Learn Agile: The Best Courses and Resources

Agile methodologies are a set of project management principles created to help companies develop new products and execute plans using teamwork while constantly adapting to changes. The focus of this model is on how a team can rise to the challenges of an uncertain marketplace to achieve success. 

If you want to learn how to streamline your workflow, then you should consider studying the Agile approach. The processes will help you overcome challenges through collaboration with your coworkers.

In this article, we’ll discuss the basics of Agile processes, and review some of the courses you can sign up for if you’re interested in studying Agile further.

What Is Agile?

There are many frameworks within Agile, such as Extreme Programming, Scrum, and Feature Driven Development. Each of these project management processes sets out a schedule of tasks that a team should complete in order for their project to succeed. However, Agile involves more than just planning.

For example, Agile software development is used to refer to the 12 principles that teams must follow to create a new program. Agile ensures that if you develop a project following these steps, you will be able to clearly execute the next logical move.

There’s one particular aspect of Agile that sets it apart from other popular development methodologies. It focuses on how colleagues complete their work together, thereby taking a more humanistic approach to doing business. In Agile, small, cross-functional teams of coworkers with diverse backgrounds cooperate for the best possible outcome.

Using Agile absolves a company from having to define a specific end product. Instead, it encourages continuous changes and updates to be made to any given project.

What Jobs Use Agile?

Agile was originally created for software development, but its approach to project management has now been adopted by multiple industries, such as automotive and marketing. Reports show that 44 percent of companies use Agile in development, and 41 percent use it in IT. 

You can find several job positions that frequently use Agile below.

  • IT project manager. As an IT project manager you will need to be organized and resourceful. You will also constantly need to prove your value as a leader. Agile can assist in developing all of these qualities. It allows leaders to manage projects while seamlessly adapting to changes.

  • Technical project manager. Technical project managers face many challenges, such as indecisive clients and malfunctioning networks and software. Agile methods can be applied to help technical managers work through these issues while maintaining a company’s IT infrastructure.

  • Digital project manager. IT personnel often have a huge amount of technical experience, but don’t know how to explain their actions in simple language to others. This is where digital project managers come in. Agile is focused on improving communication by building cross-functional teams.

  • Agile business analyst. As a business analyst, you will help organizations improve their processes and operations. You will also conduct research to come up with unique business solutions.

  • Agile delivery lead. Delivery leads are responsible for tracking all the Agile projects that a given company is working on. They also must ensure that projects are completed on time. In this position, you will collaborate with clients, developers, and designers to improve a company’s performance.

Steps to Learn Agile

Women working on a computer.
Becoming an expert in Agile is a multi-step process.

To learn Agile methodologies, you must be open to change. These processes are based on the idea that because each team is composed of individuals with different skills, they will have their own methods for achieving their goals. Agile is accepting of the fact that teams will go about completing their tasks in different ways.

A great way to fully understand this concept and other key aspects of this field is to attend a project management bootcamp, such as the one offered by Thinkful or Noble Desktop. Project management bootcamps last only a few months to a year but can equip with the knowledge and skills required to work as a project manager, including both soft and technical skills.

The basic approach to learning Agile involves preparing for workplace uncertainty. To get started, follow these steps.

Step 1: Learn Agile Learning Design

Agile is focused on helping you develop your personal skills. The Agile Learning Design is as follows:

  • Align
  • Get Set
  • Iterate and Implement
  • Leverage
  • Evaluate

Step 2: Learning the Four Core Values

The four core values of Agile are listed below. 

  1. Individuals and Interactions 
  2. Working software
  3. Customer Collaboration 
  4. Responding to change

The first two values emphasize the team members as the most crucial part of a project. They insinuate that although software is important, it is not as important as the people behind it. 

The third and fourth value deasl with change. Agile pushes for continuous development to improve a product in line with customers’ assessments. It also urges teams to be very flexible in the path they take to developing software, as it’s unrealistic to expect that outside forces will remain static throughout the course of a project.

Step 3: Agile Software Development

Finally, you’ll need to get a better understanding of Agile software development. This requires that you take feedback from customers, and use it to improve your product. It is important to respond in a timely manner. To do so, it is essential that your team can develop and adapt simultaneously.

The Best Online Courses to Learn Agile

The popularity of Agile is consistently growing. So, how can you learn these techniques and apply them to your workplace? Below are some of the top online courses that you can explore to gain a broader understanding of Agile methodologies.

Agile Project Management by University of Maryland

  • Provider: EdX
  • Level: Advanced
  • Duration: 4 weeks

Throughout five classes, this course offered by EdX in conjunction with the University of Maryland will teach you how to effectively mix a variety of project management styles, with an emphasis on Agile and Scrum. Upon completing this course, you will earn a professional certification.

Software Processes and Agile Practices

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 4 weeks

This course taught by a professor from the University of Alberta will teach you about agile practices for software development. It mostly deals with basic Agile concepts, with some aspects of Scrum processes and extreme programming thrown in. 

Agile Development Certification by University of Virginia

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 6 months

If you are a beginner, then this program will be an ideal fit, as it doesn’t require any qualifications or experience. It consists of practical lessons that will help you gain a better understanding of Agile fundamentals. The coursework covers both theoretical and practical concepts and includes a final project to help you gain experience.

Agile Certification Training Courses

  • Provider: Udemy
  • Level: Varies
  • Duration: Self-paced

This is an excellent list of courses for self-motivated learners. The list includes both beginner and advanced courses. You can choose from programs such as intensive Agile bootcamps, short Agile project management crash courses, or basic classes on Agile fundamentals.

Agile with Atlassian Jira

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 14 hours

This program is offered in partnership with software company Atlassian. It aims to teach students the standards and procedures of Agile methods. Using the techniques and skills you’ll study in this course, you can seek positions in project management, Scrum, or as an Agile team member.

Agile Meets Design Thinking by University of Virginia

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 10 hours

Created by seasoned professors at the University of Virginia, this technical course will help you determine early on in a project what is important to the customer. This program is divided into four parts, the majority of which explain product design and Agile’s iterative model.

Agile Software Development by University of Minnesota

  • Provider: Coursera
  • Level: Beginner
  • Duration: 12 hours

If you are a novice at Agile, then this curriculum might be a good choice, as it has no prerequisites. It includes several exercises based on real-world experiences that will help you get a better understanding of the principles of Agile. The class covers scientific and realistic principles.

Why Learn Agile?

You should learn Agile because it is much more than a simple project management system that relies on setting and achieving a goal.

In the digital age, software development teams are working at breakneck speeds while the tech environment around them is constantly changing. This is why Agile focuses on adapting to that change while still in the development process in order to create truly successful end products.

Agile is applicable to a diverse range of industries. If you want to learn Agile methods and apply them to your profession, sign up for one of the courses listed above.

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