Ever wondered why your organisation is not fully realising the benefits once promised to you by an Agile Evangelist? Have you experimented using Agile and found that it was not suitable for your team? Or have you been asked to sit in on another stale Agile training course, that will inevitably leave you even more confused on how it should be implemented?
It’s important to state here at an early stage that ‘Agile’ is by not means perfect and often teams implementing it are in fact adopting a hybrid approach of some agile and more linear ways of working. Agile is widely recognised as the most collaborative, transparent and goal driven methodology for both business and IT-oriented projects. In order to fully realise the benefits you’ve been promised everyone your team needs to be on the same page as to what is expected of them, how they should be working and most importantly the reasons why this methodology helps.
We’ve been working with our clients on Agile Transformation and Delivery Enablement for sometime now and Agile teams fail for a number of reasons. The ‘epic’ of these in often introduced at the beginning of someone’s understanding of the methodology. Agile Training course can often be boring, too theoretical and delegates often find it difficult to apply the learning to their projects. It’s important that you understand how to apply the principles of what you are learning to your projects, how to take the best of what you’ve learnt and add genuine value to your organisation.
Newcomers need to know less what a product backlog is and what SCRUM means but how they can troubleshoot problems and the impact that working is this way will have on the expectations of your team. So we focus our training initially on a game. Using LEGO we ask teams to build us a city. Sounds simple? Each team must work independently, gather requirements and organise items in the product backlog to be split into each team’s sprint. When creating buildings or roads, and parks out of the resources they are given they will learn about time management, the structure of the methodology, the importance of estimation, prioritisation and acceptance criteria.
How does it work:
- To play there needs to be 5+ players that can be split into scrum teams of no more than 5 people. Ideally, you want more than one team but it can be done with just a single team.
- Teams get 3 minutes to plan a sprint, 7 minutes to build and 5 minutes to have a retrospective in each sprint. This is repeated at least 3 times.
What do you need to look out for:
- Make sure they are actually adopting agile practices – they’ll need a reminder before starting.
- Log where they made mistakes along the way – they’ll already know about it but this will help reiterate the purpose of the methodology.
- As a Product Owner – the facilitator needs to remain focused, act like the customer and most importantly keep their eyes on the outcome of the task.
We recently ran this with one of our clients. Who were confident they had a good understanding of Agile, we were surprised how well they worked as a team and learned from their mistakes throughout the process. This way of teaching the methodology allows for delegates to make mistakes, learn and take away a deeper understanding of how it can be used to make their lives easier.