Lean-Agile at the Team

Providing your teams the Agile skills they need when starting Scrum, SAFe or Kanban


Most team-level training focuses on the frameworks that people will work within. We have found that focusing on their actual work is not only more useful, but prevents the resistance sometimes seen. Frameworks should be used to guide an organization and provide an agreed upon method of collaboration and focus. But understanding how to the work in an Agile way is still required and actually more important.  How training in a framework to be adopted and the work to be done within it is critical. Learning a framework first typically only leaves time to describe the actual Agile skills they need - but not how to do them. By spending less time on the framework and more on basic Agile skills first enables immediate improvement. It does require, however, an effective way to fill in the rest of the framework. But people will learn this more readily because now they will better understand its purpose.


Undertaking Agile is not merely an adoption of a new framework or process. It requires all roles to be able to fulfill their roles. The best way to do this is to provide an initial combination of training in the core skill areas required followed by on-the-job, online, consultant training to go deeper. This differs marketedly from the standard approach that has the initial training focus be on the Scrum or SAFe framework and then providing embedded coaches to bring the company's Scrum Masters up to speed, while requiring any technical practices and Agile management to be brought in at extra cost. There is only so much that can be absorbed in the initial workshop. Most of the time should be spent actually working on their own work so it is better retained.


For teams adopting Scrum, for both organizations doing or not doing SAFe, the following needs to be learned:

  1. Scrum

  2. Agile requirements and writing stories

  3. Product owner role

  4. Scrum Master Role

  5. Technical Agile (i.e., writing quality code)

  6. Management's role


When a team is being trained it is critical to focus on what they will have the most challenge learning - agile requirements and writing small stories. They mostly just need to be made aware of the other roles. Scrum itself is simple enough to give them just an overview - their Scrum Master should be able to guide them later. A distinction between which concepts/skills are most important and those that can be taught later must be made. Proponents of frameworks, while well-meaning, over-emphasize the importance of their frameworks. Instead, a focus on the more difficult skills to learn that sets up learning the framework is a better method.


Three aspects of the initial adoption of Scrum must be considered:

  1. what do we teach the team

  2. how do we support them after the initial workshop

  3. how do we provide support to the roles they interact with


Net Objectives provides all three of these by:

  1. focusing on Agile skills needed for teams to do their work in the workshop while providing just the core knowledge of the framework

  2. providing a support system for the teams to fill in any questions they will encounter

  3. providing online training for management, product owners and Scrum Masters


By using innovative training and coaching techniques all of the critical skills needed to start adoption of Scrum can be provided at about the same per/person cost. People can only absorb so much up front so most of the workshop is hand-on work which is retained.  


We recommend this workshop in lieu of SAFe® for Teams. The best way to get entire trains up to speed, including their product owners and RTEs, is for them to learn together. ATDD is often relegated to future training which often does not happen. Learning it up front requires less framework knowledge. By using a blend of advanced training methods and one-on-one or one-on-two team coaching the workshop enables trains to work on their own backlogs.

Acceptance Test-Driven Development for Trains/Teams Doing FLEX or SAFe®

This workshop equips the software triad (customer/Business stakeholder, developer, and tester) turn requirements into software-development specifications. They learn how to use Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD) using Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) to create a non-controversial definition of done. It almost eliminates the chance of misunderstandings. By creating this agreement on the Definition of Done before starting the development and testing efforts, many of the dilemmas and resulting problems listed above are prevented outright.

Course Objectives: 

We use a training workshop to teach the fundamentals of ATDD using BDD and BBA, and then coach teams on applying it to their real-life requirements.


The workshop is spaced out over three modules, with the delivery timing of each module being flexible, limited only by availability and travel expenses.


Each of the three modules consists of a half-day of classroom training for everyone attending the workshop, followed by 1 to 1.5 hours of one-on-one coaching for each development team wherein they create actual agreed-upon specifications that will be developed in an upcoming development effort.


Learning Objectives: 

This workshop combines training and coaching to equip the software development triad.

  • Pre-workshop: Half-day meeting with first level management and team-leads to become familiar with your organization and team’s needs.

  • Training: 1.5 days. Principles of Agile requirements;  ATDD, BDD, and BBA; Done criteria, estimation

  • Coaching: 3 hours for each team on a 1-on-1 basis spread over the length of the workshop. Putting principles learned into practice on their backlog.


Recommended Follow-On Coaching
  • Program and Team-level Processes Integration: We highly recommend rounding off this workshop with a day of coaching with your Scrum Masters / Agile Coaches on how to integrate ATDD, BDD, and the BBA process into your existing program and team-level processes, e.g. Sprint/Iteration Readiness, SAFe PI Planning Readiness

  • ATDD Automation: This workshop can be followed up with one to two days of coaching to show you how to automate the testing of ATDD specifications.

Effective Agile Requirements: Acceptance Test-Driven Development with Behavior-Driven Analysis

Implementing Team Agility provides the basics for teams just beginning their implementation of Lean-Agile, as well as newly formed teams just starting to work together, leaving the participant with hands on knowledge and actionable steps to achieve iterative software development and delivery. Students will learn the basics of Kanban and Scrum and how to implement them. It also discusses how Agile methods such as Scrum and XP are based upon Lean thinking.

All Net Objectives consultants have hands on practical experience with applying Lean thinking to the delivery of software technology solutions. Our approach is to show how Lean applies to an incremental realization of software features and systems and how to apply practices that improve the team’s ability to deliver.

Course Objectives: 

This course prepares teams to implement a Lean-Agile process using Scrum, and also using Kanban either with or without iterations (prior to the course, we will work with the customer to determine which methodology will be utilized, and will cover that methodology in detail throughout the course).

Implementing Team Agility covers all aspects of an Agile framework and practices needed by team members in order to perform them. After this training, teams should be able to start using Scrum and/or Kanban as appropriate for your environment.

*Note: We recommend consulting and coaching services to be included with this training offering or consider the The Kanban/Scrum Team Startup Package. This is especially true if your teams have little or no prior iterative development experience.

Learning Objectives: 

In this course, you will learn:

  • How to use flow-based software development to create and build high quality code in a shorter period than currently

  • How to use Kanban or Scrum depending which best suites the team’s needs

  • How to analyze and manage requirements in a Lean-Agile project

  • Options for estimating, sizing and decomposing work

  • The role of a Lean-Agile team member

  • The role of the Lean-Agile Project Manager (Scrum Master)

  • The role of the Product Owner

  • The limitations of Scrum and how to apply Lean practices

  • Why visibility is critical in all Lean-Agile implementations

Implementing Team Agility

This workshop is essentially the same as Scrum with Agile Requirements: Achieving Sustainable Agility with an additional half day to cover what teams need to know when they are working in an organization that is doing SAFe or something like SAFe.


In that half day we provide an overview of what SAFe is and how they will be expected to work within the framework.

Scrum with Acceptance Test-Driven Development for Teams Doing SAFe®

Although Scrum was created for a single team doing development it is rarely used in exactly that context now. It is part of a bigger picture and teams often find themselves competing for limited capabilities. This requires an understanding of how Scrum teams fit into the bigger picture of Agile Product Management.  Given that most companies have limited resources in dollars and time spent by their teams in learning Scrum, this workshop is designed to provide key Agile practices that help software development while providing the core of Scrum that is required. This workshop focuses on those aspects teams need right from the start to successfully adopt Scrum, while only lightly covering aspects that they can figure out on their own (or have a good Scrum Master provide). Experience has shown that teams new to Agile will not usually figure out how to do good Agile development (analysis, design, code and test) on their own.


This workshop looks at the bigger picture of what is needed and provides that which teams find hardest to learn. 

Course Objectives: 

Before adopting Scrum, you must ensure it is the correct framework to use. Included in this workshop is a half-day consulting with management to ensure it is the right framework for you and if and how it needs to be tailored. If a flow model works better for you, this workshop can be tailored to that.

Most of the work development teams do are understanding requirements, developing code, and validating that the code meets the requirements. Behavior-Driven Development (the defining of test specifications before developing software) has been integrated into teaching Scrum because although Scrum itself is simple, teams need to learn how to create stories. This workshop integrates story writing with tests into Scrum training to take advantage of this. This is done with the teams' own stories so that  get a start on applying it to their own work.

After the training teams can then take ATDD as far as they want, but their mindset will have definitely shifted towards the better. For more, see How to Start with ATDD/BDD.

More information, read What you need to get started with Scrum on the Net Objectives portal.

Learning Objectives:

A CSM course teaches teams the roles, events, artifacts and rules of Scrum. It typically adds estimation, decomposing epics to features to stories. Some trainers include some management of Work-in-Process (WIP). The focus is on the process of building software incrementally.


The most difficult challenge facing teams that are new to Scrum is how to decompose epics into stories small enough to fit in a 1-2 week sprint. Students in this workshop learn to address this challenge by specifying requirements in the form of acceptance criteria. Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD) in conjunction with the Given-When-Then construct of Behavior-Driven Development (BDD) suits this very well. It provides solid guidance to teams to get clarity on what is needed, to decompose large Product Backlog Items (PBIs) into smaller ones and to focus on completing small slices of work. 

Therefore, this workshop covers:

  • Basic Scrum curriculum

  • Lean principles of flow

  • Agile Product Management including concepts of MVPs and MBIs

  • How to use defining acceptance criteria as part of the requirement to achieve small stories

  • Using Scrum as Example so Scrum can be accommodated to your teams’ environments

  • Managing people who have to be split across teams

  • Focusing on realization of value not merely deployment

  • How multiple teams can work together on multi-team projects

Scrum with Agile Requirements: Achieving Sustainable Agility

When delivered as an on-site class, this course is tailored to the needs of the client, from a small team to complete SAFe® implementations.

This three-day certification course teaches Lean-Agile coaches how to use Lean principles and Agile practices to deliver profitable projects within the enterprise. Using new ways to think about the enterprise, the course establishes a model of the lean enterprise organization, and teaches the role of the Team-Agile Coach, be it be intended to be a Scrum Master, project manager, using Kanban or TPM. Their role is to manage the alignment between business and technology teams and provide coaching to their teams to be effective with Agile so that a stream of highly profitable solutions and applications flow from the development organization.


Net Objectives provides a certificate of completion of the Team Agility Coaching course for each participant who successfully passes the certification test. This test is taken at the end of the course and validates that participants understand the basic tenets of Team Agility.


Learning Objectives: 

The learning objectives for this course include:

  • Define the role and responsibilities of a Team Agility Coach

  • Define and utilize Business Value criteria for prioritization, planning, and decomposing work

  • Learn how to ensure that the highest business value is always focused on and delivered by the team

  • Compare and contrast the difference between a release and iteration

  • Describe how to manage scope and time line using velocity of the team(s)

  • Describe the mechanics of product backlog management

  • Compare / contrast the difference in writing of the business feature and user story

  • Identify challenges that may impede the flow of work

  • Learn how to plan for and manage dependencies

  • Understand how to write stories to address architecture & analysis over the life of the project

  • Learn what’s necessary to decompose complex work into small stories for the teams

  • Identify tools and techniques that provide visibility for Work-in-Process

  • Execute decision making using Lean thinking and business value

Team Agility Coaching Certification by Net Objectives

This program trains up to four people in being a trainer of Net Objectives' Implementing Team Agility course while training two groups of up to 20 people each. It achieves this by working with potential trainers and having them observe one course and teach another course with Net Objectives instructors watching. Additional training/coaching for the instructors is also provided.

Train-the-Trainer in Team Agility