One of the biggest challenges for organizations who would like to start adopting more Agile methodologies is helping their staff (and leadership) get past the uncertainty of working in a new way and embracing cultural changes. Leaders direct them to classes, books, blogs, and conferences and yet they still are not sure what steps they need to take first or what success will look like for them. Failing fast and frequently does not sound like a positive proposition to them. After all, most leaders expect them to try it out for the first time on a project that will have a direct impact on their yearly rating and salary.

What if they could try it out on a real project that benefits their business, encourages innovation, while also providing a safe environment? Sound too good to be true . . . it’s not. At the Principal Financial Group we introduced Agile methods by introducing code jams (similar in nature to hackathons) both company wide and on individual teams that were one to three days in duration. The code jams provided a platform for them to try out some of the basic Agile methods such as Scrum, XP, and Kanban that ultimately gave them a better understanding of the terminology and value that the new methods provided.

In this session we will share how you can use code jams as an Agile education tool in your organization. We will share our lessons learned on selling the idea of code jams to upper management, describe the anatomy of a code jam, and provide ideas on how to sprinkle Agile learning opportunities into these fun and innovative events.

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