From time to time we at Commha have a penchant for experiments. Sure, for many of us there is the usual Commha working day: typical press releases, the weekly customer phone calls, the monthly billing. Even workshops and training are somehow part of everyday life. But sometimes we experiment without restraint.

Katharina in front of the whiteboard during the peer experiment

Setup of the peer experiment

If anyone is open to experiments, it is our colleague Jana. For months she hiked through the Australian wilderness – just to find out what it’s like (spoiler alert: wet). And so our human resources team was at the right address when they suggested an experiment to Jana and me: How about training our colleagues ourselves? In project management?

That’s not a far-fetched idea. Jana teached at university, learned project management and gained a lot of experience in small, large and very large projects; over the last few years I have taken courses on agile working and as an agile coach. But can we easily pass on our knowledge to about a dozen inquisitive Commhas? How strange is it to train team members and long-time colleagues?

Test procedure

Nothing is simple, of course, but a lot is unusual. Preparing another workshop day in the already well-filled end-of-year phase can be quite stressful. We find helping hands with Andra, our assistant, who will soon need a flipchart assembly line, and our agency angel Anna, who orders ten meters of rope and 20 sleeping masks for the first exercise without further questions.

I can’t say exactly what makes me feel more tense: a series of still unknown new customer faces at a kick-off workshop or a circle of chairs full of old, familiar, expectant colleagues. Sure, I already know them. But I also know their demands, their critical questions and their very different levels of knowledge.

Fortunately, they never get bored, I took care of that. In six hours, we’ll learn about the Cynefin* Framework, play planning poker and take a look back over a Lean Coffee. The colleagues get a far-reaching insight into agile working methods – and to test some methods directly.

Result of the peer experiment

Yes, a training course for colleagues can work: I can tailor it to our needs and ensure that fun, one of our corporate values, is guaranteed. The participants’ feedback goes along the same lines: Much should be retained, some things even expanded. According to them, next time the trainers are welcome to present even more concrete use cases and agile methods.

A prerequisite for the success of the internal training, however, is that it is prepared like a customer event. In concrete terms, this means: with professional materials, sufficient time, in an external room and with a joint lunch – because this is the only way to create a training atmosphere in a well-known company.

Under these conditions, I can convey more content than I would ever dare to do in a customer meeting of the same length. I know that I can expect to meet a hardworking, highly motivated team. Hence my conclusion: I would be happy to do it again!