Last month I was fortunate to have the opportunity to work with Nimesh Soni, an awesome Agile coach and trainer from the City of Brotherly Love (Philly area). Even though we never worked together before, we quickly established a working and personal rapport. Our training engagement put each class through a two (2) day agile training and three (3) day release planning workshop within the same week. A total off over 200 people attended! During the workshop portion Nimesh introduced me to the idea of a “Planning Canvas”, which is laid out much like a Lean Canvas or Business Model Canvas, but is more of a visual “to-do” list.
Using a Planning Canvas maximizes participant engagement by:
- Providing a visual representation of key workshop objectives. Visual representation results in a better outcome over bulleted lists or wordy documents.
- Visually tying workshop objectives back to the classroom training. Because they see a visual representation of the objective, participants are more likely to recall the learning material from the class that is related to the objective.
- Encouraging discussion among participants. It can be passed around, marked up, and used as a tool for creating a common understanding.
- Increasing the likelihood that all teams will finish on time. Because the engagement level is high, the energy level will be high, providing the juice teams need to complete the workshop objectives within the time frame given.
- Creating an atmosphere of fun. Perhaps the most important benefit of all!
One of the great things about the canvas is that it is highly customizable and can be easily configured for your specific needs. Nimesh and I changed ours every week, based on the feedback we received from the class and our own observational feedback. Once the initial version has been created, it takes only minutes to update.
I often referred to the canvas as a Bingo Board because that’s what it looked like and somehow we always managed to give teams a “free space”. After some thought, I’ve decided that the next time I use a canvas, I will Gamify it to further increase the engagement and fun factor. Yep, should be pretty cool!