5 Tasks to First Course Development Success

Updated: Apr 2


In this blog, we apply what we learned from the previous three scrum blogs: Five Reasons to Use Scrum for Course Development, A Quick Guide to the Scrum Process, and How to Plug Course Development Elements into Scrum, to start your first project. However, before your first sprint, make sure to complete these five tasks to ensure project success.

  1. Define the project goals

  2. Gather the project team

  3. Select your project management / tracking tool

  4. Determine the length of your first sprints

  5. Schedule stand ups

1. Define the Project Make sure you have a clear project goal before you start your first sprint. Remember, your goals might change based on feedback you receive throughout the process.  As a result, keep your goals high level. For the purpose of this book, we are developing an Administrator 101 course.

2. Identify the Project Team Determine who will be on the team and what role they will play. As you learned, there are three main roles on a scrum team: product owner, team member, scrum master. For large-scale course development projects, you may have course developers, editors, subject matter experts, and others. Each of these roles would be a separate team member. For small teams, these roles might overlap and team members might fill multiple roles. For example, a lead instructional designer might also be the scrum master.

3. Select Your Project Management Tool Before you assemble your team and schedule your meetings, select a work tool to track the progress of your project. Don't worry about purchasing expensive software. Pick a big, blank wall in your office and use sticky notes. Find free versions of cloud software tools. Use Excel or Google Sheets. While there are many excellent scrum tools to explore, (we cover the tools towards the end of the book to help you sort that all out), select a simple tool to capture and track project tasks.

4. Define Your Sprints and Schedule First Sprint Planning Meeting Sprints tend to range from one to four weeks. However, once your team is assembled, then together determine what works for you. There is no magic sprint length. The trick is to make sure your sprints are long enough you can accomplish meaningful work, but short enough that your customers and stakeholders see frequent and regular deliverables. As you gain experience with scrum, adjust the time frames as needed for what works in your environment. Once you determine your sprint length, schedule your first sprint planning meeting, to plan your first sprint.

5. Schedule Stand Ups An important part of each sprint is the regular stand up meeting to keep the team on track. This is the daily meeting that occurs with everyone on the scrum team. We used two stand ups per week while developing this book because we thought daily was overkill for this project. Determine what works for your team, and get it on the calendar. Now that you defined your project, assembled your team, selected your project management tool, and scheduled your first sprint, it's time to start your project. In our book, The ServiceRocket Guide to Better Agile Course Development, we  walk through examples of what your first sprints might look like, so you know what to expect. We also cover tools and resources to help you be successful.

This article originally appeared on the Learndot blog on July19, 2017, and is co-written with Bill Cushard.