RESHARE:The Training worldTraining World is the place where all the practices work always. Where we suspend our disbelief long enough to learn and where real problems are only touched on but not completely addressed.
Reshared text:Bring Training World Back to The Real World
(by +Alan Dayley
I have led and co-led many classes about Agile practices and frameworks. I rather enjoy it! I love the "A-ha!" moments that happen, sometimes many times in a session. And I often see the pensive looks, the puzzled pondering and sometimes depressed resignation on the faces of some people in the class. Such looks lead to questions like:
- "I understand story points but we can't possibly use them for our project."
- "Wait, you say the team gets to decide who does which task?"
- "How do I tell my boss to stop interrupting the work every day?"
- "My team is spread across 5 time zones so how do I do face-to-face communication?"
- "It's so hard to just move to a cubicle near my team, how could I possibly get a team room in place?"Training World
My friend and mentor +Mike Vizdos introduced me years ago to the idea of "Training World." In a training class the instructor must do two things with the limited time available.
First, the instructor is there to teach concepts and ideas. For example, in a Certified ScrumMaster Workshop the pure
pieces and parts of Scrum are taught according to the definitions of the Scrum Alliance. There is little discussion of variations nor of transition from old ways to new ways.
Second, the instructor only has so much time, from a few hours to only a couple of days, to cover quite a bit of content. While tempting (Believe me!), the instructor cannot let the session become consultation for individual difficulties of each attendee. There just isn't time to do that.
These two constraints on a training class are needed in order to fill the class goal of imparting topic understanding, an academic understanding, for the class topic. Mike calls the environment imposed by these constraints Training World
is the place where all the practices work always. Where we suspend our disbelief long enough to learn and where real problems are only touched on but not completely addressed. It is the nature of a training class and it sucks sometimes, especially for the person teaching.Real World
We all know where this place is. We have to return there when the class is done. We take all our enthusiasm of the things we learned, carry it into our real work environment and often see the excitement die as current work and process and policies drain the hope of Training World
our of our heads.
This is not to say that work places are terrible! It's just that the Real World
cannot be changed by a two day class. The realities of daily work have momentum and history that takes time and work to change. Many training attendees already leave the class knowing that much of what they learned will take a long time to implement, a hard long time, if at all.What To Do
Here are some ideas of how to turn Training World
hope into Real World
- As an attendee, dive into the Training World
fully immersed. Set aside the Real World
concerns a bit, long enough to have a full experience and really get to understand what the class is teaching. This will help later.
- When the class is over, don't start work right away
. If your brain works like mine, the different ideas from the class need time to gel, to process and settle in your head. If you dive straight into work this settling time is disrupted. Better yet, take your class at the end of the work week so you have a couple of days to allow the Training World
to sink in before it's overwhelmed.
- Write down your thoughts during the settling time. Yes, take notes during class, I do that too, but I'm talking about writing thoughts, not notes. This will speed the settling time too. Gather insights and important points as you remember the class.
- Decide on one or two
changes you can make when you get back in the Real World
Yes, just one or two that will make an impact, show you and others that the training had value. Sure, you can make a list of more changes, maybe you did that in the writing of your thoughts. That's great! But for now, right away, bring the Training World
into some small but visible part of the Real World
as a first successful step.
- Keep making changes and enlist help from your teammates, your manager, anyone who will listen. Teaching others will help you better learn the concepts but most importantly learn how to apply the new ideas to your work.Training Sponsors Take Note
Now, a note to the people who send attendees to training classes. And this will sound strong. *If you don't want the person taking the class to make changes when they get back, don't send them to the class*. Really. If someone goes to a class but is not allowed to apply what they learned, you have just created a more disengaged colleague. And no one wants that!
Instead, expect them to want to make a change or two. Help them help you understand. Let them try experiments to learn and figure out how to bring the ideals of the Training World
into your Real World. Other Tips
How about your tips? What do you do to bring Training World
hope into reality of your Real World