Working Agile in practice: Start young!

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Learning Community Agile

The University of Groningen (UG) has numerous activities for its students to become acquainted with current topics and practical situations. For example, the Career Services department of the Faculty of Economics and Business, in collaboration with the Groningen Digital Business Center (also part of the University of Groningen), organizes extra-curricular activities in a number of Learning Communities where students can further explore topics discussed during lectures. 

In the autumn of 2018, the University of Groningen and Quintop joined forces to introduce students to Agile working in practice. Project leader Bas Baalmans of the University of Groningen and Wilco Bontenbal, partner of Quintop, jointly developed a short practical course Agile working for students who are in the final phase of their studies and who will soon enter the labor market.

In the spring of 2019, a group of approximately 25 students from various faculties took part in the Learning Community Agile. In four meetings, the theory of Agile working was further explored and clarified through a number of cases from Quintop’s consultancy practice.

Through presentations and assignments, the origin of Agile was linked to previously developed organizational forms such as Lean, Scrum and even the development of the first American jet fighter during World War II. 

The acquired knowledge was further explained by means of concrete examples during two company visits; one to ING in Leeuwarden and another one to DUO in Groningen. Both companies told and showed how they use the Agile method. Not only in their IT environment, but also in their operations, the Agile Principles are fully applied with the aim of bringing high-quality solutions for their customers to the market faster. 

Additionally, four students held presentations in the Agile Coach Community of ING. Firstly, during a meeting, the ins and outs of Holocracy were presented to the coaches as a form of an Agile company structure. The second presentation dealt with the implementation of an Agile method in a Customer Care environment. The coaches were pleasantly surprised with the new insights the students brought to them. 

At the end of the course, participants were given the opportunity to obtain their Professional Scrum Master certificate. Quintop’s Agile Coach and Scrum Master René Wardenaar took the students through the Scrumguide in order to optimally prepare them for the exam. 

Both the students, the RUG and Quintop have experienced the collaboration as very successful. The course is currently being evaluated and agreements are being made about the continuation of the collaboration in the new academic year. 

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