Introducing the Scrum Caretakers initiative

Discovering what drives me is a never-ending journey (1). Starting with eXtreme Programming and Scrum in 2003 was a life changing experience.

My work for different consulting companies (2001-2012) was spent on Scrum. I authored a pocket guide to Scrum in 2013. I went to work with the Scrum.org team and Ken Schwaber in 2013. In 2016 I decided to further my journey of Scrum on an independent basis.

Discovering what drives me is a never-ending journey (2). The stable essence is that:

I care about people. I care about Scrum. I care about helping people create better products and a more humane workplace through Scrum. I care about helping people re-imagine their organisations.

I detached myself from any fixed organisational structure. Of the tangible goals I had in mind, one was to start a community initiative for Scrum across Belgium and the Netherlands, the Scrum Caretakers.

Belgium is where some of my core insights in Scrum were created (2003-2010). Since 2010 however I have worked primarily in the Netherlands. Scrum is completely under-used in Belgium. Scrum is huge in the Netherlands, and splintered. I initiated the Scrum Caretakers community, currently already materialised as a meet-up group.

Anyone can join, from any place in the world, and have access to whatever it is we create. Actual get-togethers are organised alternately in Belgium and the Netherlands for the time being.

A simple framework for complex product delivery (in 3 minutes)

verheyen-gunther-scrum-a-pocket-guide-2016By the end of November 2016 the 5th re-print of my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” will be available, with a re-designed cover.

I wanted my book to reflect the simplicity of Scrum, a simple framework for complex product delivery.

As part of this re-print my publisher Van Haren Publishing kindly asked me to create a short video introduction to Scrum, of preferably no more than 3 minutes. The time constraint helped me focus. It helped me keeping it simple, just like Scrum.

What I say in the video was based upon following prepared text:

Scrum is a simple framework for complex product delivery.

1/ Scrum has been around for a while. It was officially introduced to the general public in 1995. Since then, as more and more people, teams and organizations started using Scrum, Scrum became the most adopted method for agile product delivery. At the same time, Scrum grew lighter and lighter, thereby, in a way becoming less and less complete and ‘perfect’. Prescribed practices and techniques were gradually removed from the official definition of Scrum, The Scrum Guide. Scrum turned into the framework it was always designed to be, a framework upon which people devise their own solutions, create their own working process. A Product Owner brings product ideas to a Development Team. No later than by the end of a Sprint the team turns these ideas into releasable versions of product. Sprints take no more than 4 weeks, and are often shorter. The Scrum Master creates and fosters an environment for such self-organised and creative collaboration to happen.

Scrum is a simple framework for complex product delivery.

2/ Scrum not only restores simplicity, Scrum brings empirical process control. All elements of Scrum support the process of regular inspection and adaptation. Empiricism is the way for people, teams and organisations to deal with the complexity, uncertainty and unpredictability typical to product development. The Scrum events set the frequency of the inspection and adaptation process. The artefacts provide transparency to all information required. As all waste has already been removed from Scrum, the framework is highly cohesive. Every element has a clear ‘why’, a clear purpose. Omitting any core elements breaks the cohesion, and is likely to cover up existing problems and impede the transparency required to continuously adapt, to be agile.

3/ Scrum, when employed well, allows a continual discovery of what is possible, what is not, of what works, what doesn’t work. Throughout this journey of discovery, the value of the work done is incrementally optimised. Product is regularly delivered to the market. It is extremely helpful to have a simple, yet proficient, tool like Scrum in highly unstable circumstances.

4/ Employing Scrum is a journey in itself. Mastering Scrum takes practice and time.

A simple framework for complex product delivery (in 100 pages)

From March to June 2013 I created the book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide (A Smart Travel Companion)” for Van Haren Publishing (Netherlands). Although I had already written much about Scrum, it was really, really hard work. I wanted the book to be about its subject, not its writer. I wanted the book to be concise, yet complete. I wanted the book to reflect the simplicity of Scrum, in its appearance, tone, language, expressions, sentences.

Since its initial publication (November 2013) my pocket guide to Scrum was re-printed 3 times (January 2014, June 2014, November 2015). In April 2016 my Dutch translation was published as “Scrum Wegwijzer (Een kompas voor de bewuste reiziger)”. And two friends of Scrum are currently going through the really, really hard work of creating a German version, which will probably be named “Scrum Taschenbuch” and be available in 2017. And somewhere along the road I experimented with setting up a Facebook page for my book.

This is beyond any expectation I might have had handing in the first manuscript half way through 2013. I am totally humbled, and sometimes overwhelmed, by the continual appreciation of the book’s buyers and readers.

verheyen-gunther-scrum-a-pocket-guide-2016I want to share that a 5th print of the English version is on its way (end November 2016), holding a NEW COVER. The content of the book hasn’t changed. I was fortunate to have described the Scrum Values already in my book. The only change was the update to my personal history, as is also reflected on my website.

Thank you, readers. Thank you, publisher. Thank you, fellow Scrum Caretakers!

To support the update of my book, my publisher asked me to do a 3-minutes introduction to Scrum, a simple framework for complex product delivery. The time constraint helped me to keep it simple, just like Scrum.

Thoughts on procurement, buyers and alike

I have spent most of the 24-years of my professional life in IT, consulting and software development. Maybe that is long enough to have and share my stance on procurement, buyers and alike practices.

Every organisation has the right to not work with me.

Every organisation has the right to deem the value potentially realised through our collaboration as insufficient.

Every organisation should absolutely consider the return expected on spending money on my expertise, skills and effort. Even if the consequence is to not work with me.

My observations indicate that the commonly applied strategies by procurement, buyers and alike are different. Common practice is to belittle my expertise, change the estimates on the work needed and blindly cut my proposed day rate.

I have no sales machine to counter such strategies. Fortunately, as that would just maintain the ridicule. I do preserve the right to push back, regardless the impact on any chances to collaborate. I preserve the right to not being treated like a discountable commodity. We probably have very different definitions in mind when this is labeled as “not professional”.

Personally, I would rather starve (so to speak) than give in to the humiliating and belittling line of approach commonly seen in sales and buying procedures.

Warm regards
Gunther

ps. Thank you for caring, but that ‘starving’ part was intended figuratively. There are plenty of good folks out there that, somewhat surprisingly maybe, do want to properly partner with me.

Scrum voor Bouwend Nederland

Eind 2015 werd ik gecontacteerd door twee Nederlandse heren die met mij wilden spreken over Scrum. Niet echt wereldschokkend, ware het niet dat Henri Boertien en Ronald van de Hoef wilden toelichten hoe zij Scrum toepasten in de vastgoedsector.

Tijdens ons gesprek, in januari 2016 in Antwerpen, werd niet enkel snel duidelijk hoe wij een passie voor Scrum, en een geloof in de onderliggende principes van Scrum deelden, maar ook hoe onze respectieve sectoren, softwareontwikkeling en vastgoedprojecten, nogal wat gelijkaardige problemen kennen waar Scrum een positief antwoord op heeft.

scrum2buildHenri en Ronald gingen door op hun elan, en publiceerden net de eerste versie van hun Scrum-gids voor Bouwend Nederland, getiteld “Scrum2Build“. Zij waren zo vriendelijk ondergetekende te vragen het voorwoord te schrijven, een vraag waar ik met heel veel plezier op in ging.

Dus nadat Nederland in diverse domeinen van de maatschappij reeds Scrum omarmde, en de fundamentele principes ervan; onderwijs, sales, marketing, thuiszorg, brengt Priom, de organisatie van Henri en Ronald, Scrum nu ook naar Bouwend Nederland.

Download je eigen exemplaar via de Scrum2Build website.

Contacteer deze voortrekkers van Scrum voor de bouwwereld via Info@scrum2build.nl.