Do you want to pass a small test? It is very simple – please reproduce in the exact sequence literally four values of ​​Agile Manifesto.

Well, how did it go? If you succeeded, then you get my congratulations.

3 years ago I failed the test, though I knew the Scrum Guide almost literally and was extremely proud of this fact.

Now I often have to explain this “cultural thing” (Agile Manifesto) to managers and company owners. After all, most of the organizations want to implement Scrum now. But they always learn about the “culture” from me first and only then get the desired framework itself. To put culture ahead is quite natural approach for an Agile Coach.

Talking about Values. Values are often interpreted differently. For example, ask your friends what they mean by “Trust”, and you will get a lot of different answers. Which one is true? Each of them. Values are quite abstract, nevertheless they are expressed in a certain human behavior. We always look at the world through our own glasses. Therefore, the meaning of values should be clarified first. Then we can agree on certain observable and measurable patterns of behavior that support those values.

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A proper understanding of Agile Manifesto is VERY important for the subsequent introduction of Scrum. I used to go beyond the four values and always suggest to clarify the twelve principles. They are less abstract and can be easily understood. I often use the game which I call  “The Agile Clock.”

Agile clock. The game is based on an exercise Pocket-sized Principles. For the game we need:

  • About 30 minutes of time.

  • Bikablo Icons or stickers 76×76 mm.

  • Printed 12 principles of Agile Manifesto.

  • Flip-chart paper.

  • Paper tape.

  • Scissors.

  • Stickers.

  • Timer.

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Divide participants into groups of no more than 5 people. This is the most comfortable group size for any discussing or problem-solving. Every team is given a copy of 12 principles of Agile Manifesto.

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The challenge – within 20 minutes each team needs to express the essence of each principle in three words or less. Words should be written on stickers and hung within the circle on a flip chart. Thus, we create the clock. Each number on the clock corresponds to a specific principle of Agile Manifesto. Also, I ask to choose the most appropriate icon from the Bikablo Icons set for each principle and pin it to the flip-chart too. If the set is not available, then I ask to visualize the principle by hand.

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Very soon each team has a smart Agile Clock. Additionally I give 3-5 minutes to wander around the room and examine the clocks made by other groups. Then it makes sense to go through the principles and briefly discuss them.

Visualization and metaphors always provide excellent results in teaching for me. People quickly come to a common understanding Agile Manifesto principles and remember them for a long time.

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And finally, my advice to you – from time to time re-read the values and principles of the Agile Manifesto. They inspire and help to focus on the most essential points.

5 thoughts on “Agile ClockAAAA

  1. Just finished the game with a 35 people audience with some agililists and many university students and it worked really well. I heard some really interesting debates from all the groups. I will definitely repeat it with some ideas that came out of it.

  2. Worked out really well, it made the teams actively engaged with the content (the 12 principles) and each other to discuss. I would do this again in a new team, or a team that needs a refresher on agile fundamentals.

    I had a group of ~25 people, a friday afternoon and 1.5 hours.

    I started with a quick overview of the agile layers (imagine an iceberg, the agile practices is above the water surface, underneath the surface are the principles and at the bottom of the iceberg are the agile values)

    I then showed this short and greatly animated video explaining the agile values:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rf8Gi2RLKWQ

    I then did the Agile Clock exercise (broken up in groups of 5)

    And lastly, I then tied the outcome (being the ‘clock’ created by the teams) to the standard ‘retro recipe’ by taking 1 random clock created by the team and stucking their stickies (12 principles on a wall) and asked the team to, for themselves, write down on a yellow sticky min1 max 3 things that the team’s doing well, and on a pink sticky min1 max 3 things that the could improve on.

    The team stuck it on the wall during the exercise and I then gave everyone 1 dot vote, to vote on something they’d like to work on as a team to improve over the next sprint. I picked the top 3 most voted on, asked a few to elaborate/give examples which created some good discussion and then we tied actions to them.

    The only thing I’d do differently next time is to make sure to keep the ‘what can we improve’ a bit more concise, to ensure enough time left to celebrate the positive things and the end, so that the groups energy is up by the time they leave the retro (instead of down by ending on the focus of improvement).

  3. worked perfectly well! Colleagues quickly came to a common understanding of the Agile Manifesto principles. Adreessing the paticipants of the worshop after 4 weeksand more they remembered them quite good to a sufficient extend

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