Whenever we teach people about Scrum and Agile we use an exercise to help them self discover the Agile Manifesto. We’ve been using it for so long we were sure it was in our Training Scrum book. However, we recently realised it isn’t. So we thought we’d share it with you all here. This is a great, short, hands on activity you can do with groups as small as 3 and as large as 40. We’ve used it with teams, managers and executives. It works even if people have never heard of the agile manifesto.
Download the manifesto cards and print them out on paper or cardboard. Then cut along the lines so each card is separate. If you plan to do this exercise a lot you can get the cards laminated. You need one page for each group of 4 to 6 people. Tip: print each page on a different colour that way it is easy to see which sets belong together at the end of the exercise.
Introduce the exercise:
We start by asking people to stand if they have heard of the agile manifesto. Then keep standing if they have read it. Then keep standing if they have read not just the value statements but also the 12 principles. And finally to keep standing if they have signed the manifesto online. Usually by the end, most people are sitting. This is a great way to introduce some movement into a workshop, and gives you some feedback as the facilitator how much people know about the manifesto.
Next explain that the manifesto is 4 statements, and is structured as we value X X over X X. We use the following slide to explain:
Tell participants that each block on the slide represents one of the cards you will give them. Hand out the cards at this point. Tell them they need to try to create the manifesto statements for themselves.
At this point you can walk around and see how the groups are doing, if any teams are struggling to get started, give them the tip that all sentences start with a capital letter. As they get statements right, point it out. This way you encourage then and set them up for success. Most teams get it within 5 minutes.
Once teams have self discovered the manifesto we do a quick teach about when it was created, and also talk through the following slide that we call the agile umbrella. We explain that agile is like a philosophy, underneath it there are several frameworks, and underneath those are hundreds of practices that can help you be more agile. This helps people understand the link between many of the buzzwords the may have heard about.
We end this section with a discussion around how easy it will be for people to follow the manifesto in their organisation. This gives people an opportunity to discuss how this applies in their context.
For those of you familiar with our books here is the 4C plan we use for this section. We include it in nearly every introductory session we do.