Training is often the first step in implementing an Agile transformation within an organization.  Often an agile coach will corral resistant staff members in a room and sell the virtues of Agile with disappointing results.  But at the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services, students are clamoring to voluntarily attend full day sessions and recommending classes to their colleagues.  The organization has successfully grown the Agile Training Program to include 10 courses taken by 2200+ attendees from 25+ federal agencies.  The training is not required on anyone’s mandatory curriculum, but instead is taken because students feel it provides real value enhancing their ability to work well in the organization.  Effective training doesn’t just educate, but instead changes behavior.  

 

The masterminds behind the USCIS Agile Training Program will unpack the secrets to their success.  Mash Eslami, USCIS Section Chief of Agile Training, and Melinda Solomon, USCIS Agile Training Lead explore 10 factors that make students receptive to learn.  Part Experience Report, part Case-Study, this session will explore:

  • How to choose your initial audience
  • What to do with resistant students
  • How to structure a course that changes behavior
  • Ways to grow the program
  • And much more…
 
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Outline/structure of the Session

 We will introduce ourselves and a minute or two about the Agile implementation at USCIS.  We will then cover each training attribute with pictures/anecdotes/suggestions of how we incorporated these ideas at USCIS.  

These are the 10 topics:

  1. Choose your initial target audience carefully-  choose those that can be receptive and expand from there.  You need a quick win.
  2. Don’t assume specific prior knowledge – people will not expose their lack of knowledge or confusion if that is perceived as a weakness.
  3. Bring a former skeptic to reach the cautious audience members.
  4. Provide practical exercises that are not too theoretical. Exercises are meant for practice; learn by doing.
  5. Avoid office politics that inevitably are evoked when exercises are too tied to day-to-day work. Make activities clear enough to learn the skill but not tied to their current office processes.
  6. Give steps to practice – many people need the answer to “But what do you want me to DO?!” – make activities that are progressive and lend themselves to items that are actionable tomorrow
  7. Don’t stay on the happy path – It’s easy to teach mechanics with successful outcomes. But it’s more valuable to teach how do you recognize problems?
  8. Share the floor with guest speakers – Get real Product Owners and Testers etc into the room to answer real questions. Real “war stories” help resistant attendees see that success is possible.
  9. Provide support avenues – Give them contacts for who will help them get on track if they fail when they try Agile out in the real world. People who feel allowed to make mistakes will feel empowered to actively do what they’ve learned.
  10. Evolve the content – Always grow the classes with the organization maturity.

Learning Outcome

 While these 10 topics may seem simple, the reality is that most training is attended merely because it's required by some supervisory body.  But our classes are voluntary and very well attended because they are so effective at making students feel empowered.  This is not an accident.  Organizations who are full of late Agile adopters will need compelling training that reaches the most skeptical and entrenched staff members.  Often people put in charge of training the organization in an Agile transformation are coaches or IT execs who know little about the way people learn in a classroom environment.  These conference audience members will be able to adapt their existing training to account for these helpful tips and see true improvement in attendance and behavior modification. 

Target Audience

Agile Coaches, Human Resources Professionals, Enterprise Leaders, Training Professionals

schedule Submitted 11 months ago

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