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BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile: 2020 Syllabus

About the Course

Course Duration: 2 days
Exam Fees Included

Price From: TBC

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The BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile enables professionals to be able to identify and manage change effectively and know when Agile is applicable in an organisation. The certificate has a comprehensive skills development pathway to support Agile working practices throughout organisations. In addition, it will provide organisations with a standard setting Agile certification that confidently covers all foundational knowledge required to understand Agile.

This foundation certificate is concerned with the use of Agile practices in projects, product and software development. The syllabus is designed to ensure the candidate has suitable knowledge of the core concepts of Agile practices, values and principles.

This three-day tutor-led course includes lectures, exercises and practical work. At the end of day three delegates prepare and take the examination.  It is fully-accredited by BCS Professional Certifications and they have rated it as SFIAplus level 3.

Who is it for?

Business and IT professionals who are interested in Agile practices such as; Software Developers, Project Managers, Business Analysts, Software Testers, Product Managers, etc.

In addition, anyone requiring an understanding of Agile, organisational leaders and managers who want to understand the value of Agile, or those who work in an Agile environment.

This course enables those taking the exam to become either an informed customer or to use the qualification as a steppingstone on their career-ladder.

Entry Requirements

There are no specific pre-requisites for entry to the examination; however, it is recommended that candidates have a working knowledge of IT.



To qualify as the holder of a BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile, delegates must successfully pass the exam administered by the BCS;

  • The exam has 40 multiple choice questions.
  • It will be a ‘closed book’ examination i.e. no notes or books will be allowed into the examination room.
  • It is held over 60 minutes (+ 25% additional time for candidates taking examinations that are not in their native language).
  • The pass mark is 65% (26 out of 40).

Course Objectives

The course:

  • Enables candidates to be aware of how an Agile mindset can be adopted in their workplace.
  • Introduces candidates to know when Agile is applicable in their organisation.
  • Encourages candidates to make better decisions about how Agile transformation impacts every aspect of their organisation and identify and manage change effectively.
  • Gain a certification based on original Agile creators’ knowledge.
  • Provides candidates with a stepping-stone to further learning.
  • Successful candidates will have access to several member-only benefits, including networking, career development prospects and mentoring opportunities.

Syllabus – Key points

Candidates should be able to demonstrate knowledge, understanding, application and analysis of Agile practices and techniques in the following areas:

Why Agile? (7.5%)

  • Describe a linear development approach, such as Waterfall and V-model
  • Explain why linear development approaches are not suitable in a Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous (VUCA) environment
  • Explain the origins of Agile
  • Recognise the Agile Manifesto and its principles
  • Explain how the Pillars of Scrum underpin Agile thinking

Individuals and their Interactions over Processes and Tools (7.5%)

  • Describe ways that the processes and tools can undermine Agile team performance
  • Explain the connection between team motivation and self-organising autonomous team
  • Recall how Agile teams interact

Working Software over Comprehensive Documentation (7.5%):

  • Describe how working software means more than just code
  • Explain that Agile can be applied to non-software products
  • Explain how the Seven Wastes of Lean (Software Development) relates to comprehensive documentation (As defined in: Lean Software Development: An Agile Toolkit and widely referenced elsewhere)

Customer Collaboration over Contract Negotiation (7.5%)

  • Describe the Agile team’s relationship with its customers
  • Describe how Agile teams use time boxes and iterations to decide what work to commit to
  • Describe the Product Owner role and their responsibilities

Responding to Change over following a plan (10%):

  • Explain how regular feedback helps Agile teams respond to change
  • Describe how Agile teams recognise when change is underway
  • Describe the different levels of planning that Agile teams use
  • Explain the risks of detailed upfront planning

The Agile Mindset (25%):

  • Explain Servant Leadership
  • Explain how Agile teams are cross-functional and self-organising
  • Explain how the Pillars of Scrum enable continuous improvement
  • Describe how Agile teams demonstrate transparency
  • Explain the importance of maximising the amount of work not done
  • Describe how Agile teams maintain sustainable pace
  • Recall that autonomy, mastery and purpose are critical factors in creating motivated teams
  • Explain the importance of Psychological Safety for high performing teams
  • Explain incremental and iterative delivery

Roles in Agile Teams (5%):

  • Describe the three Scrum roles
  • Identify and describe commonly used non-Scrum Agile roles

Common Agile Practices (20%):

  • Team Leadership and Organisation
    • Iterations and Timeboxing
    • Daily stand-up meetings
    • Agile board
    • Iteration planning
    • Iteration review
    • Retrospective
    • Agile coaching
    • Backlog refinement
    • Limiting work in progress (WIP)
  • Requirements
    • Product roadmaps
    • Backlog
    • User stories
    • Three C’s (Card, Conversation, Confirmation)
    • Definitions of Done and Ready
  • Estimation
    • 3.1 Relative sizing
    • 3.2 The Agile Estimation Game, e.g. Planning PokerTM (1)
    • 3.3 Story points
    • Velocity
  • Software Development
    • Pair Programming and Mob Programming
    • Test Driven Development (TDD)
    • Behaviour Driven Development (BDD)
    • Refactoring
    • Emergent design
    • Continuous Integration / Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)
    • Automated testing

Agile in practice (10%):

  • Describe the following Agile approaches
    • Scrum
    • Kanban
  • Explain how the following practices can remove the need to adopt a scaling method such as, Scrum of Scrums, SAFe, LeSS, Scrum@Scale
    • Refactoring solution architecture
    • Decoupling team dependencies
    • Decomposing into independent goals
    • Shortening cycle time
  • Explain why the following metrics are indicators to healthy Agile teams
    • Short lead time from business need to solution deployment
    • Team is continuously improving
    • Mean time to restore

You can download the April 2020 syllabus here.

1 review for BCS Foundation Certificate in Agile: 2020 Syllabus

  1. Phil Hollebone| V&V Engineer|Sperry Marine

    First course I have had to do on-line, so some of the exercises weren’t possible as involved working collaboratively. That aside, the course content was good, well explained and enabled me to pass the exam with a very respectable score.

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