Apr 4, 2012

Transcend to an Agile Activist for Vibrant Schools

Fellow Agilists, would you want these skills and attributes for a teammate on your agile team?

  • Innovation and Creativity
  • Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
  • Communication and Collaboration
  • Flexibility and Adaptability
  • Initiative and Self Direction
  • Social and Cross-Cultural Skills
  • Productivity and Accountability
  • Leadership and Responsibility

I think the answer is a resounding yes. Indeed, the Agile Manifesto and Agile Frameworks, like Scrum and Extreme Programming, instill these values and skills throughout. These skills are not from an Agile Job description or performance review, these are the skills outlined by the Council for 21st Century Skills, being adopted by schools to instill in our students across the country. This should get you really excited! Imagine, the uphill battles many us have had with pushing Agile into our organizations, against the grain of top-down control culture, because we believed these skills and values not only make better products, but make for a better place to work, and a more fulfilling and meaningful career. When the young students of today enter the workforce of tomorrow, they will have the effect of changing organizations and communities with legacy cultures in mass. It could be a tipping point for our society as a whole. Are you excited!

Well, hold on! I hate to burst your bubble, but the deep down adoption of these 21st Century Skills are in jeopardy. Just see some of the professional development material for teachers to "teach" 21st Century Skills. As if they could be taught, they can only be nurtured and grown from students intrinsic motivations. Classes, such as, Intel's 21st Century Assessments, state,  in order assess a students problem solving, for students to keep a log. Man, I would never want to solve a problem, EVER,  if I was forced into compliant overhead to prove to a teacher that I actually solved a problem. Isn't the evidence of a successful challenging project the result of problem solving? Wouldn't daily stand ups, observing  answering the question of, "What is my impediment?", with sticky notes landing and taking flight from the Impediment Board of As Agilists, we know the principle, of show, don't tell. We understand and have a framework that taps into intrinsic motivation with minimal viable compliance. Like inserting Agile into a waterfall wrapper, and killing all the benefits of Agile, 21st Century Skills are being delivered from a 20th Century, command and control, mass education teaching approach.

I make a call out to all Agilists that care about our kids, our students, and the future. Go forth and talk to teachers, talk to your own kids, discuss Agile with Principals, talk to School Boards, to share your Agile knowledge to transform our schools into engines of vibrant growth for the 21st Century. Teach a free class, offer an after school program, open up your garage offer fun projects for kids in your neighborhood, and use Scrum so they can become self-directed makers. Work at any and all levels that engages you to grow these digital natives into innovation natives, to make Generation Flux into Generation Agile. You are already masters of 21st Century Skills and are what the future needs. Now, make a difference with the powers (yes, if you realize it or not, you have powers to transform the world) you posses from Agile. I am here for you, and I hope others are also. Let's make a vibrant future by partnering with our schools and communities, and transcend being just an Agilist to an Agile Activist for a vibrant world.

Remember, if you are coming to Atalanta for the Scrum Alliance Gathering, lets discuss how we can be powerful change agents in society, on May 7th at 1:30pm, for Generation Agile, Scrum in Schools, with yours truly.





John Miller
Vibrant Lives, Work, Communities, and Schools