Agile Cube

The problem with Agile is it’s confusing. SAFe this, Nexus that, the ‘Manifesto’, Scrum, Kanban, the list of approaches, processes, frameworks & best practice is often overwhelming. Couple that with the constant re-hashing of the material year on year, means many are constantly confused when it comes to Agile. Ask one hundred ‘Agilists’ what Agile is, and you’ll get one hundred different answers.

Agile is one of those topics because its many things to many people, especially our clients. How could we ensure when we’re talking about Agile, our baseline understanding is consistent? How do we help bring up those who aren’t as experienced, how do we remind our more experienced practitioners of our delivery model & our roots? It’s not about all being robots, our individuality is what makes us, but how to we stay within the realm of our values?

With many organisations, they often have an internal learning resource to allow people to train themselves using a wealth of curated & created guides, tutorials, reading material & learning. Over time, this has grown into a mammoth repository of at least 500 items just on the subject of Agile alone! So, knowing what to look at, what to learn, and what to leave out is often a tricky task.

Over complicating a subject often means dilution. Understanding of Enterprise Agility could be at risk from being either diluted, stretched or forgotten about as swathes of learning material becomes too over-whelming to go through.

The notion of using a physical mechanism such as a Rubik’s cube was born from the fact solving it requires you to use very similar skills to any other problem-solving activity, something we’re all good at if you’re a Delivery Manager.  Further, some of those problem-solving skills also apply to software development, there’s a lovely little crossover right there. Its a physical tangible thing, held in the hand it can be a desk toy, a marketing device, a gift & a navigation aid through online learning – oh and I’ve done this before.

A quick aside: Did you know you can brute force a Rubik’s cube? Known as the devils move, you repeat the same move over, & over again & the cube will become solved! Not efficient, but it works!

As I thought about this, I remembered I had done similar in other organisations using the cube as a marketing tool, branded to leave as a little take away for clients, or to give to our academy alumni, and on each face, a set of topics representing a tenet of Agile. And each one of those pieces linking to a tutorial video or a piece of content in our upcoming new Agile book. So, the notion started with this;

I pride myself on being able to take complex subjects & break them down in a way your mum would understand, it’s something us good Delivery Managers do. So I wanted to apply it to not only the learning pathway for Agile, but also it got me thinking about how do you help someone navigate through the myriad of content.

Me ol’ China

So I did a thing, and found a supplier to get some branded ones mocked up. I worked with a gaggle of peer DM’s together to contribute to a Miro board to decide what would go on each face. It was a challenge, the individual squares have a limited real estate, you can get a couple of words maximum, you still need to have a coloured border for it to still work as a Rubik’s cube,  and each piece has to represent an overall theme in itself whilst still making sense by itself. Look at the picture above & you’ll get the gyst. 

Don’t stop me now

But the notion doesn’t stop there. We can make it a marketing tool for our clients, or a take away item after a bid. The scrambled cube tangibly represents how all these themes & tenets of Agile all interlock & work both independently & together. We could do a hack day & build a cube solver out of Lego (that is a thing) or maybe a bit of guerrilla marketing.

So what’s next?

Well some of our DM’s have drafted out the spine of the cube, I’ve started doing a fun series of videos walking anyone through how to solve it, and we’re about to get one or two mocked up to demo. We’ve had great feedback so far & it’d be amazing if you got in touch, and let me know what you think?

And finally

Here is my ropey effort the first time I solved a cube without a crib sheet. Boy did I have a extra large bacon sandwich after I’d done it. If you’re interested in learning more, get in touch. If you want to learn how to solve the cube, I reckon I can teach anyone in about an hour. Grab a beer, a cube & get going.