Saturday, December 31, 2011

Do not forget. When having Agile Meetings, Managers, Stakeholders and clients have busy schedules as well.

I wanted to make a post about a disturbing trend I've been seeing in different Agile environments.

Agile Methodologies give the team members a certain level of respect and Responsibility.

Team members are empowered to self-organize, reach out of their teams, arrange meeting rooms, and basically Get the Job Done.

Product Owners, Managers, Project Managers, Stakeholders, Clients, and many other people are part of regular communications with team members where there was none before.  This includes but is not limited to the Planning and Review meetings, constant email, voice and personal communication.  This may be a new experience for many team members.  In an environment where SCRUM or OpenAgile is NEW to the organization, this can be even more of a concern.

If for instance, your team has arranged a review meeting for a specific date and time, you REALLY should make a point of being there on time.  After all; you are expecting other people in the organization to show up so they don't slow you down.

If you are a Scrum Master, acting as an OpenAgile Process Facilitator, or simply anybody interested in Agile as a framework, please consider not showing up for meetings on time to be a serious Obstacle or Impediment to success.  

Those that are invited are supporting you and treating you with the necessary respect to allow you to work in an Agile Environment.  The same respect is due in return.

Leaving a VP, CIO, CEO or any stakeholder sitting in a room waiting for 30 to 45 minutes while the team members meander in is not appropriate (and not very wise) in ANY environment.  The difference when applying SCRUM is that this type of behavior, is MUCH MORE OBVIOUS and transparent to the organization.

Those same people you are making wait will some day need to stand in a room to fight for your rights as a team.  They may need to explain to another executive why they should make time out of their busy day to attend a team meeting and put other business off for an hour.

Agile is not an open license to treat others as though their time is not valuable.  The reason an Agile framework is successful is that it allows managers and those that used to "control" you to do other tasks which have their own significance and importance to the company or group you're in.  They are ALSO busy!

Mike Caspar

References :

Monday, December 12, 2011

The Pursuit of True Agility and Jazz Music

A manager I am working with recently sent me this link. I have seen this topic discussed before, but never so nicely worded. Thanks Charles.

It is a discussion about how Jazz music is different than Classical music and how that knowledge could help to understand Agility. Great post. I think we'll hang this on the wall somewhere in the team room. Read more

Friday, December 9, 2011

Scrum Master, Process Facilitator, Growth Facilitator. Managers or Leaders or Neither?

I have recently read a book my brother-in-law let me borrow titled First, break all the rules *1.

It is written based on results of a survey by Gallup of over 60,000 managers at 400 Corporations.  The book is based on written and actual in-person interviews.  It has an interesting concept regarding the difference between Great leaders and Great managers.

In short, the definitions are as as follows;

 -Great Leaders focus OUTWARD.  This includes thinking about how the group, business unit, section, division, corporation, community will interface, operate and thrive in relation to the external world as his/her group moves into the future.   The leader looks for upcoming obstacles, competition, market trends, and opportunities for growth within their realm.  That realm could be at any level down to the smallest business unit or small group of people.

Great Managers focus INWARD. This includes thinking about the personal interaction between the people and businesses in their care.  This might include providing feedback on ways to improve, recommendations for training, guiding career futures, and helping their unit work efficiently as a group.  In some cases, managers will have direct impact on what and how the employees under their care will grow and learn.

I spent some time trying to figure out how to map these ideas to the Scrum Master, Coaching roles and to the Growth Facilitator and Process Facilitator capacities of Open Agile and had some trouble with the mapping.

This got me thinking.

This MAY be the reason why corporations have such a hard time defining the roles and fitting them into their structure.

Where does the OpenAgile Process Facilitator fit?  A Process Facilitator is neither.  Well, maybe more of a manager? 

What about the OpenAgile Growth Facilitator?  Is that capacity more of a "leader"... Hmmm... doesn't quite fit.

The Scrum Master role is even more obscure in this comparison.

The Scrum Master is not managing anyone, yet still enforcing the rules of Scrum, encourages the improvement of skills and agile techniques and assists to protect the team members from outside interference.  These clearly appear at first glance to be Manager attributes.  However, the Scrum Master is not a manager.

The Scrum Master is looking outward for potential obstacles, working to try and grow Agile in the organization and working hard to try and teach others as to its’ goals and purpose.  These appear at first glance to be the role of a leader.  However, the Scrum Master is not a leader.

I now can see why Corporations have such a hard time identifying the Scrum Master in their organizations. Scrum Masters basically don’t fit either category, yet most corporate hiring is done based on hiring of “leaders” and “managers”.

Interesting (to me at least) :-> 

Mike Caspar

Open Agile
*1                       FIRST, Break all the rules; Marcus Buckingham & Curt Coffman