Often I hear colleagues or co-workers talk about Agile transitions and the impediments that certain scrum teams encounter. For instance, the team struggles with how to plan and execute the non-functional testing for the next sprint in the retrospective session (as part of the sprint review). Later in that same session, the team has a discussion how to cope with the fact that the business keeps changing the scope in the middle of the sprint. ‘How can we keep the scope fixed’ they wonder.
What intrigues me is that some of these colleagues/co-workers have a very theoretical view and approach these challenges almost as if they are out of the mud for too long. They write great literature and are experienced lecturers but when was the last time you were actually part of a scrum team (as an Agile coach at the minimum level of involvement). These colleagues have not been part of the vanguard of an agile, scrum or DevOps team at all. How committed does that make you to the actual engineers in the field, do you know their daily struggle, their real impediments as outlined in the first paragraph? Can you still identify with them, based on recent experience rather than theory?
This got me thinking because a lot of people nowadays seem to be adapting (or trying very hard to adapt) to a more healthy lifestyle. They feel they are too caught up in work and thus have lost the work – life balance, the sense of self in a way. Caught up in biological food, calorie- and step counting on different kinds of smart devices that are all part of the internet of things, and off course lot’s of fitness and/or running. In a way, they go back to basic to “find themselves” again and rediscover or redefine what that entails for them. Some of them are even strongman runners or mud masters, but are they also (or still) a mud master on a professional level?
Why not organize a mud master contest for IT professionals/colleagues? After all, a mud bath revitalizes the skin and kills dead cells, refreshing at times don’t you think? Going from books and theories to the actual playground makes one realize what that is and what that means once again. It refreshes the memory and revitalizes the view about things, you can do a firm reality check too. Look objectively at what has changed and how that impacts your approach in practice in the future. Change your reality and theory accordingly is my advice.Part of the, let’s call it “IT-mud master challenge” would be an annual mud bath of at least a month. The winner will be the person with the most hands-on experience kaizen, continuous improvement that is.
Becoming or staying a mud master can definitely aid in refreshing your approach towards different things.
This brings me to the conclusion that if you want to realize a change, it may actually require you to get your hands dirty.
So I invite everybody to keep muddling! Metaphorically speaking that is.