Click on image to display full size image.
These are the notes from the second session that I gave at Agile Open Northern California 2009 exploring Agile Executive/Leadership Training. The first session was a Agile Executive Training Story workshop focused on creating training/learning stories to teach Agile to Executives/Leadership.
This session was an opportunity for us to try out the Agile Training Board prototype in a “real world” setting (ie: in front of other people).
The rationale behind these Agile Open Northern California 2009 open space sessions was to explore how to create a context where executives and people in leadership could most effectively learn about the benefits and challenges of adopting Agile principles, values and practices in their organizations.
Our target audience is an executive persona named Mike:
- Mike is a busy Executive (SVP level) who can barely afford to invest 2 hours but wants to know more about Agile and what’s in it for him.
- He specifically wants to know the benefits of Agile; and how he might better leverage agile practices to make better (and faster) decisions and drive profitability for his organization (in times of great change).
- Mike needs reliable and accurate info: levers as well as costs and risks to gain a better understanding of what it will take to leverage agile for his (and his organization’s) competitive edge.
- He is: Competitive, Smart, Impatient, Critical Thinker, Active, maybe a little ADHD (Attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder)
We started the session by introducing the game boards which where distributed around the room.Click on image to display full size image.
The main Training Board was hung up on the wall as an 8′ x 5′ sticky wall. It looked something like this:Click on image to display full size image.
As a team, we then posted and prioritized the collection of user stories from Thursday’s Training Story workshop (Agile Executive Training Story workshop ) into the Session Backlog as part of the session setup. This activity will likely be an integral part of an actual Agile Executive/Leadership Training Session.
I had already pre-populated the “Committed/Ready to Play” column with a number of Learning Stories including:
Story Title: Multi-tasking Impact
Story Title: Intro to the Agile Training Game Board
When a Learning Story was started we would move it into the “Working” column on the game board.
So, for example, to start I moved the Intro to the Agile Training Game Board story into the “Working” column on the game board and began the intro (including tracking the time)
After each story is completed it is moved into the “Completed/Done” column on the game board and the actual time used and the story business value are recorded on the game board
The next highest priority story in the “Committed/Ready to Play” column was: Multi-tasking Impact - for which we did a simple multi-tasking exercise as an example of an activity based learning activity.
When completed we moved the story card into the “Completed/Done” column on the game board and again recorded the actual time spent and the story business value on the game board
When the timebox for the “Iteration” was done the “scores” are tallied and migrated to the Training Session Burn-Down and Accumulated Business Value Charts.
For a typical 2 hour meeting you could reasonably expect to complete three 1/2 hour Learning Iterations.
After completing several learning activities we stopped, due to time constraints, and we debriefed about the session and conducted a mini-retrospective.
This is some of the feedback I received:
It would be useful to start the training with a set of “Practice Stories” so that participants could practice using the “TIVO remote control” process
It would be useful to model the entire iteration process quickly to support better understanding
It would be useful to have a large visual display of the remaining time in the iteration counting down
The story card titles need to be large enough to be read from across the room
It would be useful to have very clear instructions and criterion for prioritizing the learning stories
It was useful to see the iteration process actively modeled and integrated into the process of the meeting itself
It was useful to ask the group to help with timeboxing with the concensus thumb vote
Someone suggested that there should be three Iteration “Burn Down/Burn Up” Charts/Graphs: Value, Cost, Effort
It was useful to be able to read the Exercise Instructions and have a list of Required Materials on the back of the Learning Story Card
I’d welcome your thoughts and feedback on what you think is important for Executives and Leaders to know about Agile. Feel free to comment here or email me at David dot Chilcott AT Outformations dot com.
I’d also like to express my appreciation to Pat Reed and her team of folks from the Gap for letting me join them and contribute to their exploration/inquiry of Agile Executive/Leadership Training. This material was an outcome of those fun, interesting and productive conversations!
Links to Resources: