Wednesday, January 12, 2011

The goal

Elihu Goldratt wrote a book called The Goal, which we recommend. TOC (theory of constraints) is embedded, to some degree, in Scrum, for example, we think.

But we wanted to talk about "the goal" a different way.

What is the goal of our courses?

Being shy and modest by nature (ok, yes, we act a different role if the part requires it, but this is our nature)...we do not think the goal has much to do with us. It is not, for example, what we say in the course.

Nor is it what the attendees learn. I really don't care about that anymore. Up, down, sideways: it is not really key. Necessary probably, but not key.

Nor is it the actions that the attendees take after they attend the course/workshop.

The goal: That they make their own lives better, that they make their team's lives better, that they make their customers lives better. And more than that, but that is enough.

We want results.

Now, our talking, their learning (Tacit and Explicit), their actions --- these are probably all necessary conditions to getting the results. But not sufficient. And maybe we want the results to also include money, but we agree with Peter Drucker that the purpose of the firm is to satisfy customers (not to get shareholder returns).

Now, what is our vision of the goal for Scrum?

Certification? Certainly not.

More 'scrum'.

More good Scrum (with no Scrum-But). Well....still no.

Again, to us the only worthwhile goal is better lives for the people involved.

Now, again, we do think more certifications, more courses, more Scrum, better/deeper Scrum, much less Scrum-But, etc, etc probably are necessary conditions to getting better real results. In fact, let me say that more strongly: Based on real experience, I am convinced that Scrum and better Scrum are key to better results for all new product development teams I can imagine. And for other kinds of teams as well. But not the sufficient, sole key.

(Unless one assumes that by starting continuous improvement, the team will necessarily go as fast as possible in the direction of positive change. A sweet assumption in some ways, but not one that attracts me as correct. In this "best of all possible worlds" -- meaning I think Voltaire satirized this sweet viewpoint quite well.)

And some other things are also needed (a nod to Ron Jeffries and others re this comment, to be discussed later).

"Where there is no vision, the people perish."

Meaning: If we all do not articulate a clear, strong, good, and bright vision, Scrum could be far less successful than it by rights ought to be. And "we all" are the Scrum community, speaking to ourselves and speaking to those who look to Scrum for some improvement. If we fail in this or do a poor job, many many people will have poorer lives than they deserve. And, god knows, there is so much improvement to make in our lives. Even in 2011. (smile)

PS. The picture is of the Blue Ridge Mountains. I go to them sometimes, when I need a moment of peace, of inspiration. "I lift mine eyes up unto the hills..." They are said to be the oldest mountains in the world, and this is almost actually true. Surely they have some majesty. Surely this is not without meaning.

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