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Keep Calm and Write User Stories: 3rd Project Management Workshops Recap

For the 3rd time, we invited people keen to learn what it means to be a Project Manager in agile IT teams for a 2-day workshop. Once again we were overwhelmed by the positive energy of the participants, not to mention their ingenuity too. Check out what our teams have come up with this time!

For the 3rd time, we invited people keen to learn what it means to be a Project Manager in agile IT teams for a 2-day workshop. Once again we were overwhelmed by the positive energy of the participants, not to mention their ingenuity too. Thanks again everyone!

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The general formula was similar to previous editions: a bit of theory and a lot of practice in groups. We learned a lot from the 1st and 2nd edition and the feedback provided by previous participants remoulded the last edition into an optimal mix of technical and soft skills.

But let’s start from the beginning. We decided on the 13 people who succeeded in dazzling us with their answers for the preliminary task. Each of them described one particular service from a user-experience perspective and pulled out all the stops in terms of incisiveness and spot-on analytical skills.

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After a short warm up, we got down to the basics: selecting materials and the best methods for understanding a particular client’s application requirements. As you might conclude from the preliminary task, this edition was rich in the UX design process: asking the right questions, defining the product or service, creating User Journey Maps and finally, creating mock-ups for core features.

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We worked in three groups, each assisted by one Netguru coach in putting theory into practice. Basically, what ensued was the creation of full sets of materials for three amazing apps that the participants wanted to build.

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After a very enjoyable lunch break, we moved on to the next step: converting ideas and images into User Stories and then discovering the ins and outs of a tool designed to manage them - Pivotal Tracker. The final step involved estimations: we explored the issue of how to estimate time and resources for tasks reliably.

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The following day kicked off with iteration planning in practice with the help of about 100 colourful balls...

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...and mainly revolved around practicing soft skills. We discussed best practices in working with clients: specifying the MVP, working in iterations, top quality communication including assertiveness techniques and the value of feedback. Working with imaginary clients, played by coaches, proved to be a real blast!

As always, at the end, each group prepared an After Action Review for the stuff they’d been working on and shared the results of their 2 days and AAR conclusions with everyone.

Here’s what our participants learned - in their own words:

Written descriptions might be obvious for me, but not necessary for other people.

How to make prototypes and mock-ups from scratch.

It's possible to be a project manager without being a programmer!

I used Pivotal Tracker for the first time and found out how to write user stories.

How to focus on the main features without letting an MVP grow into something unreachable.

You shouldn't underestimate a precise estimation!

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We're already looking forward to the next edition - 12-13th September, stay tuned for updates! If you haven't attended our workshop yet - check out our workshop FAQ and see what benefits you can get from joining us for a weekend of intense learning. See you soon!

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