Wave 2

The Silence of Agile

Presenter Name(s): Steve Rogalsky


Duration (30, 60, 90): 60 or 90 Minutes


Audience Level: New/Novice, Experienced


Session Style (Presentation, Workshop, Interview, Panel, Game): Workshop


Description of Session:


We’ve all sat through painful requirements, planning, and brainstorming sessions that provide little useful output, are painfully long, and where the outcome was already decided by the loudest few before the meeting even started. Learn how silence can increase collaboration *and* help your agile project be more productive. Silent brainstorming allows everyone to have a voice – the loud people can’t dominate the conversation, the quiet people are provided with a way to contribute, and cognitive fixation is reduced. Surprisingly, silent techniques can also be a faster way to generate and decide on great ideas. We’ll discuss the science of brainstorming and then practice several silent brainstorming techniques in order to generate a user story map, do agile chartering, brainstorm a list of user stories, prioritize your user stories, and generate ideas for your retrospective.


Rough Agenda:

1. Practice: Create a user story map (10 min)

2. “Lecture”: The science of brainstorming & intro to Silent Brainstorming (10 min)

3. Practice & discussion: Generate user stories using 2-3 techniques (25 min)

4. Example: Agile chartering (10 min)

5. Practice & discussion: Sort the user stories + discussion (10 min)

6. Practice & discussion: Generating retrospective ideas (15 min)

7. Final discussion (10 min)


** Note: If 60 minutes is preferred, then I'll shorten the agenda as per the comments



Session Leader(s) Background:

Steve first started experimenting with agile and lean techniques as a child. He learned the importance of ‘test first’ and the folly of ‘test last’ after starting a snow ball fight with the older kids in the neighbourhood. While playing the popular lego game of ‘zoom your vehicle towards your brother’s vehicle and see which one breaks first’, he honed his simple design and iterative development skills.


Steve is a process hacker, accomplished agilist, and co-founder of the Winnipeg Agile User Group. Passionate about his family, working with people, solving problems, coaching, agile, lean, and continuous improvement. Blogs at http://winnipegagilist.blogspot.com


Session History:

Over the years I have participated in silent techniques delivered by Jeff Patton (user story mapping), Linda Rising (retrospectives), and Gerry Kirk (user stories). Each technique is slightly different, but since then I've applied them in other areas in order to 'test it out'. This session is the combination of those experiences and tests. I use the techniques often in my work and community involvement.


Questions Answered By This Session:

1. How to build common understanding quickly using simple, collaborative, and inclusive techniques.

2. How to build better collaboration and teamwork through silent brainstorming.

3. How to use silent brainstorming as a facilitation tool for better discussions, decisions, and communication.

4. How silent brainstorming can enable the participation of introverts and minimize the ‘domination’ of extroverts

6. Bonus Questions: How to use silent brainstorming to create user story maps, generate and prioritize user stories, perform agile chartering, and generate retrospective ideas.


Session Leader Name(s) : Steve Rogalsky

Proposed Duration : between 60 and 90 minutes


12 votes
Idea No. 42