BuILD lab gives students a unique opportunity
ITU's Business Innovation Lab (BuILD) has arranged a Scrum Master Certification Course for MSc students at ITU, in collaboration with Implement Consulting Group. The course has given students concrete competencies that they can undoubtedly use in their future work life.
BuILD lab is a lab for the students, and it is very important that the focus is on the students.«
"BuILD lab is a lab for the students, and it is very important that the focus is on the students. This course will introduce them to a method, which basically every student from ITU will be exposed to at some point in their career," says Khara Lewin, who is the Lab Manager, and who has helped organize the project.
Scrum is a method, which focuses on projects in a new way, and which is often used in software development. As opposed to previous approaches, Scrum is based on flexibility, and on the fact that the process surrounding software development rarely proceeds according to a preconceieved plan. Rather than having a rigid timetable for the entire project from the start, you plan for shorter "sprints". Each sprint is made up of a number of pre-defined tasks, and if a task cannot be finished in a given sprint, it will be returned to the "backlog" where you took it from in the first place, to be re-prioritized and finished in a future sprint.
"The government has, once again, decided that it is necessary to relocate a number of jobs to the outskirts of Denmark. The Ministry of Regional Equality has chosen a small town, and now a number of teams from the IT University of Copenhagen have been tasked with creating the infrastructure necessary to facilitate the influx of new residents."
Learning by doing - this seemed to be a basic principle of the course - and the above is a description of the case presented to the students in their Scrum Teams.
On the session on 16 April, in Implement Consulting Group's premises in Hellerup, the project is well underway: houses, roads and phone masts are all built in Lego, all of them living up to the definitions of a finished product. For instance, each product must use at least 2 and a maximum of 3 different colours. Suddenly , the instructors, who are acting as stakeholders, make an announcement: The Ministry of Regional Equality has suddenly decided that they want a fantastic opening ceremony immediately follownig the first relocations. In other words, the task is urgent and MUST be solved in the first sprint of the day.
Each team now get together to plan the sprint and assign roles. They appoint a product owner who is, for example, responsible for the delivery to the client. And they chose a Scrum Master to ensure progress, and that the new method is followed, among other things. And then the building of a stage for the opening ceremony commences.
Normally, a course like this runs over three full days, and at the cost of several thousand DKK for each participant, but this is a free offer for the students. The collaboration between BuILD and Implement Consulting Group has given the students a unique opportunity to acquire som essential competencies, which they probably would not have been able to afford otherwise. It is not just the students who benefit from the collaboration, however.
It is a win-win situation. The students get a very real-life experience and acquire skills into working the agile Scrum way - and they might end up, post-graduation, following a career in Implement.«
"It is a win-win situation. The students get a very real-life experience and acquire skills into working the agile Scrum way - and they might end up, post graduation, following a career in Implement, or somewhere else, using these new agile Scrum skills," says Bernt Römer, one of the instructors.
The course was actually arranged, among other things, on the initiative of two former DIM-students, who now work for Implement.
Collaboration creates value for the students
Back in Hellerup, the students are not just building with Lego. Aside from the big case, the course has also consisted of smaller exercises, designed to highlight specific principles of the Scrum method. For example, the students were split into teams to stand in a circle throwing balls around, according to some rules (for instance, the ball could not be thrown directly to a neighbour). The goal was not just to get as many balls as possible thrown around the team - the goal was also to get the team to plan how to live up to the rules most effectively; to predict how effective they could actually be; and to consider when a given approach had reached its maximum efficiency, and must therefore be reconsidered. And, as one of the students noted, it was also very much an exercise in collaboration.
In fact, the project fits like a glove with the purpose of BuILD lab, where collaboration is also a key word.
BuILD's mission is to bring students and researchers together with the industry, and a part of that is helping students gain access to the skills and competencies they believe will make them good job candidates in the future.«
"BuILD's mission is to bring students and researchers together with the industry, and a part of that is helping students gain access to the skills and competencies they believe will make them good job candidates in the future. So for us, the most important thing is that these sorts of collaborations are a two-way street; creating value not just for the companies involved, but for our students first and foremost," says Khara Lewin.
The project was a pilot project that ran over the course of 6-7 weeks. It was a unique offer for the students, but if the demand is there, BuILD hopes to offer a similar course in the future. Read more about BuILD here.