Insufficient training is a leading cause of Agile failure

As a certified Agile trainer, I was particularly interested to note that insufficient training was reported as one of the highest reasons for the failure of an Agile project in the most recent State of Agile survey.

Some 30% of the respondents to the survey said that they blamed insufficient training for failed Agile projects; a humbling fact when you consider how simple this problem is to solve with a little investment.

Further scrutiny reveals that insufficient training can be broken down into one of three categories:

  • Nobody received training
  • Not everybody who needed training received it
  • Some received training, but the training wasn’t very good

Nobody receiving formal training is unfortunately all too common, especially within companies who may not have a dedicated training budget to utilise. It normally falls on whoever last picked up an Agile book to educate the rest of the team; often leading to disaster.

Insufficient training is amongst the leading causes of Agile failures

Insufficient training is amongst the leading causes of Agile failures

The wider team not being trained happens all the time. I’d wager that within the vast majority of Agile teams, only the Scrum Master has received any formal Agile training. Whilst the Scrum Master training course is fantastic, what about the rest of the team? Training courses such as the BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile do a much better job of educating everyone involved in the process instead of isolating specific roles.

Finding the right training supplier is often critical. My experience has showed that large training organisations who offer hundreds of different off the shelf courses can often provide much less in the way of value, than if you were to work with a company who specialise in just Agile training.

If you’re serious about an Agile transition within your team, ignoring formal training isn’t the right approach and will never lead to a successful Agile organisation. It’s important that everyone involved in your Agile efforts receives relevant training and it is wise to invest in training early. Not only will it give the team the knowledge of Agile techniques, but also an understanding of why it is the better approach.

You can download the State of Agile Survey here.
You can find out more about the BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile here.

Agile Snap recognised as BCS Accredited Training Partner

Agile Snap, a leading training provider for Agile development practices, has today announced that it has been awarded Accredited Training Partnership status by BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT. The partnership enables Agile Snap to offer the internationally recognised BCS Foundation certificate in Agile.

With Agile becoming more widely adopted by organisations across the globe, demand for BCS’ Agile certifications is growing. The Institute’s certificate certifies Agile specialists against specific roles and skills aligned to the competency Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA). The certifications are of particular interest to software developers, software testers, business analysts, project managers, and product managers who rely upon software to deliver products and services.

James Harvey, Co-Founder & Director at Agile Snap announced: “We are delighted to be recognised as a BCS Accredited Training Partner. We truly believe that the BCS Agile syllabus offers candidates a comprehensive understanding of key Agile methods therefore allowing them to support their organisation in making an Agile transformation that delivers value straight away. We at Agile Snap are looking forward to working directly with BCS to drive the programme forward.”

Matthew Piddington, Sales Director for BCS Learning & Development Ltd, part of BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT says: “We’re delighted to welcome Agile Snap as one of our recognised training partners. As the Chartered Institute for IT, we have always been committed to developing capability in all roles and responsibilities to help the industry improve; Agile is a key area in this.”

About Agile Snap Limited

Agile Snap offer the very best in certified Agile training, Agile coaching and Agile consultancy for anyone requiring an understanding of Agile, as well as organisational leaders and managers wanting to understand the value of Agile practices. With no bias to a specific methodology, Agile Snap provide in-depth coverage of a wide portfolio of Agile frameworks, including; Scrum, XP, Kanban, DSDM Atern, Lean, SAFe and more.

Find out more about Agile Snap by visiting or calling (020) 3287 9766.

About BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT

BCS, The Chartered Institute for IT, promotes wider social and economic progress through the advancement of information technology science and practice. It brings together industry, academics, practitioners and government to share knowledge, promote new thinking, inform the design of new curricula, shape public policy and inform the public.

BCS has 75,000 members including practitioners, businesses, academics and students in the UK and internationally. The Institute delivers a range of professional development tools for practitioners and employees. A leading IT qualification body, it offers a range of widely recognised qualifications.

It doesn’t always have to be Scrum

When a company considers adopting an Agile approach to software development, more often than not they settle for Scrum almost immediately. This probably due to its popularity and online presence – especially considering the most recognised Agile bodies tend to sit on the Scrum side of the fence. Whilst Scrum is an absolutely fantastic framework, it certainly isn’t the only Agile approach that you can take – neither should it be the only one you consider.

Like anything else related to software development, there really isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach to how you structure your projects, despite what some people might tell you. One of the best things about an Agile approach is that it offers you guidelines rather than hard rules, so it can be far more flexible than a Waterfall methodology. There’s only so much flex that any given approach can offer, however, which is why Scrum isn’t the only option.

In addition to Scrum, you might want to consider one of many different Agile approaches, including the following:

  • XP
  • DSDM Atern
  • Kanban
  • Lean
  • Lean Startup

When considering formal Agile training, the options are surprisingly somewhat limited. Certified Scrum Master (CSM) is probably the most common certificate you’ll find amongst Agile practitioners – or people who want to be Agile – but again, its scope is limited to Scrum; not to mention to one specific role.

If you’re considering an Agile approach to software development, I’d recommend finding out which methodology suits your needs before you dive straight into the next CSM training course.

Training courses such as BCS Foundation Agile cover a much wider area, as their syllabus demands learning objectives around many different approaches, including those listed above. It’s a great way to find out what is available and what you think will work for you. It’s also a training course that carries a BCS certificate upon successful completion.

When the dust settles, Scrum still might be right for you. But given the complexities involved in changing your approach to software development, it’s better to know what options are available to you before picking Scrum blindly based on its name and reputation alone.