The Journey of Agile Transformation at Cengage - Lessons Learned

INTRO Cengage is an education and technology company built for learners. Around 2013, the company was starting to transition from print to digital and a systems development lifecycle ( SDLC ) had to be chosen. In the publishing world, a 2 year release cycle was considered normal. Agile was chosen since a two plus years go to market strategy was no longer sufficient. Agile is not the final goal, it is only the means to reach the REAL GOAL, which is to provide students with digital, high quality, affordable solutions. Although you could go Digital and use any SDLC to get there, as I learned over the last few years, Digital and Agile go hand-in-hand. Just to show how far Cengage has come, releasing after a 2 week sprint is normal these days and some teams release even more frequently. The purpose of this blog is to share the LESSONS LEARNED over the last 3.5 year of Cengage’s transformation. It is organized by FUNCTIONAL AREAS as well as SPECIFIC TOPICS and I ho

Don't let the pain of sitting interfere with the love for learning!

I was recently part of a team summit where we each took the famous Myers-Briggs quiz and analyzed the results. It came as no surprise to me and my co-workers that my 4 letters were ESFP. For those not familiar with Myers-Briggs, I highly recommend looking into it (but it is NOT the main take away of this blog). I always knew I was an extravert (the 'E' in the ESFP). The consultant  leading the session at the summit started out by describing an Extravert. She talked about getting energized from talking to people, having to immediately run an idea by someone (instead of thinking it over in your head), then coming home and calling someone to talk more and sitting in the library for 4 hours being a torture...She then asked if there were any extraverts in the room and if what she was saying applied to them. There were about 3 out of 45 (high tech company) and I said it was all true, except after talking at work all day (I am an Agile Coach and lead a team of 9 other Agile Coaches)

Taking "Learning while Moving" to the next level

When I took a leap of faith and became a full time Agile Coach, I was tasked with conducting new hire training weekly, which included a lecture plus a workshop type of session to understand the Agile experience of the new hires, as well as teach the company's way of working (in regards to process, mindset and values). When you do the same thing over and over again, it quickly becomes very dull. To make it more fun for myself (at first, it was for super selfish reasons), I started experimenting with different ways to run training. My most favorite was taking people out of conference rooms, especially outside if the weather was nice. The energy level would go up right away. People loved getting up from their chairs and moving! There were smiles, there were jokes, there was excitement and ALL OF IT WHILE LEARNING! I am taking the Learning while Moving to the next level! This winter, March 9th 2018, I am organizing a workshop which will cover  topics such as Value Driven Developme