New Team, New Roles, Major Product Innovations in the Pipeline. From Execution Uncertainty to 5 Step Agile Execution Clarity

The Client

The Challenge:

MGIC was battling departmental silos for problem-solving and stifling innovation as a result. Internal conflict over business value and project priorities by the department. Less than stellar working relationship between IT and the Business. IT teams working in a waterfall fashion turning towards Agile, but not yet at high performance.

This project involved broadening the transformation of Milwaukee, Wisconsin based mortgage insurance company, MGIC’s IT and business function project delivery to Agile and Scrum, and introduce Lean Startup principles to encourage a level of comfort with testing new ideas. This project involved both designing and executing a training program that would accommodate learners across three areas…

  1.  Learners brand new to the subject.
  2.  Learners that were active practitioners but needed to strengthen their knowledge and practical application.
  3.  Executive awareness of the subject, impact and strength of project sponsorship capability.

The Solution (and our approach)

An activity-based training design was implemented. A level of separation in terms of which learners actively participated in direct project execution, and which learners were only tangentially involved was denoted. That allowed the creation of training that shared the same base curriculum but the activities within specific and separate training sessions were tailored to the nature of their project level interaction. All of the training in this case was done on a face-to-face basis.

Training time-frame intentional design for application:

We separated the training across two half days, three hours each day in the morning to allow a space of time for critical project work to continue in the afternoon and more importantly to provide an opportunity to issue homework that could be applied in the real work situation following class.

Alternating learning and activity to cement the concepts:

The design of the content was structured so that each learning lecture was followed by an in-classroom activity that brought the learning content to life. All activities were brought to life utilizing gamification game and/or a team collaborative approach to solve a problem.


The initial limited scope of training only involved project teams and business partners, but quickly spread, by employee and executive demand to a special lunch and learn program offered to the entire company (400+). Allowing all co-workers regardless of job role, the opportunity to understand and apply Agile concept to drive business value for the company. And a set of executive workshops for top leaders to understand the how to use Agile as a strategic advantage and how to understand the change in work behavior and processes of the teams reporting to them.

Post the training and development period MGIC experienced an increase in cross-functional engagement to deliver projects, setting the highest business value priorities in partnership. Benchmarks and execution pathways for the team to reach high performance with metrics. Individual accountability, mindset adjustment, and a toolkit for employees to thrive in the transformed environment.