learn agile do

Don’t just Learn it – DO it!

You can find just about anything you want on the Internet. From cats playing the piano, to tiny animals wearing sombreros to doom and gloom news, to happy news, to well, you name it! One thing I love about the Internet is that you can learn just about anything. The availability of online learning that is either free or at an extremely low price point is incredible. And super complex stuff too. From advanced Excel to data and analytics, ethical hacking, Agile… The list goes on. If you want to learn it, you can – and your options now extend beyond traditional University, TAFE and CAE.

What a time to be alive!

Many of these courses have practical exercises that you are encouraged to do, which brings the dimension of ‘doing’ rather than just learning. But what many learners end up lacking is practical experience. I have worked with people who are ‘self-taught’ and wanting to be leaders in the space without any actual experience. They have learned the content, but they have not immersed themselves in it. They have understood the concepts but have not experienced it directly.

A few months ago I did a stand up comedy course. Of all the people who attended, only one person went to an open mic night and performed. What a legend! What about the rest of us? Of course I took some great ideas to apply to my public speaking and facilitation skills, but did I really experience it?

We have the opportunity to learn at a faster rate than ever before. When I train people in Agile ways of working, I task them to commit to take action on just 1-3 things. Actions they can apply straight away. I also task them to teach a concept to someone else – because that will mean their learning is more embedded. And so starts the virtuous cycle of learn, do, teach or perhaps walk your talk.

agile learn

The Virtuous Cycle of Learn -> Do -> Teach

Agile as a way of working is permeating our workspaces at an astounding rate. There is a lot of ‘doing’ but not necessarily the learning to support the doing. Here’s how to make sure you’re on the virtuous cycle. And stay there!

Have you just learnt something new? Great! Next step is to do something to embed the learning. For example you may have learned the value of being curious. Now go and ask some great questions. You may have learned how important it is to ask ‘why’. Now commit to asking ‘why’ more as part of your day to day. Keep a journal and track your progress.

Have you just started doing something new? Excellent! Maybe people are noticing, maybe they’re not. Why not share an insight based on your experience? Perhaps the results you have got as a result of asking why more often or improving the quality of your questions. You may even hold a brown bag at work to share what you know, or ask for a slot in your next team meeting.

Have you been sharing your knowledge and experience with others? Brilliant! Now, this is an important step and one that many leave out. Continue to learn. Sign up for a master class or a short course in something that expands what you have previously learned. Even if you attend something where you are familiar with the content you will still learn. Often hearing the same knowledge differently can awaken new insights that you can apply in a whole new way. Or you could learn something different that could connect even more insights.

Never stop learning

As Tony Robbins says: “We are either green and growing or ripe and rotting”. With so much out there that we don’t know, get out there – explore, learn and grow. Your mind will thank you for it!

Like what you read? Interested in learning more? I run workshops and trainings on all things Agile and would love to assist you in your learning journey. Contact me for a chat.



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About Emma Sharrock

Emma is the author of The Agile Project Manager: Thrive in Change with Agile. An experienced change leader, Emma is passionate about working with people to facilitate successful change. Emma utilises Agile techniques, coupled with the Agile mindset to coach leaders and teams to achieve their business goals.