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University System of Maryland

Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills

University System of Maryland and University of Maryland, College Park via edX

Overview

Version 2 of this course series delivers beyond the original agile certification. It includes updated content, better audit and verified learner experiences, and bonus videos on key topics.

The follow-on to this course series on “Advanced Scrum” is expected by the end of Summer 2020. ****

Innovative products and services change lives, and having the right innovative process creates an competitive advantage. Ultimately, innovation is about one thing: problem solving. ****

As an agile problem solver, you'll need to expand your critical thinking skills to address the key sources of risk in developing best solutions for your new products and business lines. The Problem-solving techniques covered begin with problem definition, beginning with job descriptions and applying the right soft skills to enhance requirements gathering. This ensures you're targeting a good problem to solve, and that you understand the business model. The course then moves on to practices such as "brainstorm and storm drain" to target new creative solutions. You will learn how innovation works on fast feedback cycles to test possible solutions and target root causes of defects. Creative thinking isn't a straight line, and neither should the problem-solving process be a straight line. Each course of action needs early and frequent testing. ****

Key lessons taught in this course are:

  • Delivering business value, not technical scope with User Stories

  • Why innovating is the key to risk management and gaining a competitive advantage

  • The best innovation process for startups in new markets or disruptive innovations, versus sustaining product and process innovations

  • How to employ an innovation process that fits your business model and situation

  • Using Cross-functional teams and user stories to gather accurate requirements

  • Leveraging constraints to apply tested solutions to new technology and new innovations

  • Applying Test-Driven Design (TDD) to deliver better designs with less designing

By following best practices of Agile, including timeboxes, constraint-based thinking processes, and empathetic problem solving, you'll learn how to provide a sustainable innovation environment for your teams.

While this course will not make you an agile certified practitioner (PMI-ACP), or certified scrum master (CSM), it offers a more fundamental agile certification based on agile principles and how agile innovation is accomplished in industry today. You'll finish this course more than ready to continue your agile journey, which we hope takes you to the next course in the series on “Agile Leadership Principles and Practices.”

Upon successful completion of this course, learners can earn 10 Professional Development Unit (PDU) credits, which are recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PDU credits are essential to those looking to maintain certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP). ****

Upon successful completion of this course, learners can earn 10 Professional Development Unit (PDU) credits, which are recognized by the Project Management Institute (PMI). PDU credits are essential to those looking to maintain certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP).

Syllabus

  • Week 1: The first week of Innovation revisits concepts of capability delivery from technical perspective; asking how do we achieve a project's purpose to innovate? What are the risks and methods to be successful in delivering a defined output under uncertain conditions? Here the Theory of Constraints (TOC) is used to target innovation for maximum impact.

  • Week 2: The second week dives into the requirements gathering and validation process, and the science behind the most powerful requirement tool, a User Story, and how it forms the basis for Test-Drive Development (TDD).

  • Week 3: The third week looks at how adding constraints to solutioning unleashes creativity, luck, and productivity towards solving hard, uncertain problems.

  • Week 4: The fourth week culminates with the application of the TOC Thinking Processes, User Stories, and Constraints along with the use of the powerful system engineering solutioning techniques (isolation, absorption, acceleration, etc.) and tools like TRIZ.

Taught by

John Johnson

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Reviews

4.5 rating, based on 196 reviews

Start your review of Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills

  • I really enjoyed this course. The videos, real-life examples, and test cases were interesting and stimulating. It was interesting to see how different skill sets were pulled into the process of innovation. Overall, it was very enjoyable and informative.
  • Profile image for Daniel Romero A.
    Daniel Romero A.
    2
    Excellent course!, i'm a systems engineer and it answered the doubts i was having about my startup, its a breath of fresh air about business and project management considerations for those aiming at innovation, it continues a series of other courses focused on agile management concepts relatable to everyone with a business. I highly recommend it to everyone on the startup path.
  • Skender Dega
    1
    Excellent. The course is well-designed and has excellent content. The course provides evidence-based approaches to agile project management and demonstrates an awareness of what motivates teams to understand the customer context, perform well, and deliver on time.
  • Vaibhav Surwade
    1
    This was great course for me, especially working in the Agile environment for 4 years. This course was able to give me theoretical view to the Agile and it will be used in my real life work experience.

  • Anonymous
    This 4 week course on Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills is full of information with good contents. It started with well defined means of various terms with focus on innovation, how to search solutions against various project uncertainties, how to get closely requirements (i.e. get perspective approach against take perspective approach and most importantly indulge in verbal communication to the extent possible), to know power of constraints and to solve these uncertainties with various well defines means like use of TRIZ and MBSE. At the end, course also covered useful topics that how to lead and control innovation. These have been explained with many case studies.
  • Anonymous
    I am an engineering professional and little aware about project management, however there is no pre-requisite for this course. The 4 week course on Agile Engineering and Problem Solving taught me lot of management principles which are different from traditional...
  • Anonymous
    I preferred the Applied Agile scrum course. This personal preference is no doubt influenced by my level of understanding of the various Agile concepts. This course was more challenging regarding appreciation of the application of some of the course material,...
  • Anonymous
    This 4 week course on Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills is full of information with good contents. It started with well defined means of various terms with focus on innovation, how to search solutions against various project uncertainties, how to get closely requirements (i.e. get perspective approach against take perspective approach and most importantly indulge in verbal communication to the extent possible), to know power of constraints and to solve these uncertainties with various well defines means like use of TRIZ and MBSE. At the end, course also covered useful topics that how to lead and control innovation. These have been explained with many case studies.
  • Anonymous
    The Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills course is a good course The course is organised in a way that you can learn when it suits you. Each session provides just enough knowledge and information with real-life scenarios or examples to help us understand the theory and concept. The summary and reading list post each session triggers us to review and learn further. I will definitely apply some methods and mindsets into my work, i.e. innovation with limitation, manage uncertainty, do it wrong and failure is an option etc. Thanks again for the course and the lecturer.
  • Anonymous
    Really great course! Highly applicable to anyone working in project management . Lots of really good examples and, in my view, gives people a toolkit of ideas and frameworks to start implementing things right away. Certainly recommend. Only thing I would say is that the course does build on content (e.g. case studies) covered in the other courses in the program. This isn't necessarily a bad thing as this course goes into far more depth. However, I reckon it would be good to have a wider range of case studies. Having said that though, still extremely useful and enjoyable.
  • The course is very good and well educative. It has enlightened my knowledge of understanding in terms of innovation and problem solving .. I say kudos to the program planners
  • Anonymous
    Well designed course with great content. The course teaches evidence-based approaches to agile project management, and shows an understanding of what drives teams to understand the client context, perform, and deliver with a high success rate. I'm a project manager with an Australian university, and I'm already applying many of the principles and practices to improve our performance in education projects. Well done!
  • Anonymous
    This 4 week course was really good. It was easy to follow through the introduction, videos, recaps, and then quizzes. It was pretty high level regarding terms, but the content and examples help bring it all together. Really good information on innovation and various ways to identify problems and going about finding solutions. I love the distinct ways of approaching situations and enjoyed the course.
  • Dinkar A V
    The course is excellent. The flow is good and taught in very systematic manner. The content is very useful with lots of examples. It provides in-depth knowledge on PM techniques like Innovation , managing uncertainty , getting empathy etc. TRIZ and MBSE is explained in short but meaningfully . Few areas of course could have been provided in bit more details i.e. TDD , Business Solutions .
  • Anonymous
    The course content was really, I feel like I have learned a lot from it that will benefit me in coaching agile teams as a Scrum Master. I would have liked to find case studies that are more relatable to the field of software or maybe more diverse real life problems like in software companies or manufacturing or so on. Other than, really well planned and looking forward to the next course
  • Anonymous
    superb course.Ihave learnt a lot of knowledge by this course. and the course explanition is also very good and easily understable.

  • Anonymous
    This course has been first for me as per online mode of study is concerned and I have loved it all along. Structure of this course has been very carefully devised and I found it interesting. Knowledge check and quiz has been helpful too. What is most important for me , I could manage it with my normal routine. Looking forward to taking it further.
  • Profile image for Gulnura Arzanbekova
    Gulnura Arzanbekova
    First, I referred slighting-fully to this course. I thought it is kind of "water" and project management does not use it anymore. However, now I tried it on myself that it is beneficial and applicable on everything. For example, I am not a team lead, but after this course I can be. So, I would say it one more time - it was beneficial and valuable. Thanks!
  • Anonymous
    The four week course on Agile Innovation and Problem Solving Skills was informative and with good contents. The large scale of theory is usefull and applicable in your work. The use of the different case studies were helpfull to understand the theory and gave you more insight in the usability. I realy enjoyed this course.
  • Anonymous
    A well-designed course with excellent content. The course teaches evidence-based agile project management approaches and demonstrates an understanding of what motivates teams to understand the client context, perform, and deliver with a high success rate. Excellent work.

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