Xtrem Tech Watch | Agile Partner
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Xtrem Tech Watch

By Adrien Muller, an Agile Coach and Software Craftsman at Agile Partner. 

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If you have read the article “Towards a learning organization and beyond”, you have understood the importance for a company to promote knowledge sharing and continuous learning for each of its members.

This trend is also reflected in terms of recruitment, tomorrow’s companies have learned that the key to success is to recruit people for their ability to learn rather than their technical skills.

This is especially true in software development: a highly technical domain with constantly evolving and emerging techniques.

A good developer usually does technological watch on his own, its a single-person activity done during free time, at home or at work in between two tasks or after a meeting..

So how can we organize our technology watch more efficiently ?

At Agile Partner we have experimented different solutions to this problem and it evolves into something that we wanted to share with you!

“Xtrem Tech Watch” is a technique that allows groups of people to discover together and align themselves on new topics.

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The initialization phase starts with a 5 min individual brainstorming were each one try to gather a maximum of topics :

  • review of their twitter feeds
  • a topic that have been discovered in a recent reading, a book, an article or a video
  • a problematic that was solved in a project recently or that someone, or a team, still have

After that, each person take 1 min to explain to the others what he or she would like to discover or delve deeper. Finally everyone should be able to vote for their preferred subjects (using dot voting technique for example).

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We create groups (of 2 or 3 peoples) based on their interests to work on the prioritized topics (one topic per group).
In this phase the persons will work in small iterations, individually and again pairs, with those phases of divergence and convergence we want to stimulate the creativity and also create a focus.

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The objective at the end of the session is to be able to present to the others what the group have learned, just like you would do during a Lightning Talk or Ignite Talk presentation :

  • using a graphical facilitation or sketch note
  • a mind map
  • using one or two PowerPoint slides
  • or anything that inspire you
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At the end of the exercise, we encourage the participants to review their learning: what they can start to use in their daily job and what should be assessed.

For this, the easiest is to populate a technical backlog (using trello would be enough) or as a better alternative the use a technology radar like this one that we have developed internally.
Try it, it’s a great decision and alignment tool, and its free :).

Want to experiment Xtrem tech watch with your team?

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