Certified Scrum Product Owner Class Outline

Course Description:

Even projects that have solid, well-defined project plans encounter some degree of change and waste. Shifting market conditions, budget cuts, staff restructuring, or any number of influences will disrupt the best plan while contributing to customer dissatisfaction and staff discouragement. Moreover, projects that begin with changing or unclear requirements make it difficult to even establish project expectations. Scrum is the agile development process that allows teams to deliver usable software periodically throughout the life of the project, absorbing change and new requirements as the project proceeds.

As we move through the disciplines promoted by Scrum you will gain a comprehensive understanding of this agile product development methodology while specifically reviewing the behaviors expected of a Product Owner. While many of us may be accustomed to the practice of establishing value and priority across projects, the Product Owner needs to consider value and priority across the features of a single project.

This 2-day class is suitable for those who are responsible for setting product direction on a Scrum project, aka Product Owners. Current Certified ScrumMasters are also welcome to attend so they can get a more complete understanding of this critical role and help coach their Product Owners more effectively.

After successfully completing this class, participants will be registered with the Scrum Alliance as Certified Scrum Product Owners, and will have on-line access to the class training materials and any updates for one year. PMPs can also claim 15 PDU's with the PMI, and at least another PDU for reading outside of class.

Detailed Course Outline:

Short exercises and case studies will be scattered throughout the two-day session. Longer exercises are detailed below. Time spent on each topic will vary depending on the composition of the class and the interest in particular areas.

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
  1. The three different Scrum roles
  2. The three different Scrum artifacts
  3. The five different Scrum events

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

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 Development Team
  2. Maintaining Technical Quality Standards
  3. The Product Owner
  4. The Scrum Master
  5. Stakeholders
  6. Project Managers
  7. Functional Managers

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. Five Levels of Planning
  3. The Contents of the Product Backlog
  4. Identifying Users
  5. Adding User Stories
  6. Bill Wake and the INVEST Model
  7. The Significance of Granularity
  8. Managing Large Product Backlogs
  9. User Story Brainstorming
  10. Introduction to Prioritization
  11. Prioritization’s Impact on Time Management

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. Velocity
  3. Planning Poker and Story Points
  4. Ideal Team Days
  5. Team Capacity
  6. Projecting a Schedule
  7. 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. Because of the variety of approaches, we will determine which ones to focus on based in feedback from the class participants.

  1. Bringing Prioritization Into a Project
  2. Themes and Relative Weighted Priority
  3. Prioritization Questions and Considerations
    1. Revenue Opportunity
    2. Cost to Build
    3. Gaining Knowledge
    4. Risk Mitigation
  4. Theme Scoring
  5. Kano Modeling

Extracting Value and the Cost of Change

This section touches on several different areas of interest that influence our ability to extract the most value from our projects. Again, more focus will be spent on topics of particular interest to the class participants.

  1. Fixed Date Contracts
  2. Product Backlog Refinement (“Grooming”)
  3. Canceling a Sprint
  4. Productivity Drag Factors
  5. Release Management
  6. The Impact of Project Switching
  7. The Impact of Continuous Forced Marches
  8. Earned Value in an Agile Environment

Closing Topics

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