I have worked in a lot of places where people spend vast sums on slide decks that they read to people in ‘training courses’. They end up with a “Pathway to this” or a “Journey to that”, some build up to a qualification and some just leave you hanging. The content is often excellent, but is it enough? In the feedback from our courses we have noticed a pattern: people consistently and repeatedly say the courses are engaging, informative and fun, but why is that? Well, it’s about being flexible around the material – being able to use our experience of delivering successful full life-cycle agile projects to bring the content alive, through real examples.
At the end of all of our training courses we always get a request for the slide deck to be emailed to the participants. Of course we are happy to do so.
The thing is that whilst the deck is useful, our courses are all workshop-style so we focus much more on helping attendees learn first-hand than just talk at them about slides. What this does is prompt questions.
The questions prompt conversations that are different every time. We use our experience gained through delivering full life-cycle agile projects to answer those questions. We are also not arrogant enough to think that we have to know all the answers either – sometimes we work through possible solutions to problems together in the course.
The real benefit of the course then isn’t the slide-deck. It’s not the written materials or exercises – it’s the conversations they generate.
The agile way is to promote fast feedback. Stand-ups, reviews, show-and-tells, retrospectives – they all do this. In some frameworks like Scrum they are built in. In others like Kanban they are not explicitly built in. It shouldn’t be the case that we have to wait to speak, though.
The best teams I work with aren’t the ones with the best technical skills (although they do help). They are the ones that encourage communication – the ones where individuals feel free from the pressure to be hammering away at the keyboard and can take the time to talk problems over.
We need to start accepting that conversation is important, and that with a clear, shared vision, we can use the power of verbal communication to guide us faster to a better product delivery.
Agility in Mind are experts in helping people and teams communicate more effectively in order to develop better products.