O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Agile for Everybody

The essentials of Agile and Lean

Matt LeMay

Agile and Lean practices have completely transformed the way that software development teams work. And yet, many organizations struggle to extend and integrate these practices beyond an initial set of developers, designers, and product managers. The resulting disconnect can reinforce organizational silos, reduce alignment around company goals, and undo the operational efficiencies gained by an Agile or Lean approach. For an organization to truly see the benefits of Agile and Lean, it must embrace Agile for everybody.

This training provides an accessible and jargon-free introduction to the core beliefs and practices of Agile and Lean, and explores how Agile and Lean practices can transform entire organizations. Participants will learn how and why the Agile and Lean movements developed, explore some of the most widely utilized Agile and Lean practices, and match the spirit of Agile and Lean to the language and needs of their particular teams and organizations.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • The core ideas behind Agile and Lean movements, and how they align with other movements like Design Thinking
  • Actionable practices for extending Agile and Lean practices beyond product teams to transform entire organizations

And you’ll be able to:

  • Speak knowledgeably about Agile and Lean with your colleagues
  • Find the intersection between high-level Agile and Lean principles and the specific language and goals of your organization
  • Ensure that the Agile and Lean practices adopted by your organization are meeting their intended goals

This training course is for you because...

  • Your organization is exploring or embarking upon an “Agile” or “Lean” transformation, and you want to learn more about what this means for you.
  • You work with an Agile product development team, but you’re not a core member of that team.
  • You’re a member of an Agile product team looking for ways to extend these practices beyond your working group.

Prerequisites

  • An interest in learning about “Agile” and “Lean” practices in an organizational context.

Suggested Reading

About your instructor

  • Matt LeMay is co-founder and partner at Sudden Compass, a consultancy that helps organizations take a cross-functional and customer-centric approach to work with data. Matt has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 enterprises and has developed and led digital transformation and data strategy workshops for companies like GE, American Express, Pfizer, McCann, and Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he was a senior product manager at music startup Songza (acquired by Google) and head of consumer product at Bitly. Matt is the author of Product Management in Practice and Agile for Everybody from O'Reilly and was recognized as a top 50 product management influencer by the PM Year in Review in both 2016 and 2015. Matt is also a musician, recording engineer, and the author of a book about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. He lives in Portland, OR, with his wife Joan and their turtle Sheldon.

Schedule

The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introduction (5 minutes)

A brief history of the Agile and Lean movements (20 mins)

  • Presentation: Tracing the history of the deeply interconnected Agile and Lean movements from manufacturing in the 30s through software development in the 90s
  • Presentation and discussion: Similar ideas, different names
  • Introducing the deeply aligned and largely overlapping values and principles of the Agile and Lean movements, as well as adjacent movements like Design Thinking
  • Discussion: Participants reflect on the differences and similarities between Agile, Lean, and Design Thinking in the context of their own organizations

The first guiding principle of Agile for everybody: “Agile means that we start with our customers” (20 mins)

  • Presentation and discussion: The most important (and at times underappreciated) part of Agile is customer centricity. We will discuss how “working software over comprehensive documentation” is a call to focus on customer value, and share examples of what “working software” might mean for our particular teams and organizations.
  • Presentation and discussion: Working in Sprints: We will examine the most common Agile practice of working in “Sprints” (and its Lean cousin, Build-Measure-Learn loops) to explore how Agile can increase a team’s velocity from the customer’s point of view.
  • Activity: Specializing our first guiding principle
  • Participants will look to reframe “Agile means that we start with our customers” in a way that aligns with the specifics of their team and organization, providing a “north star” that can help guide the specific Agile practices they choose to implement.
  • Break (10 minutes)

The second guiding principle of Agile for everybody: “Agile means that we collaborate early and often” (20 mins)

  • Presentation and discussion: Collaboration is a key part of the Agile movement — but it cannot be a function of frameworks and org charts alone. We will discuss what it means to instill collaboration as a cultural value, and what steps individuals can take to put collaboration across teams and functions into practice.
  • Presentation and discussion: The Daily Stand-up: We will discuss one of the most common Agile rituals, the daily stand-up meeting. What makes a good stand-up? How do stand-ups encourage (or stifle) collaboration?
  • Activity: Specializing our second guiding principle
  • Participants will look to reframe “Agile means that we collaborate early and often” in a way that aligns with the specifics of their team and organization, providing a “north star” that can help guide the specific Agile practices they choose to implement.

The third guiding principle of Agile for everybody: “Agile means that we plan for uncertainty” (20 mins)

  • Presentation and discussion: Adaptability is part of both Agile and Lean. But at their hearts, these movements don’t just acknowledge uncertainty — they give you a way to plan for uncertainty. We will discuss what it means to make adjusting course a part of your predictable rhythm.
  • Presentation and discussion: The Retrospective: We will discuss how the practice of retrospecting provides an opportunity for team members to take ownership of the way they work, and adjust course in a way that is not seen as disruptive or threatening.
  • Activity: Specializing our third guiding principle
  • Participants will look to reframe “Agile means that we plan for uncertainty” in a way that aligns with the specifics of their team and organization, providing a “north star” that can help guide the specific Agile practices they choose to implement.

Committing to a first step and an opportunity to adjust (10 mins)

  • Activity: Participants will commit to a first step they can take to bring the principles that they’ve synthesized and practices that we’ve explored into their organizations — and to a plan for adjusting course.

Q&A and conclusion (15 minutes)