Are You Resistant to Change?

Are you resistant to change?  One of the reasons people attend Collaborative Leadership Team’s courses is to learn a different way of working.  Many, however, spend the duration of the course trying to figure out how to make Agile and Scrum into exactly what they are doing currently.  Angela Johnson, Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile Coach shares information she recently learned about why change is so hard.

Fake Scrum: Half the Work in Twice the Time for Twice the Price


In Dr. Jeff Sutherland’s book, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time, he shares successes organizations are experiencing by following a simple framework called Scrum.

This involves ending the practice of time-slicing people (as if they are heads of lettuce) across multiple projects (which are temporary endeavors) and getting real about priority.  If it’s “all” priority then nothing is and people are forced to guess. 

Lately I’m feeling like what companies really want is Fake Scrum.  You know - Half the Work in Twice the Time for Twice the Price.  Because that is what is transpiring in reality.

As a Certified Scrum Trainer and Transformation Coach I see Fake Scrum spreading like an epidemic.  Companies think that by saying the word Scrum or the word Agile that they will mystically go faster. Yet those same companies have not made one change.

They still time-slice people across multiple “Scrum projects”.  They keep people in the old Waterfall roles of Project Manager, Business Analyst, Programmer, Tester, User Experience, etc. and then “add” or hire additional people such as Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches to work on top of that Waterfall structure.  In Scrum there is no such thing. 

As a result, leaders of these organizations spend Twice the Time and Twice the Money and get Half the Work or Value for their customers.  Then those very same leaders will say “Scrum doesn’t work”. Scrum means checking those old titles at the door and having those people perform the work differently. 

What???

You didn’t really use Scrum!  You talked a bunch of Scrummy vocabulary and maybe stood up for 15 minutes at a meeting.  That is not doing the work differently.

My fear is that Fake Scrum is “winning”.  It is becoming the new norm.  So my question is why bother at all?

If the way you are working right now is producing the results desired in the timeframe promised and you are delighting your customers.  Don’t change a thing!

If that is not happening and you want to try something different, that means actually making changes. Scrum can help organizations focus and make real change – if used as directed. If we do not use as directed, results do vary.  Companies who are really making change to the way they do work are reporting lower costs and delivering value to their customers more rapidly.

What’s the difference between companies making these changes and companies doing Fake Scrum?  Choice. That’s the good news! The choice is any organizations to make. Work with each other to figure how best to make the changes to delight the customers and deliver value to them.

Want to learn more from companies making these changes?  Join us for Scrum Day MN on October 5, 2017. The event is a non-profit day facilitated by Collaborative Leadership Team to bring people together to learn from one another. Proceeds after expenses are met will be donated to a Minnesota charity. In 2016 we raised $5,000 for Second Harvest Food Shelf. For more information or to register please visit: http://www.scrumdaymn.com/

Practicing Scrum

Synopsis

Doctors and Lawyers often refer to what they do as Practicing Medicine or Practicing Law. This represents the fact that despite their years of training and experience they will still be confronted with new and unique challenges that they couldn’t have prepared in advance to deal with. Scrum and Agile professionals are dealing with a similar situation. Scrum and Agile talk about suggested courses of action but the exact combination of actions is often a judgement call based on experience and context. Scrum Training talks about a set number of ceremonies, roles, etc. but the exact way to put those elements together is left to the unique situation.

In addition- the idea of Practice also carries with it the idea of a “beginner’s” mind. Even after years of training and experience Doctors and Lawyers are still required to continue schooling and learning to keep current with the latest information available. As the Agile Manifesto points out- we are “uncovering” ways to use our tools and techniques and urges us to continue to view the world as a learning environment. Scrum even mandates a piece of their Framework to the Retrospective- a time where to team comes together to put themselves under a microscope for the improvement of all.

So the next time someone ask you as a Training Agile Scrum professional say- “I’m practicing Agile!”

Video Transcript

Hello my name is Dean Gabbert and I am an Agile Coach and Trainer with Collaborative Leadership Team.

In this session, I want to talk about an idea or recurring theme if you will - that I’ve been thinking about for the past couple of years. It’s the idea of practice – specifically, the way a Doctor or Lawyer will describe what they do as “practicing” medicine, or “practicing” law.

It’s made me wonder if we, as scrum and agile professionals shouldn’t be taking the same approach? Think about it, regardless of how many years a doctor has been working, regardless the number of surgeries performed, the countless patients treated – they are still presented with situations that they have never seen or experienced in all their years of practice – and that will never stop happening. The rate of change in medicine – and in most fields for that matter -is so fast that to think you have actually mastered something, could be a very dangerous attitude to adopt.

In addition to the notion that this mindset requires a never-ending quest for knowledge, another reason why I really like it, is that it encourages and promotes the notion that we are constantly experimenting, trying new things, gathering the feedback and making adjustments.

If doctors can ‘practice’ medicine, agilest can – and should – practice new scrum and agile ideas.  Think of the value this adds in how we develop products and how we interact with our teams and stakeholders!

So go ahead – try it out for yourself. The next time someone asks you what you do – reply with “I’m a practicing ScrumMaster ” or “I’m a practicing Product Owner” and see how it feels. You’ve got nothing to lose – it’s just practice.

Thanks for taking the time to watch this video and

Do Good Scrum.

About Collaborative Leadership Team:

Collaborative Leadership Team (CLT) is the premier Agile Consultancy. We believe in the Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto. Our mission is to train and coach Individuals, Teams and Leaders. This will improve their ability to deliver valuable, consistent, working product. Companies that adopt this way of working will reduce their cost of change and keep up with the evolving demands of their Customers. CLT helps you achieve your goals through Assessments, Training, Coaching and Mentoring.

Since 2010, CLT has had a significant impact on the way people and organizations achieve higher levels of productivity:

  • Over 15,000 Students trained in Agile & Scrum
  • Over 100 Organizations (Fortune 500 to family businesses) are achieving their goals by transforming and adopting Agile & Scrum

CLT brings Agile experience from all areas of business and technology. The Executive Suite, Software Development, Hardware Development, and Team Dynamics & Optimization.

For more information including Training offerings, Coaching offerings, Client Feedback. and more, please visit us at http://collaborativeleadershipteam.com

Working Agreements

Synopsis

In Certified ScrumMaster courses a common concern of new Scrum Masters is how to be a more effective coach and help their teams improve.  One thing any Scrum Master can do to immediately add value and help the team that they are serving is to facilitate the creation of Working Agreements.  Maybe you’ve referred to these as Team Norms, Core Values or Rules of Engagement but for our purposes I’m going to refer to them as Working Agreements.  Why are these important for a Scrum team? Without working agreements, it’s really just a collection of people and not really a team. An effective Scrum Master, as active facilitator, can certainly help the Development Team and Product Owner create these agreements.

The Scrum Master can also be the steward of the working agreements, ensuring that they are posted where everyone can see them. It’s best to keep these short to ensure that they are well understood and of course, ensuring that they are enforced.

What are typical things found in these agreements? They can be tactical, such as the agreed upon times for all Scrum Events and then being on time for these events. They can also include protocol if someone cannot attend an event and how information is shared to those who are not able to attend.

An example would be sending a group text, posting to a Slack channel or sending a group email, so that everyone on the team is aware.

These agreements can also include more cultural aspects of what it means to be a part of this team.  Here are a few examples from our own Collaborative Leadership Team working agreements. We will assume positive intent. Which means, we won’t make bad assumptions about somebody else when we don't have all of the information. Another example is that it's okay to use humor but not to launch missiles at each other. It’s OK to have fun but not to cross a line to put someone down.

Revisit the working agreements from time to time and add new, relevant items or remove items that are no longer relevant.  This is the active way the team agrees to engage with each other so it should be current and visible. Hopefully, these tips have been helpful to you as you begin establishing Working Agreements with your teams.

Video Transcript

Hi. I'm Angela Johnson, Certified Scrum Trainer and Agile Transformation Coach with the Collaborative Leadership Team. Today, I'd like to talk to you about working agreements. Why are these important for our Scrum team? Well, without working agreements or team norms, you might just be a collection of people and not really a team. A good Scrum Master as active facilitator can certainly help facilitate bringing these about. They can also then be the steward of the working agreements, so that they are posted where everyone can see them. Keeping them short, making sure they are well understood and of course, enforcing them. What's in a working agreement? These can be tactical, such as being on time for Scrum events. What happens if you can't attend a Scrum event? There may be a working agreement that says, send a group text or send a group email, so that everyone on the team is aware.

They can also be things that are more cultural and what it means to be on this team. Let me share just a few examples of those from our own Collaborative Leadership Team working agreements. One of our working agreement says, we're going to assume positive intent. Which means, let's not make bad assumptions about somebody else when we don't have all the information. Another one of our working agreements says, it's okay to use humor but not to launch missiles at each other. Hopefully, these tips around working agreements has been helpful to you as you try to establish a few of your own. For more information about what it takes to be a great Scrum Master, please join one of our classes at https://www.collaborativeleadershipteam.com/upcoming-courses. Thanks for listening.

About Collaborative Leadership Team:

Collaborative Leadership Team (CLT) is the premier Agile Consultancy. We believe in the Values and Principles of the Agile Manifesto. Our mission is to train and coach Individuals, Teams and Leaders. This will improve their ability to deliver valuable, consistent, working product. Companies that adopt this way of working will reduce their cost of change and keep up with the evolving demands of their Customers. CLT helps you achieve your goals through Assessments, Training, Coaching and Mentoring.

Since 2010, CLT has had a significant impact on the way people and organizations achieve higher levels of productivity:

  • Over 15,000 Students trained in Agile & Scrum
  • Over 100 Organizations (Fortune 500 to family businesses) are achieving their goals by transforming and adopting Agile & Scrum

CLT brings Agile experience from all areas of business and technology. The Executive Suite, Software Development, Hardware Development, and Team Dynamics & Optimization.

For more information including Training offerings, Coaching offerings, Client Feedback. and more, please visit us at http://collaborativeleadershipteam.com

Sprint Review

Christian: Hi, I'm Christian Antoine.

Dee: I'm Dee Rhoda. We're with Collaborative Leadership Team. Christian, do you do Sprint Reviews?

Christian: Yes, we do Sprint Reviews at the end of every Sprint.

Dee: Okay. Well, why do you do them?

Christian: This is our chance to see where the Product is at and talk to the Development Team that are building it for to see if we're building the right thing, or if we're heading down the wrong way. Good or bad, we always want to show where we're at or where we're not at and share what we're learning.  This is a very important opportunity for the Stakeholders, Executives, and anybody else that is interested in the product, to come and see how the product is progressing.  They can “see & feel” the product while asking questions and giving the Product Owner new ideas about how the product could evolve.  

Dee: Hmm, because, you know, our team didn't really produce anything this last Sprint so as a Scrum Master I was thinking about canceling the whole thing.  

Christian: I can see why you'd think that, but actually it's not necessarily meant to be a demonstration of what you did do. We would like to strive for a potentially shippable product.  If you don't have anything that you can demonstrate, you still have that Sprint Review because you want to tell them, "Here's what we learned," or, "Here's what we're going to try next."  And let them ask questions and get a better understanding of the product.  This is a great opportunity for everybody to come together and have a face to face conversation about the product.  Status reports are good, but nothing will replace the information that can be shared (flowed) during a face to face conversation.

Who do you see at your Sprint Reviews?

Dee: Anybody and everybody that needs to know what's going on with the Product that we're building. I definitely need my Product Owner there teeing it up. I need my Development Team there because they own pushing this out, and I need Stakeholders, Business Partners, and anybody else from other Scrum Teams that might need to hear about what we're doing.

Christian: What about your Scrum Master?

Dee: They have to be there. They're the facilitator of the whole process. They're the one even before the Sprint Review making sure that the Product Owner is ready to do that sprint review.  This meeting is important for the Product Owner to manage the Stakeholders.. This reduces the need for the Product Owner to have a dozen or more one-off meetings sharing information with individual Stakeholders.  Brining them all together into one room allows for information to be shared between Stakeholders.  Sometimes that information may not even have anything to do with the Product, but it is still essential for the organization.  The Sprint Review can help build all kinds of relationships.  

Christian: Cool.

Dee: Yeah.

Christian: How do you capture feedback? Because I'm sure if you showed somebody something, they might see it and go, "Huh? You know what? I don't know if I like that anymore."

Dee: That stuff has to be captured, as you said, and put on the Product Backlog so that the Product Owner can review that with their Scrum Team and anybody else who might be interested in refining that Product Backlog. We call that a PBR.  Product Backlog Request.  

Christian: I think I heard that somewhere.

Dee: Me too. Me too, yeah.

Christian: Let's say the Scrum Team didn't finish some work. They got some work done but some work is not done. What do they do with that work?

Dee: Well, then that needs to be refined. It needs to be a discussion between the Scrum Team, the Product Owner, Stakeholders and Business Partners to decide whether or not we're even going to complete that work, and if we're going to complete that work when we're going to complete it.  Just because the work was prioritized before, it may not be important anymore  

Christian: Sweet.

Dee: Yeah.

Christian: You know, I think we should point them to where we're supposed to go next if they want more information.

Dee: I think we should too. Why don't you point?

For more information about Agile Training and Coaching from the Collaborative Leadership Team, please visit us at collaborativeleadershipteam.com.