Governments looking to infuse Agile methods into their projects can now access free online courses as part of a newly launched training effort, AGL Academy.
The debut course, which is tailored to project managers and teaches them how to run an Agile project in a government context, is only the first of a comprehensive curriculum that will eventually include courses for the other roles within an Agile government endeavor: government executive, contracting officer, product owner, development team, legal, and vendor.
The courses are being developed by Agile Government Leadership (AGL), a national network of government professionals that provides community, support, and resources for infusing Agile practices into government.
Designed by a team of seasoned Agile government professionals with combined experience at the federal, state, city and county levels, the courses lead participants through an introduction to Agile, reading materials, videos, and several hands-on workshops which prepare managers to run a real Agile project upon completion of the course.
“Over the past year we’ve talked to a lot of people in different types of agencies, and we saw a common need for a simple starting point for learning Agile,” says Elizabeth Raley, a practicing Scrum Master who serves on the AGL working group and as Director of Professional Services at CivicActions. “A growing number of agencies are looking for resources that address Agile within a government context, so we’re developing these courses as a way to help them master the basics quickly. We’ll continue to build out the Academy to include all the roles of an Agile government project.”
Participants can choose from several methods of proceeding through the courses — they are available online, as a PDF document, and even as a Trello board that can be copied for agency use. The free Trello software allows for a learning experience that mimics the Agile process, requiring users to move tasks across a “storyboard” from “In Sprint” all the way to “Done”.
Robert Read of AGL, who helped develop the training materials based on his work with 18F and other federal agencies, says the track is simple but thorough.
“A project manager that diligently works through all the exercises and successfully leads their team though the workshops will have the confidence and experience to start using Agile and reaping the benefits of greater productivity and delighted customers.”
With the release of AGL Academy, AGL is looking for government project managers to test the course and give feedback. Contact Agile Government Leadership to offer suggestions for improvements or ask questions. Contributors to the first course of AGL Academy include Elizabeth Raley, Robert L. Read, Tim Nolan, Doug Birgfeld, Bill Haight and Son Tran.