Agile instructional design focuses just as much on communication as it does process, if not more. Without strong communication within a development team and with a client or stakeholder, Agile just doesn’t work. Agile comes to us from the software development world, and one of the principles is individuals and interactions over processes and tools.

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Interested in learning more about agile learning design? Watch our webinar: Agile Learning Design: A Practical Perspective.


Our agile team has worked hard to become more collaborative and ensure that everyone has a voice. In the past, the individuals on the team would throw things over the fence to each other and often it would result in miscommunication and frustration.
We’ve created some guidelines for the team to help us ensure that we’re communicating well:

  • We will all plan on working in the office at least one day a week. We believe that having face-time aids in communication and makes it easier for us to collaborate as a team.
  • We’ll use group IM chats if there’s something that we feel like the whole group needs to know or weigh in on.
  • We’ll avoid using email. It stinks as a communication tool. It slows things down and doesn’t allow for conversations to happen. Face-to-face, IM, or phone are our preferred tools. (This is one of our team’s favorite “rules”!)
  • We want to have no surprises at internal deliverables. What that means is that the team will work together to agree on functionality, graphics, and flow. We believe that we come up with better ideas when more than one person is involved in making the decision.

It’s been a change in behavior and taken time, but now individuals catch themselves when they communicate in ways that aren’t efficient or don’t involve the right people.

What does collaboration look like with stakeholders or clients?

Collaborating with stakeholders means involving them in the idea creation and decision making processes. While most people like that idea in theory, it requires a different way of working. To help your stakeholders, be sure to:

  • Set clear expectations as to what you want them to review. Try giving them a checklist of questions they should answer.
  • Be sure to tell them what’s not included in the review. If certain features or activities haven’t been created, be clear that it’s intentional, not an oversight.
  • Let them know how much time it will take to look at the feature. In general, our clients have found that they are looking at smaller pieces, more often.
  • Look for ways where you can have them look at things with you. Tack on 10 minutes at the end of a meeting and show them what you’re working on. Or if you have regularly scheduled status meetings, come prepared with some show and tell to get their reactions and feedback.


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