Monday, May 13, 2013

The Organzation of our Scrum course

First, is a Scrum Team organized?

Well, a good Scrum is more adaptive, probably, than it is ‘organized’.  Of course, we can debate the meaning of these words, but during a day or during a sprint, or during a release, I usually would rather that the Team be adaptive, than that they follow an organized plan. As one example.
This is one small reason that our Scrum course is not organized in a strictly logical way.
Second, why do Scrum Teams fail?

Well, there are many reasons. One key reason that is not true: They were not intellectually able to fight through the complexity of the explicit knowledge around the bare framework of Scrum.

In fact, the bare framework of Scrum is very very simple. (On purpose.)  And understanding the explicit knowledge around that is quite easy.

Hence, we are not worried that we need to organize the course so that the attendees build in their minds ‘complexities upon complexities’ about Scrum.  If Scrum were complex, for example, like the
Calculus, then we would have to organize the course a different way.

Again, Scrum is ‘holistic’ or interdependent.  One cannot understand one part of Scrum without understanding how it works with or plays with another part of Scrum.  ‘No man is an island’ as John Donne famously said.  So, we like to continually weave from one thing to another, so that this weaving starts to be embedded in the ‘back’ minds of the attendees.

So, one of the key problems is tacit knowledge. Getting the tacit knowledge and all that that means into their heads.  But, honestly, not just into their heads, but their hearts, their souls, their guts, their bodies.

And one of the big problems is that the attendees, or many of them, resist intellectually.  So, as in Zen, we have to confuse the intellectual mind in order to enable real learning to happen faster.  Or, as the Army says, we have to break them down in order to build them back up again.

We have to ‘go around’ or ‘get behind’ the intellectual resistance that is common to just about all of us. So, one technique is to do exercises. But not following a highly logical flow to the course is another technique. Surprising the attendees (in small ways) is another technique. Humor is another technique.  Improvisational exercises is another technique. Food is another technqiue.  Addressing them, and getting to know them, as a person is another technique.

For some, our techniques (and there are actually many) are…umm, disconcerting. If one is the organized, intellectually rigorous, ‘it is all about thinking and logic’ type of person, it can feel a bit uncomfortable.  But if one has at least an intellectual understanding or some real experience that says that people and real life do not always follow our pre-conceived intelectual notions, then it is not so uncomfortable.

So, I admit that the course to a new person, or at least a few, can feel uncomfortable. (Actually, my impression is that most people enjoy it. About 95%.  But not all.)

If, in the course you tell me you have that feeling, then I will offer some advice. First, that we will address the topics, or most of them, that are on the one-page (two-sides) outline of ‘Scrum’ we hand out (it is really more than just Scrum).  And we will follow, mostly, the outline on the website. (Except not in that order.)  And that we will follow the slides, pretty much sequentially.  Except that we will cover additional things that are not shown on slides.

We have a strong confidence that most real learning is not logical. It happens in the sub-conscious mind, where a whole bunch of experiences are ‘put together’ by the brain into a ‘logical’ way of looking at the world.  Assembled into a pattern or set of patterns. And we are forcing your brain to break down old patterns, and rebuild all that ‘stuff’ into new patterns. And we have a strong confidence that all of out attendees can do that.

And we also know, sadly, that many are so much ‘controlled’ by what we call ‘waterfall ideas’ that they will not be able, after only 2 or 3 days, to really replace the waterfall patterns with agile/scrum patterns.  So, we are sad when we do not succeed in this way.  It does happen.

Would we succeed better if we presented things in a more organized, more logical way?  Well, in a very small sense with a very few people, they might at least say ‘it was a good logical presentation’.  And they, that small group, would feel better.  But we are completely convinced that, if you look at the overall results, we would be much much lower.

Remember that our goal is not teaching. Nor learning. Nor even action by the attendees. Our goal is to achieve real results with Scrum. For the person, for that person’s team, and for that person’s customers. One never will achieve real results with merely a ‘logical understanding’ of our work.

We are not after explicit knowledge. We are after ‘a sense of urgency’ and the tacit knowledge that leads to successful results.

I wish you every success in having fun in achieving real results.

No comments: