• agile Innovation Labs.

    Training • Coaching

    In the Lab
  • Training.

    agile Innovation Labs LLC
    Training
  • Coaching.

    agile Innovation Labs LLC
    Task Board
  • Coaching.

    agile Innovation Labs LLC
    Retrospective

About agile Innovation Labs.

We train, we coach and we mentor individuals and companies seeking agile adoption and transformation. We focus first on closely observing your challenges and then developing a pragmatic plan for success. We deliver outcomes over output.

Get to know us.

  • OUR PHILOSOPHY
  • OUR TEAM
  • OUR STORY
  • 1.
    Analyze

    Companies approach agile with immense expectations, and perhaps experience a letdown when implementing prescriptive one-size-fits-all agile practices. Far too often the failure is because of a lack in understanding the fundamentals of agility and how to map them towards effective execution.

    We start by asking questions, many questions. And we develop a plan for mitigating the challenges that are limiting your success.

    2.
    Train

    Then we train you on the ‘why and how’ of agile, so your organization can begin gaining value.

    Many of our training workshops feature an Active Learning Component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for in-workshop learning and then apply that learning to their own product or project.

    3.
    Coach

    We embed an agile Coach with your team to serve as a guide, from discovery to delivery.

    Our coaching comprises many activities: teaching agile practices, mentoring development, facilitating conflict resolution, leading technical practice adoption and leading organizational transformation.

  • team1
    Bill Allenagile Innovator

    Bill is an agile Coach, Trainer and software developer with extensive experience guiding teams and executives in adopting and adapting agile practices for positive outcomes. With a pragmatic perspective, he guides teams towards a common vision, strengthen collaboration and improved product delivery.

    When he is not coaching, husbanding, fathering or biking he is writing. Bill is working on his first book entitled "Teaching Coaches to Hang Glide / Being Fearless for Your Team".

    Operations Manager
    Google for WorkOperations Management

    Responbile for keeping the lab running: from scheduling training workshops and coaching engagements to monitoring customer satisfaction!








    Look for agile Coach
    Your Name Hereagile Coach

    We are seeking experienced agile Coaches to join our growing team.










  • agile Innovation Labs benefits from the organizational and small start-up agile coaching experiences of Bill Allen. Bill served as the first full-time agile coach and agile evangalist for the worlds largest futures and options exchange. There he led the agile adoption for a global department of over 500 individuals.

    agile Innovation Labs offers a focused set of services to guide your agile success: Training • Coaching • Agile readiness audit • Train coaches • Mentor executives on agile benefits

    And agile Innovation Labs allocates time in local technology incubators to coach early stage startups. The combined experience of coaching Fortune 1000 and start-ups has shaped our keen insight on how to guide teams to successful delivery.

Services.

We train, we coach and we mentor individuals and companies seeking agile adoption and transformation.

Training

We train you on the ‘why and how’ of agile, so your organization can begin delivering value. Many of our training workshops feature an Active Learning Component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for in-workshop learning and then apply that learning to their own product or project.

Coaching

We coach you to become better at product deliver by first discovering your challenges and then suggesting the appropriate practices.

We begin by meeting with different organizational levels to determine the challenges and to balance current processes with desired outcomes. We ask critical questions in order to devise a strategy for success.

agile Audits

We start by asking questions, many questions. We engage in discussions with many different organizational levels to determine the challenges that you are experiencing.

Our audit report provides visibility on the challenges that are limiting your success.

Virtual Coaching / Mentoring

We are your virtual coach and mentor.

We provide remote training to Coaches; investigating your challenges by phone or Skype. And we extend this service to Executives needing a brief chat to understand the benefits of adopting agile practices in their organization.

Training Catalog.

  • Introduction
  • Product Discovery
  • Agile Quick Start
  • Story Maps
  • Agile Testing
  • Learn to Coach
  • Our training catalog (click labels above) details a focused set of workshops to guide your agile success. We train you on the ‘why and how’ of agile, so your organization can begin delivering value.

    Many of our training workshops feature an Active Learning Component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for in-workshop learning and then apply that learning to their own product or project.

    In addition to training, we provide services that include: Coaching • Agile readiness audits • Coach Training • Mentoring executives on agile benefits

  • Lean / Agile Product Discovery using the Product Discovery Canvas

    Why Take This Course?

    Building successful products that customers really want and love is very hard. In fact, most product efforts fail!

    Has the ‘build and launch’ approach to product delivery cost your organization too much in time, money and lost opportunity? Do you want to find out if a product idea is actually what a customer will purchase, use and love? Do you now want to build ‘that’ product inexpensively and as quickly as possible?

    If your answers are “Yes”, “Yes” and “Yes” then this two-day workshop is for you.

    What Will You Learn?

    I introduce participants to the Product Discovery Canvas; it applies relevant elements of Collaborative Chartering, Customer Discovery, User Story Mapping, Pretotyping and Lean Startup for product discovery and product validation. The canvas starts with techniques for narrowing ‘product ideas’ to the ‘ideal product’. It ends with techniques for you to inexpensively answer the question, “If you build it, will people buy it and use it?” or “Should you build it at all?”

    This workshop includes numerous exercises for using the Product Discovery Canvas to accomplish these outcomes:

    • Collaborative Product Chartering to align your team around shared product understandings.
    • User Story Maps, for a visual representation of user interaction with the product.
    • Pretotyping, to validate product ideas in hours or days instead of weeks or months, and spending pennies instead of many thousands of dollars.
    • Validated Learning using the Lean Startup feedback loop: Build–Measure–Learn.

    This workshop features an Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for an in-workshop project and then apply that learning to their own product development.

    Who Should Attend?

    The workshop will be of interest to anyone in need of product discovery and validation, including these roles: Product Managers, Product Owners, Marketing, PMO, Architects, Analyst, Testers and Developers.

  • Agile Quick Start

    Why Take This Course?

    Companies approach agile with immense expectations, and then they often experience a letdown when implementing prescriptive one-size-fits-all agile practices. And far too often they either fail or are challenged because the team, leadership or organization don’t sufficiently understand the fundamentals of agility nor how to map them towards effective execution.

    What Will You Learn?

    In this two-day workshop we’ll approach the challenges that your organization is facing and develop appropriate agile practices for improvement. We guide participants through the ‘why and how’ so that they can begin benefiting from agile methods. This workshop features an Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for in-workshop learning and then apply that learning to their challenges. This workshop will cover the following:

    • Engage teams in understanding agile values, principles and practices
    • Understanding the differences between traditional and agile processes
    • Understanding various agile methodologies -- Lean, Scrum, XP and Kanban
    • Understand agile roles and responsibilities
    • Tools that help ready your product team for iterative delivery
    • Pragmatic practices for planning and estimating releases and iterations
    • Tip on setting up your team room with information radiators

    This workshop features an Active Learning components where participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities and then apply that learning to their own product development.

    Who Should Attend?

    Everyone in an organization, including whole product teams: Developers, Testers, Analyst, Product Owners, Management, Technology Architects and representatives from the PMO.

  • Story Mapping Workshop

    Why Take This Course?

    Want to get more done? Add Story Maps to your workflow. Story Maps are a visual representation of work, providing teams options for how to minimize output while maximizing the outcomes and impacts. They provide clear visibility of a product roadmap and/or product portfolio. They provide options on what you choose to build and help you get more done.

    What Will You Learn?

    In this one-day workshop we guide participants far beyond the limits of User Stories and instead enable them to see the big picture of a product under development.

    We show how Story Maps provide:

    • Whole-team, shared understanding of product functionality
    • Validation of business stakeholder needs
    • Collaborative product story telling leading to agreements on what to build
    • Shared understanding on why (analysis) and how (architecture)
    • Improved techniques for Release Planning
    • Improved techniques for Iteration Planning
    • Big Picture thinking first and fine details later

    This workshop features an Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for an in-workshop product and then apply that learning to their own product.

    Who Should Attend?

    This workshop is appropriate for everyone in an organization, including whole product teams: Developers, Testers, Analyst, Product Owners, Management, Technology Architects and representatives from the PMO.

  • We offer three Agile Testing workshops that focus your team on validation, verification and exploration.

    Acceptance Test-Driven Development (ATDD)

    Why Take This Course?

    Does your team develop in one cycle and then perform validation testing in another?

    Would you rather your team perform development and validation in parallel, where throughout development the team can run automated suite of tests to check that everything still works as expected? This workshop guides teams toward automated validation that they are ‘Building the Right it’!

    Does your team develop in one cycle and then perform verification testing in another? Is the mindset of the development - test workflow to find bugs? Wouldn’t you rather your team have a mindset of bug prevention instead of bug detection?

    Do you need to learn a product quickly? Do you want to diversify existing test scripts? Do you want to quickly gather insight about the quality of a product in order to devise a comprehensive testing and release strategy? Then early or end game utilization of Exploratory Testing can provide those benefits, and more.

    What Will You Learn?

    In this two-day workshop participants learn about the Product Discovery Canvas; it applies relevant Lean and Agile practices for product discovery and product validation. The canvas starts with techniques for narrowing ‘product ideas’ to the ‘ideal product’. It ends with techniques for you to inexpensively answer the questions, “If you build it, will people buy it and use it?” or “Should you build it at all?”

    This workshop makes extensive use of exercises that provide students these hands on experiences:

    • Accomplish tactical product visioning
    • Develop a shared understanding by building a Collaborative Product Charter
    • Gain product understanding by creating a User Story Maps
    • Creating pretotypes (pretend prototypes) to validate product ideas in hours or days instead of weeks or months, and spending pennies instead of many thousands of dollars.
    • Gaining rapid feedback by applying Build-Measure-Learn of Lean Startup
    • Building components that provide incremental user value
    • Creating release plans towards success in product implementation and delivery

    This workshop features an Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for an in-workshop project and then apply that learning to their own product development.

    Who Should Attend?

    This workshop is appropriate for everyone in an organization, including whole product teams: Developers, Testers, Analyst, Product Owners, Management, Technology Architects and representatives from the PMO.

    Test-Driven Development (TDD)

    Why Take This Course?

    Does your team write code in one cycle and then perform verification testing in another? Is the mindset of your testers to find bugs? Wouldn’t you rather your whole team have a mindset of writing the correct code at the outset rather than finding and fixing bugs later?

    Test-Driven Development (TDD) focuses developers on the problem to be solved, with the objective being to break down assumptions about the problem, one assumption at a time. TDD, also called “test-first”, is more a design activity than it is an actual testing activity.

    When you have tests for the features under development, then you can safely make changes without the fear of inadvertently breaking the functionality. We show you that by writing the tests first you always have a safety net. You don't have to go back in and add tests later because they were there from the beginning. That kind of confidence is critical to building a long-term, productive, Continuous Integration pipeline for your application. Every time you make a change to the application, you can easily run automated tests to check that everything still works as you expect. 

    In addition to the body of executable tests that result from TDD, code that is written test-first has many properties that make it easy to change and maintain. It is inherently testable, each unit of code can be run in isolation. Writing tests first leads us to observe good design principles like the SOLID principles, because it turns out that these principles make it easy do TDD. The resulting code exhibits high cohesion and loose coupling, comprising many small units of code, each of which can be run and tested in isolation.

    By practicing TDD we only write code to make a test pass, and these results in having the minimal amount of code necessary to complete the task. Less code means fewer bugs, easier maintenance, less unnecessary complexity, shorter learning curve for new engineers. In this way doing TDD goes a long way toward reducing the liability of code, and increasing the asset of working software.

    TDD guides developers to verify that they are ‘Building it Right’.

    What Will You Learn?

    In this one-day workshop participants are introduced to the eXtreme Programming (XP) practice of TDD (Test-Driven Development). Participants will learn:

    • To utilize tests to guide the design of the code
    • To write the test first, thereby starting with a measurable goal. And running the test tells you exactly what to do next to meet your goal. And you know exactly when you're done: when all the tests pass!
    • To utilize TDD as a beneficial accompaniment to a Continuous Integration pipeline
    • Ping-Pong Pair Programming, where one developer starts by writing some tests and another developer writes the code to achieve passing tests. Then they switch!
    • To verify that you are ‘Building it Right’ – that your development is in accordance with the specification

    This workshop features an Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for an in-workshop product and then apply that learning to their own product.

    Who Should Attend?

    This workshop is targeted towards developers and testers that can program. The target language used for instructing this workshop is Java.

    Exploratory Testing Workshop

    Why Take This Course?

    Do you need to learn a product quickly? Do you want to diversify existing test scripts? Do you want to quickly gather insight about the quality of a product in order to devise a comprehensive testing and release strategy? Then early or end game utilization of Exploratory Testing can provide those benefits, and more.

    What Will You Learn?

    In this one-day workshop participants learn how to test software using methodical exploratory practices, finding out about the software, what it does, what it doesn’t do, what works and what doesn’t work. We explore strategies to accomplish:

    • Creation of test charters (a short declaration of the scope of a time-boxed test effort, detailing the objectives and possible approaches to be used)
    • Test Strategy Planning where automated testing methods are incorporated early in development to establish greater confidence in the software. Then, exploratory testing can be used as a check on the test automation by helping to ensure that the most serious defects have already been prevented
    • Test design and test execution performed in parallel
    • Test logging undertaken as test execution is performed, documenting the key aspects of what is tested, any defects found and any thoughts about possible further testing

    This workshop features an Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities for an in-workshop project and then apply that learning to their own product development.

    Who Should Attend?

    This workshop is appropriate for anyone on the product team but is targeted towards testers and analyst.

  • Learn to Coach

    Why Take This Course?

    Does your organization desire to develop its own practice of internal agile coaching? Obtaining great results from a team requires the guidance of experienced coaches.

    What Will You Learn?

    In this three-day workshop participants explore a variety of topics as a means of guiding them towards becoming great agile coaches:

    • What is Agile Coaching?
    • How to guide your team to iteratively deliver value?
    • How to focus the team on continuous improvement?
    • How to build reflective communities?
    • How to guide the team in telling product stories?
    • How to balance prescriptive and pragmatic involvement for team success?
    • Crafting your individual coaching style?

    This workshop features numerous Active Learning component; here participants engage in presentations, discussions and activities and then apply that learning to their own agile coaching development.

    Who Should Attend?

    This workshop is targeted to anyone who aspires to foster lasting agility and guide teams towards building successful product.

Events.

Upcoming classes, workshops, speaking engagements and presentations.

  • Open Space Lab Fridays

    Hours 11:00 am - 1:00 pm in the Chicago Innovation Exchange

    Free! One hour of agile coaching on any topic. This opportunity is offered on select Fridays of each month. Please email us now to reserve a one hour time slot.

    11.18.16Contact Us
  • Learn @ Lunch Fridays

    Hours 11:30 am - 1:00 pm. In your offices.

    Free! 90 minutes of agile training, in your offices, on any topic. This opportunity is offered the first Friday of each month. You choose how to utilize the time; perhaps a discussion or mini-lab session on any of the agile practices. We simply request that you email us to reserve the next available date.

    12.02.16Contact Us
  • TEST-DRIVEN DEVELOPMENT (TDD) with agile Innovation Labs

    Free TDD Workshop November 5. 9:30 am - 4:30 pm.

    In this one-day workshop participants are introduced to the eXtreme Programming (XP) practice of TDD (Test-Driven Development).

  • Product Remedies Using the Product Discovery Canvas

    Agile Day Chicago 2016 November 4. 10:30 am - 11:50 am.

    Product Discovery, the search for a product your customers want, love, and will acquire, is hard. And learning Product Discovery is probably just as hard. So let’s start simple, by first remedying some common product ailments as a mean towards Product Discovery. In this session, Bill introduces a single page ideation tool, the Product Discovery Canvas, which applies relevant aspects of Collaborative Chartering, Customer Discovery, Story Mapping, Pretotyping, and Lean Startup to remedy challenges of product discovery and delivery.

  • Introducing The Product Discovery Canvas

    Agile and Beyond 2016 May 6. 1:00 pm - 2:40 pm.

    Building successful products that customers really want and love is very hard. In fact, most product efforts fail! Has the ‘build and launch’ approach to product delivery cost your organization too much in time, money and lost opportunity? Do you want to find out if a product idea is actually what a customer will purchase, use and love? Do you now want to build ‘that’ product inexpensively and as quickly as possible? If your answers are “Yes”, “Yes” and “Yes” then this workshop is for you. I introduce you to the Product Discovery Canvas; it applies relevant elements of Collaborative Chartering, Customer Discovery, User Story Mapping, Pretotyping and Lean Startup for product discovery and product validation. The canvas starts with techniques for narrowing ‘product ideas’ to the ‘ideal product’. It ends with techniques for you to inexpensively answer the question, “If you build it, will people buy it and use it?” or “Should you build it at all?”

  • Mastering The Product Discovery Canvas

    RailsConf 2016 May 4. 1:40 pm - 2:20 pm.

    Building successful products that customers really want and love is very hard. In fact, most product efforts fail!

    In this workshop I introduce you to the Product Discovery Canvas; it applies relevant elements of Collaborative Chartering, Customer Discovery, User Story Mapping, Pretotyping and Lean Startup for product discovery and product validation. The canvas starts with techniques for narrowing ‘product ideas’ to the ‘ideal product’. It ends with techniques for you to inexpensively answer the question, “If you build it, will people buy it and use it?” or “Should you build it at all?”

Guiding teams to build the right thing, right.

Blog.

Thoughts, conversations and ramblings on all things agile.

  • Using the Product Discovery Canvas

    Part 4: GOALS, SUCCESS MEASURES, TIMEFRAME FOR DISCOVERY

    Ideally you’ve been following this blog series as we’ve engaged in product discovery for “Card Safe Zone” and you’re using the Product Discovery Canvas for your own product idea(s). So far we have written an “Elevator Pitch” and we’ve identified our potential Users and Customers. Next, we need to identify the product Goals and Success Measures. Also, we’ll establish the amount of time that we will commit to product discovery and validation. Now, let’s move our investigation into Discovery Boxes 3, 4 and 5 on the Product Discovery Canvas. Here we will answer questions to provide the team with valuable insights on determining if our product idea will result in the ideal product.

    12.03.15Read More
  • Using the Product Discovery Canvas

    Part 3: Know your Users and Customers

    Card SafeZone is a mobile app that informs users if it is safe to use their credit card or debit card for on premises purchases. We developed this statement as our Elevator Pitch during the previous post. Now let’s investigate Discovery Box 2 on the Product Discovery Canvas. Here we will develop answers to the questions, “Who the product targets” and “What value they will obtain”. We will then use the canvas to create create personas for the users and customers. We will conclude this post with an investigation into customer validation.

    11.23.15Read More
  • Using the Product Discovery Canvas

    Part 2: Vision Statement (Elevator Pitch)

    The first post in this series made these startling assertions, “building successful products that customers really want and love is really hard” and “most product efforts fail!” But we can engineer success! Let’s begin using the Product Discovery Canvas by exploring Collaborative Chartering — a means for teams to gain early shared understandings about the product.

    11.16.15Read More
  • YACC (Yet Another Curious Canvas)

    Part 1: Introducing the Product Discovery Canvas

    Building successful products that customers really want and love is really hard. In fact, most product efforts fail! I coach clients to approach product development efforts with dedicated time for product discovery. I guide them to apply elements of Collaborative Chartering, Customer Discovery, User Story Mapping, Pretotyping and Lean Startup. And lately I’ve been inventing on, experimenting with, and sharing insights on a product discovery ideation tool that I call “The Product Discovery Canvas”. Let’s look at this canvas and see how you too can use it to guide your product discovery success.

    11.09.15Read More
  • Upcoming Blog topics

    YACC, Part 5: Using the Product Discovery Canvas for Feature Discovery

    YACC, Part 6: Using the Product Discovery Canvas for Product Validation

    YACC, Part 7: Using the Product Discovery Canvas for Validated Learning

    Bringing Agile into your Organization? 5 questions that you must answer first!

    Understanding your organizational challenges and is agile the solution?

    Agile Scrabble - Making sense of the words: Agile, Scrum, XP, Lean, Kanban.

    Agile Adoption v.s. Agile Transformation: Understanding the differences.

The Buzz about agile Innovation Labs.

  • "Pivotal to our success building an analytics and optimization platform, agile Innovation Labs served as Agile Coach and key advisor on product discovery, working in a feedback loop that ensured our product produced and performed as required. Thanks!"

    Muzi Mtetwa, Ready Insights
  • "As a small company, working efficiently is not just important it’s critical to our success. I attended a workshop offered at a technology incubator and learned how to turn my gut instincts into valid ideas. "

    Van Grant, Chicago Hearing and Vision
  • "They helped set up an approach and method in how to validate our business model. It is an approach that helped us save time and money. As we go forward we will continue to use their help to develop or business."

    Yves Bienvenu, Mad Gears inc.


Voice Give us a call.

  • 312.927.5470
    9am - 6pm Mon - Fri

Email Send us a note.

Office By Appointment Only.

  • Chicago Innovation Exchange
    1453 East 53rd Street
    Chicago, Illinois 60615