How to Explain Agile From the Back of the Room and Build Excitement in Less than an Hour

Back of the Room

by Chad on July 5, 2012

The key to getting people open to learning about Agile is to have them experience it.

Say what? Yes, the trick is to get your attendees involved without you forcing on them.

But it gets better.

What if I showed you the steps on how to make this happen in any environment?

Keep reading.

The Secret to Getting People Engaged is from the Back of the Room

How can you teach Agile from the back of the room?

In the book Training from the Back of the Room Ms. Bowman teaches you techniques on how to not stand in the front of the room during training.

Just like the Agile Manifesto has its principles and values; Bowman applies six learning principles to improve the way students are taught:

  1. Movement trumps sitting
  2. Talking trumps listening
  3. Images trumps words
  4. Writing trumps reading
  5. Shorter trumps longer
  6. Different trumps same

Bowman then goes on to explain that the way we have been taught using lectures and PowerPoint’s does not work. People do not learn this way.

But the question remains: How can you do it?

How Can You Introduce Agile From the Back of the Room


To some people, teaching from the back of the room sounds crazy and asinine. I’ll tell you I was one of those people to. However, like everything I do, I continue to learn to get better.

Below are my step by step tricks on how to get to the back of the room when teaching about Agile


1)      Give everyone the instructions on how to play the marshmallow challenge.

2)      Play the marshmallow challenge video.

3)      Ask the group to explain the process they used when building the marshmallow challenge

4)      Tell the group there is a process and it’s call Scrum. Watch quick 10 minute video on what scrum is.

5)      Discuss the benefits of using Agile. Deere is a great example.

6)      Then explain while a process is good; purpose, mastery and autonomy is great. Show them this video.

Those are my steps on how to get out of the front of the room when explain what Agile is. If you have other tricks, I’d love to hear them and try.