For the executive responsible for buying training, take into consideration that:
You will need to assess how well potential suppliers can use Lean-Agile to fulfill their contract with you.
Training built using Lean-Agile should cost less for suppliers to create compared to traditional project approaches, so negotiate for lower prices after leaving the supplier room for a reasonable profit.
The more Lean-Agile principles you agree to allow and participate in, the higher potential savings and lower risk as a buyer.
Conversely, to the degree you insist on non-Agile behaviors in a hybrid approach, you increase the risk of higher production costs for the supplier and the consequent impact to what you may have to pay. At worst, costs may revert back to traditional approaches.
For the executive responsible for building training and learning using organic assets, consider this: If you have someone in your organization who wants to try incorporating Lean-Agile, we suggest a small experiment where you limit the downside potential and retain the potential of achieving a large upside.
If you are considering how Lean-Agile could help your organization, keep thinking this way. Consider that unless you have a persuasive and influential technician-level person with the skills in Lean-Agile already on your staff or in the organization, you will want to send him or her to some training on how to apply Lean-Agile or bring in an Lean-Agile coach to lead your first attempts. Or you may decide to engage a company like ours to build it for you using Lean-Agile.
Just as your internal quality staff will talk about the Deming Cycle of Plan, Do, Check, Adjust, you can also use this pattern to underwrite a series of experiments that allow trial and error to teach you what can work in your organization.
Lean-Agile is not an all purpose "easy" button. It can help achieve greater results in building learning experiences, but it does not remove all uncertainty, randomness, and risk from the project. The human element that occasionally plagues organizational initiatives may hit this one too.
If you treat Lean-Agile as a magic solution and your staff doesn’t pull it off successfully on their first attempt, you may experience others blaming any failure on Lean-Agile and consequently reduce the likelihood of being able to apply Lean-Agile in your organization in the future.
It is better to keep expectations realistic when first installing Lean-Agile in your organization. Find someone who is skilled at leading change and that can build some enthusiasm about Lean-Agile and ask for their help experimenting with Lean-Agile.
Another thing to be careful about—If you have software people that know Agile and how software teams apply it with continuous integration, test driven development and other practices that are more specific to software development, be sure these people are capable of translating Agile principles into a training-perspective and adapting them to what works for training professionals. This caution also goes for the many consultants out there who primarily have software development experience with Agile. If you decide on a consultant to kick start your Lean-Agile initiative, be sure to find one that can translate software domain ideas and practices into training domain terms and practices to help your people adjust to the change with as little friction as possible. Some people will make the jump between domains, but when confronted with the normal stress of change, some may not get it as quickly if it is not explained within their own framework of experience.
If you have a potential Lean-Agile coach that has no exposure to the Theory of Constraints, then get them some TOC training. Train an in-house person as a Lean-Agile Coach to help retain the change over time. The importance of this increases with the number of Lean-Agile teams you plan to use.
Be sure your training team keeps some metrics of their historical productivity ratios, total cycle time per student hour or other appropriate metric so that you can discuss and extend any gains achieved. Use this historical metric, to compare and contrast against your new Lean-Agile initiative metric so you can demonstrate the gains and leverage the successes to get the support required to continue the Lean-Agile experiments on a larger scale.