LIFTOFF!: Building better beginnings through Agile Chartering

Better teams create better outcomes.  A liftoff (as described in the book Liftoff by Diana Larsen and Ainsley Nies) at the outset of a new endeavour helps teams set the stage for betterness by cocreating a shared understanding of purpose, establishing alignment and understanding the context of the work they will do together.  While the activities to include in a Lift Off will vary according to team and context, the practice of Agile Chartering – collaboratively developing a lightweight yet effective roadmap for the project and the team – is key to aligning and inspiring people to do better work together.

The purpose of an Agile Chartering workshop is to give all stakeholders of a project a voice and the opportunity to co-create a common understanding of the project dynamics, its purpose and context. It creates co-ownership of the project within the project team and thereby higher commitment to the project goals.


In this workshop, we will explore the objectives of Agile Chartering and foster a playful approach to doing this work. We’ll talk about what kinds of games can be used to cocreate Purpose, Alignment and Context with a team, and run at least one game that can be used for each of the elements of an Agile Charter

Outline/structure of the Session

  • Overview of Agile Chartering – the importance of establishing Purpose, Alignment and Context to get teams off to a great beginning.
  • Planning a Liftoff – agenda, participants, logistics
  • Purpose
    • establishing a common vision and a clear mission with defined mission tests that define ‘done’ for the project
    • using Gamestorming to identify the mission and mission tests
  • Alignment
    • Identifying shared values and principles, core team members, and creating a team working agreement
    • crafting meaningful working agreements using LEGO Serious Play
  • Context
    • understanding the boundaries of the work and the team, the project community, committed resources and prospective analysis (risks/opprotunties)
    • using Story Cubes for building a prospective analysis

(this workshop can be offered in half or full-day formats)

Learning Outcome

After participating in this workshop, you will be able to:

  • Explain the importance of the purpose-alignment-context to accelerating teamwork.
  • Describe the benefits of Agile Chartering to my team and various stakeholders.
  • Plan an agenda for a Liftoff meeting to cocreate an Agile Charter
  • Suggest games that can be used to cocreate elements of an Agile Charter with your team.