The spirit of agile

The spirit of agile

Went on scrum master training recently. Passed. Whoop.

If I’m being totally honest going in was a tick box exercise. Get the certificate. Formalise the role I’ve been doing and crack on.

I wasn’t expecting to have lots of new knowledge bombs dropped, or become a different person as a result of 2 days in a classroom, but the biggest take away took me by surprise. And it might upset the purists #sorrynotsorry.

It wasn’t that you’re advised to rigorously follow the sprint cycles and ceremonies to get agile to work (which you’re not, because it simply provides a structure to use as a starting point)

It wasn’t that agile can only be used by certain projects, with certain people, in certain roles (because it works with anything if you take the time to understand it).

It wasn’t that there is a wrong way and a right way to peel post it notes (although this did form part of the agenda, and is in fact true).

It was that the spirit of working with agility is more important than everything else.

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The framework is a guideline, but nothing more. The roles are important, but not at the expense of adding waste or impeding success. It’s equally important to be creative and to apply your own twist to it to achieve maximum impact.

One should be willing to experiment constantly to find out what works. For you, your team, your organisation. To strive to find improvements that can be made. To come up with a hypothesis and to find a way test your hypothesis.

One size doesn’t fit all. Not by a long shot. For example:

  • Some teams don’t estimate their user stories. They’re all still alive.
  • Some teams don’t have scrum masters. They still get shit done.
  • Some scrum teams are made up of 20 + people. They still get high quality working code churned out every 2 weeks.

Yes, it’s fundimentally important to understand what the scrum process provides. How it’s designed to work. What the benefits are. Everyone should take the time to read up on this / attend a course. There is a reason why certain practices and principles are encouraged to be embedded – because it’s been proven to work (hopefully that helps get some of the purists back).

But what I loved about the course I took, was the encouragement to plant seeds, to see which ones take and blossom, and to continue to plant new ones all the time.

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To be willing to learn and benefit from what’s gone before, but not to settle for this as the only way.

To do what it takes to makes your teams success, even if this means making you uncomfortable. In fact if you don’t get uncomfortable you’re probably not trying hard enough.

Not to preach the virtues of scrum / agile, but to prove it works through experimentation and evidence.

Not to get caught up in what the book says, but to relax, enjoy and embrace the flexibility you have to make your own path.

That is the spirit of agile.

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