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This is a post that I wrote for the Government Digital Service Transformation blog on Agile training which originally appeared over here:


Best agile training? Just do it!

That’s the conclusion we came to when we asked our practitioners the question we get asked most often: how do I know how to get the best training in agile project management?

At GDS we encourage the use of agile project delivery techniques for service delivery through the service design manual, so we are often asked for our opinion on the best ways to learn to become more agile.

We decided to crowdsource a response via our own agile practitioners by asking them:

“How did you learn to be an agile practitioner and what was your journey along the way?”

I gathered a group of agile practitioners into a room, this included delivery managers, agile coaches, transformation managers and agile team members.

Initially I asked everyone in the room to give themselves a score to help understand what level of agile experience they have, this was:

  1. I’ve heard of agile / seen others do it but no direct involvement myself
  2. I’ve been involved in agile projects at GDS, but not prior
  3. I’ve been actively part of an agile team at GDS, but not before joining GDS
  4. I’ve been actively part of agile teams at and before joining GDS
  5. I’ve been a delivery manager or an agile coach or a product manager at GDS but not before joining GDS
  6. I’ve been a delivery manager or an agile coach or a product manager at and before joining GDS  (how many years?)

The scores ranged from 2 – 6 with number of years from 1 to more than 10, so we had a good spread of experience.

I then asked the people in the room to create a timeline, that showed the moment they first heard about agile to today. This included points along the way like: seeing agile done in organisations, formal training and starting to take part in agile projects.

They then paired with another person in the room to discuss the good points and bad points along that journey. They wrote these up on post-it notes and shared with the entire group.

Notes from the Agile training workshop
session notes

The overwhelming message of the workshop that everyone in the room gave isthat they only got to this point through hands on experience. We have taken the outputs of this workshop and fed them into our guidance for agile training, which is now on the service design manual. We’d love your feedback in the comments below or contact me on twitter @ewebber.

Emily Webber is Head of Agile Delivery at GDS. Any questions, comments or feedback? Respond here or Follow Emily Webber on Twitter