Why Scrum? Why Agile? My Sailing Friends

 After a day's sailing, we've dropped anchor, cleaned the boat and poured ourselves a drink.


“So - what is it you do again?”

“I’m a Scrum Master.  It’s like the Master of Sail on tall ships.”

“What - like the second-in-command?”

“No, I don’t have a position in the hierarchy.  I just make sure the boat and crew are fit for purpose and help the sailors and staff understand what is going on.”

“Why would an organisation need that?”

“Many organisations approach products as if it were an industrial process like transport.  They load the cargo containers as full as they can get - calling it ‘scope’, then they plan very exactly how to drive from A to B to predict the costs and how long it will take to deliver.

“For my clients, their product doesn’t actually match this industrial process very well.  I get them to think of it as if they were explorers trying to reach some distant shore.




“They should pack very light and get great at teamwork so that they can travel up and down quickly and can adapt to the weather and the tide.  They should do passage planning - what is the currently expected best route to that undiscovered shore - but continuously inspect and adapt based on whether they think they are getting closer.  People’s needs change and the market is unpredictable.  They need to get into a sailor’s mindset - you can get better and better at sailing, but you do it for the learning, not just to move stuff from A to B efficiently."



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