My personal (and non-technical) introduction to Scrum

January 25, 2007

I’m not a technical person. I don’t own an iPod or a laptop. I could care less about BlueTooth technology. My car does not have an onboard navigation system. Heck, I can’t even switch the remote control from TV to DVD without my husband’s help! I keep up with technology at a rate that allows me to do the things that I enjoy doing … which means that I’m continually slipping behind at a rapidly accelerating speed. Needless to say, up until recently, Scrum did not exist in my vocabulary.

Despite my deficit of technical knowledge, my business is now Scrum. Looking back, it seems like a natural progression. I know a lot about managing people. I know a lot about the difference between individual workers and a cohesive team. I’ve personally witnessed the transition from the former to the latter (I have also, sadly, witnessed the transition back). It makes sense that I would find myself in the business of increasing workflow and productivity through positive management techniques.

Anyhow, I dipped my toe into this Scrum pool to test the waters and am probably up to my knees these days (which still makes me a newbie, I know). My thought process from toes to knees is pretty garbled, but went something like this:

“ScrumMaster?! How corny is this?!” … “Isn’t this supposed to be a software thing?” … “Well, it’s got some good points.” … “Will somebody just tell me what to do already?!!” … “You people need some structure!” … “Team self organization RULES!”

I know that it’s not always gonna be good. It’s tough to be motivated all the time. It’s tough to manage coworkers when there’s no hierarchy to fall back on. And it’s easy to resist my coworkers’ management of myself. Regardless, I find myself becoming more and more passionate about Scrum. I want to jump all the way into the pool! But it’s a slow progression and that’s okay. Sometimes I’m frustrated and that’s okay too.

I have figured out that the benefits of Scrum are not exclusively for technical people. It’s a way of thinking and a way of coordinating those thoughts with others. I don’t need to know how to work my remote control to appreciate these things.

-Tommi

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