Having recently relocated with our young family back to the UK from Catalonia-is-not-Spain was a real challenge. Also, changing sector from international online traveling tourism to an Agile specialist provider was a steep learning curve. In this post I’ll share with you an unexpected find of mine. Hint: it involves Agile and primary school kids.
When deciding to return home, we realised it would always be a huge culture shock for our two young daughters who were born in Barcelona, with Catalan as their first language; their football team being FCB when it ought to be local heroes Tottenham Hotspur. We knew there would be many positives and negatives attached to the moving.
My professional background in Barcelona involved a successful 13 years working in the fast paced world of online advertising, running small teams for start-ups in Travel and Tourism. I am a relative “newbie” to Agile and its methodology.
However, from 2008 I unknowingly witnessed a hugely successful Agile transformation implemented at Atrapalo.com, a very well-loved Spanish OTA (online travel agency).
Back to Hertford, historic county town. To my surprise, a few weeks ago on the Friday school run, I noticed an A4 poster saying “communication“ at my eldest daughter’s primary school. I was intrigued, despite being half asleep and in dire need of my first “capo” (our cappuccino) of the day.
A fortnight later, “confidence” popped up and then two weeks later “collaboration” followed, and then “confidence”.
Being curious I contacted the school to see what these C-words were about.
I explained to them I’d recently begun working for an IT professional services company, specialising in Agile methodology and business transformations, hence my curiosity on this topic. Were they in the process of running CSM (Certified ScrumMaster) course for 4 year olds?
The deputy head kindly, quickly, and openly responded in a truly Agile fashion:
“The 7Cs are attributes which we feel are really important for the children at Morgan’s to learn and display. The idea comes from the Guy Claxton and Bill Lucas book. They are educational publishers who wrote 'Educating Ruby' given to our Head and myself, by the governing body, when we first came to Morgan’s.
The book lists the 7Cs as: Confidence, Curiosity, Collaboration, Communication, Creativity, Commitment and Craftsmanship tools, which will empower children as learners.
When we first came to Morgan’s we asked children, staff, parents and governors what is good about Morgan’s and we saw that these 7Cs were already apparent in many ways.
By drawing specific attention to them and having a common language we aim to give children more ownership of their learning and the ability to recognise good learning behaviours in themselves and their peers.
Ultimately, we hope that our children will leave Morgan’s strong in each of these attributes, and as a result will be more prepared for the wider world.
We communicate how the 7Cs are being used, recognised and rewarded in school via the Morgan’s Mail each week. These are all uploaded onto our website.
At the moment we have one word as a focus each week but hope that over time, the children will recognise all the Cs across the curriculum almost as a 'second nature'.”
Start them early, I thought. And why not?
On a personal note, I could have done with being more Agile in my career at an earlier age. But I’m still willing to learn and it has been a fascinating couple of months so far.
Looking back, I never noticed how Agile we all are, in so many ways away from work, without knowing it. Even my five year old winning her award for curiosity! I’ve now become acutely aware Agile is permeating many aspects of my professional and private life.
At home, we are breaking tasks into 2 weeks sprints, we do reviews, we share our lists. I don’t go for multi-buy deals at the supermarket any more, and we’re running a lean long life cupboard, all very just-in-time ready for the weekly Thai curry.
Looking around, even our Head of Talent at Radtac has a Kanban board at home in his garage to help him and his missus visually determine what tasks are a priority for them. Lucky them to have the time to do this, space in their garage and budget for a board!
We’d love to do the same however you can’t swing a cat in our garage due to the clapped out 1962 Lambretta, a rarely used Cannondale Super6 and assorted junk from our recent move.
Joking aside, having Kanban boards in your household is a fun and visual way of sharing what’s important for your family and putting it all into practice.
The 7Cs have fired our curiosity, questioning how our children are being taught at school. How they are learning and interacting with their peers is a perfect platform for later life.
My Agile journey is just beginning, but nonetheless promises to stay fascinating. Very quickly it’s making me question, think more, read and study again. I’m failing fast (and often) but not ashamed to do so as I am working in an open, transparent and collaborative surrounding. I’m enjoying the new informal ways of networking too through social events such as London Agile related MeetUps.
We’re very proud that our kids’ school instills the 7Cs in an Agile spirit, and very pleased that from an early age our kids are being steered in a relevant and positive way.
My takeaway? A choice between 4 principles of Agile or the 5 of Scrum? It’s the 7Cs for a high-flying five year old, and preferably the earlier, the better!
This article is written by Paulo Lopez, Business Development Manager at Radtac.