O'Reilly logo
live online training icon Live Online training

Agile for Everybody

The Essentials of Agile and Lean

Matt LeMay

Agile and Lean practices have completely transformed the way that software development teams work. And yet, many organizations struggle to extend and integrate these practices beyond an initial set of developers, designers, and product managers. The resulting disconnect can reinforce organizational silos, reduce alignment around company goals, and undo the operational efficiencies gained by an Agile or Lean approach. For an organization to truly see the benefits of Agile and Lean, it must embrace Agile for everybody.

In this hands-on training provides an accessible and jargon-free introduction to the core beliefs and practices of Agile and Lean, and explores how Agile and Lean practices can transform entire organizations. Through lectures, discussion, and exercises, you’ll learn how and why the Agile and Lean movements developed, compare and contrast the rhythms and rituals of these practices, and discover actionable steps you can take to implement and scale the best of Agile and Lean across your organization.

What you'll learn-and how you can apply it

By the end of this live, online course, you’ll understand:

  • The core ideas behind Agile and Lean methodologies, including how and why they have transformed the way that product teams work
  • Actionable practices for extending Agile and Lean practices beyond product teams to transform entire organizations

And you’ll be able to:

  • Speak knowledgeably about Agile and Lean with your colleagues
  • Ensure that the Agile and Lean practices adopted by your organization are meeting their intended goals
  • Implement an Agile practice (Why, How, Prototype, Iterate) for all projects and deliverables

This training course is for you because...

  • Your organization is exploring or embarking upon an “Agile” or “Lean” transformation, and you want to learn more about what this means for you.
  • You work with an Agile product development team, but you’re not a core member of that team.
  • You’re a member of an Agile product team looking for ways to extend these practices beyond your working group.


  • An interest in learning about “Agile” and “Lean” practices in an organizational context.

The exercises in this course are highly collaborative and designed for small groups. Register with your whole team to work on exercises together, or join as an individual and we’ll connect you with other participants, assigning you to a small group in Slack.

Slack is strongly recommended to get the benefit of full participation in the small-group exercises.

Recommended preparation:

Agile for Everybody: Why, How, Prototype, Iterate (article)

Learning Agile, chapter 1 : What is Agile (book chapter)

Lean Integration, chapter 1: What is Lean and Why Is It Important? (book chapter)

Being Agile in Business, chapter 16: Minimum Viable Product (MVP) (book chapter)

About your instructor

  • Matt LeMay is cofounder and partner at Sudden Compass, a consultancy that helps organizations take a cross-functional and customer-centric approach to working with data. Matt has helped build and scale product management practices at companies ranging from early-stage startups to Fortune 50 enterprises and has developed and led digital transformation and data strategy workshops for companies like GE, American Express, Pfizer, McCann, and Johnson & Johnson. Previously, he was senior product manager at music startup Songza (acquired by Google) and head of consumer product at Bitly. Matt is the author of Product Management in Practice from O'Reilly and was recognized as a top 50 product management influencer by the PM Year in Review in both 2016 and 2015. Matt is also a musician, recording engineer, and the author of a book about singer-songwriter Elliott Smith. He lives in Santa Fe, NM, with his wife Joan and their turtle Sheldon.


The timeframes are only estimates and may vary according to how the class is progressing

Introductions An overview of Agile and Lean

  • Lecture: What is Agile?
  • Establishing the core values and goals of Agile
  • A brief history of Agile’s evolution from loose manifesto to rigid frameworks
  • Lecture: What is Lean?
  • Establishing the core values and goals of Agile
  • A brief history of the Lean movement, and its emphasis on a culture of learning.
  • ACTIVITY: Untangling the best of Lean and Agile
  • As a group, we will look at a few common high-level problems facing businesses and teams, and hypothesize how the core ideas of Agile and Lean could be used to solve these problems.

The rhythm of Agile and Lean

  • LECTURE AND DISCUSSION: The circular structures of Agile and Lean
  • The core rhythmic pattern of both Agile and Lean practices: iterative loops
  • The Agile “sprint” loop and the Lean “build-measure-learn” loop
  • Examples of how the Agile and Lean loops can be used in both product and non-product contexts

Break (10 minutes)

  • The core concepts and practices of Agile and Lean (45 minutes)
  • LECTURE AND DISCUSSION: An exploration of specific concepts and practices, including “Minimum Viable Product” and “The Daily Standup”
  • ACTIVITY: Mapping goals and principles with concepts and practices
  • Using a worksheet and working in small groups, participants will map some of the goals and principles we’ve discussed to the concepts and practices we’ve discussed. This will facilitate a discussion about how and why Agile and Lean rituals can and should be used in an organizational context.


Introduction/Brief recap

Where Agile and Lean interface with “traditional” business practices

  • LECTURE AND DISCUSSION: Companies often struggle to integrate Agile and Lean practices with the existing hierarchies and silos of their companies. We’ll walk through a few common challenges, and participants will be asked to think through some of the challenges they may face in their specific organizations.

Break (10 mins)

Why, How, Prototype, Iterate (WHPI): An Agile practice for everybody

  • LECTURE, DISCUSSION, AND EXERCISE: Introduction of the WHPI framework—a way for nonproduct teams to implement Lean and Agile best practices. Working in groups, participants will use the WHPI framework to create an “executive summary” of this class to share with their colleagues.