Kanban and Scrum Training for Girl Scouts

One of the coolest things about being a Certified Scrum Trainer is that your job is basically to help people discover a better way or working. Most of the time this means helping them let go of what they’ve already been taught, which is usually waterfall or some variety of a command and control way of working.

One thing that has bothered me since I originally learned about different techniques for managing projects is that I didn’t learn any of it until I was in my late 20s. If I had known even a fraction of this and been able to use it when applying for college, or then been able to use it during college, my life would have been far less stressful and (I imagine) would have resulted in far greater productivity.

This past January my wife and I spent ½ day with a small group of Girl Scouts teaching them the basics of Personal Kanban. There were many remarkable things that happened that day, but for me, the most significant was noticing the people we were teaching agile practices to just took to it with no struggle or resistance. There was nothing they had to unlearn. There were no “… but in the real world…” conversations we had to have with anyone.

Scrum Training with the Girl Scouts

Scrum Training: Going for the Gold

Today, the girls in the troop are continuing their practice of using Personal Kanban. Because the Kanban session went so well, we have decided to try Scrum training with the girls. Last week, after a few months of preparations, my wife and I co-taught a three-day Certified Scrum Master class to six Girl Scouts and five adults who work for Girl Scouts. The class was co-sponsored by BigVisible Solutions and PM IT2, a non-profit dedicated to helping individuals who would not otherwise have the opportunity learn about better ways to manage their work. It was hands-down one of the most rewarding teaching experiences I have ever had.

Task Board at Scrum Training

When we originally began defining the experiment, the plan was to provide these Scouts with a project management framework they could use to manage their Gold Award projects. (The Girl Scouts Gold Award is the Girl Scout equivalent of the Boy Scouts Eagle Scout Award.) Teaching the class, therefore, was just the very beginning of this effort. Over the next several months my wife (who is a Girl Scout Troop Leader) and I will be coaching the Girl Scouts through the work they need to do as they move forward with their Gold Award projects. We will also hold a number of additional workshops and sessions designed to refresh their understanding of Scrum and its practice.

Girl Scouts & Certified ScrumMasters from BigVisible Solutions on Vimeo.

Over the next few blog posts I will be focusing in on specific things that took place during the class that were notable and surprising. I will also be posting about our experiences coaching them on their ongoing projects. We will also be presenting about this experience at this September’s Scrum Gathering in Paris.

Changing the World One Young Mind at a Time

“We have done the impossible, and that makes us mighty.” —Captain Malcolm Reynolds

The Scrum Alliance has a defined mission to “Change the World of Work.” I cannot imagine of a better way to do this than in training young people how to begin using agile practices and principles. In a way, teaching the class felt like we were inoculating them against waterfall. Right now, these young ladies have no experience working in a command and control, plan-driven environment. Because they have received this Kanban and Scrum training and are already learning how to utilize agile practices in their approach to work, there is a distinct possibility that they may never have to. While this is just a small beginning, there may be a generation that will enter the workforce soon which will already been schooled up in agile enough that they will not have the go through the experience of working in waterfall. That would truly be an amazing thing.