Workshop ‘Planet Earth as Our Stakeholder’

How it started

As I was looking for ways to do something meaningful about climate change, the idea started to grow that at work, in my own Agile teams, we could also take a sustainability perspective.

I delved into the subject of sustainable IT and started with a ‘Planet as a Stakeholder Retrospective for my Scrum Team in which we went over the Principles of Green Software Engineering. We discussed what steps our team could take to reduce the carbon footprint of our services.

Taking the sustainability perspective was a new approach for the team, but everyone agreed on its importance. During that session, the team estimated that optimizing our landscape and decommissioning legacy components could reduce our footprint by a significant percentage.

That made me wonder: what if all Agile teams would have this conversation? I developed a workshop with the aim to help teams look at their IT services through the sustainability lens and let them define the first steps forward. Below you find the basic set-up.

Workshop ‘Planet Earth as Our Stakeholder’

In this workshop I explain the climate impact of IT and encourage the participants to look at their (IT) environment from a new perspective. I help them find inspiration and ideas to reduce their own carbon footprint, and by the end of the workshop they will have defined their own actionable steps to get started.

The objectives of the workshop are to raise climate awareness and to define actionable steps for reducing the IT carbon footprint.

Check In

Before we start I always do a Planet Check In. I put a picture of the earth on the ground, and ask the group: Where do you stand in relation to our planet and it’s challenges? Do you stand close to it, further away, do you face Mother Earth directly or do you look away? How does it feel to be standing there?

This check in can take quite some time but it’s worth it. Climate change is a topic that people feel strongly about, and it is valuable to have that conversation before diving into the workshop.

Round 1: Brainstorm

What is needed to halve our IT carbon footprint by 2030?

  • Write your ideas on post-its (1 idea per post-it)
  • Discuss your ideas in couples. Also write down new ideas that come up during your discussion.
  • Make groups of 4, discussion and brainstorm for any new ideas.
  • Plenary discussion

Round 2: Circle of Influence

How can you contribute from your role?

  • Plot your ideas from round 1 into the circle of influence.
  • In (the same) groups of 4: Try to shift as many ideas inward by rephrasing the ideas in the outer circles and try to make them smaller.
  • Discuss your findings plenary

Round 3: 15% solutions

  • Write down any first step you can do without approcal or resources from others. Actions that you can start with right away
  • Refine your actions in your breakout group: help each other define actions that are both impactful and achievable in the coming sprint.

For more inspiration:

Jutta Eckstein – Agile & Sustainability

Green Software Foundation

The Planet as a Stakeholder

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