Getting Your Training Team on Board with Agile Learning

agile learning team

There will no doubt be members of your team who are reluctant to adopt Agile. But there are strategies you can use to convert those who are less than enthusiastic.

While it might seem like an easy fix to get the immediate L&D team on board with Agile Learning, keep in mind that you will also need to convince subject matter experts (SMEs) and perhaps even external contractors of the need to adopt Agile methodologies.

Let’s have a look at how you can get your training team on board with Agile by demonstrating how easily it plugs into what people are already doing on the job.

1. Demonstrate how they are already “Agile-like”

People will be surprised that they are already carrying out elements of Agile without even knowing it.

For example, most people are used to regular meetings, perhaps weekly. Agile methodologies move this from weekly to daily and it is known as the Daily Standup. Though it sounds daunting, the Daily Standup allows team members to provide a short summary of what they are working on.

Some team members may think that this is an unnecessary waste of time, as how much of a dramatic change can be communicated day by day. However, it is important to explain that not every Daily Standup has to include wide-scale accomplishments. Even discussing the completion of small tasks has a value to the rest of the team.

The goal of a Daily Standup is that everyone is held more accountable and that the workflow is more transparent.

2. Seek out the extroverts.

Agile Learning requires communication—and lots of it.

For those who love telling everyone what they are working on, Agile’s Daily Standups are just what the doctor ordered. As explained above, every day, each team member must deliver a short report on what he or she completed the previous day.

Sounds scary? It shouldn’t be. The Daily Standup is not something completely different from what employees typically do on the job right now. Team leaders should express this to help team members ease into the process of delivering daily reports of work.

This is also a great time to seek out the team’s extroverts. Such people may actually enjoy the Daily Standup, and their deliveries can serve as models to those who tend to be shy or self-conscious.

Indeed, team members might get inspired when they listen to and observe others giving compelling Daily Standups. The Daily Standup might become the most exciting part of the Agile process!

3. Position Agile as the antidote to projects that drag on forever.

It is well-known that projects built with Agile methodologies are delivered faster. This is why Agile Learning is welcomed in L&D departments, as it is a way to get more courses to learners faster.

While courses built faster using methodologies known for speed might make some learning professionals cringe, others might welcome this refreshing change. Often times, speed is just what the doctor ordered.

Every instructional designer recalls at least one project in which, from project kickoff to the delivery date, the content had become out-of-date. Agile methodologies can protect against content obsolescence while in the process of course development. It is imperative to communicate this to team members to get them on board with Agile Learning.

4. Lean on your project management software.

Employees today are no strangers to productivity (i.e., Microsoft Office) or project management software (i.e., Airtable, Monday.com, Trello).

To ease the transition, find those elements of project management software which enable Agile, such as Kanban-style project management boards. Trello displays this by default, but it might not be the default in other platforms.

Explain that you will be using these features to help the team adopt Agile Learning methodologies. Once they notice that these are not new, custom features but rather existing functionalities in software that they already use on a daily basis, they will be more inclined to get on board with Agile.

If you need help in explaining how to use Kanban-style project management boards or other features, don’t create a How To from scratch Lean on the vendor for any training that might be helpful for team members to use in order to ease the transition.

Kanban Boards might be tough for some, as they can become quite detailed and overwhelming. Explain that the columned, complete view is intended to help keep the project stay on track. Demonstrate how everyone can learn from others and that the total view helps people have a much deeper understanding of the project.

Framing each team member’s contribution to a project is also important, not simply for visibility but also for morale and encouragement. Seeing an employee’s task in relation to others can help people understand their impact—no matter how seemingly small—to the success of the overall project.

When employees realize that their contributions have a deeper impact than previously thought, they will be more willing to embrace Agile Learning.

5. Find Agile practitioners within the company.

Agile isn’t new to organizations. Chances are, a team within your organization or a team within a company that serves as a partner or supplier has successfully leveraged Agile methodologies to complete a project.

These individuals could serve as ambassadors to help you not only spread the good word about Agile but also actually help you train your team.

They could hop on a training call, or they might introduce you to resources you can share to ease the transition to Agile.

Team members will certainly feel much more at ease knowing that someone within (or just outside) the company has adopted Agile with success, and is willing to train the team.

As a bonus, find someone outside of software engineering who has adopted Agile. This “outsider” view will be much more convincing to those still questioning the validity or utility of the methodology.

Want to learn more about what Agile can do for your learning organization? Check out this on-demand webinar recording: How Agile Learning Can Power Your Digital Transformation Strategy

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