FuturePMO has consistently remained the only no-sales project management and PMO focused conference in the industry, allowing delegates to bring and share experiences in a safe environment. 

In 2021, one of our Agile for PPM Professionals trainers delivered an extract from our newly accredited course; focused on User Stories. 

The Agile for PPM Professionals is an unusual training course because the entire course is delivered as if it was an Agile project. The delegates co-create the agenda by using processes and techniques from Scrum. As such it is an incredibly practical and hands-on learning experience that is vital to ensure that delegates understand not just the theory and terminology of Agile, but experience the advantages and challenges of Agile delivery and are able to translate it to their environments.  

The course, takes a #HumanFirst approach to learning, adapting to the needs of the group thereby ensuring that.

70/20/10 Learning

The session began with an overview of Agile as a development methodology in the context of project management, considering the main differences between linear and Agile approaches such as

  • The level of requirement availability
  • Approaches to planning
  • Necessity of delivery
  • Response to change control

The delegates explored what is not Agile in a bid to understand how to have internal conversations about utilising Agile practice for traditional non-Agile activities including the difference between Agile and agility in organisations.

Then, the delegates turned theory into practice by creating user stories focused on the user expectations Wellingtone need to take into account when organising the FuturePMO conference.

Agile User Stories

User stories are short, simple descriptions of a feature told from the perspective of the person who desires the new capability.

They are the cornerstones of projects with Agile delivery and must be taken very seriously. Poor user stories will lead to poor project results!

All user stories should meet the INVEST criteria:

INVEST criteria

Independent: When thinking of independence, it is often easier to think of “order-independent.” In other words, stories can be worked on in any order.

Negotiable:  A user story is not a contract, instead it is an invitation to a conversation. The story captures the essence of what is desired, but the actual result needs to be the result of collaborative negotiation between the customer (or customer proxy like the Product Owner), developer and tester (at a minimum).

Valuable:  If a user story does not have discernible value it should not be done. Hopefully, user stories are being prioritized in the backlog according to business value, so this should be obvious.  Some people say each story should be valuable to the customer or user but the story must have value to the “user” in the user story.

Estimable:  A story has to be estimated or sized so it can be properly prioritised. A user story with high value but extremely lengthy development time may not be the highest priority because of the length of time to develop it.

Small:  User stories are small chunks of work, but how small should they be?  The answer depends on the team and the methodology being used.  If we suggest two-week iterations which allow for user stories to average 3-4 days of work in total which includes all work to get the story to a “done” state.  It is important not to goldplate user stories you should do the simplest thing that works – then stop!

Testable:  Every story needs to be testable to be “done.” By testable we mean that acceptance criteria can be written immediately.  Thinking this way encourages more collaboration upfront, builds quality by moving QA up in the process, and allows for easy transformation to an acceptance test-driven development (ATDD) process.

In Practice

The delegates of the session were challenged to deliver user stories for the conference from their perspective as the end-user. The results proved a variety of perspectives, demonstrating that FuturePMO is made by Practitioners, for Practitioners.

As a I want So that
PMO practitioner to know new developments in digital tools I can keep on track with future standards in the PMO industry
Project leader to understand best practices of PMO leadership I can lead my organisation
PMO Analyst learn and understand different ways of working around the PMO community and practices review whether they suit my organisation or not to adopt
PMO coordinator to find out how PMOs in successful organisations work I can influence the approach in my organisation
New PMO Professional to experience wide-ranging PMO thinking I have a good foundation for skills building
Project Manager apprentice within a PMO information of all aspects of a PMO from basics focusing on roles and typical processes I have a clear understanding of the basic elements of a PMO
Project Manager within a PMO to hear other successes and failures in their PMO experiences I can support and adapt my Management to improve our PMO environment
Project Manager to be exposed to new ways of working and thinking I can help the development of my PMO and PM practices
PMO conference delegate to enhance and deepen my knowledge of PMO good practice the newly formed SPO can perform more effectively
Head of Portfolio Management to understand how other businesses run their portfolios I can structure mine in an effective way
Project support manager to learn what Agile could provide for my highly regulated organisation that I may be able to make our processes learner
Project Portfolio Manager to learn new ways to prioritise and focus my projects I can get the best outcomes for my business
PMO manager to learn about setting up PMOs I can adapt and improve
Head of project management and PMO network with others I can share experience to generate ideas to improve my PMO

In Conclusion

User stories are a cornerstone of Agile practice and need to be taken seriously. During the Wellingtone Agile for PPM Professionals course, delegates get the opportunity to practice and perfect their practical skills to enable them to return to their project management reality with the confidence of delivering and driving the right approach for project success.

The FuturePMO session provided a practical exercise for all delegates to try out writing user stories. Why not try it out for yourself?

Read more Wellingtone insights on Agile ways of working on our Wellingtone and FuturePMO blogs, and get in touch with us if you want to know more about the only APM Accredited Agile course in the market!