Once you’ve decided that Agile Learning should be implemented as part of your training team’s course creation process, it can be difficult to know where to begin.
The journey to Agile Learning implementation takes rigorous planning. You need commitment from your team, and often a little outside help as well. However, the benefits far outweigh the effort, and once you have Agile processes up and running, you won’t look back.
Here are some steps and markers for your Agile Learning journey so you can track progress and know when to pause and take stock.
1.Explore different methodologies
Kanban, Scrum, Lean – these are just some of the methodologies you’ll come across when researching Agile. But how to know which is right for your learning organization?
Further to the traditional Agile project management frameworks, models that are specific to the learning design process have been developed as well. These include the Successive Approximation Model (SAM), Rapid Content Development (RCD), AGILE, and LLAMA (Lot Like Agile Management Approach).
Whether you choose to adopt a pure Agile Learning method or settle on an Agile project management approach, take some time to thoroughly research each one. Decide which sounds like the best fit for your needs. At their core, each of these philosophies embraces the Agile philosophies of iteration, collaboration, speed, and continuous feedback.
2. Get some training
You might choose to bring in an external consultant to help you with step one above, or to bring in an Agile coach once you’ve settled on an approach.
Either way, if nobody on your team has previous experience with Agile, it’s highly advisable to bring one in, especially at the beginning. They will help you:
- Create Agile processes fit for your purposes
- Provide training for your team
- Help you understand Agile roles and how to assign them within your project teams
- Market Agile to your team and stakeholders to earn commitment and buy-in
If you have already tried to implement Agile but still feel like something isn’t quite right, an Agile coach can help identify the problem and smooth out the creases in your processes. An Agile coach might also go by titles like Scrum Master or Agile Team Facilitator. Regardless of the title, their role is to make sure that your team is not only running Agile correctly but that you’re deriving optimal value from your new approach.
3. Put tools and processes in place
With a change as big as Agile, it’s essential to put the right tools and processes in place to keep you on track. Common Agile tools and processes include:
A “Sprint” is a set amount of time in which specific features or improvements will be made. It’s used in Scrum methodology to provide regular deadlines and frequent iteration, so the team is building the product incrementally and constantly making improvements.
Most Sprints are 2-3 weeks in duration. At the beginning of each Sprint, the team will move tasks out of the “Backlog” and decide what will be completed during the Sprint. Then, during the Retrospective at the end of each Sprint, the team will review what they completed and what needs to be improved.
A Daily Standup is when the Agile team meets at a set time for no more than fifteen minutes each day to give each other updates on what has been done. It is not a time for discussion – those meetings should happen separately among those who really need to take part.
The Daily Standup provides accountability and transparency into all the moving parts of the project and fuels the feeling of collaboration amongst the team.
The Retrospective happens at the end of each Sprint. During the Retrospective, the Agile team reviews everything that was or was not achieved during the Sprint. It’s an opportunity to express concerns, celebrate results, and make decisions about what should be done during the next Sprint.
The Kanban Board is a useful tool for visualizing your Backlog, which is a list of all the outstanding tasks in your project. Using a Kanban Board, your team can organize the Backlog into lists, make sure there is not an overload of “in progress” tasks, and easily prioritize what should be done next.
Although some teams manage this with sticky notes on a wall or whiteboard, there are lots of free online tools to help you manage your Kanban Board.
4. Review regularly
Having your Agile Learning processes in place does not mean sitting back and letting it take whatever course it may. It’s vital to continuously review your Agile processes to make sure they are delivering value.
Don’t be afraid to discard what isn’t working and try something new. Every team and every organization will have different needs, and your Agile approach will need to be shaped to them over time.
For this reason, it’s also important not to be discouraged if you don’t see instantaneous improvements or faster course development on your first Agile training project. For some teams and organizations, Agile is a massive shift in perspective and approach. So give it some time, continuously review, and make sure you have all the tools and help you can get to ensure successful implementation.
5. Encourage feedback from your team
Resistance, reluctance, or skepticism towards Agile Learning is not uncommon, particularly in organizations where processes are well established. Identify champions on your team who are fully on board with Agile implementation and who will support new processes.
But don’t be too hard on employees who are skeptical, either. Not everyone is built for swift and sudden change, so make sure you ask for feedback regularly. Pay attention to where team members may need assistance. Is there coaching or tools you can provide to ease their journey to Agile? Are they telling you a particular project isn’t suitable for your new Agile processes?
Once your team feels listened to and supported, you can guide them through the Agile Learning journey and win their buy-in.
Want to learn more about Agile Learning implementation? Check out this
free on-demand webinar!