Over the Christmas holidays I got a text message asking me if I’d consider going to Bentonville Arkansas to deliver some training at Walmart in the New Year.
It was a no-brainer, I thought about it for maybe 3 seconds before deciding that I would move heaven and earth to make it happen. I mean, who wouldn’t want to deliver training for the largest company in the world? It’s a career high, a year maker.
I had to give myself a firm talking to, to not get too excited, because it was still tentative. But I was willing it to happen with everything in me. When the flights and accommodation got booked I allowed myself a little bit of excitement – and it kept building, more and more as I started to get packed, got on the flight – and landed to meet the rest of the Emergn team on the ground.
I love working with Emergn. I’ve been doing it for a while now – and I’ve written about them and the work they do before on this blog. I always joke that if I was ever going to work somewhere permanently (I’m not), it would be with them. It’s not just because they are nice people, although they definitely are. They are innovators, pioneers and thought leaders in the Agile space, and they are invested in, and their work is focused on helping people work better.
My favourite thing about them is how methodology agnostic they are. They believe that it’s more important for teams to get the basics right, to understand the principles and practices of Agile, the why behind the methodology – and establish a common language. And that’s something that I’m on board with. I’ve seen too many people blindly follow methodologies in ways that are onerous for their teams and lose the spirit and the intention behind working in an Agile way. After all, if someone came to you and wanted to learn how to drive you wouldn’t make them tie themselves to a make and model first before the lessons started. So why should we do this in Agile?
And that’s exactly the message we took to Walmart. Over the course of 2 days, and a series of short theory inputs followed by practical exercises, we helped change the way 40 learners thought about Agile, and got them to take steps back so they could take steps forward in their Agile journeys.
The best part of the 2-days was the very end when we heard people’s key learning points and the things they were going to do differently back at work. That’s when you know you made a difference. I still have goosebumps! What an amazing start to 2018.