My biggest lessons after two days of Scrum master training

Posted by on augustus 3, 2016

This week I spent two intense days following the Scrum master training with one of the founders himself, Jeff Sutherland! We could call him Jeff 😉
I have been working with Scrum for over a year now and I thought it was time to become a certified Scrum master.

I like to share the biggest lessons I have learned after the two day Scrum master training. This is my personal take on the course and not meant to be a true summary of the content of the training.

For those who don’t know, Scrum is a framework for effective team collaboration on complex projects.

alex met guru scrum– Jeff is really convinced Scrum is the answer for a whole lot of problems.
To be honest, at the beginning I thought his tone was a bit too strong. Could Agile Scrum be this wonder cure? I have worked with Scrum now for a while and I’m an absolute supporter, but wasn’t this too much of a ‘Hallelujah’ session? For instance, fighter jets built for 20% of the normal cost or teams increasing their productivity for 800%.
The day after the training I met a colleague and as we discussed Scrum she mentioned a project she was struggling with. Several projects at the same time, unclear tasks, several extensions of deadlines, poor communication with stakeholders and a real motivation drain. Sounds familiar? In discussing this problem I was constantly referring to aspects of Scrum to help get this project on the right track again. I got really excited by seeing the potential of Scrum to help my colleague and her project. With Scrum everyone knows what to do, everyone gets their job done on time (or else you know it within a day), stakeholders are constantly in the loop and everyone enjoys his or her work better.

But why do we still see organizations struggling with Scrum?

– Scrum should be fully implemented to have a really big effect.
Here lies the biggest challenge for many Scrum masters, Agile coaches, managers, team members, CEO’s and who ever wants to be more effective and make more money. Scrum is a collection of proven best practices and scientific insights in how people really work. It takes into account a lot of our shortcomings and has built a framework in which teams can be really effective and learn from each other. The best way is to organize your organisation so it supports the teams who are doing the work. However it takes a lot of guts to really change the way your organization works. Managers might feel redundant (not necessarily), people feel as if their work is exposed and in general people just don’t like change. So these are the risks of implementing Scrum. Do you get the rest of the organization moving to make Scrum work? If so, I am sure a suitable organization will thrive as a whole. If the organization doesn’t budge, Scrum won’t be effective and will probably lead to frustration and a return to the old methods. Or at best you’ll have one Scrumming team within an old style organization.

– An (Agile) Scrum culture change starts with a good conversation.
Next to my laptop is the 290+ slidedeck in book-form explaining the framework of Scrum. I see this as an extensive rule book in ‘how to play Scrum’. But by reading, understanding and implementing these rules within any organization, you don’t have an Agile Scrum organization, let alone a Agile Scrum culture. This is where the field of behavioral change comes into play! 😀 From the field of (social, clinical etc.) psychology there is a world of models, theories and methods used for behavioral change (cultural change begins with behavioral change). When combining Scrum methods and methods from modern psychology, improvement of performance is expected. Although this field is far from perfected, it’s very suitable for the deeper implementation of Scrum within an organization.  And as with any therapy, this starts with a good conversation.

So far my thoughts on Agile Scrum after my Scrum master training. I think Scrum can be very effective unless implemented fully. I believe the methods used in the field of psychology can help in really integrating Scrum among the people within an organization. What are your thoughts about this subject?

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