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Agile in the Classroom

Implementing Agile in the Classroom

  • Individuals and interactions over processes and tools.
  • Working software over comprehensive documentation.
  • Customer collaboration over contract negotiation.
  • Responding to change over following a plan.

Responding to change may be one of the easiest values of Agile to incorporate into your classroom. The first area to look at is curriculum planning. At the beginning of the term, you lay out your curriculum for the semester in a comprehensive, structured and organized plan. Instead of looking at these plans as concrete, Agile teaches us that concretely abiding by your plan is not effective.

Evaluate where your students are. Are they ahead of the material? Do we need to perform some review before they can understand this material?

A better way to treat the curriculum is to constantly edit it and adapt the material to your student's needs. Generally, the value says to plan, do, act, and check. In the classroom, this can be translated to course planning, lesson delivery, student assessment and course valuation and delivery.

Remember to start small and take on thing on at a time! Games and Agile projects are a great place to begin. Establish an environment of open thinking and support, sustain that throughout the term and students will follow, regardless of initial hesitation. The largest Agile implementation blocker is not understanding it.

Classroom Tools

In a classroom, there are many free tools available for use to being the implementation of Agile to your class. Below is a list of just a view available tools for students to use to being becoming Agile:

  • Trello - Online Agile Story Board. Students can sign up for free with an email and add one another to their story boards for team collaboration.
  • - Online Agile and Kanban Story Board. Students can sign up using their Miami University email for a free account.
  • - Group Communication tool. Ability to have different conversations based on topic within one group chat. Great for team collaboration and communication. Students can sign up with an email for a free account.
  • Popplet - Online Mind Mapping tool. Students can sign up for free using their university email.

Agile Methods


Scrum is one of several techniques for managing product development organizations, lumped under the broad category of agile software development. Agile approaches are designed to support iterative, flexible, and sustainable methods for running a product engineering organization. Among the various agile techniques, Scrum is particularly well suited to the types of organizations that develop products such as websites and mobile software. The focus on developing cohesive, modular, measurable features that can be estimated relatively, tracked easily, and that may need to adapt quickly to changing market conditions makes Scrum particularly appropriate for these types of projects. Scrum encourages teams to work in a focused way for a limited period of time on a clearly defined set of features, understanding that the next set of features they may be asked to work on could be unpredictable because of changes in the marketplace, feedback from customers, or any number of factors. Scrum allows teams to develop an improved ability to estimate how much effort it will take to produce a new feature in a relative way, based on the work involved in features they've developed before. And scrum creates the opportunity for a team to reflect on the process and improve it regularly, bringing everybody's feedback into play.


Kanban is a concept used within Lean. Kanban focuses on the eight wastes of lean (Overproduction, Overprocessing, Waiting, Motion, Transportation, Inventory, Defects, and Wasted Potential). A Kanban system can help you reduce these eight wastes and by doing so will create a much more productive and profitable company for all.

When discussing the concept of Kanban, we are talking about inventory and creating a signal system to trigger the need for it. The term inventory is broad, but the focus is on the system needed between the warehouse or stockroom and the movement of WIP (work in process) between work areas. 


Lean production is Lean because it uses less of everything compared with mass production: half the human effort in the factory, half the manufacturing space, half the investment in tools, half the engineering hours to develop a new product in half the time. Also it requires keeping far less than half the needed inventory on site, results in fewer defects and produces a greater and ever-growing variety of products. 


Bhasin, S. (2015). Lean management beyond manufacturing. [electronic resource]: a holistic approach. Springer. Retrieved from,url,uid&db=cat00344a&AN=mucat.b4420982&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds_cat

Green, M. D. (2016). Scrum. [electronic resource]: novice to ninja. SitePoint Pty. Retrieved from,url,uid&db=cat00344a&AN=mucat.b4635911&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds_cat

Ortiz, C. A. (2016). The kanban playbook. [electronic resource]: a step-by-step guideline for the lean practitioner. CRC Press. Retrieved from,url,uid&db=cat00344a&AN=mucat.b4638610&site=eds-live&scope=site&profile=eds_cat

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