Is it possible to use an agile methodology to design a leadership program?  I think it just might be and here is why.

I’ve been working with Valerie De Pauw on a side project to explore social leadership in practice, as part of that we have also been experimenting using an agile development methodology to determine what content and methods gain the most traction.

This is a new process for us and we are both being guided by our agile guru Sam Westlake as we navigate this new terrain.  I have actually really enjoyed the process (especially the new tool part that I am starting to apply to all aspects of my life).

Since I am starting to really dig this way of thinking and working, I thought I would tag up with Sam this morning to get his thoughts on my half-baked idea to design a leadership program using an agile methodology.

Below was his advice and my attempt at capturing my notes and thinking through all this stuff.  It’s mainly for me but maybe someone will glean something out of it ; )

  • Don’t call them user stories: Think about calling them value-based users stories, so the focus is on the value to the user.
    • Side note value based user stories help you to describe the user/participant articulate what they want, and what the want that.
  • Once you have your value-based user stories you create a user story map.  This is basically validating all the value-based user stories (with the stakeholders) and then clustering them in groups/”chapters”
  • You them prioritize them with the ones that add the most value at the top
  • Once this is done, draw a horizontal line across the chapters (maybe more than one). This will give you a place to start.  You work on each value-based user story across the horizontal line (starting from the left as this is your highest priority).
  • Essentially you end up with a value based road map.
  • Ideally each value-based user story is one – two days worth of work. Once that is complete, you “throw” it out there with an experimental group to test.

In summary, this is a way different approach for a trained instructional designer but I think it’s worth giving a go and playing around with if my colleagues at work are willing to join in the fun.  I feel like it may add more value as you are putting the focus on what the “user” wants/what is valuable to them instead of dictating a solution to them based on what you think they need.

WOL Note

This was one of the first times I felt like I was truly working out loud.  I have no clue where these concepts are going, if I can apply them or how I will apply them. I also wrote this in 20 mins and did not edit it so please excuse the spelling and grammar mistakes.

I just figured throwing something  out there will be helpful for me as I continue learning about Agile methodologies as I will have a resource to come back to and evolve.