Agile Is NOT Just For IT Projects!

Today, I participated in the 8th Global Peter Drucker Forum (https://www.druckerforum.org/2017/the-event/program/).  The CEO of the Scrum Alliance, Lisa Hershman, gave an inspiring presentation about how Agile was used to transform a struggling high school in Phoenix, AZ.

Hope High School in Phoenix, AZ serves “at-risk” students who have been thrown out of their public school or whose lives have taken them on a different track in life.  The school received an “F” from the State of Arizona, and was facing school closure.

With a new leadership team in place in 2015, the school crafted a bold, new vision:  “Inspire students to make better choices and be a champion of their own learning.”

To align with this vision, the leadership team decided to bring in Agile and Scrum as a core part of their core pedagogy as a process to empower their students in their own learning and to create a culture of Agility.

You can read more about their story here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WTMxlXbQeQU

http://hopehighschool.org/

http://blog.agileclassrooms.com/2015/05/AgileHHS.html

 

I am constantly asked by students in my workshops, as well as others who are interested in Agile and Scrum, “Is Agile and Scrum just for software and website projects?”  I used other examples in my own personal and professional life to answer this question (such as my use of Agile and Scrum to drive fundraising efforts for the Pet Adoption and Lifecare Society, or P.A.L.S., the largest animal rescue in the Philadelphia area:  https://www.agileaces.net/kitties/ ).

Hope High School is yet another great example of how agile can be used to successfully deliver projects – in this case, education.  I’m mystified about the coincidence of the timing that I would watch a presentation about this example this morning, when my presentation later tonight for the Delaware Valley Agile Meetup is “Agile Everyday – Not Just for Software or Web Projects.”  And I can personally relate to the example of Hope High School , because my mother taught for the Philadelphia School District for over 30 years.  When I explained Agile and Scrum to her, she told me, “But Shane, this is essentially what I did when I taught for over 30 years!  I would have to submit lesson plans to the principal every week that would describe what I was planning on teaching the students, and how those lessons would be taught.  That sounds like “sprint planning”.  And I would conduct a “sprint retrospective” after every lesson was taught to analyze what went well with the lesson, improvement opportunities regarding the lesson (how effective the lesson was and whether the students achieved the learning objective of the lesson or whether it needed to be taught in a different way), and come up with an action plan to address those improvement opportunities for the next lesson plan.”  That discussion was such an eye-opening moment for me.  How many others have implemented Agile or Scrum in the past without realizing it?

 

I am more encouraged by other examples that are being presented by those who are not in technology roles or fields who advocate the use of Agile and Scrum and who have achieved success as a result.

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