Sunday, November 28, 2010


Here's an exercise that I invented to help me quickly get a group engaged at the start of a course, and also give me some insight into their pre-existing experience and attitude towards Agile.

Duration: About 10 minutes
Grouping: Pairs, whole group

  1. Whiteboard or butcher's paper: write the letters A, G, I, L, E vertically
  2. Ask participants to work with the person next to them to turn A.G.I.L.E. into an appropriate acronym in two minutes.  Tell them not to worry if they can't come up with a letter: we'll being pooling the results soon enough.
  3. Go around the room and write down whatever they come up with.
  4. Have a quick scan of the results and give them (positive) feedback about their degree of familiarity with and/or open-ness to Agile.
  1. Quick, fun and creative.
  2. Sets the tone for working with others in the group and sharing ideas.
  3. Gives the facilitator useful insights into the group's existing knowledge of and their attitude towards Agile.

  • I prefer to get some associations, e.g. "A is for Adaptive Planning, G is for Group cooperation ...", but sometimes get a coherent sentence: e.g. "Always Generate Insights & Leverage Experience" -- which is a nice way of saying "Inspect and Adapt", but is showing inventiveness rather than mining awareness.
  • Suggestion: Write "A is for ..." to steer in the preferred direction, or do it twice and ask for both.

  • Faster to use pairs than individuals during the collating phase.  For large groups consider using trios instead of pairs.
  • It's better if the topic at hand has a short name.  E.g. Better to use L.E.A.N. than C.O.N.T.I.N.U.O.U.S. I.M.P.R.O.V.E.M.E.N.T.!

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