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Cape Town, Western Cape, South Africa
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Monday, January 18, 2010

SCRUM and AGILE and how to NOT do it.

Scrum and Agile are two buzzwords that currently rank high on the list of technical jargon. Awesome ideas and methodologies which can seriously enhance the way your staff delivers products, which when implemented wrong could be the biggest mistake you have ever made within your company.

The thought behind Agile is that staff members self manage and self motivate themselves to get products off the shelf. An Agile team basically sets itself up with the mandate to get work out the door. The fact that the project is self managed within the team means that you have an awesome bunch of people that are highly skilled but even more important, highly motivated which are now engaged with what they are doing and therefore churn out amazing results and therefore excellent products.

Scrum masters on the other hand are not managers at all but motivators and their only goal in life should be to assist the team to ensure that there is nothing impeding them to do the best work that they can achieve. So when Scrum masters start saying which work will be done and how long it wil take, then you start facing the problem that once again the team member actually doing the work is not in charge of his own life or surroundings, we all know how detrimental that could be to the IT developer type guy. Don't tell me what to do, then tell me how to do it and then to top it all tell me by when I must do it.

These thoughts have come to mind whilst reading another good book called "Why work sucks and how to fix it - Cali Ressler and Jody Thompson" The book website and Purchase from Amazon

The book describes a way to work called a ROWE (Results Only Work Environment) where every person is captain of his or her own ship. This means that your time is your own, your way of working is your own. You decide how, when and where you wil work. You still work (maybe harder now than ever) because suddenly just being at the office for 40 hours is not what you are being measured on, you now need to produce results that are directly measurable. Meaning this : No results, no job.

I suggest it as an excellent way to start working. Managers, change the way you measure your staff input. Make them excited to go to work for a change. Allow the staff to give you the best hours that they can. Not everyone works well from 8 to 5. Rather let the guy or girl who works best from 22h00 till 04h00 give you excellent results than let them just be in the office from 08h00 till 17h00 and not produce quality. It seems like a no brainer to me.

I am excited about this new year as it promises great things. Enjoy 2010