Begin as a novice
New concepts can only be learned in the context of what we already know. Because of that we must start with our current process or with a well defined new process. The real problem with Scrum and even Agile is the avoidance of rigid processes. I know what you are thinking, you’re thinking that I’ve just committed Agile blasphemy. Maybe I have, but hear me out and finish this article before you decide.
Seek a master
In this case, I’m not speaking about a Scrum Master. Instead, seek out someone with a great deal of knowledge using scrum to successfully launch and maintain products. This could be anyone in your organization or online. It could even be some guy writing a blog post here and there. Once you have found a suitable mentor in the ways of Scrum you must, without question, follow the exact process that individual lays out. You must follow that process until you understand exactly why each decision in the process was made. You must follow it until you understand the impact each step is having on your business. Most importantly you must follow it until you can argue for, predict the outcome, and measure the impact of a suggested change. Modification without measurement is blindly following.
Accept what you are told blindly
When learning a new thing, we have no basis for argument one way or the other as to the effectiveness or correctness of what we are being told. Therefore, I suggest, until we have an appropriate level of understanding, that we simply follow blindly. I make a simple but crucial distinction between “following blindly” and “blindly following”; The first is the path to success and quickly learning what you need to know, while the second is a dangerous act that can easily lead to ruin.
To blindly follow is to blindfold yourself and ask a stranger to tell you when it is safe to cross the road. In contrast, following blindly is more akin to your first driving lesson with a parent. In the driving lesson you do exactly what your parent tells you because you trust that your parent would not purposefully do anything to put you in harms way. You’re eyes are open, but when your parent tells you to turn or brake you do it without question.
In the next post in this series I will begin to provide the process that I would suggest. My process might be able to give the guidance you are looking for if you are struggling to find a master of your own . Until then, I hope you found this somewhat shorter article helpful or thought invoking.