Introspections for Change Agents

Oh, it’s on! Coming May 27th, 2021 (MVP release) with new content to be released every month until the end of the year. That’s 7 extra releases!

So, I’m writing a book. If you’ve been following along, you know that I’ve been a contributing editor at Serious Scrum since late 2018. In that time, I’ve shared stories (and rants) with folks in this amazing international community, spoke on the topic of Scrum Masters during Agile 2019 & Agile Midwest 2019, and learned a ton along the way. I figured it was time to put everything together in a book. Though final tweaks, and edits are underway, peep my book site on Leanpub for more notifications.

Back in the day, when I was coming up as a Scrum…

A Scrum Master’s guide to eliciting feedback.

If you’ve never watched Little Shop of Horrors, I highly recommend that you do. It’s a 1986 musical comedy (yes, it’s a musical) about a flower shop worker named Seymour, who discovered a bizarre singing plant. Caring for it proved to be an exercise in frustration. Water, nor light helped the plant grow. Seymour then accidentally uncovered the one simple thing that it requires to sustain itself… blood. Yikes! I know, a little dark. The titular song says it all.

You might wonder where I’m going with this. Well, just like Audrey II (Seymour named the plant after Audrey, his…

It’s that time again. The weekly digest of Serious Scrum articles has arrived. Hello, and welcome to new writers, John Albrecht, and Michael Boumansour! This edition covers everything published between December 16th and December 22nd. Without further delay, here we go.

Can we please stop perpetuating the “there-are-no-deadlines-in-Scrum” fallacy?

Years ago, when I first dipped my toes into the water as a newly-minted Scrum Master, I overheard a conversation between my then-company’s only Certified Scrum Master (CSM), and a project manager (PM). Back then, my department went through the obligatory 2-day Scrum training session facilitated by an outside consultant. When it was all said, and done, the PM asked in a side conversation how to approach deadlines in this “new agile process.” The CSM responded with, “There aren’t deadlines in Scrum.” You can imagine the PM’s reaction. To this day, I still hear similar statements.

“Deadlines aren’t compatible in…

My Lightning Talk from Agile 2019

Earlier this year, I submitted two 5-minute talks for consideration in the Lightning Talks track at Agile 2019: “10 Reasons Why Mr. Miyagi is the Ultimate Scrum Master,” and “What Do Scrum Masters Do All Day?” The way it worked was when submissions closed, Agile Alliance members were s’pose to vote on the ones they liked the most. Those with the most votes would then be considered for inclusion.

I promo’d the hell out of my Mr. Miyagi submission, which ended up being 6th overall in popularity. I hoped that it’d get selected. Sometime later, I ended up receiving two…

We have Scrum teams, hold regular retrospectives, and estimate with story points. We’re Agile now, right?

Lemme start off by saying that I dig Scrum. I love its simplicity, how it calls out dysfunction, and forces you to do the hard work to fix it. That being said, I absolutely hate-hate-hate the title of Jeff, and J.J. Sutherland’s book, Scrum: The Art of Doing Twice the Work in Half the Time. It gives off the impression that folks are magically gonna be able to do more work, and save the company a ton of money. Sure, that’d be nice, but it doesn’t automatically happen after reading the 256 pages written by the Sutherlands.

I’ma say it…

Does your Organization have Amazon, Spotify, or Capital One envy?

It’s been a minute. The last piece I wrote for Serious Scrum was back in February, and since then, quite a few topics have been swirling around in my brain hole. Hopefully I can find the time to get them out of my head, and into a post. With that, here’s my latest. So, let’s get into it…

When I was a teenager, I did stupid things to be like my friends. I mean, who didn’t? What adolescent makes good decisions when confusing hormones, and peer pressure rear their ugly heads? Without fail, my parents reacted with statements like, “Would…

Squads goals are better than solo accomplishments

Chasing down the ice cream truck with my friends as it rolled through our neighborhood each summer is one of my fondest childhood memories. While playing outside, we’d hear the distant telltale jingle-jangle of its bell, hop onto our bikes, and track down the wheeled, frozen-treat nirvana. Now that I think about it, outside of sports I played as a kid, ice cream truck hunting was one of my first true team experiences.

Everyone contributed financially, pooling our nickels, and dimes to maximize purchasing power. We rode with an unspoken strategy. One of us biked on the main road while…

John Clopton

Certified Sailor. Agile Coach. Public speaker. Urban legend. I’m not a player I just Scrum a lot.

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