Evangelization on the importance of having a culture of continuous learning: first a bit of theory on learning, practices around the culture of learning, then examples of concrete initiatives to support that
Continuous Learning (updated June 2015, with more examples of learning practices)
Developing a Culture of Learning
– The pace of change in our market and on the web in general forces
companies to adapt fast. To be adaptive as an organization, that
organization must intentionally engage in Continuous Learning.
– When you learn as a team, you become more adaptable and achieve
much better results, especially when the pace of change is fast.
Teams that learn quickly are more adaptive than teams that don't.
Adaptive teams are teams that can get better results, by rapid
response to change.
Levels of learning
• 3 levels:
Continuous Learning at Individual Level
• Learning requires time and effort, as well as the decision to
want to learn.
• Make individuals understand the value of continuous learning,
and how it will not only help the organization, but most
importantly, it will be a great benefit to the learner as well.
• Examples: trainings, coaching and mentoring, seminars and
workshops, also through actual application and practice of
skills and knowledge
Continuous Learning at Team Level
• Means collective individual learning: if the members
of the team acquire and share new knowledge and
information, then team learning takes place.
• Involves a set of learning processes that support and
aid team performance
• Examples: reflections, feedback, experimentation,
group discussions, and Q&A sessions.
Continuous Learning at Organization Level
• Comprises change of interaction patterns,
change of policies and procedures, new
culture and new innovations.
• Example: feedback from the employees
themselves, from clients, and from customers.
Getting comments and ideas.
Agile : a learning laboratory
• Agile means that teams must first become skilled at
learning as a group:
– Auto-organization: estimate, design, self-management
– Safe space: safe to take risk. Experiment / trial-and-error: fail
• Agile teams are in fact small Learning Organizations.
Scaling Agile at enterprise level
• Very complicated task. Hard to achieve.
• Agile teams operate in a safe space for learning.
• Creation of enterprise-wide safe space is a non-trivial
problem to solve.
Tribal Learning: start below the enterprise, above the team,
by Managers, for groups of 20 to 150 people.
Tribal Learning: practices
• Encourage good group behavior on top of
Agile patterns to facilitate meetings and group
• paying explicit attention,
• being punctual,
• honoring Scrum values: Focus, Commitment, Openness,
Courage, and Respect.
Tribal Learning: automatic authorization
• As a manager, you have implicit authorization
to try and change a few things around.
• You are pre-authorized = empowered.
• Leverage your formal, positional authority as
a manager to direct your staff, convene
meetings, and so on. Don't ask permission!
• Example: change meeting rules if people are
Tribal Learning: tribal leadership
• Encourage and influence other groups to try your practices.
• Identify and align with other managers who share values with
• Starting small: 1 or 2 other managers
• People will begin to share values, to participate in continuous
improvement and will eventually be part of the tribe.
• Remember the wildfire metaphor
Learning and Change
• All learning is change, and all
change is belief-change. When you
learn, you modify your beliefs.
• People who are always learning
are constantly changing their
• They have become adept at
responding and adjusting to new
information and knowledge as it
becomes available to them.
The learning cycle
• For instance:
– Agile holds 4 core
values, underlined by
– Those generate
actions and results,
from which we
– Our experience
changes our beliefs.
HOW TO CONTRIBUTE TO A CULTURE
OF CONTINUOUS LEARNING
Be Purposeful / Announce your intent
State your purpose early and often. Make it easy
for those who follow you to understand your
vision, your mission and your intent.
This clarity helps everyone around you, and
increases levels of group learning.
Facilitate and Game Your Meetings
Optimize the meeting process, by
guiding the members to share and
achieve a common goal and action
Make meetings fun, enjoyable, and
engaging by gaming them.
Try other types of meetings, such as
Open Space Meetings
Examine Your Norms
Normal is what you willingly tolerate. Examine
your norms, because what you tolerate is a
minimal level of what you insist on.
What you insist on is more likely to happen. Insist
on norms that encourage greatness.
Punctuality associates with focus,
commitment, and respect; these
in turn associate with individual
and group greatness. The whole
group cannot learn together if the
whole group is not present.
Punctuality as a norm explicitly
devalues lateness and tardiness. It
takes openness and courage to
establish punctually as a norm.
Conduct Frequent Experiments
Frequent experimentation means frequent
learning. Make learning into a game, by
scheduling frequent, cheap experiments. Failing
cheap means learning economically.
Manage Visually / Be Playful
Use visual artifacts to convey messages and
influence thoughts and perception.
Play games to get work done. Use games for
simulation, work, and learning.
Inspect Frequently / Pay Explicit Attention
Use iteration and frequent inspection to make a
game of change. Inspect and retrospect
frequently at all levels.
Pay attention to what is working and what is not.
Zoom in on details and focus on results. Discuss
with the specific intent to be excellent.
Coaching helps the learning process and is a best
practice. A coach will see what you do not and
• Delays in achieving good
results are common.
• Good steps taken today
usually do not have an
immediate positive effect.
The truth is that you often
get worse before you get
better, because of the
Bad Moves Make You Better, Then MUCH Worse
• Example: adding more
people to a late project.
• So use practices that
produce small results with
• Experiment cheaply.
• Avoid the tendency to
backslide to old habits,
even if changing is painful.
1. Serve Others
2. Be Purposeful
3. Communicate Honestly with Respect
4. Create Relationships
5. Increase Learning
6. Be Open-Minded
7. Adapt to Change
8. Create Fun
9. Be Focused, Committed, and Courageous
CONCRETE IDEAS FOR A CONTINUOUS
LEARNING IT ORGANIZATION
• 30 min weekly: 20 min presentation + 10 min question.
• Any speaker, any topic.
• Raise team awareness about continuous learning
• Explore new topics with curiosity
• Improve communication skills by being a speaker in a safe
o Share, Communicate, Serve Others.
o Increase Learning
o Promote Betclic IT team, Motivate, hire,
retain top engineers
o Contribute to team learning and
performance, by reflecting, formalizing
and sharing our practices (with the peer
pressure of making it public)
o Atracting external contributions
Be a speaker or participate to
• Learn and discover
• Meet other people. Create
• Open your horizon
• Share your knowledge and
Hack Days / Innovation Days
Take some time off to make a break and innovate:
– Take 1 day to build prototypes, demo them, vote for the
best and reward the best team, follow up to put in
production the best ones.
• Be creative
• Work with other developers and with business teams
• Learn and have fun
Monthly Lab Days
Regularly organize days where developers are
allowed to do other stuff (IT intelligence,
training, clean up code, prototype, code for
external projects, write blog articles…)
– Agenda for each person to be explicit.
Bug Fixing Day
Organize a one-day contest where all
developers try and fix as many bugs as possible.
Reward the best bug fixers.
• Have fun and be productive together.
• Reduce bug count.
Developer Exchange Program
Switch developers between teams or companies
to share and learn.
• Discover and learn other practices
• Be open-minded
• Create relationships
Pair and Mob Programming
• Pair Programming is 2 developers working together: either for
mentoring, or between peers on a complex topic.
• Mob Programming: is an extension to a whole team to
collectively train the team to a new technology or
Code Dojos & Coding Katas
• Train your programming skills with small
exercises, challenge your abilities and
encourage to find multiple approaches.
– Play with code without fearing any consequences!
Also discover & learn new methods, areas,
algorithms, languages, libraries ...
• Invite an external expert to come and speak to
the team (and offer him lunch).
• Another opportunity to learn, from the
Ciné-Goûter / Watching tech videos at tea time
• Watching together and commenting a video
from a conference.
• Drinks and cookies.
• We usually do it during Lab Days.
Take some time to review state-of-the-art blogs and
articles, based on your interests and learning domains.
– Build your own RSS library of feeds
– Use twitter as input
– Share with others on the blog.
Encourage senior dev to participate in external projects:
Open-Source your internal tools.
• Learning with others
• Practice other areas of coding
• « Peer pressure » on code cleanup
Programming and Logic Puzzles
• To tickle the brain and challenge your
Play & Learn
Make IT fun: set up avatars, trophies,
– Game what you do: coding, meetings,
• People learn better while having
• Create relationships
• Create fun
• The Culture Game, Dan Mezick
• Tribes & Chapters (Agile at Spotify):
Find out more
• On https://techblog.betclicgroup.com/
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