Why we train!
Learning the underlying concepts
First of all training delivers the underlying concepts and enables us to work with the client on another level. For many people the concepts are different to their current way of working.
Reading books and articles with the wrong mindset often leads to more confusion, as opposed to a better understanding of the concepts. Sometimes it feels like people read books using their “glasses of the past”.
It’s too easy to say “We already do this more or less and this is something, which is impossible for us”. Many underlying concepts can’t be taught by books. They need a different way of approaching a topic. This is why we often play (Why we play!) in our training. Playing allows us to deliver first hand insights in a safe-to-fail environment. We don’t see an alternative to teaching the underlying concepts.
This is one reason why we train!
It's about experience as much as about the content
When we ask our clients for feedback after our training, they commonly share that they appreciate having their first agile experience already as a result of their training. The students value the fact that the training gives them a first-hand understanding of how the new way of working will look and feel like.
The students have made me aware, that it is as much about the content as about the learning through the experience in the class. To accomplish this, we organise our classes to integrate student feedback, agreeing on training rules, integrating a co-trainer such as Greg Keegan to model the ScrumMaster role, and working together in an collaborative learning environment with a shared goal.
The goal isn’t only about efficient delivery of concepts. It’s also about this shared experience with guidance.
This is another reason why we train!
Training as a starting and consolidating point
An agile transition is a journey. There are different starting points to start this journey. One effective way to start it, is from our perspective an assessment.
Another approach is to send some key players to a training class. Based on the above described challenges, this isn’t the worst option. The first people in the company get a better understanding and can better informed discuss on how to go on.
A public training class can also help to consolidate and reflect your knowledge about agile. It can help to exchange ideas with people from other companies. Experiencing their challenges and their approaches to dealing with them can be a very rewarding experience. Some of the benefit is the ability to share their pain.
Good public training classes are a great way to learn fundamentals while getting the benefit of questions you may have not considered. As others try to solve their own learning problems, this better prepares you for some of the questions that might arise in your own environments as your agile transition moves forward. Sometimes a great idea from another company can really help you out in your own organization.
This is why we train!
Training is a key enabler of effective coaching
Often training alone isn’t enough and agile coaching is needed support and guidance to help people to establish their new way of working.
Effective agile coaching can’t be prescriptive. It wouldn’t be owned by the organisation and it wouldn’t be sustainable. We can’t and shouldn't learn every detail about our clients’ environments to give “perfect” advice. Our goal instead is to deliver key concepts to enable them to participate more actively in the coaching from the beginning and make it their own from the start.
Just sending some key players to a training isn’t enough. When only a few senior people come to training, this can result in a prescriptive approach and doesn’t empower others or the whole environment. This is why, in our experience it’s most effective to train all involved people.
Training can help to sync shared understanding. By having everyone on the same page, it helps to synchronize thoughts and concepts without having to have religious wars over specifics. It’s not only training. It’s a team building experience which creates the dynamic for students to have something to take out of the training into their work.
We have on occasion tried to do coaching engagements without training. This makes coaching so much harder and less effective. This is why we train!
To fulfil the described purposes of training the training needs to be effective. I’m happy to work continuously with my colleagues to improve our training. The feedback from our training classes and their impact on coaching and on our clients is motivation enough.
This is why we train!