Saturday, 18 June 2011

Jeff Sutherland seminar

Last week, I was lucky enough to attend to a Jeff Sutherland seminar (read his blog here) at the Dialogues Technology House in Amsterdam. I've been a fan of Scrum since I've encountered the Agile movement at the end of my study in Information Technology. So for me, it's exhilirating to hear someone speak that has been at the cradle of the Agile movement. This man has had an enormous influence on how we create software today and I think it has been a positive influence as well.

Jeff talked about why you should do Scrum, but if you've read Mike Cohn's excellent book 'Succeeding with Agile: Software development using Scrum' you know what he's talking about (and more). I won't bore you with why you should do Scrum (maybe later :-) ), but I have written down some notable statements from Jeff:
  • developers should be having fun!
  • timesheets reduce productivity by 10 %, throw them out, they're not true anyway
  • even a bad scrum is better than a good waterfall
  • scrum is like martial art, you first have learn the exact basic moves and if you've got those worked out, you continuously improve your skills and adapt your own style
  • if you want high performance, communication in your team is key
  • if it's not working, STOP DOING IT!
  • your team needs a goal transcending the usual day to day struggle
  • scrum is based on truth, transparency, commitment and trust
  • key performance indicator is how fast your team fixes the build
  • turnover destroys productivity
  • in the future there will not be a company in the top 100 who isn't using Scrum
  • specialisation will not only slow you down, it will eventually kill you
A statement like "if it's not working, stop doing it" seems quite obvious, but think about your own environment. I'm sure you can find some examples of ineffective behaviour which you are continuing anyway.

The most interesting part of the talk is that Jeff suggests Scrum is also succesfull because it follows human nature. We like helping each other out, it makes us feel better. We need to have a feeling of being useful, having some significance. And we need to have some fun in order to get the right motivation. It made me think about a book I'm reading at the moment, The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. In this book, the Dalai Lama discusses several themes which relate to becoming happy. For the Dalai Lama, the meaning of life is the struggle to become happy. At some point in time, everyone will wonder "is this going to make me happy?" Doing Scrum will enhance the chances of your employees to say "yes, this job will make me happy!"

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