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Introduction to Agile: Understanding the Benefits, Principles, and Methods

Allan Kelly

An ever-increasing number of companies and development teams are adopting Agile – whether Scrum, XP, Kanban, or a home-grown approach. Organizations that cling to more traditional working styles are at a commercial disadvantage, as the best performing Agile teams release enhancements daily -- and the pace of business will not wait for a traditional software or product release, which can take months.

This training explains the benefits of Agile in practice for the organization, as well as the advantages for individuals and teams. We’ll examine the underlying principles behind all Agile methods and explain the relationship between these methods.

These ideas are important because: - In the digital age, companies and teams that use Agile have competitive advantage over those who don’t - Agile is now the accepted way of how software companies (and others) work - Organizations that do not practice Agile are losing to those who do - Employees, from programmers and testers to project managers regularly report they prefer working with short Agile iterations - Customers and users can see products grow over time and influence what happens next

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

  • What are the Big Ideas in this course?

    • What is Agile and how to apply it to business operations
    • How Agile methodologies can help create quicker product release cycles
    • Incorporating customer feedback into your products and services creates better products and services
  • Why are those important for what companies need?

    • Companies need to move faster to meet customer needs and stay competitive in the market
    • An iterative approach to regularly releasing updates improves response to market pressures
    • Competitive organizations
  • Participants will understand…

    • The benefits of Agile for individuals and companies
    • The principles behind Agile methods
    • The relationships between Agile and Scrum and Agile and Lean
  • Participants will be able to…

    • Explain the motivations for adopting Agile
    • Discuss changes to their own working environment to adopt Agile

This training course is for you because...

  • Individuals who are expected to work in an Agile team
  • Teams who are looking to adopt Agile working
  • Anyone who wants to start their Agile learning journey

Common Misunderstandings:

 - Our project is not suitable to agile because our features take more than two 
   weeks to create
 - Agile is a project management technique, other team members don’t need to 
   understand it (just work harder)
 - Speed in Agile comes from cutting quality and increasing technical debt


  • No background in Agile needed
  • Please reflect on any experiences of working with Agile teams, in an Agile way, or what you have heard about Agile – good or bad. You may want to create a list of what you like and don’t like about Agile. Please bring a pen and paper to this course.

Recommended preparation:

About your instructor

  • Allan Kelly inspires digital teams to deliver better products effectively through Agile technologies. He believes that improving development requires a broad view of interconnected activities. Allan is the originator of Retrospective Dialogue Sheets, Value Poker, and Time-Value Profiles; he’s the author of the popular essay "Dear customer: The truth about IT" as well as several books, including Xanpan: Team Centric Agile Software Development and Business Patterns for Software Developers.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Why Agile? (30 minutes) - Lecture: Common motivations for Agile—productivity, happier customers, predictability and deadlines, flexibility, and increased quality; the benefits of Agile; understanding what Agile is not - Exercise: Decide what you want Agile to do for you; explore the pros and cons of Agile

Agile principles (20 minutes) - Lecture: Agile basic principles - Exercise: Brainstorm what you would change to become Agile

Break (10 minutes)

Agile methods (20 minutes) - Lecture: The Agile Manifesto and the Agile Pyramid; overview of Scrum, XP, and Kanban; case study of Agile in practice

Wrap-up and Q&A (10 minutes)