Stein-Otto Svorstøl

Communication and Education in an Agile Transition

This week I am attending the ICP-CAT course. One of the assignments was regarding how to use education and communication in an agile transition. One of the discussions sparked my interest, and I thought more about it after the course. This brought me to a model of how I’d address the need for communication and education, that might be useful for others as well.

From Rethinking Agile we have three levels in an organization [^1]:

  1. Operational Level, e.g. team level
  2. Co-ordinational Level. e.g. heads of department or business area
  3. Strategic Portfolio Management, e.g. C-level executives.

In some organizations, these levels might have multiple layers.

Both education and communication has to be done at all these levels, and also between the levels. My take is that in a large scale agile transition, I’d guess that education primarily would be used to give an idea of what the ideal state might look like. One cannot do educational activities, such as asking everyone to watch a set of videos, to give a common understanding of where one is at. For that, facilitated workshops, and all levels of the organization, must be put in place.

In practice, I am guessing it’d look something like this:

  1. Various ways of two-way communication to assess where we are, which might be done through
    1. Facilitated workshops at all levels to identify desired outcomes, and assess current situation
    2. Share desired outcomes at all levels, and findings, through townhalls, all hands meetings etc.
  2. Educate to make people see where to go, which might be done through
    1. Community of practice
    2. Book clubs and reading lists
    3. Sharing video material
    4. Agile coaching
  3. Experiments to find out how to move forward

This would bring us into a feedback loop between goals (education), and creating a common understanding of where we are. The relation between the two, is experiments, just like the general approach from Adventures With Agile Playbook. The learning and education would soon also be brought into the discussions on the current situation, providing another arena for challenging and developing the agile mindset.

How would you balance communication and education in an agile transition? Does this relationship make sense?

[^1]: Examples of roles are my own, not directly from the book

Any thoughts, comments or corrections after reading this post? Please, do reach out by E-mail. Thanks.

Post is tagged with: #Agile