Blog post

My NY resolutions from Scrum Master perspective

Published on 9th January 2018 author: Đorđe Babić

New Year’s resolutions have always been sort of a conflict for me. From one perspective it is good to plan ahead and work toward your goals, but from another, I am making a decision of setting a goal for a whole year in the beginning when I have the least info about the year. So this is obviously a sort of a mixed feeling dilemma. Now, I do believe in reflection, and in the Heart of Agile, and as a part of Reflect, Dr Alistair Cockburn proposes: Notice the change you want to see in the world.

As I think of this, I find it useful to look back at any given time and ask myself: Where was I this time last year? What has changed since then? What changes can contribute to my long term goals? But what does this have to do with New Year resolutions you may ask?

Well, I am glad that you asked me that. Instead of making NY resolutions and then either validate them or get disappointed a year later, we can play a game and imagine that this is a NY’s eve of 2016th: if we already know what we will accomplish in 2017th, if we know “the future” how would our resolutions look like on paper?

This game has many advantages as it’s not a wishful thinking or even planning, it’s a good  exercise to  help us define the changes we want to accomplish, and play on our advantages, thus setting ourselves firmly on our path.

So what were my 2017th NYR?

  • I would like to use my skills – set and abilities to achieve goals I am passionate about even when they’re not in my job description.

This means not to negotiate my position in the company in much details, but rather while accomplishing what is agreed and in line with company’s procedures, to use every chance to propose the way of work that I believe in.

  • I want to contribute to my teams by balancing listening and leading.

This means, while leading the team and teaching them useful techniques, always stay open to hearing what they find faulty and what stresses them. If someone is feeling unhappy or threatened it is not up to us to tell them they are wrong. You can say that you set up a very safe environment and flat structure, where honesty is appreciated, but if one employee doesn’t feel that way what can you accomplish by telling them that they are wrong, and explaining the reasons for it? Rather I would like to listen to their reasons, then try to systematize the desired outcome “describe an ideal working environment (in that regard) ”  and then repeatedly asses the reality with them  and notice what part of the ideal they can see, that already exists around them? Are we moving toward the ideal or away from it?  (Again notice the change you want to see in the world.)

  • I want to be involved in more meetups, hold workshops, have discussion with other Scrum Masters, collaborate and validate, what are we doing in real life that we value in theory?

This means to live the way we preach. We ask the teams to collaborate, so we should do the same. We teach the teams practices that are in their core assumptions (in a sense / this is the first time that these specific people are using them on this specific project) so do we as Scrum Masters, coaches and project managers collaborate and validate our assumptions? Do we often experiment and walk in each other’s shoes? What did we do and what we liked in our last company, and would we like to work the same way again?

Well, I can proudly say that I accomplished all three of my 2017th NYR, and some of them weren’t in my wildest dreams at the moment. They also gave me a lot of ideas for the following year, and I can’t wait to discover what 2018th NYR I am going to accomplish! 🙂

Đorđe Babić

An experienced Scrum Master certified by the Scrum Alliance. Đorđe is very passionate about forming teams, inter-team collaboration, and he firmly believes in iterative approach.