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BCS Practitioner Certificate in Agile

About the Course

Course Duration: 3 days
Exam Fees Included

Price: £1095

Private Course: Click Here

In the last decade Agile has moved from being an idea on the fringe of software development and testing to something that is now main stream. During that time, differing methodologies have proliferated, ideas have matured, and many more teams and organisations have adopted ‘Agile’ ways of working – not always successfully. The field lacks clarity – unsurprising perhaps, given how Agile works on software over documentation and welcoming change rather than rigid process. Yet without an understanding of the principles and thinking that lie behind Agile and its capacity to benefit software development, it is easy to fall into dogma. Blindly following practices and processes fails to take an individual organisation’s needs into account. Unlike most certifications and training courses, which tend to focus on the ‘HOW’. The BCS Practitioner Certification in Agile asks the far more important question: ‘WHY’.

This Practitioner certificate is concerned with the use of Agile practices in projects, product, software development and testing. The syllabus is designed to ensure the candidate has suitable knowledge of the core concepts of Agile practices, the Agile values and principles, across a breadth of Agile methodologies; it does not solely focus on one specific methodology.

After successfully completing the course and passing the exam, candidates will be able to carry out effectively the adoption, roll out and appropriate adaptation of agile methods in their organisation and able to:

  • Analyse existing problems with the team, development process and wider organisation (K4)
  • Apply a thorough understanding of Agile principles and specific practices (K3)
  • Select the most appropriate way to improve results for a specific circumstance or need (K5)
  • Judge and craft appropriate adaptations to existing practices or processes depending upon analysis of typical problems (K5 – K6)
  • Evaluate likely successes and formulate plans to manage likely risks or problems (K5)

The nature and complexity of this course limits the class size to no more than 12 candidates.

Who is it for?

Professional who expect to use Agile to deliver major projects or who will participate in the launch or roll out of agile practices into their business. For example, project managers, business analysts, senior test engineers and test managers, QA specialists and QA managers, product managers and marketing managers.

Entry Requirements

Candidates are expected to have a basic understanding of Agile, which can be gained from the BCS Foundation in Agile (as offered by TSG TSTE) or hands-on experience

Note that it is recommended that you attend an accredited training course run by an accredited training provider, as the overall exam pass rates are notably higher for candidates attending such courses.

Exam

The exam will be held on the last day of the course in the afternoon.

  • 90 multiple choice questions that consist of a list of possible answers
  • Duration of 180 minutes
  • A candidate must score at least 60% to pass (54/90)

If the examination is taken in a language that is not the candidate’s native/official language, then they are entitled to:

  • 25% extra time.
  • Use their own paper language dictionary (whose purpose is translation between the examination language and another national language) during the examination. Electronic versions of dictionaries will not be allowed into the examination room.

Course Objectives

Candidates should be able to demonstrate a basic knowledge and understanding of general concepts in the following areas:

  • Analyse existing problems with the team, development process and wider organisation (K4)
  • Apply a thorough understanding of Agile principles and specific practices (K3)
  • Select the most appropriate way to improve results for a specific circumstance or need (K5)
  • Judge and craft appropriate adaptations to existing practices or processes depending upon analysis of typical problems (K5 – K6)
  • Evaluate likely successes and formulate plans to manage likely risks or problems (K5)

Syllabus – Key points

Candidates will learn the general concepts in the following areas:

Why change:

  • Understand and recognise the scale of issues in existing software development and delivery (K2)
  • Interpret results to identify flaws in focusing on an iron triangle of cost, time and scope (K3)
  • Appreciate the history and philosophy behind ‘Agile’ development (K4)
  • Distinguish the ‘rules of thumb’ that characterise people’s intuitive ways of thinking and how they impact on changing development methods (K4)
  • Judge how software development can be made more intuitive through faster feedback (K5)
  • Use three new rules of thumb to break the iron triangle (K3)

Deliver early and often

  • Define an increment and iteration and compare them (K1)
  • Appreciate the benefits of delivering early and often: financial, marketing engineering and other. (K2)
  • Use examples of where incremental delivery is used as a successful business model. (K3)
  • Apply this knowledge to break projects into increments by: determining the mind-set required to split dependencies and ideas (K3) and selecting different prisms to split ideas, value, risk, stakeholder, urgency, geography, necessity. (K3)
  • Evaluate how small an increment should be depending on individual constraints (K5)
  • Select the appropriate tools to support incremental delivery, including mapping a customer journey or story strand to create slices of functionality (K5)
  • Select and apply practices that enable delivery early and often (K3 and K5)
  • Balance potential drawbacks or limits to delivering early and often including transaction cost and technological break-through. (K5)
  • Show the value of incremental delivery using the BADD formula (K3)

Optimising flow

  • Recognise the importance of time as a source of competitive advantage within business. (K2)
  • Explore why definitions of ‘on time’ or schedule are not fixed but depend on the customer (K4)
  • Compare the benefits and limitations of ‘on time delivery’ to appreciate the conflicts and choices in development speed. (K4)
  • Appraise which business outcome sets the delivery pace. (K4)
  • Analyse the organisation’s end-to-end flow to appreciate how and why to optimize the whole and eliminate delays for faster delivery (K4)
  • Judge how to balance the cost of extra capacity with cost of delay. (K5)
  • Appreciate the link between spare capacity and optimal flow (K4)

Feedback

  • Understand the importance of feedback to improve responsiveness, customer satisfaction and quality as well as reduce risk (K2)
  • Differentiate between single and double loop learning (K4)
  • Examine the structure of feedback loops within the software development cycle and apply this to set up nested feedback loops (K5)
  • Evaluate the cost of feedback (K5)
  • Judge how to separate valuable feedback signals from environmental ‘noise’ (K5)
  • Select feedback cycles to apply in team and process situations (K5)
  • Evaluate and judge the situation in which feedback can be misused or ignored (K5)

Teams

  • Choose when a team is the right tool for the job (K3)
  • Distinguish the main attributes a team needs to be effective and how to set them up (K4)
  • Analyse key factors stopping a team from being effective (K4)
  • Analyse how to increase the probability that a team will be effective (K4)
  • Evaluate broader company-wide issues to ensure individual and team motivation are not at cross purposes (K5)

Motivation

  • Appreciate the connection between motivation and profitability (K2)
  • Examine the carrot/stick or reward/punishment system of motivation used in most organisations today (K4)
  • Distinguish particular counter-intuitive behaviours often driven by crude metrics (K4)
  • Contrast extrinsic and intrinsic motivation (K4)
  • Value the benefits of harnessing people’s natural motivation and role of organisational culture (K5)
  • Select key factors that make people feel valued and valuable and how to provide flexibility (K5)
  • Question how to remove the barriers that block people’s motivation, from environment to tools (K4)

 

Trade-offs

  • Appreciate the benefits of decreasing cycle time (K2)
  • Interpret a model of flow choices, featuring key trade-offs between cycle time and cost (K4)
  • Analyse where a particular organisation sits within this model (K4)
  • Examine issues connected with certainty, including its effects on cost and time, its appeal and its illusory nature (K4)
  • Evaluate alternative flow choices, their benefits, most likely application and select the tools which best promote them: all out speed, flexibility, throughput and certainty (K3 and K5)

Adapting Agile

  • Understand why the reason for change is more important than blindly embracing process (K2)
  • Distinguish common compromises made in an Agile implementation and the likely impact on expected benefits (K4)
  • Appraise which elements of Agile methods have the potential to be adapted (K4)
  • Identify and appraise patterns commonly found in organisations successfully using Agile (K5)
  • Judge the risks of ignoring each pattern and question if organisations are truly following the underlying principles (K5)
  • Select an appropriate practice to begin and judge when to move on to more advanced practices (K5)

Scrum

  • Understand the key principles that lie behind Scrum (K2)
  • Appraise key advantages and benefits the framework is intended to enable (K4)
  • Confidently employ the practices and roles within Scrum (K3)
  • Evaluate how to prepare the organisation for a successful implementation of Scrum (K5)
  • Identify common points of failure or difficulty and develop plans to avoid these (K2 and K6)

Kanban

  • Appraise the underlying principles of Kanban and distinguish the pull system
  • that emphasises the smooth flow of work (K4)
  • Appreciate the practices and principles of Kanban, including their use, benefits and implementation. (K4)
  • Define classes of service and employ them appropriately in a practical implementation (K1 and K3)
  • Appreciate the separation of input and delivery cadence.
  • Judge where and how to implement Queue Replenishment Meetings, Improvement Katas and Operations Review Meetings. (K5)
  • Appraise ideas of evolutionary change and how to overlay the principles with existing processes.
  • Evaluate your progress towards continual improvement and technical excellence.

Optimising flow

  • Appreciate why time is so important to an organisation and why the customer’s view of time matters. (K4)
  • Evaluate what end-to-end flow means within the business and appreciate the benefits of extending the IT’s traditional delivery boundaries. (K4)
  • Appraise the benefits and limitations of the ‘on time’ delivery approach adopted by most companies. (K4)
  • Analyse the cost of delay in development projects, and judge how to balance this with cost of capacity and the necessity of slack. (K5)
  • Appreciate the opportunity offered by flow optimisation to eliminate delays and increase delivery speed. (K3)
  • Judge where to search for waste and when to invest in removing blocks or delays. (K5)
  • Judge how to optimise flow at scale, including understanding the specific waste activities that occur when coordinating multiple teams and individuals. (K5)

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