Tuesday, July 20, 2010

One Size Does NOT Fit All!

Alot of people marketing themselves as CSMs are clearly not good enough, and have misunderstood the key concepts underlying Scrum... Some of the questions I see on groups from CSMs about the very fundamental basics of scrum are shocking.

This is evidenced in the increasing reliance of people on tools for scrum. Additionally, there is an increasing "cost" of the "infrastructure" that is coming with scrum projects is pushing the scrum community further and further away from its core values.

Scrum is about people thinking for themselves, in their specific environment, with the variables the team faces, collectively identifying potential options, experimenting with approaches, reviewing the results, inspecting and adapting...

It seems to me that too many people using Scrum are asking for help from external people, rather than working with their team to progress a problem. Scrum Masters should be talking to the people around them, the stakeholders, the team members, the 3rd parties and helping everyone to identify potential ways to move forward through innovating, iterating, communicating and negotiating.

External, anonymous people in web communities cannot possibly understand the variables your team is working with, or how best to remove impediments within the company, or how best to improve the capabilties of your specific team.

Your team know far more about the problem than anyone else!

I'm not saying that you should work in isolation, never looking at how others are resolving similar issues, but I do think that the act of thinking and problem solving is being lost in favour of "one size fits all" solution that someone else will tell you on a group discussion or from a couple of days consulting.

I believe in reading around a subject to gain knowledge and understand how others are resolving similar issues, but, the first action should be to think about it yourself, then with the team, or the customers... work with the people who are living through the same problems with you.

Learn to take on the challenge of defining a potential solution with your team, measuring the output and adjusting the solution until its resolved. Learn to communicate under pressure where not everyone agrees, learn to accept you don't know all the answers, and learn to trust in those around you and that together you'll find a solution, and then review and improve together.

And maybe your initial solution is not the best way to resolve a problem, but more importantly, you'll have worked on it together as a team in the right way. You'll have a joint feeling of having achieved a goal, and you'll be building the working relationships needed to continuously improve and adapt... You'll be better at solving the next problem together.

Generally, across the Scrum community, there needs to be more focus on people and communication, and less focus on tools, frameworks and asking for help outside of your environment.

Yes, the easy money is providing something tangible like a scrum tool, but the more important and fundamental change is achieved at the people level, by changing how teams interact and improve. This part is less tangible, takes longer, is harder, but is really what we're supposed to be doing.

Rant over!

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