Learning agile is like learning to ride a bike

I read tons of books. If I can learn something from a book, I will do so. I prefer a book, because I can read at my own time and at my own speed.
And yet, I spend an insane amount of money on trainings.
Why do I do this?
I do this because some things cannot be learned by reading a book.

Let me give you an example:
Imagine that you would tell your children to read a book, to learn how to ride a bicycle.

Yep once you know how to ride, you might get some idea’s on how to improve your style, still you would have to practice these idea’s before you would be able to do that.

What about a video?

Can you learn how to ride a bicycle by watching a video?

The only way to learn how to ride a bike is by practicing.

The same can be said about agile. You can only learn to be agile by practicing.

What about “side wheels”. Do they help?
I think that depends on the personality, some people feel more comfortable with side wheels to leanr the techniques, and once they can do it. They trust themselves enough it will work (at least be much easier.)

Agile games are the side wheels to practice agile in a safe environment.   It’s not the same thing, but the closest experience to the real thing. And at one point you have to do it alone…

Some kids learn how to drive all on their own, some kids needs a coach to support them.
You might know how to drive, but that does not make you a good coach to learn people how to drive a bike.

In our house, my partner was the person who was best to teach my children how to ride a bike.
At first I felt bad about that, I coach people all kind of hard stuff and then I am not able to teach my kids how to ride a bike? Now I am proud my wife is great at it and me, well it does not hurt my ego to be comfronted with things I can’t do.

And you know what is the best way to become better at driving a bike?
Riding a bike. Yep that’s right, practicing is the only way to read the feedback the bike is giving yo earlier and reacting to it faster.

PS Did you know there are 175.000.000 hits on google about learning how to ride a bike? Why is that? You still need to practise… 😉

Update: this is also why I think a book like Who Is agile is important. Not to teach people agile, but to give them an insight in who are these people that call themselves agile. To show them some of the pleasure of being agile.  (And a side effect is that it show that agile leaders are no super-humans. They have doubts and weaknesses like anyone.)