A letter to the Scrum-land citizens

31 Oct 2016

Dear fellow migrants of Scrum-land,

I cannot believe it's been 10 years since I officially migrated to Scrum-land. How fast time flies! People always looked at me funny when I used to say I was a "Scrum Master" and now I even teach what it means to be part of "Scrum-land". First thing that pops into most peoples' minds is football!

Looking back on my migration to Scrum-land I must say it's just as intensive as a football match. To get good at it, you really need to practice it every day and really understand the inside out of it all.

Like any new place you move to, you first have to learn the language and at least know the basics (like hello, goodbye and thank you). I'm proud how fluent I am now in Scrum language but I definitely didn't pick it up overnight! You hear words like "sprints", "stand-ups" and "retrospectives" which makes you wonder if we are actually talking about a football match after all.

I remembered upon landing in Scrum-land, that in a matter of hours, I truly felt like a foreigner. Not only did I have to learn the language but I had to learn the way of working and a new culture. You get exposed very quickly to different routines and a mindset shift with things like 'empowering the team'. Often others assume that you know what you need to do in things like a Sprint Planning Session as they already live and breathe it themselves all the time. I remember vividly my first Sprint Planning Session where I pretty much said nothing at all. I just watched in fascination when people started to play poker and fly cards around the room along with sticking up post-it notes on the walls everywhere. To me at that point, it all looked like random cards and just lots of talking. No one really explains to you how to migrate to Scrum-land.... it's more or less just expected you get there and know it all!

As with most things 'agile', the philosophy is that you don't get things right the first time. So, if I had to run what you call in Scrum-land a 'retrospective' (in normal speak it's 'lessons learned') about my migration and what would have helped me ease into Scrum-land then I definitely would say an introductory course to understand the language, the way of working and the culture would go a long way! It's simply part of the 'assimilation' process of migrating to Scrum-land. I don't deny that different people have different interpretations of Scrum-land so things might be done differently at different organisations but at least the general explanation is better than none at all.

I'm pleased to see courses being now being offered to help with that migration into Scrum-land. Courses that don't just focus on passing an exam to simply get a certification but rather focus on really understanding what it means to be part of Scrum-land (the roles, the terminology, the products, the process, etc.); or to help you decide whether to even migrate to Scrum-land at all! For any new migrants to Scrum-land I would recommend the two-day Scrum Training for Teams course. This course would be great even as a refresher for people who have been in Scrum-land for a while to ensure that not too many bad habits have been built up over the years. If you're looking to migrate to Scrum-land then you probably only need the one-day Scrum Overview course to see if migration is for you.

I'm grateful to have made the journey to Scrum-land and working off my 'backlog' there is still heaps to learn and do. Lesson learned #1 is that getting the right foundation at the beginning is very important in helping you to decide whether you will even continue with your migration in Scrum-land or whether you decide to move back to Waterfall-land.

The migration to Scrum-land hasn't been an easy one so there is still much to reflect and learn from. But it's important to take one lesson at a time and ensure that it's been actioned. So for now, we'll leave it with this introductory course for new migrants and see how other citizens feel about it too.

Write to you again next time,
From a happy migrant in Scrum-land.
Louisa Leung