Agile Community of Practice

By Michael Sinnott, Director of Agile.


We ran our first Agile CoP (Community of Practice) gathering on July 19th in a session which, as is usual, mixed theory and practice, looking at some real issues participants brought to the session, using Lean’s A3 problem solving technique.  So the session was a practical one – using Lean techniques to deal with concrete issues, working with people who faced with similar challenges, triggered by a similar curiosity.

The Agile CoP is focused on the those who use the skills and tool of lean – it is a skills-focused CoP – but has the same kind of objectives of all CoPs:

  • To build and share skills in Agile’s broad Lean skills offering
  • To build and share knowledge in what is happening in this Lean space in UCD as well as drawing on outside inputs, bringing broader perspectives
  • To help the practitioners in this space network
  • To bring recognition to those who do good things in this space – recognition by their peers for what they have achieved, recognition by the University community of what they contribute

If you have done any training with Agile you would have recognised the A3 focuses on clear problem definition, process mapping, the use of metrics, root cause analysis. What was different in this session was that we used actual (laminated) A3 templates as a way of capturing this, a simple but powerful tool which can be used for problems, challenges and issues of any scale, by individuals or groups.  In other organisation the phrase “let’s do an A3 on it” is the beginning of any problem solving journey. 

In terms of networking, we had the usual introductions and ‘where I come from’ snippets. Work also took place in smaller groups so there was a chance to work more directly with colleagues, familiar and new.

This was just a start. We will build on the other aspects of the CoP – recognition and the sharing of hard earned wisdom and practical experience – over future sessions.  And we will put up on the WST website some of the tools etc. that come from this process. Already we have ‘how to’ stories on the following topics on the WorkSmarterTogether website ( ):  visual management, brainstorming, Kano analysis, SIPOCs, process mapping, the 5 whys, TIMWOODS and fishbone diagramming

If this list leaves you confused it might be because you have not done our training yet – the Agile CoP is for those who have been trained and are using, or planning to use, Lean.  The best jargon buster is to come and do our introductory training – that will get you into the swing of how you can use Lean to help you do the doing you do.

See you in October… and say hello to some of those who signed up for the session.