Welcome back to another week at www.implementingscrum.com.So I do a lot of writing about food. I love food, as anyone who knows me can tell you.
Some of the past postings referencing food include:
1. The Classic Story of the Pig and Chicken [our first comic strip on the site]
2. The Food Factor. Another Metric. [Boy did THIS one get comments!]
3. BBQ Sauce. Sweet or Hot?
4. What’s for Dinner? [my six year old son did the art work]
So what does this really have to do about Scrum?
Failure is a good thing in Scrum. Not Food.
It happens all the time — even in “traditional” projects; however, with Scrum, you can fail early and often.
And this is OK.
So how does a team of people in a highly competitive environment — maybe weaning themselves off the command-and-control type management style — actually start working as a team?
Part of the job of a ScrumMaster is to help teams start identifying failures — early and often.
And this is HARD to do.
One of the techniques I teach people when coaching new teams is something called, “The Failure Bow.” It comes from Improvisational Theater and it helps people ummm, not take themselves so seriously.
Yes. Software Development is a serious game, and should not be taken lightly.
But. And this time I do mean, “But.”
Scrum is about people.
The basic premise of this is the following:
A person on the team screws up. Makes a mistake. Immediately — maybe even during — following the mistake, the person who messed up can throw up their hands and say, “Unexpected Results!”
Now. With a team just started out, this is tough to do. Especially from teams that work in silence today.
In a team that is working well, guess what happens?
People laugh and have fun with it.
The mistake is [usually] not repeated. Because people learn immediately — and move on.
Here is an exercise I do with teams (usually when either starting a new team or at a Retrospective):
Everyone stand up. And think about something that they have screwed up recently (they do not have to share this with anyone).
Now, make an exaggerated gesture about how you feel. And walk around the room talking to people about something in using that gesture.
It sometimes results in laughter, but most of the time it is quiet and subdued in the room.
Think of the same thing you recently screwed up.
Put your hands up and go around the room talking to others with your hands raised over your head.
Start each greeting with, “Unexpected Results!”
The room erupts in laughter and noise.
And people see the point.
Hope this helps in some situations. It does for me often. Maybe because I screw up a lot (I mean learn!).
Please send comments, questions, criticisms, ideas, or whatever here.
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September 24, 2007