Certified Scrum Product Owner Class Outline

Short, five-minute exercises and case studies will be scattered throughout the two-day session.  Longer exercises are detailed below.  Ample material is available for this session, and while all essential information will be covered, time spent on each topic will vary depending on the composition of the class and the interest in particular areas.  A more detailed course outline is available at our website.

Agile Thinking: In order for us to understand the benefits of Scrum and the nuances behind its framework, we begin with the history of agile methods and how relatively new thoughts in software development have brought us to Scrum.

  1. How manufacturing has influenced software development
  2. The origins of agile thinking
  3. The Agile Manifesto
  4. The complexity of projects
  5. Theoretical vs. empirical processes overview
  6. The "iron triangle" of project management

Exercise: The “Art of the Possible.”

This is an opportunity to understand how small changes in behavior can have a large impact on productivity.  This also turns our thinking towards new ideas and a willingness to change for the better.

The Scrum Framework: Here we’ll ensure that we’re all working from the same foundational concepts that make up the Scrum Framework.

  1. The different Scrum roles
  2. Chickens and pigs
  3. Iterative development vs. waterfall
  4. Self management concepts
  5. Full disclosure and visibility
  6. The Scrum framework overview
  1. Traditional vs. Agile methods overview
  2. Scrum: the silver bullet?
  3. The Agile skeleton
  4. A Scrum launch checklist

Implementation Considerations: Moving beyond Scrum’s foundational concepts, we’ll use this time to dig deeper into the reasons for pursuing Scrum. The key concepts of “empirical thinking” and “done” will be presented. We’ll also use this time to begin a discussion of integrity in the marketplace and how this relates to software quality.

Exercise: The 59-minute Scrum Simulation

This popular exposure to Scrum asks us to work on a short project that lasts for just 59 minutes! We’ll walk through all of the key steps under the Scrum framework as we work in project teams to deliver a new product.

Scrum Roles: Who are the different players in the Scrum game? We’ll review checklists of role expectations in preparation for further detail later in our session.

  1. The Team Member
  2. The Product Owner
  3. The ScrumMaster

Exercise: Establishing product expectations.

This is a long-running exercise where we will discuss and practice various aspects of product and project planning in an agile Scrum environment.

  1. Defining the Product Vision
  2. The contents of the Product Backlog
  3. Using User Stories
  4. Bill Wake’s INVEST Model
  5. Product Backlog granularity

The Product Backlog, Product Visioning, and Progressive Elaboration: The Scrum Team must have an understanding of our Product Vision so they can make good decisions.  The Product Backlog is a reflection of that vision, and we’ll practice developing its content.

Velocity and Story Points

Since a Product Owner is responsible for monitoring progress, we’ll discuss and practice how to measure a Team’s progress in delivering product features.

  1. Relative Effort
  2. Planning Poker and Story Points
  3. Ideal Team Days
  4. Team Capacity
  5. Projecting a Schedule
  6. Project Management Variables and Velocity

Prioritization Considerations and Methods: Prioritization is the Product Owner's number one tool for maximizing return on investment. In this section we'll review different techniques available to establish meaningful priorities.

  1. Bringing Prioritization Into a Project
  2. Themes and Relative Weighted Priority
  3. Prioritization Questions and Considerations
  4. The Value of Increasing our Understanding
  5. The Value of Risk Reduction
  6. Weighted Impacts
  7. Theme Screening
  8. Kano Modeling

Meetings and Artifacts

While most of this material was discussed in previous portions of class, more detailed documentation is included here for future reference, including sample agendas for each of the Scrum Meeting.

  1. A Chart of Scrum Meetings
  2. The Product Backlog
  3. Sprint Planning
  4. The Sprint Backlog
  5. The Sprint
  6. The Daily Scrum
  7. Gathering Metrics
  8. The Sprint Demo/Review
  9. Getting to "Done"
  10. The Retrospective
  11. Why Plan?


Extracting Value: This section is reserved for reference material. Particular interests from the class may warrant discussion during our class time together.

  1. Fixed Date Contracts
  2. Product Backlog Refactoring ("Grooming")
  3. Release Management
  4. The Impact of Project Switching
  5. The Impact of Continuous Forced Marches
  6. Earned Value in an Agile Environment

Advanced Considerations

This section is reserved for reference material.  Particular interests from the class may warrant discussion during our class time together.

  1. The Meta-Scrum
  2. The Scrum of Scrums
  3. The Integration Scrum Team
  4. Scaling Scrum
  5. Developing Architecture

Closing Topics: We’ll wrap up with direction on where to go next with your Scrum experience, some Scrum reference sites, and our graduation ceremony.