What is your favourite book?
How would you answer that question?
I’d have to say 1984 by George Orwell, I have read it and listened to it at least 4O times over the years – please don’t come and ask me detailed critical questions – I love it in my head, but I am not a literary academic, oh and I don’t like TV – especially big brother.
Since 2014, my favourite book has been “Scrum” by Jeff Sutherland. It is not about rugby and I’m not a developer. “Scrum and agile” project planning and execution methodologies that were born out of software development and car manufacturing.
Below is Jeff Sutherland’s TED talk where he explains the evolution of Scrum and his journey from being a pilot in the Vietnam war, to being a professor at MIT, to fixing the FBI’s $10 Billion computer project with just 25 people.
What is the connection between these books? Control.
1984 is written around the strong theme of command and control, Scrum is designed around team members thinking for themselves and putting their best work into a project to see how it works.
Notice I wrote, “to see how it works” because it might not work and I think you are mad to think the first thing you made will happen perfectly first time out the gate.
With 1984 control comes fear, with Scrum comes openness and transparency. People choose themselves, choose what to work on and when it does not work they choose how to fix it – together.
Instead of making THE BIG THING people make smaller working versions and learn as they go along.
I’ve always spent a large chunk of my working day banging my head against the nearest wall wondering why things don’t work.
As learn to adopt more of a Scrum practice into projects I am part of, the less I bang my head against the wall.
Scrum and Agile are being adopted by other industries and education – there is a great example of a school in Finland that uses Scrum in the classroom enabling children to self-organise.
I have interviews planned with my coworker Emily, seen in the picture with Jeff at Agile Camp In Dallas last month. More on this next week!