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Aurion Learning forms a Scrum

Article by Barry Kelly, Product Development Manager

I know the rugby world cup is over and The Six Nations doesn’t start until next February, so why am I writing a blog about scrum?

Well for starters, it’s not that type of scrum. The scrum Aurion Learning is seeking to form, implement and adopt is an agile framework for completing complex projects.

What is agile project management?
Agile project management refers to methodologies for developing complex software; characterised by flexible and adaptive working processes, rapid response to change, iterative and incremental development.

There are many agile methodologies in practice today, such as Crystal Clear, Extreme Programming (XP), Feature Driven Development (FDD), Dynamic Systems Development Method (DSDM) each with their own merits. However I have selected scrum as in my experience, it’s the best agile development methodology (and if you don’t believe me ask the leading Fortune 500 companies who use it.)

What is Scrum?
Jeff Sutherland and Ken Schwaber created the scrum process in 1993, and the name “scrum” comes from a 1986 study in which Takeuchi and Nonaka compared high-performing, cross-functional teams to the scrum formation used by rugby teams. Scrum is now used by 75% of agile teams worldwide.

Ok, so what really is scrum? Well Scrum Alliance explain it very well in 30 seconds:

  • A product owner creates a prioritized wish list called a product backlog.
  • During sprint planning, the team pulls a small chunk from the top of that wish list, a sprint backlog, and decides how to implement those pieces.
  • The team has a certain amount of time, a sprint, to complete its work – usually two to four weeks – but meets each day to assess its progress (daily scrum).
  • Along the way, the Scrum Master keeps the team focused on its goal.
  • At the end of the sprint, the work should be potentially shippable, as in ready to hand to a customer, put on a store shelf, or show to a stakeholder.
  • The sprint ends with a sprint review and retrospective.
  • As the next sprint begins, the team chooses another chunk of the product backlog and begins working again.
  • The cycle repeats until enough items in the product backlog have been completed, the budget is depleted, or a deadline arrives.
  • Which of these milestones marks the end of the work is entirely specific to the project.
  • No matter which impetus stops work, Scrum ensures that the most valuable work has been completed when the project ends.

Scrum originally was formalised for software development projects, but works well for any complex, innovative scope of work. The possibilities are endless and the framework is deceptively simple.

My Scrum Hopes for 2012
In 2012, I hope to complete and deliver several large scale product development projects for Aurion Learning using scrum.

So what qualifications or skills do you need to rollout scrum in your organisation? Well first of all you need a Scrum Master. That’s me (second right).  I gained my CSM certification in Dublin, Ireland on June 05, 2009 under the excellent tutelage of Jens Ostergaard.

It’s now time to walk the walk. It will take a while to adopt and run smoothly and will certainly require a change to the status quo, but I have great hopes for its success and hopefully we can achieve the Toyota effect: (well-run scrums) four times industry average productivity and twelve times better quality.

I will provide you all with an update at the end of the first quarter and let you know how our scrum experiment is progressing.

Regards Barry

For Further Information on Scrum
If you would like to know more about scrum, check out the following video and website links which will give you all the information and certification details you require to get started.

Scrum dk
Scrum Alliance
Scrum Alliance Facebook Page
Scrum Basics (5 minute YouTube Video)

Health Sector Focus: Identifying the Biggest Challenges in Delivering Learning

by Noleen Turner, Marketing Manager

In summer 2011, Aurion Learning hosted an e-learning masterclass in Dublin. Delegates came from the Irish Health Services Executive (national health service), health agencies, hospitals, and pharmaceutical companies from across Ireland, and included human resources, IT and training professionals. They all had one thing in common – responsibility for delivering learning and development across their organisations. Several delegates were already experienced in delivering e-learning and blended learning projects, while others hadn’t yet started the journey of online learning.

During the event, we wanted to get a better understanding of the challenges learning and development professionals in the health sector are facing today and so we carried out some market research with our delegates.

Here are our findings:

What is the biggest learning & development challenge facing your organisation today?

Management Issues

  • Lack of funding /resources/manpower
  • Lack of time to develop training
  • Securing management commitment
  • Learners not being given enough time to actually participate in training
  • Lack of structured training / continuing professional development

Developing Training

  • Identify what we want to do and can do – moving from strategy to implementation
  • Responding to learning needs with small training budgets
  • Achieving relevance
  • Adopting a coherent coordinated approach across a large organisation – multiple departments & contacting trainees.
  • Speed of delivery
  • Lack of confidence/competence in use of e-learning

Getting others on-board / Culture change

  • Changing the organisational culture into a learning culture
  • Securing buy-in from management & staff to blended and e-learning programmes
  • Low staff motivation
  • Resistance to change (moving from traditional face-to-face model to e-learning)

IT Issues

  • Knowing which technology to choose to support learning (learning management systems, e-learning authoring tools, learning portals etc.)
  • IT support
  • Staff access to IT systems and technologies (restriction to many educational websites/firewalls)
  • Administration support & maintenance of any systems developed.
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