Training and coaching will give you the basics of some agile delivery techniques, but the real learning comes from putting it into practice.
It’s also important that your team and organisation’s culture is set up to support learning and experimenting.
Service owner training
The Government Digital Service (GDS) and the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) work together to offer the service owner induction programme for new service owners.
Specialist digital training for civil servants
Civil Service Learning (CSL) runs a digital foundation day. This is an in-depth look at government digital aimed at all digital professionals.
Agile training for delivery managers and scrum masters
There are many different approaches to agile delivery management, so it’s good to learn a number of tools and techniques. You should also strengthen your understanding with independent learning and doing.
You should consider your own learning needs before booking a course, but it’s helpful to learn about:
- specific frameworks and methods: start with lightweight frameworks and methodologies such as Scrum, Kanban and extreme programming
- more specific practices such as agile user stories, agile estimating, agile planning and managing teams
- softer skills, such as workshop facilitation, coaching and motivating teams
Agile training for other team roles and stakeholders
If you need to find out more about agile and how it relates to your role, book a course that gives you an introduction to agile and covers its benefits. Make sure that it’s a course that covers more than one method or framework.
If you’re a digital specialist you could also attend the digital foundation day.
Book an agile training course
If you’re a civil servant, find and book an agile training course through Civil Service Learning.
Part of a delivery manager or scrum master’s role is to be an agile coach; training the team, organisation and stakeholders in the benefits of agile working.
Book agile coach training
If you’re a civil servant, find and book an agile course through Civil Service Learning.
Hire an agile coach
Sometimes it can be helpful to bring in an agile coach, especially in an organisation new to agile, where an agile coach can:
- train teams and organisations in agile working
- help organisational change
- help stakeholder engagement
You can use the Digital Marketplace to buy a service or find a skill.
The Digital Services Store buyers’ guide provides guidance on using the Digital Marketplace.
Learn from other teams
You can learn a lot by watching other people practising agile techniques in your organisation or in other government organisations.
Ask an agile team if you can sit in on their planning, review and retrospective meetings.
There are communities of practice for all agile disciplines where you can find teams and people.
Bring knowledge into your team
It’s important to bring knowledge into your team, especially from external contractors, for example by:
When you hire contractors and suppliers, you should make sure they’re prepared to do this.
Try to spend some time working with people who use agile. This will give you a better understanding of how they solve problems and use agile methods.
You could invite speakers to share their experiences with you and your team and discuss your ideas with them.
Pairing comes from the term ‘pair programming’ in extreme programming, but is just as relevant for all types of work and job role.
During this practice 2 people will sit together to work on the same thing at the same time. One person is writing the code or doing the task, and the other is observing and giving input. The benefits of working in this way are:
- better quality of work
- better communication among team members
- you learn hands-on how something is built and why decisions were made
Pairing can rapidly increase individual and team learning.
This works by pairing a new or less experienced team member (mentee) with someone with more or different experience (mentor). There is an ongoing relationship where the mentor:
- regularly meets with the mentee
- is freely available for advice and coaching
- allows the mentee to shadow and attend networking opportunities
Find support and share ideas
A fundamental principle of agile is finding things out for yourself and sharing knowledge.
Part of this is by asking questions and visiting other teams. But you can also gain more knowledge through learning by:
- joining cross-government digital communities
- attending events and networking
- reading widely (including blogs)
- coaching others and sharing your knowledge
Networking and events
Networking is a useful way of learning. You can find local meetups and events close to you or you can start your own.
There are many blogs about agile and lean techniques, for example:
Find more agile blogs.
Digital teams in government also publish blogs that can give you real examples of a particular agile team or challenge, for example:
Find more GOV.UK blogs
How to start out
The phrase ‘fail fast’ is often used in an agile context, especially when building software.
While failure can be seen as a negative thing, the point is that you’re detecting problems as early as possible.
Take a project that you’re working on and start to apply agile techniques to it, then improve on them as you go.
You can do the following training courses: