September 29, 2012

I Do, We Do, You Do - Agile@Home (Technique )

 I came across a nice post ,  which explained the “I do, we do, you do “ technique beautifully.

‘But Shirly,’ I hear you asking, ‘What IS the ‘I do, we do, you do’ technique?’.
The formal explanation is here:
“Kids internalize concepts through gradual release: a teacher models a concept or skill while kids observe (“I do”); kids engage with the concept or skill with lots of teacher support (“we do”); kids give it a shot on their own (“you do”). “    3 Quick Wins for Kids Ministry

This is a common teaching practice used with students, and is also frequently used when you introduce Agile to teams. The way I see it, kids and families can also benefit from this concept at home - especially when combined with Agile.
As always, I’ll keep it simple. If you want to read more, there are links at the bottom of this post.
Ok, let’s take the daily scrum meeting as an example to illustrate this method.

In most of the cases the scrum daily meeting is a new skill that the team needs to learn. This meeting is time boxed for 15 minutes regardless of the size of the team, and looks to review the team work progress, the team’s commitment, and help the team focus, identify and eliminate impediments to progress.
Sounds simple?
You need to learn HOW to do it. The team has to learn how to conduct this meeting in the most effective and efficient manner.
So sometimes I use the “I do , we do , you do” technique. The first time the team gathers for the scrum daily meeting, I, as a coach, will take the role of the scrum master and facilitate this meeting. I will make sure the team and the scrum masters observes (“I do”).
Next meeting, I will ask the scrum master to facilitate the meeting with me, together, (“we do”) . I will stand next to the scrum master and let him lead while I fine tune correct if and where it’s needed. Usually the ‘we do’ part takes no more than one or two sessions until the scrum master and the team feels they can do it themselves.
In the “we do” stage , its extremely important to get the team feedback and get feedback from the ‘student’, to understand if they are confident enough to manage by themselves.
The third step will be the “you do “. I stand back and let the scrum master and the teams take the lead.
At each step, I will provide the team with relevant feedback.
If I need to fine tune of a process, or introduce a new method needed teaching, I may repeat this process.

So where’s the big problem?
Well, the problem starts when we use concepts that we already know - as managers, as teachers, or as parents, and we expect new participants to immediately understand what we are talking about and follow it. In other words, we expect others to start from the ‘you do’ phase, without going through the other two phases.
For example, Management discusses and learns a new meeting process, and the developers get an email telling them what to do in their next meeting. Do we actually expect them to learn a new practice from an email? One that took the managers the better part of a day to discuss and understand?

Exactly the same thing happens at home with our kids. You can’t expect them to ‘get’ something that took you a long time to learn.
Going through these stages is necessary, and important. It makes sure that even those children who think they are fast learners follow each step, until they have really learned and understood.
Combine this technique with Agile, and it’s awesome to use at home.

Among other things, Agile brings the concept of visibility to the table, as we use the task board to reflect our progress. The advantages of visibility are widely known to be a powerful for learning and as a “get things done” tool.
Visualization as a family holds enormous value, as I’ve written before. It shows the progress, pushes us to perform as a group, enables us to get feedback, prevents singling out problematic team members, and so much more!

Agile adds the communication value and the need to plan and retrospect over our performance.
It also holds lots of mindset and empowerment aspects which enhance learning and the feeling of self capability.
And it is so simple to implement, like it’s a quick win
So when we speak about Agile and boards, specifically about the visualization aspects, we can have several of visualization and implementation options in this area.
We could just add the following columns to our board:
I do , we do , you do.

Need to learn a new subject? Make it into a sticky note, and move it across these columns, with each one representing the learning phase of a task we are in.

 To sum up - the following rules are applicable in most cases:

1.    Visualize your tasks. Visualization makes it easy to put things in order, get things done, acknowledge our progress get feedback and gain the feeling of control. Use a task board.  Make sure every learning task is on the board.
2.    As always, divide big issues into smaller ones and go ahead. Don’t use massive learning tasks with massive step as one learning issue. Split it to smaller ones.  But keep the big picture in front of you. After all, learning is not only about doing small steps. The big picture is sometimes very important for the child to be aware of.
3.    Pull one task, complete it , and then pull the next task in line.
4.    I do – model  the step yourself -  eliminate “going ahead” just because we think we know how to do something.
5.    We do - Do it together with your kid. It can be a one-on-one session, or a class session where we all do it together. At the end – place the card on the board.
6.    You do -Let them get things done – each child using his card to perform the task .
8.    If the child doesn’t succeed completing one of the stages, learn from it. It’s perfectly OK to try again, to practice some more.
9.    Of course , don’t forget the communication aspect. Talk things over, retrospect over your performance and learn
10. As always, don’t forget to have fun.

References and reading: