Agile Forest

Find your path to agility with Renee Troughton

The world of Agile training and mentoring is intriguing me at the moment.  This is how most of us have done it in large organisations for a long while –

  • We build in powerpoint or prezi these gorgeous training decks and train up people new to Agile
  • We outsource our training to groups who do the same as the above
  • We build intranets, wikis or documents worth of content on “how to do <insert Agile activity here>”
  • We teach the “Shu” rulebook without constantly re-enforcing the need to progress to “Ha”
  • We have embed games to re-enforce and experience learnings from training sessions
  • We mentor through SODOTO (See One, Do One, Teach One), but often never get to the TO bit

We talk a lot about innovation and radicalizing the business and yet some of the training techniques we still use are from 1990s. How many Scrum Masters open up this content and use it? How many Scrum Masters experiment and adapt how they work? How transparent, engaging and interactive is this content? Playing games and implementing SODOTO is a great start to interactivity and real-time knowledge sharing, but can we do more?

Recently I have had an awesome opportunity at Charter Hall innovate, experiment and enhance the experience of learning differently. Rather than build decks I have spent many hours building an interactive wall to people new to Agile. It is more an experience than a training session. It is one massive wall that flows a conversation about Agile quite naturally before the tour moves further into the working space.

The “basics” tour has the following elements:

  1. The background of Agile
  2. The Agile Values
  3. The Agile Principles
  4. The Agile Process
  5. The Agile Roles
  6. The Portfolio Wall
  7. The Pipeline Activities Wall
  8. One of the Project Walls

The principles behind the learning wall are quite simple:

  • Create a natural flowing experience
  • Introduce concepts with visual drawings to enable better retention
  • Make the process introduction really simple, bare bones, but…
  • Have the ability to drill through into detail without it overloading the audience. This would help when having more detailed role training.
  • Make everything transparent, no content is hidden in a tool
  • Break up content so that as things change it is a simple matter of changing one small picture

Now before I show you the pictures of what I have created I do want to highlight some intended future changes:

  • Extend the values section to include the Scrum values and the company values
  • Make pictures for the Agile Principles
  • Add in Lean Principles
  • Add in an “other section at the tail end”
  • Maybe add in a visual around all the different Agile methods, edgy and support methods
  • In addition to the wall I am also building a series of agenda cards – these are re-usable packs for Scrum Masters and coaches to use for workshops and key Agile activities (eg Iteration Planning, Retrospective, etc). These cards have some spares so that facilitators can adapt away from the standard set of agenda ideas. On the back of the cards are tips of the purpose of agenda activity and how it could be facilitated.
    What does this mean for a new facilitator? Well they have the clear activities they need to do with how to do it without having to open up a tool (which they don’t ever do), but most importantly this is real time – exactly when they need it. It also provides great clarity to everyone else in the room around what is happening and what still needs to happen when it is utilised as a backlog against a simple wall of “To Do”, “Doing” and “Done”.

Anyway, now for the pictures of the Learning Wall (it runs right to left due to the entrance point, but normally I would have preferred a left to right run). Taken from the right:

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Taken from the left:

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The Agile Values (some references taken from Rally’s awesome values picture):

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The Agile Principles:

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The Agile Process (note this is naturally a very specific organisational tailoring, I am by no means saying this is the one and only process for Agile). Specifically, this is the bare bones view. The number of iterations is just for an example.

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And now the interactive version (note how the interaction points line up with the number of iterations).

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With a detailed closeup on the iteration portion:

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A high level overview of the Agile Roles. The three key Scrum Roles are here – Scrum Master, Product Owner and the Team. In addition I have added in our organisational specific governance roles which includes a high level organisational wide steering group, a Business Scrum and the PMO. Again I would like to highlight that some changes have been made to normal roles to suit the specific culture and needs of the organisation.

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Detail on the Scrum Master role (interactive side showing):

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Detailed view on the Product Owner role (bare bones side):

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Detailed view on the Product Owner role (interactive side):

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Detailed view on the Team role (bare bones side):

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The Business Scrum role:

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The Steering Group role:

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The PMO role:

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And that is the Agile Learning Wall! Please feel free to comment on any thoughts and suggestions to enhance the route of complete transparency and no tools that I am on.

I would like to thank both Nicki Doble and James Doust from Charter Hall who gave their support for my experimentation and for their willingness to expose to the world what we are doing.

 

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3 thoughts on “The Agile Learning Wall: dialing up the transparency

  1. I must say that it is very well created. How did participants found these tool as a learning tool for Agile?

    1. Hi Joshua, I ran a Product Owner introduction session today. It went really well but interestingly it would have been better with a working VMB beside it (there is one around the corner but the ability to quickly point to one to make the information more concrete would be good).

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