Food For Thought #1 – Learning Culture

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April 7, 2011

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Brownbag
http://www.flickr.com/photos/megjohn/3606325752/

This is the start of my first series on this blog. As the name implies, it will be about nice and spicy food for thought. At least IMHO 😉 My personal goal is to write at least one new „food for thought“ per week, and of course to get many new blog readers. Comments are highly appreciated.

In the first edition I’d like to write about learning culture. A missing learning culture is, in my opinion, one of the main reasons for failing agile transitions. I know some people who stop with active learning direct after university or even after school. They think: „Great, now that I’m a master of science I know everything about my job to be successful.“. Unfortunately this is bullshit. If you want to be a successful and competent member of your team you have to be open to learn new things in a sustainable pace. To stop learning has the same effect as to stop drinking. You won’t survive very long. Jurgen Appelo stated in his latest presentations that self-development is one of the 7 duties of great software professionals and I totally agree with him.

But what can you do to establish a learning culture in your team or even in your company? Ever heard about brownbagging? In the US it’s very common that you carry your home made lunch to school or work in a brown paper bag. And this is were the brownbagging has it’s name from:

In the United States, an informal meeting at work, over lunch, where everyone brings a packed lunch, is a brown-bag lunch or colloquially a „brown bag„, and the practice known as brownbagging. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brownbag)

Brownbagging works like this: Every week one colleague of your company or team prepares a short presentation (5 to 10 minutes is enough) about an idea or an interesting topic and presents it at lunch. After the short presentation you sit together and discuss about it instead of talking about other boring stuff like your sick canary bird. This practice is a great starting point to support self-development and create a learning culture in your company. You may have to gently kick some asses to get the ball rolling, but after a few weeks everything will start to self organize. One of the advantages of brownbagging is, that it is during lunch time so your boss will love it. I encourage you to try it out and leave me a comment how it went…

About the author 

Marc Löffler

Marc Löffler ist Keynote-Speaker, Autor und Mentor für passionierte Scrum Master. Er befasst sich schon seit 2005 leidenschaftlich mit agilen Methoden, wie z.B. Scrum, Kanban oder eXtreme Programming. Bevor er mit dem Thema Agilität in Berührung gekommen war, hat er als zertifizierter Projektmanager (IPMA) bei Firmen wie Volkswagen, Siemens und EADS erfolgreich multinationale Projekte geleitet. Mit Begeisterung hilft er Unternehmen dabei, agile Werte zu verstehen und genau die Form von Agilität zu finden, die zum jeweiligen Unternehmen passt. Dabei nutzt er sein PASSION Modell, um die jeweilige Situation zu analysieren und sinnvolle nächste Schritte hin zur passionierten, agilen Organisation zu definieren. Er liebt es, neue Einsichten zu generieren, und unterstützt Unternehmen dabei, Probleme aus kreativen, neuen Blickwinkeln zu betrachten. Seit September 2018 ist er zertifizierter Professional Speaker GSA (SHB) mit der besten Keynote seines Jahrgangs. Im Jahr 2014 erschien sein Buch „Retrospektiven in der Praxis“ beim dpunkt.verlag. Im Jahr 2018 folgte das Buch „Improving Agile Retrospectives“ bei Addison Wesley. Im Februar 2022 folgte dann das Buch "Die Scrum Master Journey" beim BusinessVillage Verlag.

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  1. Great start, Marc!
    A series I surely will follow.
    The importance of learning needs to strongly promoted. How do you want to continually improve if you’re not willing to learn?
    A network (like the small one you form with brownbagging) helps.
    Thank you!
    Olaf

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