It’s a little before 8 am on Friday morning the 8th of November when I arrive at the “Kainstobbe Teahouse” in Wildervanksterdallen (NL). This will be the training location for today. With an inspiring view over the fields as far as you can see.
After everyone arrived we first enjoyed the various teas in the selection, so much to choose from. After tea (some had coffee) the participants started telling each other one-on-one why they came to my training. The mainline was wanting to know more about Scrum themselves but also some skepticism to scrum; “we see scrum everywhere, but we hardly see it work in the right way, why is that?”.
Is it true what’s in the Scrum guide? “Scrum is simple to understand, but hard to master”? We tried to find out during the day. The participants are freelance experienced project and service managers and HR, IT and Financial Consultants. They’ve been around for many years working in or seeing different Scrum implementations in organizations with varying successes.
I always tell this Scrum Fairy tale: “Once upon a time over the hills came this very friendly Product Owner who owned an ordered Product Backlog containing everything valuable needed in the product, representing what all stakeholders expect and hope for. And waiting for this amazing PO is this development team ready to create those valuable items in done increments”.
Simple to understand, hard to master: On what product are we working, is the Product Owner empowered to make decisions, do we know our stakeholders and do we help them with what they want, is the development team self-organizing, do we have all the skills needed to create the product increment and have no sub-teams, does the organization facilitate this way of working, or do they try to manage it.
While going through the Scrum framework step by step we had interesting discussion about the “theory” and what we see around us and what we can do to make small changes without being locked in “but that’s impossible, that will never work, or at least not in my organization”.
Every two hours we were delighted with “High Tea”. We had sandwiches, muffins, scones with clotted cream and the owner came over a couple of times to tell stories about the area (Veenkoloniën), what a kainstobbe is, how to roast the best coffee and many more interesting things. We were quite entertained.
We came to a sort of conclusion that Scrum is hard to master, but not impossible. Keep your back straight (you know what you’re doing and know it will work), persuade others to improve every day, explain what the change will do, think out of the box and don’t give up.
Around 5 pm, everyone was exhausted but also energized with new insights about Scrum and how-to-start.
Sandra Warmolts, Kropswolde, 2019 November 10