Learning is key to Agile success: Building a learning culture on your Agile team

room: Atlanta — time: Thursday 16:00-16:45, Thursday 16:45-17:30
Level: Introductory

“Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” – Chinese Proverb

Agile teams that rapidly learn and apply new-found skills become increasingly adept at embracing change and delivering value. Team members feel more fulfilled, motivated and valued. And they have way more fun!

In this session you will learn about agile learning! Learn to recognize learning moments and put in place effective learning patterns tuned to your team and context. Learn how to build and sustain an effective learning culture on your agile team.


This session will consist of a presentation with Q&A throughout. I will continually draw on the audience to provide additional insights and experiences.

We will start with a review of the Satir Change Model. I will make the case that effective learning is a catalyst for embracing change. We will identify challenges you may face, and techniques to address them, during each phase in the Satir change model.

We will briefly look at different learning “styles” (verbal, visual, kinesthetic etc.). This will help underscore the need to build multiple learning events that span multiple styles for maximum team learning.

Agile teams need to learn along multiple “dimensions”. New teams need to spend a lot of time learning about Agile principles and practices. All teams need to learn about their customers and product. Most teams must also strive for continual learning about new technologies, development and test techniques and so on.

We will then look at learning “patterns” you can use to build your team learning muscle. We will borrow significantly from the “Fearless Change” patterns by Mary Lynn Manns and Linda Rising. Some patterns we will examine include:

  • Just Do It
  • Small Successes
  • Trial Run
  • Brown Bags
  • Design Etudes
  • Games
  • Spikes
  • Customer Visits
  • Training Workshops
  • Conferences
  • Book Clubs

Next, we will explore key learning “moments” on Agile projects. We will discuss how to identify and leverage these learning opportunities in typical agile time lines:

  • Project Chartering Sessions
  • Planning Sessions
  • Daily Work
  • Stand up Meetings
  • Retrospectives
  • Demos

We will wrap up by pulling all this information together into learning maps that chart the learning patterns against learning moments, dimensions and styles. This will provide a quick reference to help trigger learning initiatives as you identify learning opportunities with your agile team.

Learning outcomes
  • Learn how to establish and grow a learning culture on your Agile team.
  • Anticipate the challenges you may face and ways to help your team move through them.
  • Awareness of practical techniques you can use to foster continual learning on your Agile team.
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