Agile Scrum Training Toronto – Are There Benefits to Customized Labs?

By · March 30, 2012 · Filed in Agile Scrum Training

agile scrum training, agile scrum boot camp, agile scrum training courses

One of our value added services is the option to include custom lab activities within our private Agile Scrum training offerings.  This means the subject of the lab is an actual software development project scenario provided by the customer.  Thus providing the participants with a case study based on their own context of work and one that uses terms and concepts they understand.  The customer project scenario is used as the basis for each lab activity in the course.

In this post I describe the results  observed when we included customized lab activities in our Agile Scrum Boot Camp training course , what we learned and the key things we will take forward into the next opportunity.

Why Clients are Excited about Having Customized Labs in the Agile Scrum Training

Clients are very excited about this option as the advantages from a business perspective are clear:

  • Actual project teams can attend the training and they leave with the knowledge and skills to implement what they learned in their own context
  • There is no period of transferring what they learned into what it means in their world
  • The learning curve out of training is reduced – production starts faster
 Results of Custom Labs in the Agile Scrum Boot Camp

Our experience in the classroom has identified both advantages and disadvantages to the approach.  Many participants described how they really liked it, sharing comments such as:

  • “I like the fact that we used real project examples in the lab exercise.”
  • ”…The examples were good that they were specific versus generic. Well done!”
  • “Good level of detail in the labs.”

We saw for ourselves how the agile scrum teams were really able to dig into the activities, understand how their project would look when managed using agile methodologies and they actually experienced performing the skills required to support it in their world.

What needs to be managed with customized labs in Agile training courses

Some participants described how the inclusion of customized labs made the activities difficult, offering feedback like:

  • “Real work stream content was good, but all the group did not have the same understanding so we got too detailed talking about it.”
  • “Labs too specific.  The actual subject matter was too detailed without a solid understanding of the real project expectations.”

In a number of situations the custom content resulted in teams going down rabbit holes they may not have otherwise.  For example, rather than working on the activity of developing the tasks associated to the user stories on the sprint backlog, the teams got very very deep into a conversation discussing questions as to whether the business expectation was “this scope” or “that scope”.  They would lose site of the objective and forget what they were supposed to be doing.   We had to work hard to get them back on task.

What We Learned

Many participants loved this approach while others didn’t.  We made a few conclusions out of this experience:

  • The value in an exercise like this outweighs the possible challenges we may face during the process
  • The course designer needs to ensure the correct depth of the lab content so as not to push the teams into the weeds
  • The course instructor should monitor and support the teams closely to identify situations where teams are getting off track and bring them back on task quickly

We are looking forward to implementing what we learned at the next opportunity. Also, we would love to hear your comments, please leave them below.

Thanks to the participants for their enthusiasm and feedback.
Lynda Todd
Manager, Learning & Development
Web Financial Solutions


Web Financial Solutions provides expert Software Development Life Cycle process improvement.

The services we offer include:

For more information about our services you can fill out our online contact form and someone will follow up with you shortly. You can also call me directly, I’ll be happy to speak with you!

  • Register for our 2 day Agile Scrum Boot Camp

Thanks for visiting Web Financial Solutions

Beth Beese
Account Manager
Web Financial Solutions