During this conference, within the books we read, in our day-to-day lives -- we use words as a means to negotiate, interact, express, and do. Words, whether written or spoken can play differently based on the people that exchange them. In the world we are living today, words are bantered so freely that they cause a war or unite a community or save a marriage or demoralize a team.

As we see today, the concepts of agile are permeating the enterprise and scaling out from the team to the program management office to the executing chambers. Words are often mis-used, mis-understood, and lead to bad behaviors.

In this session, we'll discuss the general challenges of communications and the overwhelming vocalbulary that we have embedded in our craniums.  We'll explore words -- in particular, the words we use everyday around software development. We look at how some of the basic words we use like Velocity, Sprint, and Team have clear meanings and plenty of baggage. 

To help solidify the learning of this workshop, we'll use a couple brainstorming games -- so come prepared to get engaged. We'll wrap-up by using our collective experiences to either find better ways to explain our words or establish brand new ones. Our ultimate goal is to establish a way an organization can establish an ubiquitous language around the work they do and ultimately improve communication which will lead to better agile transformations and hopefully better solutions.


Outline/Structure of the Workshop

Introduction (~3 min)

  • Brief Intro
  • Highlights/objectives of the session

Exercise #1 - Graphic Jam (10 min)

  • Session attendees will work in groups to graphically explore and brainstorm the meaning of certain words we use on a regular basis within agile and software development.

The Etymology of Words we use in Agile and Lean (and Waterfall) (7 min)

Why do words really matter? (5 min)

Impact of a Shared Language on Process Scaling (10 min)

Simple Guidelines to Establishing a Shared Language (5 min)

Exercise #2 - Creating our Shared Glossary (15 min)

  • Session attendees will work in groups again to use the Visual Glossary approach to define a shared understanding of words and share with the group.

Wrap-up/Q&A (~5 min)


Learning Outcome

  • Attendees will walk away with an appreciation of the depth that words play in our everyday lives
  • Attendees will learn better ways to discuss difficult and often mis-interpreted concepts as it pertains to agile and software development
  • Attendees will learn how to create a ubiquitous language for a team with the team's participation

Target Audience

Product Owners, Product Managers, Agile Coaches, Team Leads, Scrum Masters, Facilitators

schedule Submitted 6 years ago

Public Feedback

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      Testing sprints? Hardening sprints? Why do so many of us have these and other ways to get around completing all our required testing inside our defined timeboxes? Isn’t our goal to produce deployable features at the end of every Sprint?

      During our session, we will examine why it’s so hard to accomplish all necessary testing inside the iteration and show how to complete these tests within your timebox. Through interactive discussion and real world examples, we will provide insights on foreseeing, overcoming, and avoiding your hurdles and send you home with both long term methods and short term actions that will yield tangible results in achieving your goal.

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      • Identify the challenges in completing all these tests in such as seemingly short period of time
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      • Discuss real world examples of enablement and how we navigated the pain points of enabling testing processes that allow complete testing within an iteration
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      • Allow you to voice your concerns and challenges and discuss potential solutions to these impediments

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    • Valerie B Santillo

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      Valerie B Santillo
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      3. Objectives as work packages
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