Monday, August 14, 2023

Agile Thinking for Agile Projects

ANU Hive in action
Greetings from "The Hive" at the Australian National University, where Dr Sabrina Caldwell, running a workshop on agile development. There are a lot of myths about agile: it is not the same as making it up as you go along. Sabrina emphasized the value to the customer: there is no point building a product quickly, that no one wants. 

Presenting in The Hive is challenging, as there are people coming and going all the time in the open plan area. There is a low level mum of voices, with meetings of teams with clients going on in the background. Eminent academics and industry professionals can wander in, sit down, and join in. This is useful for emulating the industry environment. 

Rarely in government or industry will there be a polite fixed group sitting down listening to a presentation. Students need to cope with a slightly messy, changing, but therefore creative, environment. An extreme example of this were where I witnessed three people at a startup, all writing on a whiteboard at the same time, and shouting at each other, while a crowd watched them, like it was a competitive sport. Another was a hackerthon on weapons development for use in the South China Sea, where an Admiral suddenly appeared and "asked" for a briefing on progress.

For soft skills (or professional skills as careers expert Tempe Archer prefers), of communication, teamwork, leadership, emotional intelligence and relationship-building Dr Bernardo Pereira Nunes runs sessions in the Escape Room, in The Hive.

One of the communication skills I highlighted to the studnts is to identify all the issues without making the client feel you are getting at them. One team simply listed all the things they thought their client was doing wrong, and sent it to them. The team was surprised when the client stopped talking to them.

No comments:

Post a Comment