with agile.

Course Objectives

By the end of the course the attendee will be able to:

  • Integrate into an agile project or team environment with an understanding of their role, key responsibilities and interactions with fellow project members
  • Understand the principles of agile and Scrum
  • Work with stakeholders to define the Product Vision
  • Apply principles of 80:20 and end-to-end thinking to deliver early business value and 'right first time' solutions
  • Work with stakeholders to gather and document epics, user stories/features and acceptance criteria
  • Define the MVP (Minimum Viable Product)
  • Prioritise and manage the product backlog
  • Perform sprint planning
  • Understand the use of, and contribute to retrospectives
  • Build relationships with stakeholders to develop optimal solutions
  • Confidently present findings to organisational stakeholders and their project team
  • Adopt an agile mindset

Course Structure

The course is split into a number of different sections. After initial context setting, the basic principles of agile and Scrum are defined as well as introducing other project roles. Delegates then start work on the case study initially producing the project vision and a product backlog. Work then starts on developing deliverables for sprints. Each day always starts with a daily stand-up to discuss the day ahead and includes role-play sessions to illustrate the various activities undertaken by business analysts and product owners.

The training is broken down as follows:

Section 1 Agile development - the role of the product owner and business analyst

The first section of the course introduces the roles of product owner and business analyst and positions their place within an agile project. The following specific topics are covered:

  • Agile project roles – scrum master, business analyst, product owner, project sponsor, end-user, developer, tester, UX designer
  • The Agile Manifesto
  • Agile principles
  • Agile methods – An overview of Scrum and XP to assist attendees in understanding how development work is likely to be taking place.
  • Comparison of agile with other project lifecycles

Section 2 Starting an agile project

The second section of the course starts to explore the principles of agile in more depth. In particular it attempts to create an agile mindset, introduces important terminology and techniques used, and starts to produce agile deliverables. The following specific topics are covered:

  • Introducing the daily scrum
  • Understanding the project vision and objectives
  • Creating User Roles and Personas
  • Identifying product features
  • Writing user stories
  • Creating the product backlog
  • Estimating features using planning poker
  • Prioritising features - based on business value, functional and architectural risk
  • Estimating the project size
  • Defining the release and sprint schedule
  • Drawing a burn-up chart
  • Software tools (e.g. JIRA) that support agile development

Section 3 Moving through the sprints

The third section of the course starts to develop of a view of the activities once sprints get underway and functionality starts to be delivered. It looks at the activities that take place at the end of a sprint. The following specific topics are covered:

  • Getting the development team started on something
  • Product Owner and Business Analyst activity during sprints
  • Options engineering
  • Feature splitting (splitting epics into stories)
  • Technical debt
  • Architectural spikes
  • Writing acceptance criteria and tests
  • Mock-ups/Prototyping
  • Sprint retrospectives
  • Supporting business implementation – hints and tips to ensure that business value is maximised

Delivery Method

Courses are delivered in a classroom environment set-up in a U-shape to encourage group discussions to take place. There are frequent exercises to allow delegates to practise techniques being learnt including informal role plays with stakeholders. Exercises are performed both individually and in groups depending on the topic and relevance to practical application.

Delegates are encouraged to feedback their findings in short informal presentations to build confidence in stand up presenting.

Delegates are provided with a printed course manual containing copies of the course slides and a workbook containing exercises, case study material and sample answers.

Course Tutors

Our training is always delivered by experienced tutors all of whom have worked in business change projects for at least 10 years.

Additional modules for on-site clients

On-site clients can choose to select any of the following additional modules which may be used to extend the course duration, or to replace some of the content listed above:

  • Test Scripting and Test Execution
  • User Experience Basics
  • Business Case and Finance Basics
  • Seeing the organisational context
  • Process and Data Modelling Techniques

Details of the content of the above modules can be provided upon request.

Please contact us if you want to discuss any particular requirements for delivering this course on your own premises. Bespoke changes can often be made for no extra charge.

To Arrange This Course

For more information, or a quote to hold an On-site course please contact Peter Kovacs on 0207 112 8982 or e-mail Peter@BA-Solutions.co.uk.