Sunday, December 30, 2012

The Spirit of Scrum

In the US, where I am, we speak of the spirit of Christmas. And while some people are a bit cynical about it, we think we actually see it sometimes.  It is meaningful.  And people do know what you are talking about.

In a roughly similar way, the spirit of Scrum is also real.

Some people think, it seems, that Scrum is mainly a set of practices.  And that is true, as far as it goes.

But the values and principles behind Scrum are probably more important.  This is related to how we coaches and trainers talk about how a person or a team or a company ‘gets it’.  When we say that, we mean more a real understanding of the values and principles.  Of the spirit of Scrum.

So, today I want to focus on three words: love, camaraderie, and adventure. I think all 3 of these feelings are key to successful Scrum.

By love, I mean the real but hard and tough affection and respect for people.  A willingness to accept both the good and bad about their full humanity.  A kind of love for the people in your team. (Not the ‘I love you, man’ of that famous commercial.)  And a kind of love for the customers.  That, for example, the Team deeply wants their lives to be better.

By camaraderie, I mean the feeling that, as Shakespeare put it, we are a happy band of brothers in war.  (Yes, the ladies are not excluded, of course, and might, in general, prefer a metaphor not so like war.  …a different metaphor for a different day.)  I mean helping each other, working together. And I mean a willingness to be honest with each other (‘I just can’t figure this dang thing out.’)

By adventure I mean the willingness to charge into the unknown of innovation. To try new things (a way of fixing an impediment).  To fail, and learn from it.  And, ultimately, a passion to overcome all the hard realities of life, and still get to the goal successfully.  In all the dimensions of success that are important.  Including treating all teammates as comrades and respecting what the customers really want and need. (For example, not sacrificing quality in a way seen as stupid by the customer.)

Wipe your glasses again, and see and feel the spirit of Scrum. It is in those 3 words; it is more than any 3 words.  It will make you and your team better.

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