By the end of this course, you will know enough about Agile to be an effective leader or member of a great software development and delivery team.

Agile Values

This course is aligned with the values and principles of the Agile manifesto. In this course, we value

  • Individuals and interactions, so we encourage class participation, and we have group homework assignments and a group final project.
  • Working software, so we learn and practice Agile technical skills, and the final project is a real piece of working software.
  • Customer collaboration, so the final project is oriented around a real stakeholder.
  • Responding to change, so we’ll revise the course backlog, homework assignments, and final project to make sure we achieve the best learning outcomes.

Reading Materials

There is no required reading for this course. Instead, there is a set of recommended reading materials. See the course backlog for details—each backlog item has its own recommended reading list. The recommended readings will enhance your knowledge of the course material. We trust that you are intrinsically motivated to learn, practice, and embody the course material, and that you’ll read as much as possible to maximize your learning.

Class Dates and Location

Summer 2023 is 100% on-campus. We meet in the classroom at 3:15-6:15 pm ET for three weeks beginning on June 20:

  • Week 1: June 20, 21, 22, 23
  • Week 2: June 26, 27, 28, 29
  • Week 3: July 3, 5, 6, 7

Fall 2022 was a "hybrid" course. We met over live video on Mondays at 3:00-5:00 pm ET beginning on August 29, and we had a weekend on campus on September 10-11.


We want communication to be open and transparent, so most course communication takes place in Slack. To join the group, ask Richard for an invitation.


The school is committed to providing an accessible academic community. The Accessibility Office offers a variety of accommodations and services to students with documented disabilities. Please visit Accessibility Services for more information.

Academic Integrity

You are responsible for understanding the school's policies on academic integrity and how to use sources responsibly. Not knowing the rules, misunderstanding the rules, running out of time, submitting the wrong draft, or being overwhelmed with multiple demands are not acceptable excuses. To support your learning about academic citation rules, please visit the Resources to Support Academic Integrity where you will find links to the Harvard Guide to Using Sources and two free online 15-minute tutorials to test your knowledge of academic citation policy. The tutorials are anonymous open-learning tools.

Course Backlog

One way we align with Agile values is by using a course backlog — a learning backlog — rather than a traditional syllabus. Our course backlog is the list of topics we plan to cover throughout the semester. Each backlog item includes a short description, a list of activities, a suggested reading list, and the date on which we forecast we’ll cover the backlog item. The order of topics and dates may change — we’ll adjust the backlog throughout the semester to ensure we’re covering the right topics at the right time.

Homework & Grading

During the first half of the semester, we’ll learn enough about Agile to be able to apply it to real software product development. Homework assignments are short on-line quizzes and programming problems designed to guide your learning. 

During the second half of the semester, you’ll put your learning into practice. You’ll form Agile product development teams. Your team will design, implement, and deliver a real software product together. You’ll traverse all the steps of the Agile product development lifespan, from team formation and product inception all the way to iteratively delivering and improving working versions of your product. 

Your final grade for the semester will consist of:

  • Class participation: undergrad 20%, grad 10%
  • Homework: undergrad 50%, grad 50%
  • Final project: undergrad 30%, grad 40%

A letter grade will be given in accordance with the School's grading policy.

To view your grade, visit the course Canvas site. (Grades on Canvas are accurate for graduate students. Undergrads, you'll have to compute your grade based on these percentages.)

We use completion grading in this course: on each assignment, you receive credit for each portion that you complete. We believe that this correlates with better learning outcomes and more classroom equity.

Class participation: For full credit, you’ll attend and actively participate in all class sessions. Active participation includes a video and audio presence during virtual sessions, participating in activities, contributing ideas during discussions, asking questions, and sharing your knowledge with students and course staff.

Homework: Homework assignments are due before the next class. To view and submit your homework assignments, visit the course Canvas site. For full credit:

  • You’ll submit your homework when it’s due.
  • On multiple-choice homeworks, you will answer each question correctly (you have unlimited attempts!).
  • On written-response homeworks, you will submit written responses. 
  • On programming assignments, you will submit working code and executable artifacts created using Pair or Mob Programming, Test-Driven Development, and other Agile technical skills.

Final project: You’ll work in teams to design, implement, and deliver a full software product. You will receive a grade as a team — everyone on the team receives the same grade. For full credit:

  • Your team will follow the steps outlined in each timeboxed project segment.
  • You will have a working increment of software product at the end of each timeboxed project segment.
  • You will resolve team dynamics issues as they arise.
  • You will deliver the final product and share it with students, course staff, and outside stakeholders on the final day of class. 

All homework assignments and grades are available in Canvas.