Lisa van de Voort: “Training the U.S. Army is both other-worldly and familiar.”

Lisa van de Voort, a seasoned Agile transformation consultant at BlinkLane Consulting, reflects on her recent first training session with the U.S. Army on Agile practices. Traveling to the U.S. military base in San Antonio, TX she visited “a unique organization with its own unique challenges… and a wholly unique impact.”


Experienced and knowledgeable

Lisa comes to this training with over 4 years of experience as an Agile consultant, having contributed to over twelve Agile transformations. Visiting a U.S. Army base was a first, however: “It was fascinating from the moment I first stepped off the plane. You’re not allowed to travel there with your own means of transport; a special taxi service does that for you. Upon arrival, things like army barracks, barbed wire and soldiers running and training in formation along the roads were vaguely familiar from movies, but not from my own context.”

“The training itself was, at first, altogether more familiar. I provided an introductory course on the Agile ways of working, specifically on the added value of having a Scrum Master and a Product Owner. At its core this is no different from other Agile transformations at scale… but the outcome changes a lot with the Army context.”


The importance of context

“I’m overall very happy with how it went there. Especially the fact that I was training people who have experience in training others – working with behavior patterns and intrinsic motivation. You might say the product of the Army is qualified people, not some product or service. The earnest nature of their work also made an impression: life-or-death situations are a matter of course. They just might one day use Agile thinking to make the difference on the battlefield.”


Looking Ahead

Lisa plans to continue her work with the US Army, as applying Agile ways to such a structured, protocol-driven organization is a fascinating challenge. If you feel your organization could use the expertise of expert trainers and consultants like Lisa, contact Gladwell Academy today.


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