The Tao of Scrum
Ok then, so I spent some of the week of 19th Feb 2010 learning all about SCRUM, not as in rugby but as in agile software development methodology. Interesting stuff, and possibly one of the most interesting bits was how you can apply some of the principles to almost anything. Some of the basic tennets reminded me of the Wing Chun principles
Resolve the biggest issues first
Work the highest priority on your list
worry about detailing lower priority work later to manage complexity in pieces
equate quite well to
Use the most direct form of attack
Conserve your energy
don't fight strength with strength.
Strange to see how things that make sense can appear time and again, wing chun has been around for several hundred years and yet the ideas have parallels in another subject.
But there is underlying another very old fashioned tennet,
Keep it Simple.
This is where SCRUM has some very good concepts, some very simple building blocks pull together to make what looks like a comprehensive methodology. Many people think of agile methods as allowing developers to do what they want, but this is just untrue, there is a prioritised list and the team are empowered (great buzzword) to produce the items on the list in the most effective manner. In Scrum there is clear visibility of team progress, to what would be considered micro management if it was an external manager doing the management, however the team are micro-managing their own time and it is visible to all what they are doing.
For me the fun part now is introducing the concepts to the work place, and getting teams 'hyper productive' to use the Scrum term, and that's where on the surface things get difficult, how shall we scale scrum? how do we collaborate across oceans? how do we operationalise the shift in method?
Nothing insurmountable, but a big challenge, so time to employ the confidence that we can gain from martial arts, time to follow those tennets, Don't waste energy, keep it direct, don't fight strength with strength, complexity is built from a lot of simple building blocks, a feint within a feint...
As things progress I'll put more up here on Scrum and how well it's going.
You can find more on Scrum at the Scrum Alliance
(a recently Certified Scrum Master)