How often can we say that we’ve found our true calling in life? Since July 2001, I have been working as a Software Engineer for a very large multi-national corporation. For the last seven years, I have served as Lead Designer on our flagship workstation product, coordinating the efforts of cross-functional development teams both on and off-shore. During my tenure, I found, and embraced the Agile software development model – specifically Scrum. The principles of the Agile practices resonate very well with my personal philosophy. I believe in collaboration. I believe in investing the teams with the power to do the job we hired them to do. When I started shepherding the adoption of Scrum within our organization, I discovered my inner teacher — my inner mentor. I discovered the joy of watching a group of individuals learn to work together, and become a team.
I am the head Agile trainer within our organization. I can’t call myself a “Scrum Coach” or “Scrum Trainer”, since I have not been anointed by the Scrum Alliance, but I can claim “Certified Scrum Master”, “Certified Scrum Product Owner”, and “Certified Scrum Practitioner”. But even without the official moniker, I have probably trained over 300 people in the use of Scrum for product development within our organization. I call this Scrum Team training – an overview of the subject at a team level that the Scrum Alliance seems to have left off the curriculum. The training consists of a half-day overview of Scrum, a half day of Advanced Topics, and a full day of Agile Estimation and Planning Techniques. There is also an additional half-day for ScrumMasters, and another additional half-day for Product Owners. I’ve recently added a two-hour Executive Overview in an attempt to bring management onto the same page as the development teams.
I can honestly say, I loved every minute of teaching those classes. It gives me a chance to observe the way different people approach Agile…some who embrace it, others who approach with cautious skepticism, as well as those who resist with every fiber of their being. But it is with the benefit of these alternate points of view that I make many of my observations. It is from watching their common struggles that I derive many of my stories.
In the local Agile Community, I am a founding member of the Chicago Chapter of the Agile Project Leadership Network (APLN Chicago), and am currently serving as Board President. APLN Chicago is facing the challenge of building a community of Agile Leaders. Not just the people with CTO or Manager in their title, but the people who are actively working to bring change to their organizations. Our goal is to serve as a sounding board and support group for the people who (like me), are facing ongoing challenges in their Agile adoption plan.
In 2009, I spoke at the Agile 2009 conference in Chicago, presenting the topic of “Weaponized Scrum”, a tale of how the visiblity of Agile can be (mis)used against teams, and the damage it can cause. I’ll provide a summary of that topic at some point in the future.
This year I intend to start sharing the experiences of the last five years with all of you. I hope you enjoy reading these tales as much as I enjoy writing them. Believe me, they’re not always going to be heartwarming stories where the hero defeats the villian. I’m not at the end of the movie yet, so ultimate victory is still a ways off.
APLN Chicago Board President (www.aplnchicago.org firstname.lastname@example.org)
Software Engineer, CSM, CSPO, CSP, Agile Coach and Trainer @ Siemens Industry, Inc. (email@example.com)