Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Have a problem with an Elephant in the room?

There is a vast amount of material on the internet about the importance of Leadership participation in support of Scrum Teams.

Every once in a while I am reminded ...

"Bert and Ernie: Let me tell you a secret"
by See-Ming-Lee

It's not all about leadership stepping up to the plate. 

Team members have responsibilities as well.

Have an elephant in the room (a secret no one is willing to talk about) ....

Consider the Scrum Values ... Here's a link...

Mike Caspar
Passionate About Agile


Photo courtesy of See-Ming-Lee via a Creative Commons attribution license.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Emoji Language and Comic Visual Language

I have a passion for learning about communication between people.

As many of you know, only a portion of communication between us can be achieved in the written or spoken word. 

Any idea that can enhance written communication is always worth learning about.

I recently came across a fascinating article about emoji. The author states... 
"I believe that emoji are still very useful for enhancing and enriching the text of our contemporary digital conversations and interactions, injecting a note of humour, affection or even melancholy into the most concise message." 
The author goes on to describe the Visual Language of Comics. I had never considered emoji or the Visual Language of Comics to be anything other than fun, but taking this view as an improvement to communication is fascinating. 

By example, a word in English might mean something to the writer but interpreted to mean something else by someone with an origin in a different language.

It is fascinating to me is that although the author feels the Visual Language of Comics is more powerful, there seems to be a natural evolution taking place with the emoji language and it already has the ability to improve written communication for everyone with a computer today.

Perhaps the power of emoji is the ability to have a written language combined with visual representation as a method of cross-check of intent. If the visual representation matches what I have assumed to be the message, my understanding is correct. 

As much as I enjoy comics, I know I'm a terrible artist. For me at least, this would be the reason I couldn't conceivably use Comic Language to communicate.

However, if I took emoji seriously, I think it could work.

Here, I'll give it a try...

The fact that I even call it a language, already blows me away.

Here is the original article for your reference....


Friday, October 9, 2015

This message made my weekend.

I received this today from the Principal at Hope High School where I've been volunteering as a coach.

Here is the message from the Principal. (the Scrum Product Owner ;->)....
Today is our retro, Edwin is so excited about trying a new way that he found. He was busy last night in his classroom drawing diagrams and pics with his new fat markers. When I walked in and saw him preparing I said "well well Mr. Caspar, what do we have here?" He is really doing a fine job!

Edwin is a High School Teacher who organically became the Scrum Master for the team of Teachers at the high school. A post about Edwin at the start of his journey a few weeks ago can be found HERE.

Hope High School is part of Blueprint Education where they are working to bring Agile values and principals into the classroom to allow students to learn 21st century skills. This journey started for them through the introduction of Agile Classrooms.

They are also proud to be sponsored by the Scrum Alliance.

I am so happy to hear such positive news from the school and that things are taking off there for them in more than just the classroom.

Generating Insights
... from Edwin's Retrospective.
(c) Copyright Blueprint Education, 2015
Used with permission.

I understand the students started their own team to help the community. I'm so happy that students have the space to try something so awesome for themselves.

Now.... off to enjoy my weekend :->

Mike Caspar
Passionate About Agile


Hope High School (facebook page)
Scrum Alliance and Blueprint
Agile Classrooms

Are you looking for more info for your own school, district or classroom, contact John Miller at .. or of course, feel free to reach out to me.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Scrum Master Service to the Organization

Many people know that the Scrum Master role involves removing impediments, coaching teams and being the team's voice for Scrum.

From the Scrum Guide.....
Scrum Master Service to the Product Owner 
The Scrum Master serves the Product Owner in several ways, including: 
  • Finding techniques for effective Product Backlog management;
  • Helping the Scrum Team understand the need for clear and concise Product Backlog items;
  • Understanding product planning in an empirical environment;
  • Ensuring the Product Owner knows how to arrange the Product Backlog to maximize value;
  • Understanding and practicing agility; and, 
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed.
Scrum Master Service to the Development Team
The Scrum Master serves the Development Team in several ways, including:
  • Coaching the Development Team in self-organization and cross-functionality;
  • Helping the Development Team to create high-value products;
  • Removing impediments to the Development Team’s progress;
  • Facilitating Scrum events as requested or needed; and,
  • Coaching the Development Team in organizational environments in which Scrum is not yet fully adopted and understood.

An often overlooked part of the importance
of a Scrum Master is ....
Scrum Master Service to the Organization
The Scrum Master serves the organization in several ways, including: 
  • Leading and coaching the organization in its Scrum adoption;
  • Planning Scrum implementations within the organization;
  • Helping employees and stakeholders understand and enact Scrum and empirical product development;
  • Causing change that increases the productivity of the Scrum Team; and,
  • Working with other Scrum Masters to increase the effectiveness of the application of Scrum in the organization.

Considering Service to the Organization, ask yourself....
  • Does my organization know this as a part of the Scrum Master's suggested skill-set?
  • What exists in my organization to help existing Scrum Masters get better at organizational coaching?
  • Does my organization allow the room for Scrum Masters to work with other Scrum Masters?
  • What would it take for all the Scrum Masters in my organization to provide this necessary part of the role within my organization?

Failure to recognize Service to the Organization as part of the Scrum Master role can significantly diminish the effectiveness of a Scrum Master in your organization.

A thought....

What will you do to help grow this role to it's full potential where you work?

Mike Caspar
Passionate About Agile


The Scrum Guide and the three duplicated sections are ©2014 Scrum.Org and ScrumInc. Offered for license under the Attribution Share-Alike license of Creative Commons, accessible at and also described in summary form at