Be The Change: Implementing Agile on the L&D Team

Be The Change: Implementing Agile on the L&D Team

This On-Demand event was originally presented on August 30, 2023 (60 min)


Agile is renowned for its adaptability and responsiveness; it provides a framework for adapting to change. By working closely with project sponsors, we ensure the delivery of implementing Agile is precisely what learners truly need. In a rapidly changing environment, the Agile mindset helps us harness change for good rather than resisting it. The Agile techniques offer solutions for making constant change a practical reality. Rapid iterative cycles of design & evaluation allow us to test our solutions before full implementation, opening the doors to constructive change along the way.

And yet, software development projects face different challenges and have different needs than instructional design projects. Strictly implementing Agile methods may not apply to your L&D work, and you’ll need to thread that needle as you implement this on your team.

In this session, we’ll take a change management approach to what it takes to implement Agile – the LLAMA® approach – in L&D teams. We’ll start by identifying a business case for change and getting buy-in from leaders, stakeholders, and your team. We’ll then look at preparing the team’s skill sets and roles before turning to the processes and tools you’ll need for a successful rollout to start implementing Agile. Of course, along the way, you’ll see how to take an Agile approach to your Agile implementation, picking a first team and a first project for your new process. Additionally, we will equip you with the Agile skills necessary to embrace this transformative challenge confidently.

Attendees will learn

  • How to make a case for implementing Agile as an L&D approach on your team (not just slapping IT’s Agile on your team!)
  • Describe what Agile means in an L&D context because it’s not just more, faster, with fewer resources!
  • Prepare your team for using Agile mindsets & skillsets.
  • Prepare your leaders and stakeholders for what to expect from your team when you’re using Agile methods.
  • Prepare yourself as a leader to take on this challenge to implement Agile.
  • Make an Agile plan for implementing Agile to your team.
  • Pick a first project and a first team for using Agile methods in your work.

Special offers from our sponsor

Agile project management course

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Megan Torrance is the CEO and founder of TorranceLearning, connecting learning strategy to design, development, data, and ultimately performance. Megan has over 25 years of experience in learning design, deployment, and consulting. Megan and the TorranceLearning team are passionate about sharing what works, so they devote considerable time to teaching and sharing how to implementing Agile project management for learning design, racial equity, and xAPI & learning analytics.

Megan is the author of Agile for Instructional Designers, Data & Analytics for Instructional Designers, and Making Sense of xAPI. She is also a Facilitator with eCornell’s Women’s Executive Leadership certificate and courses in virtual teaming, team leadership, and communication.

Available on Amazon


Be The Change: Implementing Agile on the L&D Team

TorranceLearning is a full-stack learning services firm, supporting workplace learning from strategy to custom design & development all the way through custom software, xAPI deployment, and learning analytics. We do things differently! We thrive on adapting to changing needs throughout a project as a way to harness innovation & curiosity for the learner’s benefit.

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On-Demand Webinar Recording
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Hi, everyone. And welcome to today’s webinar, Be The Change: Implementing AGILE on the L&D Team, hosted by HRDQ-U and presented by Megan Torrance. My name is Sarah, and I will moderate today’s webinar. The webinar will last around one hour. If you have any questions or comments, please type them into the questions box on your GoToWebinar control panel, and if you could do me a favor, actually open up that questions box there, chatting hello, where you’re coming from. Just get comfortable, because we’ll be using that a lot during our session today. And you can also locate today’s handout under the Handouts drop-down on your control panel, as well. And today’s webinar is sponsored by Torrance Learning and HRDQ.
Torrance Learning is a full stack learning services firm supporting workplace learning from strategy to custom design and development all the way through custom software at X, XAPI deployment, and learning analytics. They do things differently, they thrive on adapting to changing needs throughout a project as a way to harness innovation and curiosity for the learners benefit. You can learn more at, and for 45 years HRDQ has provided research-based, off the shelf soft skills training resources for classroom, virtual, and online training. From assessments and workshops to experiential hands-on games, HRDQ helps organizations improve performance, increase job satisfaction, and more. You can learn more at
And now, I’d like to welcome our presenter today, Megan Torrence. Megan is the CEO and founder of torrence Learning, Connecting, Learning Strategy to Design, Development, Data, and ultimately, Performance.
Megan has over 25 years of experience in learning design, deployment and consulting.
Megan and The Torrance Learning team are passionate about sharing what works, So they devote considerable time to teaching and sharing AGILE project management for learning design, racial equity, and learning analytics. Thank you so much for joining us today, Megan.
Absolutely, I am so excited to be here and, and connected with folks about one of the topics that I am passionate about. And that’s really about how we get our work done, right? How we actually get it done on the projects. And it’s all about project management, where we’re gonna dive in their deeply. Today, particularly, if you know me, from my other spaces in the world, Sarah mentioned that I’m really all about professional development, right? So, at towards learning, we do what you do. We do instruct your learning strategy, instructional design, course, development, LMS, administration, a, deployment, custom software, or well, the learning space, and then analytics of that data that’s generated by that entire that entire stream.
And so, we do what you do, but in the course of doing what you do, we have the opportunity to work with and learn from so many professionals around the space, and that really feeds into our professional development. Vive. So, you may today recognize and pick up on things where that I’ll drop in from either our XAPI work or our racial equity work. My leadership development with E Cornell. And micro learning on an elephant, your space of all of this is wrapped in and And Really a part of how we do and how we support you with this?
As we get started, and I would just want to give a shout out to the folks who’ve already said hello in the Q and A panel. I’d like you to use your Q and A panel to answer my question here, right. So instead of chat.
We’re just using this panel, and I want to know where are you on? your agile journey?
Where are you on your altschul journey, so, um, …, alright, so hi Sherry hi Joel, another Meghan Sanya sorry, good luck Sanya So lots of folks who are, this is fascinating.
Lots of folks who are using it, but not sure you’re using it well.
Alright, a few people who’ve never heard of it.
A few people who are curious, but not yet there. Oh, this is fascinating.
And not a lot of people who feel like, yeah. Rockin’ it.
Alright, And, you know, what, If you’re a rock and you might not be here, you might be just fine, and we’re going to talk about, what might be that gap between it between using it and not sure about, and, yeah, like, we’re using it.
It’s, it’s, it’s amazing, right, So, you’re All in the right place, and, if you haven’t heard about it, and there’s a few of you, that’s fine, because we’re gonna spend a little bit of time today talking about what is, what are Agile methods? And, what do they mean in, in a learning and development context. So, Agile comes from the software development space, and our work is similar, but slightly different from software. And so, how do we make that, that junk, right? How do we apply those methods in our own space? And make them really work for us?
We’re then going to talk about, well, do, actually an assessment. We have the opportunity to assess your own organization’s readiness for you using Agile methods. And I’ll share with you our groups results. You’ll also get a custom report of your results. And so on. Specific, follow-up information, like some extra tidbits and leeks and good stuff, right? Free stuff. And so, I want to really make sure that this is useful and you have a tangible takeaway for you afterwards. We’ve got handouts, and some links, and a bunch of stuff as we go on.
And then I want to talk about, what are nine considerations that, as you’re implementing Agile methods, that actually can help you get from that D to the E, Right? How do I actually implement it, and make it work for my team?
This is based on work that we’ve done with thousands of people who have been through either a webinar or one of our workshops over the last gosh, more than a decade since we released Lama. And so we’ve got all that experienced folks working with it, and then we’ll actually wrap up with choosing a first project.
I also have a few opportunities for you to get in through HR DQ. A really, really sweet deal on some follow on work, if you want to do that. But I also want to make sure, in one hour, we’ve given you something meaningful and tangible, So you don’t have any follow up? if you don’t need a follow-up, right?
So, let’s think for a minute, I want you to just think for a minute what comes to mind.
When you think about project management, I think about what comes to mind. When you think about project management.
I don’t know about you, but sometimes, it makes me feel like this, right?
This, it’s, it’s a lot, right? And go ahead into the Q&A panel or the chat, whatever, right?
Why does it make you feel like this?
And sometimes, people tell me, it feels like this because things are constantly changing.
It feels like this, because they never seem to have control over what’s going on. Right?
Herding cats, constantly having to, to pivot, right, and constantly changing, Right? New stakeholders, new direction, direction of the week. All sorts of things, the want or your own team is changing out from underneath you, all the time, and that affects your work.
Hey, the definition of what it is that we’re doing, keeps changing. Right? Or, we’re, as a team, not able to change fast enough.
And here’s the thing.
I’m a firm believer, folks, that if your project isn’t changing, the day you start, the day you deliver, that’s not necessarily a good thing. Change can be a sign that people are paying attention.
The people are helping you make it better, That you’re responding to what’s happening out in the field, and bringing that and making it live in the programs that you’re developing. Change isn’t bad, but the goal is to go from feeling like you could pull your hair out.
To feel it something a little bit more like this.
Alright, so think about these folks.
Things are constantly changing. The music is changing. The B is changing. Some people are getting one out. Some people have to go get a drink of water, but somebody might move in, no, to the group.
They’re all moving in group, and they’re going to take turns who is primary. They’re going to, they might bump into each other, but it’s not the end of the world, and they just kind of adjust the other direction. They’re all having a good time, and they’re all engaging the way in which they can engage on this collaborative project, right. So our goal is how do we make?
working on our projects, Feel a little less, like the left and a little bit more like the right?
I Can’t guarantee that every day is going to feel like a dance party at work, but I’d really love to not have every day feel like I’m screaming at work and how do we go ahead and about doing that? And the thing is is that we’ve got this model here, right?
We’ve got this model here that, um, it makes a lot of sets. OK? Let’s just say, there’s a lot of face value, There’s a lot of sense here. And I know there’s a lot of different ways to dry.
And I’m drawing this this way, for a reason.
OK, I’ll just put that out there.
But this, it’s a challenging way to actually run a project. And yet I bet most I would make good money, that most of us have this in our job descriptions. The ability to implement the addie model.
Alright, and here’s the problem, This model assumes that I have done all of my thinking upfront so that I can mitigate the risk of change. That’s why this was designed this way. We don’t start just by doing stuff.
We think about it first, And we make plans. The trouble is, is that change can happen at any point of this timeline.
And we can’t say, no, no, no. That wasn’t part of our analysis upfront.
So summary, right? We asked people to sign off at each step.
And while it may feel satisfied, not not know, you said that that’s what we’re going live.
If that means we’re delivering something that’s wrong, it doesn’t make sense for us, It doesn’t make sense for the learners who are trying to serve, right? And yes, right, this evaluate bucket at the end. Not only is it tiny.
Lot of times, we don’t get to do, which wrote a whole book about that, and I’ll talk about that book today, Right?
But here’s the thing, It’s at the end.
I am implementing something.
I don’t know what’s going to work.
And that is challenging, and here’s the thing, we make a project plan that looks like this, on the absolute worst day to be making a project plan.
Because the first day of the project is a day that we don’t know as much about it.
As we’re going to know, every single other day, we’re going to learn something new about this project, every single day, and so, making a hard and fast project plan.
On the day in which you’re pretending to know what you’re doing, is not necessarily serving anybody, really, really well, and yet, at the same time, we can’t chase every squirrel.
That comes our way, alright? I like woo, like all these great ideas, right? So your subject matter experts, they’re going to have great ideas. Your business sponsor is constantly going to have great ideas. You might get a new business sponsor or some new stakeholder that walks down the hallway. They’re going to have new ideas.
I’ll also say that if you’re not also yourself coming up with great ideas that have a risk of impacting your budget, your timeline, or what you’re delivering, you may not be as engaged fully in that project as you might otherwise like to be.
Right? And so we’re our own risk to our projects.
when you go to some conference. You like, bots?
I got, that seems like a fantastic idea, but you have to have criteria by which we’re going to assess each change coming in. If I’m welcoming change, I didn’t have to assess change, so I’m not just following every squirrel. I know which ones we’re implementing into the project.
And what I like to do is draw my addie model a different way. I’m going to start off with some analysis, a little bit of design, a little bit of development, very quickly get an implementation and evaluation off.
That’s going to let me very quickly assess what I need to do in my next round of design and development. This implementation and evaluation, it’s super simple, or similar to an about an analysis round, right? This is an opportunity, a logical place, for folks to give me changes.
And I’m going to keep iterating.
Going to keep iterating so long as there is time, budget, and things worth changing.
So, I’m going to pause here for just a quick second. This is a foundational image, and a foundational thought. When we think about Agile, and my question for you, like, if you’ve got a question, it’s a great time. I’m looking at the questions panel, because this is a foundational mindset.
Instead of throttling change, telling people they can’t or spending a lot of our energy going back and reconciling to what you signed off on two weeks ago.
Instead, I am welcoming change in, and I may even get changes that make me question whether or not I’m solving the right problem in the right way in the first place, because I’ve done a little bit of implementation and evaluation.
And folks, I think there’s a question that came in that said, right, who’s evaluating a great question.
A lot of times, when we do our work, we’re running it by the subject matter expert for, like, is it accurate? Do we have all the right steps, is it in the right order, right? We’re running it by the business sponsor. Because we’re finding out, is this direction is this where you wanted to go with this? We’re running it by maybe a copy editor, right? Or if QA, we’re running, maybe having one of our colleagues in instructional design take the course, because they also don’t know the content, right? So I’ve tried to teach them. All good ideas.
Not a single one of those people has to take that course or use that learning experience to actually do their jobs better.
None of them is on the hook.
None of them has the prayer experience, but lives in the environment of the core learner. So, this implementation and evaluation, I want it to go out.
If you can, two, like the end water, to find out, is it actually going to work? And I use that information.
And each one of these might be a draft version of the product, a small version of the product. I might be putting out a job a instead of an entire course, or an instructor led course instead of an e-learning, whatever.
I’m doing something I’m doing something I can actually teach a course from an e-learning storyboard. Is it pretty? heck? No.
But you know what, It gets me get something out.
So, You know, there’s a question that came in this is a challenge to this, right, is agreeing on what’s worth changing. Right? Is it in the customer value or is it in your your L&D managers, opinion?
Great question, and that’s what we’re usually doing is, working with the split business sponsors, agree decision, on what is worth changing. They’re the ones with the purse strings. But your organization, right, when you kick off a project, you’ll probably want to decide who gets to decide? Not every, you don’t have to take every change.
You don’t have to take every change, and it’s a big mindset shift in some, for some of you, for some organizations, but it’s really a matter of having that intentional conversation. We got this change. This change is going to cost us $100 million to implement, do we do it?
And you let that conversation happen.
Because there’s two interesting parts, it, right, one is you get your answer, but to which you get the why, right?
Why is the part that makes it important, OK, So what is Agile, then, itself Agile.
Right. Defined by the software folks, Agile is an iterative and incremental method. So think about those spirals and each spiral, I’m getting more built out, right? It’s a way of guiding a design and build project if I already know what the beginning with the end should look like.
It’s not a design and build project.
And we’re thinking really a project to have a start and an end, not LMS administration, but like making a course org.
Deploying an LMS, right. Something that’s a project that has an end date, hopefully.
Alright. We’re looking at highly flexible and interactive and bringing in those changes, I’m having those conversations focusing on, right to that question that came in. Thank you, Carmen, for asking that question, right. Maximizing customer value. And we talk about which customers matter and we have these conversations and we’re fostering high team engagement.
Hi, team engagement, right. And the, That’s super, super important as as we go, right? That’s, that’s good for us.
Now, They’re Agile was created by the software folks.
Right about the turn of the century. It’s most of what you will see out there around Agile, is for software, and that’s fantastic.
That’s fantastic.
But, um, we’re not quite right. Well, our team tried to implement a software driven approach, and it didn’t really work out for us.
So we created something similar to it, right? We adapted Agile to make it work for an instructional design context strips. All right. Got a new mouse, and it’s like, Clicking all over the place. Right, so, same kind of definition, but we’re really looking around Learning design projects.
So, Um, the Mission Michelle asks, a fantastic question. I’m going to just stop.
Everybody here could see, Michelle, Good question.
I’m going to pose your question here, and then we’re going to talk about it in a bit. as we go, right. So the question is, all right, we should welcome and celebrate product changes even late in the game, right. And that’s that’s a big mindset, right. Something.
We have a hard time understanding is how to use that or whitley so that the pain on your team, right?
Because those late changes are really hard for the team, and this is going to call on your leadership skills, and your change management skills, because it’s harder the first few times, once they get used to it. It’s a little bit easier, right, because we all have pride in artwork. So when somebody says, Yeah, I want you to change that, Has Har? And yeah, I want you to change that.
Right at the end of that deadline is also challenging, That’s difficult. So we are going to dig into that for, for sure today.
I want to quickly talk about what the Agile Manifesto is, right? So, a few of you said, like, I’m not sure what Agile is, right.
So, Agile, Agile is a set of, There’s a mindset, That’s what This manifesto is, right? There’s a mindset around agile, and there’s a whole mess of techniques. So, we’re not gonna look at the whole messa techniques today, and the mindset helped with the techniques, and the techniques help you implement the mindset.
And so they go hand in hand if you’ve got one without the other.
It’s not a holistic look at things, right, You’re just going through the motions.
So, when we look at agile, high value individuals and interactions over processes and tools now, If you know me and my, my work outside of this.
You know, I love me, a good tool up.
But it’s really about individuals and that gets to Michelle’s question, How do we help the individuals? How do we respond to that on both on the team and the ones that we’re serving?
All right.
We value work now. We value working software over comprehensive documentation, and I want to think about not this is right, this created by software developers. I want you to think about we value a working learning experience over comprehensive documentation. I’d rather have a great learning experience than a spectacular project chart.
All right, or a fantastic coaching session over the world’s most beautiful, polished facilitator guide, right?
And, um, B, So, we kind of manage, some of, these are a customer value things, right?
Because we’re valuing revaluing collaboration over sticking to a contract, or an a statement of work or an agreement that was defined.
Remember back on that day, in which we knew the least about the project?
Working through this right now with a client where we’re talking about, How do we make sure that we run since we don’t know what is ahead of us.
Because it’s an Agile project, how do we define a Statement of work that allows us to flex and do the most logical thing next, because we are valuing responding to change over following a plan.
All right, it’s Like your GPS.
Your GPS may have a plan for you, but if the road is closed, you’re not going to follow what the GPS is telling you. You’re going to adjust, and the GPS will catch up with you.
And so, the, the, there’s, there’s, there’s a mindset associated with it, so here’s what I would like to do.
And, Sarah, if you could drop this assessment link in the chat, I have an assessment bore your team’s readiness to implement Agile, your team’s readiness to implement Agile, or, those of you who say, you’re using it, and you’re not quite sure that it’s working. This is a fantastic assessment for you. This will take you a few minutes.
I’m going to answer a couple of questions in the chat while this happens, and when you’re done, we’ll have the opportunity to take this, take a look at this group’s results in here about, so that’ll be super cool.
So, you can scan it with the QR Code, or you can use the link if the link is in the chat. So, you can split click that link as well.
Thanks, Sarah.
Oh, I’ve seen some results come in!
Just while those come in, give a few more minutes for some folks.
To do the assessment.
OK, so I think we’ve got some, some good, some, some early results in this May update as we go.
Awesome, I’m going to refresh my screen.
And feel free to come back to this afterwards, because it does give you some downloadable stuff, write downloadable stuff, and what I wanted to do is share some aggregate results.
I’m not going to call anybody else, and I’m not going to, you know, call anybody out for what you’ve responded. So much is just look at things in in aggregate.
So Gonna pull over and this I’m using OK, so those of you who know me, right? You know I love a good tool, right? So let me a good tool and this is a tool called …
and so I’m loving it for diagnostic assessments. If you’re doing leadership assessment or training class you can Send this out. You’ve now Experienced it from the learner’s perspective. I’m just testing it out for the first time. Myself So, or this is my my my first full program with it. So it’s pretty cool.
So, what we’ve done is we’ve been able to Take a look at how, how folks are responding in aggregate and across three-dimensional, right? So system, we have tools and processes, and an evaluation or change and stakeholder engagement, And then just start Agile knowledge and reports approach. So, I’m going to start with Agile knowledge and approach.
And, for those of you who I just want you to take a look at, If you’re feeling bad about your Agile implementation, your colleagues here, Hey, I’ve got a couple of you in the chat who are like, Oh, I scored low! like, It’s OK? It’s OK. And That’s really what this is all about. So, when we get into right, our understanding of Agile, right, and how people are connecting in.
It’s, we have a few different dimensions, right? To do, do we understand what it is we’re getting into, Right?
Does the team understand what we’re getting into?
We’re going to talk a little bit about team learning and some of the power of that as, As we get going today, right? And then, taking an agile approach to your Agile implementation, That’s what we’re going to end today with, with choosing a first project for implementation, change management.
Got a little bit stronger sense for change management.
Um, and, uh, and so, I think that that’s feels like a really effective space for folks.
Alright, all stakeholders, OK? Stakeholder management, OK? Let’s take a look at your own leadership skills.
Oh, look at this.
As leaders, we’ve just found, all right, your secret weapon.
As leaders, you get this, All right? You’re building that environment for psychological safety. You’re building that trust with a team that helps them with this.
Love it. Let’s dig in a little bit here. And system, tools. All right. Do we have the right tools for the job?
Well, people are feeling like we have the right tools for the job.
By the way, I am loving this assessment. All right. Are we evaluating our implementation?
My data side of me says, hats off to you.
And are we talking about tools, meaning more than software? Oh, Good, Yes, because a lot of times people asked me about tools what tools do you use and and then they cringe if I bring out a Word document or an Excel document. It’s a template or thing, and they’re picking up my my software. right, and so you know what project management. Software. You working on so. Cool. All right everybody. Thank you. This provides so much insight and will actually help me tailor the rest of today. So that is super cool, OK.
So that’s our Yerba results and Let’s then jump into what it takes to implement Agile on the team.
I don’t know about … you can, you can watch us on Netflix. Or say, Are you old enough for this movie? I’m well old enough for this movie, but this has become such a fantastic metaphor for how not to do training right.
Like, and how not to implement anything.
We can’t just download stuff, and poof, all of a sudden, we can go and do something complex in the organization, and it works just fine. Right?
For Trinity and Neo and tank here this ended up working out really well for them, she poof, she downloaded some content. She could go and implement it in seconds. The real-world doesn’t work like that.
Here’s the other way, the real-world doesn’t work.
I once went to a conference and presented. It was a NATO conference, and I talked about agile, and this German naval officer comes up to me afterwards, and he’s retired. He’s doing some consulting. It’s like, Hey, I implemented Agile, my team, and nobody likes it, because they all hate it.
I said, Well, what’s going on? Because, well, I made the tasks, and I made the tests are small. And then, I called them, how long it should take to do each test. We estimated each task, and then I told him which dance we were doing, which, which, time periods, and we made our sprint, and then I made them update their state, and its X to stop.
Do, stop.
Right. This is you. You can’t force this. You don’t do agile to people.
You work using Agile, with the team, with your business sponsors, and even with your learners. Right? So, if we can just download Agile, and we can do it to people, What do we need to get there?
Hi, we’re going to talk about those nine elements that we just had in that assessment.
Right now talk about that.
Not those nine elements in five chunks, OK, and we’re going to start with your team knowledge and skills, knowing that you can’t just download, right? You can’t just download it, so, nor can you just ask jet GBT, I thought this was hilarious. I asked Chet GBT, if we’re about to implement Agile, and a Learning and Development team.
What are we getting ourselves into?
All sorts of gobbledygook some of this looks great, some of it some great buzzwords, some of it’s really true.
Some of it, nonsense, right, And some of it may not be applicable to your own situation.
But you mean here is the first step in figuring out what am I getting myself into as I implement Agile.
Alright, And The next step is to get your team involved.
And I’ve seen this a couple of times, right, when we get a team involved in learning together, OK.
What we get to do in that environment is build a common language, and I’ve seen this done really, really fascinating a couple of weeks, Right? So sometimes you just, it’s, it’s the whole L&D team. They get him great. And that’s wonderful, because we’re working, and, and, and, and, and they’re translating it means our learning transfer is really, really short, because we’re practicing together and we’re building language, and and we’re all saying, well, she says sprint, but I really want to say spread. No. I want to call it an iteration or whatever, around here. We call it a big move off, whatever. Right.
We’re building that common language, but there’s bonus also to doing this with adjacent teams.
I was at Rosetta Stone a bunch of years ago, and as the learning team and the content team was implementing Agile, they brought a project manager from their software team in to help contextualize it.
So, there’d be times when he and I would be talking agile, proper, and then translating to the content and learning team about how they were going to use it in their work. And the same time, the content learning team would tell me something. And I would translate it back to the software guy. And so, what we were doing was building those connections.
We had a workshop in December, a NATO workshop, and we had multiple adjacent teams, and the learning designers, and then the trainers, and the curriculum managers, all in the same room, where, usually, they would work in silos.
But, instead, we put them in the same room, and we worked across silos on how are we going to implement agile. And it was a fantastic opportunity for everybody to build these really, really, useful connections.
So, when is it a good time to bring in team training around this, right, when we’re just getting started, alright?
Or, we’re struggling, Alright, but also when you’re structures, you’re changing. When your business is changing with teams, fired up about that, right? Take advantage of that momentum. And so there’s, there’s lots and lots of opportunities for forgetting that team involved. But we also know, it’s not just about training.
Right. In fact, last year, what was hilarious? So I had a bunch of folks and a bunch of leaders who brought me in to train their team today, Big Bang workshops, some of them three day, right? Big Bang workshops, and then they called me up and this. great, so what’s next? And I’m like, oh, I just had to workshop have a nice, like, I didn’t say it exactly like that. But it was a, ah, we need something more. I, we need something more here, it’s not just a workshop.
So, then we start talking about, as leaders, what do you need to do, alright, How do we talk about your ability to lead a team, Right? Both your team and your business sponsors. This takes a lot of vision.
What could it look like when we’re there?
How do we meet the business and I recommend you, you’ve got agile teams and your software folks in your business or anywhere in your business.
Connect with them Entire vision’s together. If you can, I work on building more more momentum across groups. How do I collaborate?
How do I be patient with my team when they struggle?
How do I be patient with my business sponsors when they struggle?
How do I build empathy around that because we are not gonna get it right the first time?
You’re not going to get it right the first time.
And, all right, if we’re not going to get it fully right the first time, how do we stay persistent?
How do we build in those processes for building on those changes? So one of the things I love about Agile is this regular process of retrospective where I am routinely dialing back. I just actually had one this morning on a project, right, Routinely dialing back, finding out, what are we doing well that we want to codify for the future? What are we not doing well? How do we fix it?
We’re doing that early in the project, not late on the project. We’re not waiting until a post-mortem or an after action review or a hot wash or a lessons learned or any of these things that happen like way out in the future.
We’re doing that along the way with the project, so that we’re building that learning in as we go.
We’re also, we’re also making sure that we’re managing those stakeholder explanation Expectations, every single step, especially because if you’re in an organization, and you are, alright?
You are communicating and working with your stakeholders in a certain way right now. They have certain expectations of you, and when you cheat, you can’t just tell them once, Hey, we’re doing this Agile thing.
I have to remind them frequently of what their role is, and how they can connecting with you.
I’ve even seen organizations bring key stakeholders in for very, very specific, right?
Very, very specific opportunities, right, to learn about how to work with us now.
How are we as an L&D team changing, and how can you work with us now? But even that’s not enough, every single time you have an opportunity to communicate with them, you’re reinforcing what you need from them with the expectations, and what their expectations should be of you.
So we’ve had some questions come through.
As we go, this is otherwise a nice time to pause, catch some questions, catch our breath.
I’m going to catch a little bit of water here. I’ve seen some stuff, right? So yes, right, so starting that Communication and training. Super helpful.
Super helpful.
And um, and it’s communication and training with the team, with your sponsors.
Alright, with your leaders, even with your vendors, I have found that it’s very, very valuable to have my vendors. Also, right? And EMI subcontractors are neither also working the same way.
Super, super helpful.
So tools, tools, and processes. There’s a reason why I don’t lead with tools and processes. There’s a reason why. I don’t have the picture of software, here, I have sticky notes on the wall. This is how Agile was originally created, index cards, sticky notes.
You could see a team’s status, all right, it was visible to everybody, it was kind of magical, right. And so, often, people ask me about tools, so let’s talk about software to our project management tool software, right.
There are a lot of the Agile software support tools are built for software developers. They’re pretty heavy handed for most learning and development teams.
There are then some more general purpose software tools that are not as heavy handed as Jira and version one, and some of that the software tools. Right. So a Sauna Reich in Monday and stuff that a little bit more lightweight and, and, and so that, that’s helpful, and then there’s …
Noda, which was built for learning and development teams, OK. And so it’s, it’s got a very specific focus, so you can dial in, where it makes sense if your organization already has a tool. I recommend you use that.
But there’s lots of different options. So our team used to use sticky notes and 3 by 5 cards, until we had so many projects, and that wasn’t sustainable. It’s a great way for your first project, because it’s all right there, and you can touch it, right. When your virtual no, then you need to use the online tools. So you’ve got that.
You’ve you’ve got that space, right. So there’s lots of things my team is using click up right now. We’re evaluating cog Noda we used to use Trello. We’ve got clients who use a Sauna Reich Monday.
And we looked at jira a few years ago, and even Jira Light was a little bit more than what we need it, but our tools are not. Our tools are not.
Just the question in the chat was, what’s the name of the tool for L and D, it’s called … Noda. And actually, I’m going to spell it.
Sarah, did I send that out to everybody?
You did not, that I can do that for you. Awesome, awesome. Um, the other thing I want to talk about, I mentioned, like Word, and Excel, and PowerPoint, and stuff.
Tools are not just your software development tools, right? It’s all the other ways in which I call these speed bumps, right? I build the right process into my tools that I’m using, right, how do my design and my design templates.
Put into the process, the things I need to do for Agile and yes, These are speed bumps. Yes, they slow you down.
They make you more mindful and more aware, because we’re just moving around like, right, like a squirrel on caffeine, you know. It’s hard to implement Agile. that way. Agile does not mean run around like a scroll on. Caffeine Right. It is a mindful approach by which we are making. Sure. We’re taking time to do the steps that, actually, by doing those steps, and bringing in those techniques, We have the ability to go. I call it, go slow, to go fast. All right, we have the ability to build a change in.
Evaluation ain’t so.
Remember that evaluation box under the addie and our Evaluation or implementation. And Evaluation? Often, we’re going to use the same kinds of things to evaluate our Agile implementation. I might ask.
I might ask, how many people have come to training?
How many projects are we working on using Agile?
How well are my teams using the tools? How well are my projects going? I just want to do a shout out, somebody put in the private chat. In the Army, we said, Slowest, smooth, smooth this fast.
Oh my gosh, I love that so much.
Slowest, smooth, smooth is fast.
Um, so, as I’m thinking about, right, how do I progressively implement and evaluate, and hone, and use that learning to improve my agile practices. I’m going to do that very, very deliberately.
So in our teams, right, most agile teams will have a regular retrospective, which sounds like you do it at the end.
Now you should do it as you go. Don’t wait till the end. And then we actually, we call Lama Rama.
We actually have, every year we do an annual look at the entire process. Is it slow? Yes.
Does it help us move fast? Yes. And so we take an Agile approach towards Agile implementation. When we pick a first project, but we’re going to talk about that in a moment. We’re going to talk about picking a first project. Or the other thing is that your leadership skills are essential here.
Your leadership skills are essential.
As a leader in an Agile environment, I feel like your job. I had a boss who did this once.
It was like he was holding the umbrella underneath the umbrella team could operate to orient.
We had this own subculture awesomeness underneath that umbrella.
All right. He took all the weather.
His job was to shield us from the weather, and he was that interface out there inside we could do what we needed to do, and every once in a while, we had to step outside the umbrella in order to get it right. But, we knew that when we came back, we had that same safe space, and that’s really your job as a leader.
Now, when we look at, how do we choose a first project for Agile, it’s a couple of options. And I’ve got an article and HR DQ you on exactly this, right, dives in a little bit more deeply to, to some of those topics. So, how do I choose a first project?
I will say, maybe you have a, alright, I call it the big go big or go small.
Right, not go big or go home. You can go home, that’s fine, but there’s benefits each way.
Either way, I recommend don’t start in the middle of a project.
Don’t start in the middle of the project, unless there was a logical end dean of a phase, where a section, if you try to establish it right in the middle of the things, this is something I’ve learned from the software folks, but also seen in the L&D space that putting it in in the middle is, is, is often very, very difficult.
So even if you’re on a 2 or 3 year long project, find a logical closing, Build in some ceremony and some ritual, and some closure around that, and then a new kick off in an Agile mode.
All right, if your in your organization uses Agile Methods, bring those people in, use their momentum, Use their terminology, right in my In my workshops. We have all sorts of, you know, terminology that makes sense in it.
Agile L&D environment.
But if your organization uses different words, use their words, Use their approaches, use their software, and let their momentum and their success and their learning guide you as you go.
All right, so I’ve got a couple of X, right.
So you may want to go big.
When you have a big project, it attracts resources.
Buy it.
When you’re doing something you’ve never done before, or it’s really, really big, this might be an absolutely fantastic time. Now, I am going to say, This is going to be dependent on your organization’s culture and acceptance of risk.
I can make the argument that making a big move like this is riskier, but I can also make the argument that taking an agile approach by which we are getting feedback in small bits on the project before we release, is a fantastic way to de risk a project.
Big projects. get attention, and buy in.
And they tend to be environments for which the collaborative, cross functional communication you need to use on an agile team is already there, because everybody’s swimming in the same direction.
It’s really, really powerful.
I once was done on a team effort, for one of our clients. We were building the training for a piece of hardware and software that was coming together in a new product, so we’re building customer enablement and sales enablement training.
I both both pieces of training, right?
And at the same time that the product is being built and are finalized, right, the software team, not my team, but write the software team, starts having a lot of problems. And in the middle of their project, they say, Hey, we’re going to do Agile, and the like.
We brought that piece to a close.
Our team said, Great, we’re already using Agile. We don’t mind the change, we’re already using Agile in the training space. Let’s bring this all together, and then work work, moving forward, and how do we get something that we know is evolving? How do we have the training deliver alongside it? And if you’re freaking out of your blood pressure is already raised about this, our first release of the training was still a soft release.
Right, we aim for that soft release that allowed us the communication and the conversation with everybody in the business to say, Yeah, we know this is a soft release, and the purpose of soft release is to find out what’s not working, so we can fix it before we do full release.
All right.
Sometimes I’m going to go small.
I’m going to fly under the radar.
I’m going to implement Agile.
I might not even tell people that we’re implementing Agile.
I may just start doing it, and suddenly saying, Hey, you know what? We’re doing some process improvement over here. So along the way, we’re going to check in with some learners and along the way you’re gonna have access to some early drafts and we want you to give us feedback and change.
And along the way, we’re going to do some of the things that help us estimate our work better and make our project management more visible.
You don’t even have to call it Agile, if you think that that’s not going to fly in your organization, done that with some of our clients. Had somebody told me, it sounds way too tree hugger Reach.
Alright, Too, too much, Kumbaya, peace, love, and project management.
So, we just did it, and we call it process improvement.
They loved it, actually.
Alright, So, there’s lots of choices here, This is a converse, and there’s, No, I live in a world. We all live in a world in which there are multiple, right answers, So, make your choice, whether you go big, or you go small.
I make that an intentional choice.
Alright? And we can then be ready to move forward and talk about why you made that choice with your team.
So you have lots of different ways that we can support you, because this is something like Seriously, it’s like we’re sharing, This is what towards learning does, This is how we run our own projects.
It’s like I’m sharing you the recipe to the big secret sauce, the writer special sauce, because we find it powerful. We want you to, also find it powerful and useful. It’s why we share it. So there’s lots of different ways that we can do this, right. So what if, I think, actually, I think if you’re in a team member, you can probably even download the book for free. An e-book version. Right? So there’s a book, go ahead, do it. A lot of people using the book as a book club. That’s fantastic. We also have two workshops that we run over to the learning experiences. one is called The Foundations of Llama, it’s a two day. Sometimes we can add on a third day of your first day of implementation and change management. So Foundation Islam.
It’s a two day, in-depth, hands-on. You’re working with a real project, not some fake case that I bring. You’ve got takeaways that that you can use right away lots of tools and stuff. That’s Foundations of Lama.
And that one is fantastic, but just get the whole team involved in any of your stakeholders will go in with you, OK? The next one is our leaders of Llama. And this is the one, right? This is the one where I told you that all these folks who implemented Agile has said, said, Now. what?
How do you take care of us? How do you help help us implement? So we created a a, it’s really a learning leadership program.
For people who are leading Agile teams in learning and development, and we talk about psychological safety. We talk about everything from psychological safety, to managing your burnout, as a learning leader, to user experience design. How does L&D play a role in racial equity and other aspects of equity in our organizations? We’re gonna be looking at just technology. All sorts of things.
We addressed, we have a really fantastic opportunity to connect in pretty deep, That runs every other month. It’s a rolling year long like subscription, Right. And then we have tailored support and consulting. And anything you can dream up We we can connect up with you and see if that’s a good fit for for supporting us. What’s important is that because of the way HRD Q is supporting us on this, right? What we’re doing is we’re offering a if you engage on any of these things are as a 20% off discount or that. And so we’re able to connect in, and I just want to say thank you to the folks at …, for helping to make that possible. Sarah has got some links. You’ll put out some links in the post webinar e-mail. But also if you find if you just head on over to towards learning dot com slash lama, you’ll get to a page that has all these things on it.
And when you engage in either of the workshops, you can tell us that you came here through the HR DQ webinar, and we’ll make sure that we grab that, that, that discount for you.
So, um, I’d love to open it up a few questions. We’ve covered most of the questions along the way, if there’s questions that come in as we go, and then I can grab those. And then I think, Sarah, We’ve also got just some closing words and some cool stuff that is coming up next for you.
That’s great. Thank you, Megan, and we did a great job. You did a great job here, and answering the questions along the way. We did have someone comment, just ask if you could touch a little bit on how this could be relevant to remote teams, and how that could benefit remote teams. So if you could chat a little bit about that, and that would be great.
Yeah, so remote teams are key, right?
With a remote team, it’s really important that that your communication is really, really intentional and deliberate.
Agile works really well, because it built into it.
Some, it’s called a full contact communication approach, and project management approach, because there’s lots of there’s, there’s a daily stand-up frame daily, or sync up because, sync up a daily connection with the team.
Too, update them on status, and make micro adjustments as you go. There is a regular connection with your team from a project management perspective, and a planning perspective, and a regular communication with your business sponsor.
Alright. All of which, when we’re in the office, can seem really easy to ignore.
When we’re remo, we need to make carve out those times to be able to do that.
It means that your project planning days have a lot of Zoom meetings or whatever platform you use, right?
But the, what I find is that the project management tools, but then, also, the communication and collaboration tools, are essential for helping that product, that remote team, have that glue to come together.
And, I’m a huge proponent, anytime you can bring the team together, right, To kick off a project, to do a retrospective at critical points for testing or whatever.
For celebration, if you can get everybody face-to-face, that is fantastic. I heard of, once a software development team at Ford, where half the team was based in Michigan, and half the team was based in India. And in order, whenever they kicked off a project, they ran the entire first sprint, they would alternate whether they moved the Michigan team to India for the first two weeks or the India team to Michigan.
for 2 to 4 weeks, to do that first print sprint, build those interpersonal relationships that make that communication virtually much more smooth.
So, lots and lots of options.
Well, great, and that does bring us up to the end of our session. Again, today’s webinar was sponsored by … and …, make sure that you check out the deals that Torrence Learning is offering for you today. There’s some really great offerings there with those workshops. You can click the links in the chat, and we will also be following up via e-mail with those as well. So you can have many opportunities to connect with Megan and her team over at Torrance Learning, And thank you so much Megan for your time today, and for sharing such great information.
This was super fun. It was great to connect with everybody, and see some old friends and new friends in the chat, too.
Yes. Thank you all for participating in today’s webinar. Make sure that you join me next week for “Mousify Your Culture – Magnify Your Results”. Again, that’ll be on Wednesday at 2:00 Eastern Time – and make sure to check out our podcast, the HRDQ-U InReview podcast. It’s a new podcast for us. If you haven’t checked that out yet, make sure you do that. It’s drummed up a lot of excitement, and be on the lookout because we’ll be having a follow up with Megan where she’ll be able to talk a little bit more about this topic over there as well. So, with that, we will let you all go on with the rest of your day and thank you all for participating in today’s webinar and happy training!
Thanks, everybody.

Listen to the podcast

Welcome to this week’s episode of the HRDQ-U In Review podcast, where we bring you the latest insights and practical tools for enhancing soft-skills training within your organization. I’m your host, Sarah, the Learning Events Manager at HRDQ, and today we have a special guest, Megan Torrance, CEO and Founder of TorranceLearning, a leader in professional development. Megan will share her insights on the changing landscape of Learning and Development, the increasing demand for data and technology skills, and how organizations are addressing this skills gap. We’ll also delve into key takeaways from our recent webinar, “Be The Change: Implementing Agile on the L&D Team,” exploring the importance of Agile adoption, the necessary tools, and its positive impact on teams. Join us for an enlightening conversation with Megan Torrance on HRDQ-U In Review, your go-to podcast for enhancing soft-skills training.
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