I’ve been working on my side-project, ScrumMasters.Com/munity over the past six weeks or so, trying to get it to a more user-friendly state. You can now add new resources, or endorse existing ones directly on the site (no more email!). The library is slowly building in size—and includes resources in six languages—but to be truly valuable it needs more growth.
Searching for “scrum” on Google gives 4,530,000 results, with some of the dullest and out-of-date information (e.g. the wikipedia entry) rising to the top. How does a new scrum master decide what to read to improve his or her craft? How does a practicing scrum master get newly inspired? Narrowing the search down to, e.g. “new scrummaster resources” gives some better results, but still over 600,000 of them. It’s tough to wade through thousands of entries, never really knowing if they are going to be helpful, and bumping up against promotions and sales pitches at every turn.
In collaboration with Dymaxicon, I’ve created a new Tumblr blog: The People’s Scrum. As well as being a vehicle for sharing readers’ thoughts on the book, this is a community blog, open to contributions from anyone interested in exploring how to take back ownership of Scrum from the hands of consultants, executives and certification bodies, and have it be embraced by the people doing the work.
Please read our Welcome Message, and consider how you might contribute.
"Work is of two kinds: first, altering the position of matter at or near the earth’s surface relatively to other such matter; second, telling other people to do so. The first kind is unpleasant and ill paid; the second is pleasant and highly paid." —Bertrand Russell, In Praise of Idleness
I was reminded of this quote recently [ref], from Russell’s 1932 essay. While it was likely spot-on at the time, referring as it did to manual laborers, office clerks, and factory workers, I’m wondering how it holds up in the knowledge era. I can think of many who move (virtual) matter and greatly enjoy it—and are well paid!. Likewise, I can think of many managers, still perhaps better-paid than their “first kind” counterparts, but not necessarily finding their work pleasant. Indeed, as the agile mindset penetrates our organizations this role can be a very baffling one, and often fraught with fear.
Does this shift indicate a business-cultural revolution? Is this the start, or are we deeply within it? And what is good and bad about what we see today, and what Russell saw 80 years ago? Just some food for thought—okay, snacks :)
The whole essay is well worth reading too. It’s a classic of its kind, and I was happy to discover it online. I can imagine it influenced the work of Tom deMarco, and even more likely that of Ricardo Semler.
I noticed there is a Scrum Gathering to be held in Paris at the end of September. As I plan to be in Europe at that time I decided to submit something, but it turned out I couldn’t. Submissions were closed in March. I started to wonder what that meant—an Agile conference, closing submissions six months before the event. I was worried about submitting something in the next month or two, knowing my ideas would have moved on by September. What kind of conferences is the Agile community running these days? Certainly not Agile ones.
This post is a response to the excellent Dysfunctional Commitment post, by George Dinwiddie. For context I recommend you read that post first, including the comments.
The term commitment has had a lot of attention again recently, especially in the context of Scrum’s “sprint commitment”. There is disagreement about whether or not commitment is a good thing in the context of software development where the environment is usually very complex, and there are so many unknowns. Part of the disagreement is a semantic one. Commitment can mean both “a pledge or promise” and “engagement; involvement” (dictionary.com). Those who decry commitment tend to focus on the first meaning, those, like me, who believe commitment is a valuable principle for building healthy organizations focus on the second.