Known for its stand-up meetings and sprints, Agile is most widely recognized as a project management methodology used in the software development and IT world. Today, companies and organizations ranging from the automotive to the healthcare industry have adopted Agile practices and techniques in their attempts to remain or become more nimble. But, is there a difference between doing Agile and being Agile? In an interview with Harvard Business Review, Jeffrey Joerres, CEO of Manpower Group, discusses what he thinks is needed to create an agile workforce in an unpredictable world. Joerres explains that “in today’s world in order to create this agile workforce, you really have to work on two things. One is the actual structure of how work gets done, and the other, of course, is the behavior of people, because in an agile workforce, you have less rules so you have to really be working much more with a positive intent, if you will, particularly if you’re in a large organization.”
At Cultivation Center, we are committed to connecting small business and nonprofits with innovative trainings that can help them build high performing teams. That is why we are excited to partner with Red Ball Speaks, Lencora, and Impact HUB Boulder to bring the community a free introductory session of Staging Agile on April 1, 2014. Staging Agile is a workshop designed on theater improvisation techniques where participants have an opportunity to use a new Agile framework for thinking and acting in a new creative dimension.
We spoke with Meridith Grundei, founder of Red Ball Speaks and the Staging Agile training team, about why she thinks Staging Agile can transform workplaces. Read what she shared.
C.C What inspired you to bring Agile methods together with improv techniques?
Meredith: Agile software development has a core principle to encourage self-organizing teams to be rapid and flexible in response to change. That could almost be a definition for improv theater! Staging Agile is a collaboration of artists and high-tech professionals, and was born from the hypothesis that the creativity needed in the Agile development framework is so similar to improvisational theater.
C.C What can someone expect when they sign up for this training?
Meredith: Our training works as a shared, experiential metaphor for an Agile project team. The training provides participants with real tools to become more Agile in their thinking and their actions. It helps them better understand team dynamics, and it provides a fun, energetic and safe environment to try out new ideas (that sometimes fail!)
To quote one of our past participants: ‘The workshop provided insightful lessons about the realities of making Agile work…. And as a wonderful bonus, it was an exquisite team building exercise.’
C.C. How is Staging Agile unique from other trainings that aim to keep Agile methods relevant and resilient?
Meredith: Staging Agile is specialized in structure, i.e. steeped in the well documented Agile methodologies and design elements. It is also highly accessible, so it does not require prior training. In essence, it benefits Agile practitioners, also those who are novices, and anything in between equally. It applies to for profit and nonprofit organizations who aspire to operate as agile entities, whether they are in the software development field or not at all.
C.C What part of this training excites you the most?
Meredith: Having worked with multiple teams who went through our workshop, we are always thrilled to see how it levels the playing field. For the team members who are often left underutilized, it gives them a voice to assert themselves. For those who frequently crowd out others, it leads them to a self-discovery to see how their behavior obstructs the delivery of the highest quality product and creates a motivation to change. We particularly love the energy unleashed in the training, the removal of barriers, the uninhibited behavior that, through shared experiential effort, creates a lasting point of reference to individuals and teams. The number of “aha” moments experienced by the teams is very gratifying.
We hope that after reading this interview that you will consider joining us for this workshop where you will learn how to improve and change the behavior of Agile teams and its working partners through an experiential process. Space is limited. Register here.