How does your real-world experience translate into your training style?
To answer that effectively, it’s worth going through my work experience and history.
I was a software engineer for a decade. I became a software engineer a year before the Microsoft .Net framework became popular, so I saw that emerge and evolve over the next decade.
In that period, I got recognized by Microsoft as someone who was doing some interesting things with Team Foundation Server and it led to me being invited to become a Microsoft Most Valued Professional (MVP).
Becoming an MVP changes the game significantly because you are provided access to a whole new world of goodies to play with, people to meet, and conferences where you learn a great deal.
You become part of an ecosystem that is all about innovation, progression, and attempting great things using Microsoft products and the Microsoft Partner Network. My specific area of specialty was Team Foundation Server and DevOps, which opened some amazing doors for me.
Progressing from practitioner to consultant.
I was fortunate to be a part of a very tight-knit group of about 80 MVPs in my category, and DevOps was starting to emerge as a critical element of software engineering, and so I got to learn from people who were at the top of their game and I acquired knowledge and skills that propelled me into interesting opportunities in the DevOps and Team Foundation Server space.
This led to me moving to Seattle to become a DevOps consultant, and I spent the next decade honing my craft as a consultant, coach, and engineer.
I had a new customer every two weeks. It was an incredible experience that accelerated my knowledge, skills, and capabilities because of the diversity of clients and the richness of the experience. I got to experience my craft from multiple perspectives and learned how to work in some of the toughest, complex applications on Earth.
I worked in over 15 different states in the US alone, and worked across pretty much every industry you can imagine. There wasn’t a single industry I was attached to, I got to experience all of them in multiple states and countries.
This proved incredibly valuable for me later when I integrated training into my capabilities.
Training application of knowledge, experiences, and expertise.
Exposure to all these industries, all these unique applications, means that I very seldom don’t have a story I can tell around a specific problem or unique scenario for my students.
It means that we aren’t relying exclusively on theory to teach scrum effectively, we have real-world examples of scrum in action and how empirical process control led to exciting, innovative, and creative solutions.
Many times, in training environments, people think that their particular team or organizational dysfunction is unique to them and their application. Having the stories and insights of how that dysfunction was overcome, across multiple industries, gives hope and provides actionable, pragmatic steps that a delegate can take to overcome those challenges in their own environment.
You want the people you are training to realize that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
Yes, there is the certification element of training but as a trainer, I am focused on helping people overcome challenges and master scrum or agile in their environment. I am focused on helping them understand that the framework is battle-tested, proven, and works regardless of application.
It is just a matter of learning, through other stories and experiences, how to do that effectively.
Agile is about continuous improvement and moving through each layer of competence until a new set of practices, behaviours, and skills lead to a new level of capability.
Helping students move through their current challenges, and providing them with the tools and skills necessary to progress from there, empowers them to continuously improve and achieve greater goals and objectives in the future.
My experience has taught me that almost any situation can be overcome, and telling those stories to others proves that it can and has been overcome in the past. It is simply a matter of moving through their own personal quicksand until they reach solid ground and can progress faster from there.
Leading through discovery.
Sometimes, the stories I tell are not about sunshine and rainbows.
Those stories are intended to help people understand that certain approaches simply don’t work in the real-world application. If X is present, you won’t achieve Y.
We have a fair idea of what doesn’t work in the agile industry, despite the complexity and uncertainty surrounding so many applications, and so we can guide students away from proven practices, approaches, and tools that tend to create problems.
Sometimes, the stories I tell are about how, specifically, an individual or team solved a complex problem. A story that demonstrates how a team discovered the best way forward and created a complex solution that worked.
It isn’t with the purpose of replicating the solution in the hope that it works, it is, instead, about teaching people how to solve complex problems and overcome complex challenges. How to use the framework, tools, and empirical process control to discover the best way forward for them.
So, the software engineering combined with consulting elements of my career have informed my training style to help people solve problems and equip them with what they need to solve problems and create solutions in the future.
Sure, theory is important, and it is a very important element of training, but the focus must be on empowerment and teaching people how to progress.
About NKD Agility
Naked Agility is an #agile consultancy that specializes in #scrumtraining, #agilecoaching and #agileconsulting to help teams evolve, integrate, and continuously improve.
We recognize the positive impact that a happy AND inspired workforce can have on customer experience, and we actively help organizations to tap into the power of creative, collaborative, and high-performing teams that is unique to #agile and #scrum environments.
If you are interested in #agiletraining, visit https://nkdagility.com/training/
If you have identified the need for #agilecoaching and #agileconsulting, visit https://nkdagility.com/agile-consulting-coaching/
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