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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

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

Reviews

4.5 rating, based on 237 Class Central 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.
  • 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
    It was nice and i a gree xcellent 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.
  • Anonymous
    This course truly gave a deeper understanding on innovation as a whole and on innovation in Agile project management. Very enjoyable videos, entertaining teaching manner, lots of useful references. Tips & tricks not only for project management but for entrepreneurship as well. Many practical tools were reviewed in this course. Very inspiring and genial. I am leaving very inspired.
  • Anonymous
    I really enjoyed not only this course, Mr. Johnson is a great speaker and teacher. I decided to adapt the principles and tools to use them first in small heterogene teams for internal projects (processes, improvement, developments) and bring it to scale later. And: this decision was made agile :)
  • Anonymous
    Very interesting course, bringing on the table useful practical examples that serv as basis to master the theoretical concepts presented in the material! Also, it provides a lot of good quality books as reference, which I think makes the courseeven more pleasent overall!
  • Profile image for Daniel Romero A.
    Daniel Romero A.
    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.
  • Profile image for MICHAEL PATRICK
    MICHAEL PATRICK
    This was by far the most interesting and beneficial course out of the set of five in order to complete the certificate program. The business aspects are what really hit home as I'm not directly managing projects but Portfolios along with a PMO. Excellent Course.
  • Anonymous
    This course was interesting and useful for professional development. It expanded on the topic of project management to give a better understanding for those looking to get into the field.
  • Anonymous
    Well thought-out and referenced course. Lesson intros, videos, and recaps were helpful. Strongly recommend having a background/base knowledge in Agile before taking this course.
  • Anonymous
    Very usefull course, it can used when you are working with a team, you can improve your skills and your team´s skills, also you can do better, faster and cheaper
  • Anonymous
    Organized course, great for if you are not very new to agile but maybe newer to a leadership role. I would recommend and will probably take another course.
  • Anonymous
    Great course to improve your knowledge in Agile. I gained a lot of interesting and valuable information that I'm sure I will apply at my work.
  • Anonymous
    Informative course with case study information. I did enjoy it. The video and formats are a good fit. Plus there are knowledge checks through out.
  • Anonymous
    Thank you for allowing me to take this course. I learned a lot of great information on agile innovation - what is it and why it matters.
  • Anonymous
    Material needs proofreading. Some of the content was great! Needs to do additional work to explain so technical concepts.
  • Anonymous
    Good information and teaching style. Nice visual layouts for enhancing understanding and good case study examples.
  • Skender Dega
    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
    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.

  • 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

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