TL;DR — Standards are important, but not so much that we shift our focus from the rapid & continuous delivery of value to merely getting Scrum right.
It’s that time of year again. No, I’m not talking about the 10 pounds of ‘Christmas Cheer’ we’ll pack on while lightening our wallets by $1,000 or so. Rather, I’m alluding to you parents out there who will invariably have to attend some form of a holiday performance by your child’s choral, orchestral, dance, and/or theatrical concern.
Oh, I’m not here to knock them. They’re cute, they’re fun, they’re memorable, and they consume at least 1 terabyte of storage we’ll hold onto in a safety deposit box so we can later embarrass our offspring in front of future spouses, grandchildren, or a jury of their peers.
Instead, I mention such concerts and dramatic productions because they are, after all, important learning experiences both for our children and ourselves in our approach to Agile.
I know what you’re thinking, “Yo, Dean, put down the eggnog and take an Uber home, there is no way my kid’s dancing to a rock-n-roll version of ‘Santa Claus is coming to town’ has anything to do with Scrum.”
Yet, ask any music teacher of elementary and middle-school students, while they may struggle with getting their pupils to hit all the notes (or steps), what they pursue is a vision of passionate performances where those little black dots strung along bar lines are transformed into soaring phrases and magnificent messages.
The same can be said for scrum masters working with those relatively new to Agile. Sure, it’s important that we understand the underlying standards that drive the process, but in the end, we want is for those meetings to have meaning, and those little black letters in the user stories transformed into delightful features of value.
Here’s how I sum up the above sentiment in a conversation on Twitter where I concluded with this:
We live in a world of people adhering to standards they don't necessarily understand, at least not 100%.
Others only understand the letter of the law, never really comprehending the heart of it.
Just like some people with great voices singing the notes, but never making music.
— Dean Peters☕ (@deanpeters) December 9, 2018
Something to ponder the next time you’re packed into a semi-padded seat in a crowded auditorium full of smartphones raised in the air to capture the gleeful voices of children rocking our worlds to a dubstep-infused rendition of “Little Drummer Boy.”