Showing posts with label Agile certification. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Agile certification. Show all posts

Thursday, 23 March 2017

Firebrand Training launch Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship with Testhouse

The demand for software testers is increasing but businesses across the UK are failing to get the testing and DevOps skills they need because of a lack of qualified professionals.

In response to this demand, Testhouse, a Microsoft Gold ALM Partner, and Firebrand Training, leaders in accelerated learning, have launched the Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship.

The launch of this programme aligns with Microsoft’s National Empowerment activity, which sees over 4,500 young people start a Microsoft-backed apprenticeship across over 2,500 Microsoft Partners and customers this year. This apprenticeship will also be delivered in time for the imminent arrival of the Apprenticeship Levy.

The Microsoft Software Tester apprenticeship is designed to bring new software testers and DevOps specialists into IT, at a time when these professionals are more essential than ever.

Built around the National Apprenticeship Standard for Software Testers, this apprenticeship programme is designed by Firebrand -- a Microsoft Gold Partner -- to align directly with job role demands of employers.

“We can’t wait to get new software testers and DevOps specialists into the industry to fill the digital skills gap and contribute to Microsoft’s target of 30,000 new apprenticeships by 2020” says Stefano Capaldo, Firebrand’s Managing Director.

“Firebrand are already receiving interest from employers for this new apprenticeship. We’re excited to have our first Azure apprentices starting soon.”

Get Microsoft Software Testing skills in your organisation

As apprentices learn how to design and execute tests on business applications and services, students on this programme will develop into software testing and DevOps professionals.

The rapid increase in popularity for Microsoft Visual Studio 2015 has led to a lack of knowledge in the solution’s software testing tools. To meet this demand, apprentices will receive considerable training on this industry-standard platform.

Jim Cowdery, Head of Business Development at Testhouse, says:

“We are very proud to work with both Firebrand and Microsoft to provide much needed skills in the marketplace and offer businesses affordable testing solutions.”

Built by Testhouse and Firebrand, the programme also includes £10,000s worth of government-funded software testing training, including:

Firebrand’s Microsoft Software Tester programme is also fully customisable, so you can tailor it to suit you as an employer.

Plus, apprenticeships are not only for new staff. Savvy organisations can put existing employees on this Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship, boosting their testing skills with government-funded training.

Who is Firebrand Training?

Firebrand Training is the fastest way to learn. Firebrand’s apprentices train at twice the speed, getting industry-recognised certifications at an all-inclusive residential training centre. For more information on Firebrand’s unique accelerated learning take a look at the video below:

Since launching in 2001, Firebrand has trained more than 62,000 students and saved a total of 1 million hours. Firebrand Training is also a Microsoft Gold Training Partner and has provided accelerated apprenticeships since 2012.

Get more information on the new Microsoft Software Tester Apprenticeship, including how to access £10,000s of government-funded accelerated training. Or learn more about the Apprenticeship Levy with this this guide.

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

The new PRINCE2 Agile and why it matters

By Sarah Morgan

The eagerly awaited PRINCE2 Agile framework was released on the 24th June. PRINCE2 Practitioners and project managers will now be considering whether this is a framework they should begin using, in order to stay up to date with the latest project management methods.

What is PRINCE2?

The marriage of PRINCE2 and Agile is intriguing. They are both very different ways of thinking. PRINCE, which stands for PRojects IN Controlled Environments, provides a framework for project managers to track the construction and delivery of products against a plan. With it you’ll get a proven process that allows everyone on your team to approach the project with the same mind-set.

However, despite being a gold standard project management framework for over a decade, it is occasionally dismissed as being unrealistic. This is because there is no such thing as a truly controlled business environment, and so many of the practises are difficult to employ in the real world.

What is Agile Project Management?

Agile Project Management is very much the opposite of this. It’s a flexible way of thinking, making it better for producing deliverables, without substantial changes or reworking required. Tasks are broken down into smaller stages allowing risk to be reduced, with early assessment testing and analysis. Agile trains people to think quickly and come up with solutions to issues on the spot. Ultimately saving money and time as problems are overcome more quickly.

Agile also divides responsibility amongst a team, meaning you’ll achieve more, faster. A well-known example of this is the SCRUM method where responsibility is divided between the Team, Scrum Master and Product Owner.

The merge of PRINCE2 and Agile means that those with knowledge of the framework will get the best of both worlds. PRINCE2 offers the ability to use a well-tested approach to projects and Agile lets you bring the more dynamic and fluid side of project management to the table.

Learn the skills to apply PRINCE2 Agile

The framework is ‘Industry Agnostic’, meaning no matter what projects you undertake, you will be able to apply the processes. In terms of structure it is roughly 20% PRINCE2 and 80% Agile and concentrates on where the two types of thinking meet. This means that you are able to use Agile techniques to tailor how you use the PRINCE2 framework to suit the size and type of project you are undertaking.

One of the best ways to understand and gain the skills required to apply the framework is to get certified in PRINCE2 Agile. The new PRINCE2 Agile course from AXELOS, does exactly that.

On a Prince2 Agile course you’ll learn how to:

  • Apply basic concepts of common Agile ways of working
  • Purpose and context for combining PRINCE2 and the Agile way of working
  • Apply and evaluate the focus areas to a project in an Agile context
  • Fix and flex the six aspects of a project in an Agile context
  • Apply and tailor the PRINCE2 principles, themes, processes and management products to a project within an Agile context
  • Learn through the use of theory and practical exercises
  • Prepare for the PRINCE2 Agile Practitioner exam

To get certified in PRINCE2 Agile you have to sit the exam. It consists of two and a half hours of a multiple choice questions based on scenarios, with a 60% pass mark. In order to take the course you must have the PRINCE2 Practitioners qualification.

Related articles:

About the Author:        
Sarah writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Sarah has 11 years of experience in the IT industry. 

Monday, 18 February 2013

What is Agile Product Ownership and how does it work? SCRUM


Agile Project Management is a powerful and effective method of delivering projects in a flexible and interactive manner. It takes on the view of the product owner, the stakeholders and the development team.

Agile product ownership Process - SCRUM
Agile Product Ownership Process by Julian Arias - Firebrand Training

Product Owner

The product owner is the person who has the idea and product vision. They don’t know the details of what the product is going to do, but they know why the product is going to be built, the problems it will solve and for who.


The stakeholders are the people who are going to use and support the product being developed.


Both the product owner and stakeholders have ideas and needs for the product, these are known as user stories. There are many stories, so the product owner uses the ideas to create concrete user stories.

The development team

The agile development team are the people who are going to build the product or system and develop the user stories. Agile teams do not release the whole product at the end; instead they release stories (features of the product) bit by bit. This is measured by the amount of stories released per week. This is known as ‘Capacity’. One idea could count as 2 stories or even half a story depending on its size. Capacity is measured by the amount of stories/features released per week.

Optimum Capacity

One of the main problems Agile tackles is that the stakeholders ask for a lot of features and ideas. They usually have more ideas than the capacity of the development team. If the development team’s capacity is 6 – 8 stories per week and the stakeholders are coming up with 15 stories, the team will get overloaded. It creates multitasking and demotivation which then lowers the quality and value of the features.

The way agile tackles this issue is by calculating the optimum capacity of the dev team. In this case it would be between 6 to 8 stories per week. Then the product owner decides which 7 of the 15 stories or ideas the stakeholders came up with should be developed. This is called ‘Yesterdays Weather’ in Agile and SCRUM terms. The idea is to lower the work in progress or ‘WIP’. In this case, the WIP limit for the dev team would be 7. This will keep them busy the whole week while working fast and effective. But a new problem arises from this, which must be tackled.

Product Backlog

As the dev team is creating 7 new features each week and the stakeholders are coming up with 15 ideas each week, a backlog and queue of ideas starts to get larger and larger. In SCRUM, this queue is called the ‘Product Backlog’. This means that eventually the features released will be the ones asked for 8 months before, which is not very ‘Agile’.

Saying NO!

The only way to combat this is to just say NO.  It is easy to say yes to a new feature, but the hard part is saying no. The reality is that to be Agile, some things must be pushed away. The product owner decides which stories should be developed by looking at both its value and its size. Some stories can be big (take a long time) but have little value, while there could be smaller stories with a higher value. The obvious choice here is the smaller one as it will not take long to build but add a lot of value to the product. The same goes for stories of the same size but with different values, the one with higher value is the best option.

So how does the product owner measure the value? They can’t. The value of a feature is guessed and can be wrong, but that’s ok. With time the product owner gets better at guessing while understanding the product more. This means that the most important job for a product owner is to decide what not to build, which is hard.

The product owner also decides the sequencing of the queue. This would be deciding what to build now and what to build later. This can be difficult so the owner uses help from both the stakeholders and the dev team. The owner asks the stakeholders what they value, and asks the dev team what they think is big or small in terms of time.

Communication is the name of the game

From what you can see, communication is very important when it comes to the Agile methodology. Communicating, prioritising and guessing the correct figures is called ‘Backlog Grooming’. The owner should run a Backlog Grooming workshop every week for one hour. The whole team should be there and the some of the stakeholders too.

So when it comes to succeeding in product ownership, the most important thing to keep in mind is communication and of course; passion.

Agile and SCRUM

This is a basic introduction into the world of Agile and SCRUM. Hope it helps. Below is a 10 minute introduction into the world of Scrum development methodology. It shows you what it is to be a SCRUM Master and how it works. The following topics are covered:

If you want to learn more, check out the Professional Scrum Master (Agile) course which takes only two days! Click here for more information:

About the Author:
Julian writes for Firebrand Training on a number of IT related topics. This includes exams, training, certification trends, project management, certification, careers advice and the industry itself. Julian is the companies Digital Marketer.