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Can't Stop Won't Stop Chronicles: Teaching Agile Principles in a University Class

The pandemic has taught me about staying in a growth mindset. To always be looking for opportunities to grow and serve. I have been given this opportunity by teaching Agile principles to an Entrepreneurship class at my alma mater, University of Indianapolis.

It started with a conversation with my friend Marianna who is the Director for Service-Learning & Community Engagement at Uindy. We both attended Uindy and became close friends, sharing similar journeys as International Students. I was talking to her about my desire to try short term projects where I could use my Agile expertise. She connected me to Professor Marcos Hashimoto. After a few emails, he invited me to assist with his class.

The students in the class are all seniors and Marketing majors. As part of this class, they are grouped into three teams with the goal of assisting three businesses in the Indianapolis community. The businesses are in the industries of hospitality/restaurant, clothing merchandise and early childhood development. The previous semester, they gathered documentation of what goals the businesses wanted to achieve. In this current semester, they needed to create projects to execute those goals.

I was excited to reach a new audience, sharing how to use Agile to break up the work necessary to be successful. The goal was not to have perfect Agile teams. Instead, I wanted to incrementally teach them concepts that would allow them to create value to their customers. I started by creating a presentation on a new concept I recently came across. Based on reading "Start With Why" by Simon Sineck, my presentation was categorized into three main topics: Why Agile, How Agile, What Agile. This is based on "The Golden Circle" from the book (Why, How, What).

The class meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday. I was given the Friday class to teach and answer questions from the groups. One of the first things I showed them was the effectiveness of the Trello Board. I created a sample board as a sandbox and then their unique boards to use for their projects. As the weeks have gone on, the questions and engagement has grown. We recently reviewed the Definition of Done and the importance of Daily Stand Up, Backlog Grooming and Sprint Planning.

It's been very rewarding to provide insight and learn from Professor Hashimoto and his students. I was reminded recently from Simon Sineck's podcast about the lasting impact of teachers. For me, this service ties into my personal 'why' of bringing out the best in others. What better than to use teams and Agile principles towards that purpose.

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