Celebrating two years at Scrum.org (#frwrks)

March 2013, Amsterdam. Ken Schwaber and I semi-simultaneously express the thought that there is likely more value in us engaging in a close partnership. We already have a pretty intense collaboration at the time. I decide to leave consulting, a well-known environment that I have been in for twelve years. I take some time off, do a couple of Professional Scrum classes, and lay the foundation for my book „Scrum – A Pocket Guide (A smart travel companion)“.

June 1 2013, Boston-Antwerp. I embark on this somewhat unexpected journey of working at the home of Scrum, Scrum.org.

Over these past two years a three-fold pattern of activities emerged being part of the Scrum.org team:

  • Shepherding the Professional series. Developing and sustaining Professional Scrum assessments and courseware, training trainers, working with the global community of Professional Scrum experts and within the small-ish, creative organization of Scrum.org.
  • Representing Ken and Scrum.org in Europe. Visiting partners and friends of Scrum.org, and taking up speaking and learning engagements.
  • Teaming up with Ken. Engaging in all sorts of interesting development activities, with the most important thread probably being the road from Agility Path to Scaled Professional Scrum and the Nexus.

Not working for a traditional enterprise turned out such a relief, the end of thinking and acting in terms of money and commercial motives only. No hour-based work, no office hours, working (mainly) from my home office, no timesheets. Instead mission-driven efforts, autonomy and valuable goals. Money is obviously important, up to the level of being able to pay our people a decent salary and to invest in the community. Beyond that however our goal is to support people, teams, organisations, with resources for assessment, improvement, maturing Scrum, growing professionalism, improving the profession of software development. It is not the most common model for a business, but it is what we do.

The two years at Scrum.org have shown me that there IS an alternative to the traditional way to run a business, an alternative that is financially viable, yet doesn’t revolve exclusively around financials.

Over these two years I’ve maintained mental stability, remained sane. No different than in every other environment I’ve worked in before, I’ve had my crises, my identity doubts, my ups and downs. I’ve come to terms with aspects of me that used to confuse me in the past, often in my past positions as Scrum Master. I’ve come to terms with blending in and still not fitting in. The best and most fascinating relationships are developed by not fitting in. It took me years to accept that, let alone exploit that. It’s a solid basis to continue my journey, my remarkable cobblestone path.

I wish you all the best. I thank you for all the inspiration. I am proud to be able to continue serving many Scrum professionals around the globe.

Warmly
Gunther

Shepherding the Professional series
Scrum.org

Ullizee -Seal 2104Scrum.org-Logo_with_tagline

2014 in review – Blog statistics (Gunther Verheyen)

2014 has been, in many regards, a fascinating and surprising year. Part of it is reflected on my blog, the part that says how important Scrum has become in my life. The majority of my blog notes are about Scrum. It also is an indication that my writing energy was spent on this, and not on the many personal topics and interests that I also wanted to blog about. Life is hard, life is full of choices.

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for my blog. If you’re into statistics, enjoy it.

Best wishes for 2015

Warm regards
Gunther

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 26,000 times in 2014. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 10 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

Ullizee blog 2013 in review

A big thanks to the WordPress.com stats helper monkeys for preparing a 2013 annual report for my  U L L I Z E E  blog.

Some highlights:

These are the posts that got the most views in 2013:

  1. Scrum: Framework, not methodology (March 2013)
  2. Ways to play Scrum (January 2013)
  3. Moving to the home of Scrum (April 2013)
  4. The Value of the Product Backlog (March 2013)
  5. Measuring Success, Measuring Value (November 2013)

Ullizee Blog Global Reach 2013My blog blog was viewed about 28,000 times in 2013 and has quite a global reach, with:

  1. Netherlands, closely followed by Belgium and the US.
  2. Germany and France, closely followed by the United Kingdom.
  3. Rest of the world.

Scrum is not an acronym

Scrum is a framework for Agile software development. Let’s have a look at the origins of the term ‘Scrum’. And, as a result, understand that it is not an acronym.

The term ‘Scrum’ was first used by Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka in their ground-breaking 1986 paper “The New New Product Development Game“. They borrowed the name from the game of rugby to stress the importance of teams in complex product development. This was about complex product development in general, not only software products. Their research showed that outstanding performance is achieved when teams are small and self-organizing units of people and when such teams are fed with objectives, not with executable tasks. Teams can only achieve greatness when given room to devise their own tactics to best head towards the shared objectives. The well-known agile development method inherited its name ‘Scrum’ from this paper as it thrives on the same principles for developing and sustaining complex software products.

Rugby (as in)

The Japanese authors of the paper consider the concept that they named ‘Scrum’ as the necessary core of any system that pretends to be Lean. But they never use the term ‘Lean’ as such because it has become synonymous to an outside interpretation and copy of the management practices of the Toyota Production System. These management practices are not the core of the system. That core was named ‘Scrum’ by the authors. The management practices should be complementary to it. There can’t be Lean if the heart of it, Scrum, is overlooked, which in general is the case. The authors therefore prefer to stress the need for the heart and soul of the system and take away the sole focus on the surrounding management practices. They never talk of Lean, but always speak about Scrum.

As Scrum is no acronym, there is no reason to write “SCRUM”.

2012 – A Blog’s Retrospective

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for my Ullizee blog.

Crunchy numbers:

In 2012, there were 35 new posts, growing the total to 334 posts. There were 86 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 54 MB. That’s about 2 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was July 24th with 5,150 views. The most popular post that day was Holiday killer on the loose.

Note: this was due to the sad event of the shooting at the opening of the latest Batman movie, which ended up in lots of search requests pointing to my blog note. My blog note referred to a great comic on Batman, in which Batman is restored as the greatest detective on the planet in solving the murders by a killer, killing on holidays only.

Attractions:

  1. Holiday killer on the loose (Published: January 2010)
  2. Joy Division (Closer… to finality?) (Published: September 2009)
  3. The adoption of Agile: TALC vs. Hype Cycle (Published: September 2009)
  4. Een schitterend gebrek aan realiteit (Published: January 2009)
  5. Fixed Price bids. An open invitation to bribe, cajole, lie and cheat. (Published: October 2012)

Lots of staying power!

Top Referrers:

  1. scrum.org
  2. facebook.com
  3. twitter.com
  4. linkedin.com
  5. mypip.nl

Visitor Origins:

My blog’s being read in 142 countries!

Most visitors came from The United States. Belgium & Netherlands were not far behind.

Click here to see the complete report.

Present for a father

Last week was the yearly day (in Belgium) to celebrate fathers, for being a… father. As I am one my family gave me the most beautiful present possible, a picture of our united children.
20120325-230239.jpgBig thanks to my wife and our gang. They saved my life (in helping me overcome my own broken childhood), they ARE my life.