3 step agile as defined by school kids

We are in lockdown at the moment and I am eves dropping on my daughter’s (online) class while I work beside her.

The teacher is explaining a new activity to a group of 9 and 10 year-olds.

It is a complex new topic (It sounds like graphic design and history of Sydney combined but I am not sure). They haven’t done before and they are trying new technology to help learn it because they are not in the same location (Google Slides with shared comments).

It sounds like a challenge to me – they need to learn a new way of learning while they pursue a challenging learning goal.

Before they start, they discuss a show that some kids watch called “Nailing it” and they talk about cooking for some reason. Then it becomes clear to me – they are discuss how good it feels to really “nail” something. Then they are talk about what nailing this new challenge would look like.

Nailed it:  An expression used to comment on the successful, skillful, or clever completion or performance of something


Apparently though, before kids can say “WE NAILED IT,” they will have to try to do “it” many times and say “WE FAILED IT” each time.

So their plan now is to keep FAILING IT until they can NAIL IT.

Apparently though, failing is no fun without learning.

So each time they “Failed it”, they are expected to look for the evidence that they are learning something from the experience that helps them get closer to “Nailing it.” The teacher will help them with this, but each school kid is responsible for doing this for themselves and for helping their fellow students to do it as well.

So this is my tip for the day – let’s ask the questions that these kids ask themselves when faced with a significant challenge. I will call it 3 step agile:

  • What is it that we cannot do yet that we really want to nail? It could be a skill, new product or feature etc.
  • What specific things have we failed at today that provide evidence that we are on the journey to being able to say “we Nailed It”?
  • But don’t celebrate the failure, ask what can we learn from “FAILING IT” this time, to get closer to “NAILING IT”?

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