What is an Agile Learning Labs workshop really like?

In the classroomLet’s say you have decided to take sailing lessons. You have a choice between two schools: Acme Sailing Academy offers sixteen hours of classroom instruction, by the end of which your instructor, Landry Lubber, will have “covered” everything you need to know to pilot a 40 foot sailboat in open waters. In theory…. But by day two, you’re getting the impression it’s maybe been a while since Landry actually sailed a boat, or maybe he was only ever a passenger….

Superior Sailing School, on the other hand, spends relatively little time on the “academics,” opting to get you and your fellow students out of the classroom and onto the water as soon as possible in a fleet of small skiffs, where you practice tacking, jibing–and, yes, capsizing–under the watchful eye of Captain Mike, your salty, bearded instructor whose speech is peppered with phrases like “Arrrgh, matey!”

Like Superior Sailing School, Agile Learning Labs is dedicated to the experiential approach to learning. The core of our Certified ScrumMaster curriculum is an Agile project simulation that requires no technical skills yet realistically steps you through the chain of “aha!” and “argh!” moments any Agile team experiences during their first project. It’s an intense four hours, at the end of which the inevitable comment is, “Ahhh, now I get it!”

Want to know why “multitasking” is the bane of your developers’ existence? We have a five-minute exercise that lets you try to accomplish a task with and without multitasking, and gauge the difference in your own productivity–while experiencing all the attendant emotions, from extreme triumph to abject frustration. We’ve learned to cap the debrief on this one at forty minutes, lest it hijack the entire day–that’s how powerful the response to five minutes of experiential learning can be.

As a training company, our greatest strength is that, while we understand and answer to the exigencies of business, we also speak the language of developers. Like Captain Mike, we are “salty” and proud of it–steeped in the lore and traditions of our discipline. Give us a training room or sign up for one of our public classes, and we’ll give you expertise, passionate engagement and learning that will “stick.”

Session graphics by artist Elizabeth McClellan.