Education is a pivotal factor in any successful Agile transformation. According to the 5th State of Agile Marketing Report, 58% of the surveyed respondents cite a lack of training as their biggest barrier to successful Agile adoption. As with Agile in the marketing department, this extends to other business functions looking to bring Agile ways of working into their daily process.
Training has long been an essential component of agility. However, after you decide to take the big step of transitioning into Agile ways of working, you need to make sure that you're getting the most out of your training so you can maximize all of the benefits it can bring.
After all, investing in training is investing in the organization’s future. That’s why in this article, we examine how you can get the most out of your business agility training and complete your Agile transformation successfully.
Why Invest in Business Agility Training
Often, organizations wonder if business agility training is truly worth it at all.
"Can't we read one of the hundreds of articles out there about how to make agility happen?"
"Can't we get by on coaching alone?"
Business agility training is the right first step towards enterprise agility because it sets a strong base for Agile methods to be, not just practiced in pockets of the company, but embedded into the organization in all of its process. It does that in a few key ways:
Introduces New Capabilities
Business agility training introduces a buffet of new capabilities to budding agilists in a no nonsense way that invites instead of intimidating. New learners can begin to understand the Agile landscape in a cohesive way that doesn't have them scouring the web for mismatched responses to their vital queries. With the right introduction to Agile capabilities, learners can begin to navigate application more selectively and ask the right questions when they decide to bring Agile coaching into their learning development.
Develops Shared Understanding
Going through training with your peers is essential for developing shared understanding of new concepts. If each team member goes off and finds a different article about business agility on the internet, it's highly likely that team members who work closely together will have varying interpretations about what agility does and should look like. By choosing to train instead of self-educating, organizations ensure that everyone is exposed to the same material and has a common starting point.
Blends Theory and Practice
High quality business agility training equips individuals with an understanding of Agile concepts and the ability to use them within the organization. Interactive business agility training introduces new theoretical concepts, but also weaves in exercises that allow learners to experience the impact of Agile concepts at play. This powerful combination of training techniques ensures that team members from across the business units both learn about and experiment with new Agile ideas in a safe space before applying them to their own work.
Motivates Team Members
High employee turnover is an issue that can easily cripple any organization. It can cost tens of thousands per employee, and there’s no guarantee you can find the right talent to replace them. The pillars of Agile have proven itself to have a positive effect on employee happiness, and most organizations report a notable increase in employee engagement and retention. After taking business agility training, teams that frequently assess employee happiness and engagement report significant improvements.
Every organization aims to maintain their competitive advantage, but doing so requires ongoing adaptation to changing market dynamics and innovation. Business agility training encourages team members in traditional business environments to reconsider the status quo and look for ways to optimize their current operations. This sort of mindset shift is difficult to replicate by just reading an article on the web.
Beginners sometimes make the mistake of concentrating on how to be Agile instead of why. Immediately getting into the mechanics of the methodology means not taking the time to understand why Agile ways of working are important and why you should implement them.
As a result, teams sign up for SAFe, Nexus, or other advanced Agile application training before having common knowledge of the methodology's principles.
For seasoned practitioners who require direction on how to implement Agile at scale, advanced Agile courses are ideal. Even though they address fundamental concepts in Agile, such as the principles and values, there’s typically little time spent on those subjects.
You won't get a strong Agile foundation from this kind of training. Instead, you'll be left wondering when and how to use complex methods, which you might not need at the start of your Agile journey.
Find a course that covers the fundamentals of Agile before enrolling in advanced Agile training. Make sure it devotes more time to fundamental knowledge, such as the principles and values that shape the frameworks.
Do Your Research
Without carefully weighing your training options, you risk choosing the wrong option and jeopardizing your chances of success. Rushing into the first Agile course you discover can result in dissatisfaction and disappointment as well as a substantial time and money waste.
Spend some time researching and shortlisting a few Agile trainings that could be a good fit for your unique needs. Compare them based on a variety of characteristics, including reputation, cost, feedback, level of effort and difficulty, and the qualifications of the instructors.
In our experiencer, primer courses on Agile like the ones you might find on SkillShare or Coursera are an excellent training appetizer, which is exactly why they can't be treated as the main course. Main course training is usually tailored for your organization's needs, combines theory and application and often includes a certification from a legitimate institution at the end.
Maximize the Impact of Agile Training with the 70-20-10 Principle
Training should be viewed as a stepping stone rather than the end goal. We frequently observe that enthusiasm for training, whether Agile or not, dwindles after sessions are over if there is no support in place to continue learning after training.
Fortunately, the 70:20:10 approach is a great way to introduce Agile ways of working into any department or company because it works for all sizes of companies and learning environments.
The 70:20:10 principle states that formal education only accounts for 10% of learning, 20% for near-the-job experience, and 70% for practical experience. Although it’s relatively simple to cross training off your list, without the proper follow-up, it can’t have its full impact.
In this case, coaching may help keep the learning process moving forward in all its forms. Those who are being coached continue their education through practical experience instead of slipping into a post-training rut.
In fact, the best Agile teams we've encountered follow the 70:20:10 model for development from beginning to end. These groups have established a solid foundation of shared understanding to serve as the starting point for their journeys toward business agility by beginning with formal training.
Then, they gain momentum through exposure to subject matter expertise that connects directly to their workplace reality through coaching, mentoring, and communities of practice.
Finally, these teams embrace Agile principles and incorporate Agile practices into their work processes through practical experimentation and feedback.
Training & Coaching
One of the biggest mistakes organizations make is skipping out on Agile coaching. Without additional guidance, there's a danger that costly training efforts will stall. Businesses can forfeit incredible benefits like better business performance, stronger motivation, and enhanced employee engagement.
After all, Agile transformations are quite complex. That’s why a combination of training, coaching, and practical experience is crucial for organizations that look to fully transition and sustain their efforts.
Bringing in an expert Agile coach can boost agility, productivity, and teamwork, allowing you to get the most out of the methodology.
Your Business Agility Journey Starts Here
Even with a new appreciation for the importance of business agility training and coaching, it’s hard to know exactly where to begin. Fortunately, this self-paced course introduces the factors driving organizations toward business agility and the benefits of its applications to HR, finance, legal, and more. It’s a great place to get started on your journey toward business agility.