Why a Prerequisite Course?

Participants in our courses are sometimes surprised to find out that they have work to do in advance of the course. Most of our live, interactive courses involve a self-guided, online prerequisite course. Here’s why.

I’ll explain this in context of Certified Scrum Product Owner (CSPO) because I teach those courses most often, but the same applies to our other courses such as CSM, CAL I, and Agile for Teams.

Each course has learning objectives (LOs). In the case of the courses that lead to Scrum Alliance certifications, Scrum Alliance sets the LOs. The CSPO, Advanced-CSPO, Certified Scrum Professional (PO) sequence has progressively more challenging sets of LOs that build on one another.

The CSPO LOs include several outcomes related to basic Scrum. Then, there are various LOs related to actual Product Owner skills and competencies. But they’re very low-level LOs. They expect course participants to know about PO things, but not be able to do much.

Given how much needs to happen in just two days of classroom time, this is reasonable. But we find it unsatisfying. We want participants from even our intro-level courses to be more effective in their work right away.

So, we came up with a solution: Move the basic Scrum LOs ahead of the in-person course into an online course. This recovered the time to allow us to go deeper into actual PO skills.

There’s one catch, though. We can only go as deep in the in-person course as our participants are prepared to go. Sometimes we get a group that didn’t do the prerequisite work or struggled with the concepts. In that situation, we’re going to have a course about Scrum rather than a course about Product Ownership.

Fortunately, this is rare. We expect our course participants to step up and do the work, and for the most part, they do. And this allows us to run courses that one recent participant described as, “so much deeper and more practical than any other Agile course I’d taken.”

Does “deeper and more practical” sound like what you’re looking for? Check out our upcoming public courses near you.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Richard Lawrence

Longtime co-owner of Agile For All, Richard left in October 2020 to co-found Humanizing Work. He trains and coaches people to collaborate more effectively with other people to solve complex, meaningful problems. He draws on a diverse background in software development, engineering, anthropology, and political science. Richard is a Scrum Alliance Certified Enterprise Coach and Certified Scrum Trainer, as well as a certified trainer of the accelerated learning method, Training from the Back of the Room. His book, Behavior-Driven Development with Cucumber, was published by Addison-Wesley in 2019 (for more information, visit bddwithcucumber.com).


richard.lawrence@agileforall.com Twitter LinkedIn Subscribe to RSS Feed Blog posts by this author