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Agile Projects like – “A Christmas Story”

December 18, 2010

I have taken a few days off from work for Christmas and just watched “A Christmas Story” with my little one. It is not the first time I have watched this movie. What struck me this time was an analogy I could make – A decent family run by an able mother (Scrum Master) to see through a merry and happy Christmas (successful project delivery) in the face off all the madness around her. Ralphie asking for a BB gun (Developers insisting on shiny new IDEs and upgrades), Randy his brother just won’t eat (Operations not ready to deploy every time). The Old Man (Product Owner) who insists on a ridiculous leggy lamp in the window sill. With sheer shrewdness she could manage to destroy the lamp, ensured Randy eats at the table, puts her foot down when Ralphie blurbs the F word. Yet allows to be manipulated when the old man decides to get Ralphie the BB gun.

Organizations should not simply allow individuals who call themselves Scrum Masters to steer the projects, but should ensure they are good mothers to look after the family. Although it is true with any methodology, I think with Agile practices its paramount as they gather around her for breakfast (Daily Scrum). Families who do not sit down for breakfast or dinner sometimes also still seem to function normally. But on closer inspection you will notice many shortcomings in behaviours, virtues and personas.

From my own observations of many teams practicing agile are usually young and apt at adapting to changes quickly. Most despise the longer route of fully understanding the scope before starting the work. In other words generations that have grown up with “Instant Gratification” mentality and believe in talk is cheap and show me the goods. A good Scrum Master will make all the difference for the success or failure of such a team even though he/she is not the leader.

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