Worldwide availability of the 2nd edition of “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (in various formats)

In 2013 I accidentally created a book, “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (subtitled: A Smart Travel Companion). Creating my book, accidentally or otherwise, had many unanticipated (mostly positive) consequences, for which I am very grateful.

In 2018 I deliberately evolved my Scrum travel companion into a second edition (available 2019). I am humbled to share that this second edition of “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” is now available worldwide in all major formats via diverse channels:

For Belgian and Dutch readers:

  • Go to Managementboek.nl for a hard copy or e-Book.
  • Go to the webshop of the publishing house, Van Haren, for a hard copy, eBook or ePub.

And if no one of these work for you, check out Google.

Enjoy reading!

Gunther
independent Scrum Caretaker

Players and accountabilities in the game of Scrum (an audio excerpt from “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”, 2nd ed)

In 2013 I accidentally created a book, “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”. In 2018 I deliberately evolved your Scrum travel companion into a second edition. The updated edition was published in February 2019.

Players And Accountabilities In The Game Of Scrum” is an audio excerpt from that second, updated edition. The excerpt covers chapter 2.5 (introduction) and chapter 2.5.1 (pages 49-52) and can be listened to at Soundcloud.

A PDF with the excerpt can be downloaded here: Players and accountabilities in the game of Scrum.

The international versions of the Scrum Values now comprise 19 languages

The international descriptions of the Scrum Values have been expanded to 19 languages. The updated versions are available for you as a free download (PDF): The Scrum Values (International versions) -Feb 2019.

This latest version holds following changes:

  • New languages: Greek, Ukrainian.
  • Updated languages: Polish, Portuguese.

I originally described the Scrum Values in English as part of the first edition of my (accidentally created) book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (2013). I updated the text slightly for the second edition (a deliberate evolution) of my book (2019). The Scrum Values were added to the Scrum Guide in 2016. The English version was translated to the international versions offered in this document for you through several iterations that started early in 2018.

I cannot express my gratitude enough to following people for spending the hard work of making the international versions of the Scrum Values available for you:

  • Arabic: Rasheed Raya
  • Chinese (simp/trad): Lana Sun, Wei Lun Teh, Chee-Hong Hsia
  • Danish: Mikkel Toudal Kristiansen
  • Filipino: Shirley Santiago, Warren Yu
  • French: Fabio Panzavolta, Mohamed Gargouri
  • German: Uwe Schirmer, Peter Götz
  • Greek: Thodoris Bais, Nikolas Friligkos
  • Hindi: Punit Doshi, Hiren Doshi
  • Italian: Michael F. Forni
  • Persian: Mehdi Hoseini
  • Polish: Krystian Kaczor
  • Portuguese: Leonardo Bittencourt
  • Russian: Konstantin Razumovsky
  • Spanish: Pablo Bernardo
  • Turkish: ilkay Polat, Lemi Orhan Ergin
  • Ukrainian: Andrii Glushchenko

A poster of the international versions of the Scrum Values is available as a free download (PNG): The Scrum Values (International Versions poster).

The international Scrum Glossary is now available in 19 languages

The international Scrum Glossary has been expanded to 19 languages. The updated version is available for you as a free download (PDF): Scrum Glossary (International versions) -Feb 2019.

This latest version holds following changes:

  • New languages: Arabic, Greek, Persian, Ukranian.
  • Updated definitions in all languages: “Scrum”, “Sprint Backlog”, “Velocity”.
  • Updated languages: Danish, Filipino/Tagalog.

I originally created the Scrum Glossary in English as part to the first edition of my (accidentally created) book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide” (2013). I updated the text slightly for the second edition (a deliberate evolution) of my book (2019). The English version was translated to the international versions offered in this document for you through several iterations that started early in 2018.

I cannot express my gratitude enough to following people for spending the hard work of making the international versions of the Scrum Glossary available for you:

  • Arabic: Rasheed Raya
  • Chinese (simp/trad): Lana Sun, Wei Lun Teh, Chee-Hong Hsia
  • Danish: Rasmus Kaae
  • Filipino: Shirley Santiago, Warren Yu
  • French: Fabio Panzavolta, Mohamed Gargouri
  • German: Uwe Schirmer, Peter Götz, Dominik Maximini
  • Greek: Thodoris Bais, Nikolas Friligkos
  • Hindi: Punit Doshi, Hiren Doshi
  • Italian: Michael F. Forni
  • Persian: Mehdi Hoseini
  • Polish: Paweł Feliński, Krystian Kaczor
  • Portuguese: Leonardo Bittencourt
  • Russian: Konstantin Razumovsky
  • Spanish: Alex Ballarin
  • Turkish: ilkay Polat, Lemi Orhan Ergin
  • Ukrainian: Andrii Glushchenko

Inspection without adaptation is pointless in Scrum

People are naturally Agile. Our personal lives require us to demonstrate our ability to adapt more than our professional environments often allow us to do. Scrum, much like life, is all about adaptation. Scrum sets opportunities for professionals to regularly inspect in order to adapt. Inspection without adaptation is pointless. An act of futility.

The simplest word that might adequately define “agile” is “adaptive”. Adaptiveness, the ability to adapt, is more than ever needed in our world of complexity, creativity, fierce competition and unpredictability. Hence, the criticality of agility, not the illusion of agility that many Agile transformations result in. Agility is reflected in an organization’s unique way to respond to change, absorb important disruptions, capitalize on unforeseen opportunities and -ultimately- cause innovative change.

Scrum is all about inspection and adaptation, and therefore a way to become more Agile, to increase the ability to adapt. The framework of Scrum is a foundation upon which to increase the agility that emerges from frequent inspections and adaptations. Scrum sets no more than boundaries to elevate self-organization with frequent reminders for all players involved to adapt upon observations (inspection) of reality, new insights, acquired experience, changing expectations.

Scrum re-inserts some common sense of life back into a professional environment.

The process of inspection and adaptation, and therefore Scrum, thrives on a dualistic relationship with transparency. The process of inspection and adaptation requires as well as creates transparency. Adaptations that are not based on observations of reality, but of some faked reality, make no sense. They even have the danger of worsening a situation, and increase obfuscation rather than enhance transparency. On the other hand, Scrum also makes reality highly visible, at least at each event. This transparency offered by Scrum is easily cheered and embraced when progress and results are as hoped for, but not so much when that is not the case.

Inspection and adaptation are inseparable acts. Adaptation is a conscious decision about the nearby future.

Even the decision to keep a certain way of working in place, actually, is an adaptation, when taken consciously. For a decision of adaptation to be an informed decision it is best based on inspection, i.e. an act of observation and consideration. Adaptation without observation and reflective inspection misses direction. It is likely no more than a shot in the dark, rather than a deliberate evolution. Inspection without adaptation, in our world of complexity, creativity, fierce competition and unpredictability, makes little sense. It makes little sense to gather information about the past without considering how to deal with that information next. In Scrum, inspection without adaptation is a futile act that serves pretend-agility at most.

The artefacts of Scrum are dynamic placeholders holding essential information that serves the process of inspection and adaptation. Every event in Scrum is an opportunity to inspect and adapt upon this evolving information. The purpose, time-boxes and frequency of the events allow people, the inspectors, to balance focus on getting work done and openness for change.

Inspection for the mere sake of inspecting, without the ambition to adapt, is pointless in Scrum. All Scrum events are intended to be forward-looking, as opportunities to shape the future. None of these events were designed for reporting or status purposes. In the world of high dynamism that leads to deploying a work process based on Scrum it would be very strange if teams did not capitalize on new information and insights that improve their work life as soon as possible. Scrum makes sure it happens never later than at the foreseen events. Scrum assures that the art of empiricism is performed no later than at the time of these events.

Within a Sprint, as an overarching event, development standards and practices provide additional feedback loops. Across multiple Sprints, where a Sprint is a completely defined cycle in time, forecasts can be made, and growth tracked, towards goals and ambitions. Scrum helps you inspect and adapt your way to unpredictable destinies.

In complex and changing environments adaptation is key. These are the environments that demand the adoption of a framework like Scrum. Inspection without adaptation is pointless in Scrum. It is an act of futility and pretend-agility.

(Thank you Higher View and Jellylab for the videos and for the graphics)

“Framework”

At some point in time the term “Framework” became really fashionable. I don’t remember when it was exactly, but it was when smart businessmen assumed it was better for sales, as commonly used terms like methodology or process got burned. At least, that can be seen as an achievement too. Most likely they guessed it explained the wide adoption of Scrum, and aspired the same ’success’.

Today, the word is omnipresent and can surely be added to the list of most misunderstood words in the world of “Agile”. That does not change the fact that we did not start using the word lightly in the past. It was not about marketing or selling. It was about sincerely describing the lightweight nature of Scrum, as a simple set of rules, principles and values that define a framework for inspection and adaptation, a way for people to address complex challenges.

Regardless of fashion of the day and obfuscation, this is not a term to leave to the sharks. Language matters. Scrum is a framework, not a methodology, as I described in 2013 and in my book “Scrum – A Pocket Guide”.

The illusion of agility (what most Agile transformations end up delivering)

Agility is a unique and continuously evolving state that is typical to a specific organization. It is a state that corresponds to the combination of an organization’s people, set-up and history. A traditional (industrial) approach to becoming more Agile commonly creates no more than an illusion of agility.

Agility is a specific state as it reflects the unique lessons and learnings that an organization and its inhabitants went and go through. It reflects the way in which specific annoyances and hindrances were and are overcome, the many inspections and  adaptations that occur along the journey. It is a state that prepares organizations for the unknown future challenges that will demand distinct responses.

Agility is a unique signature with imprints of all people involved and their relationships and interactions, of used and abandoned tools, processes, and practices, of the constructs within and across the many eco-systems that make out an organization, potentially even stretching across the organization’s boundaries.

No model can predict, anticipate or outline the unique signature that an organization’s state of agility is.

However, many of our organizations have their roots, and their beliefs, in the past industrial age. As they feel the need and the pressure to increase their agility, they naturally revert to familiar, yet old-school, industrial recipes. They undertake cautiously planned attempts to gently shift to the Agile paradigm (although they need to leap) wrapped in separate change projects (although their organizations need re-integration). They look around and imitate what other organizations do. They copy-paste what others, regardless whether they operate in the same economical domain or not, claim brought them success. They enforce unified ways of working and practices in a cascaded and mass-production way. They rely on text-book models that prescribe generic pre-empted blueprints of organizational structures. The learnings and the hard work needed to acquire sustainable agility, tuned to the organization’s specific context, are conveniently ignored.

Ironically, these are the exact approaches that block these organizations in their growth. These are the exact ways of working that they need to abandon in order to enter and survive the new worlds, the worlds that require a higher agility.

The mismatch is fundamental. They need and want to hose down  their industrial ways, yet they end up re-enforcing them. No more than an illusion of agility is created as a result. This is painfully revealed when the deflation by reality hits hard, often after several years. When the actual increase in agility turns out negligible, a painful finding certainly in the face of the urgency. The actual results turn out disappointing. The lost time is a catastrophe.

Increasing agility is a path. Progressing on that path requires vision, belief, persistence and… hard work. Agility, as a state of high adaptiveness, can only be achieved by regularly… adapting. Adaptations only make sense upon inspections of actual work and observable results. Think feedback loops (all around). The new reality, for which higher agility is needed, mandates that what works today might not work tomorrow. What works for one company (i.e. a complex system of interconnected people, processes and tools) might not work for another company. What works for one combination of teams, technology and business might not work for another combination.

Signposts that might help you detect whether an illusion of agility is being created:

  • It is not a transformation if it doesn’t change how you work;
  • It is not an Agile transformation if it doesn’t simplify how you work;
  • It is not an Agile transformation of Scrum if it doesn’t increase the actual collaboration of people (customers, teams, stakeholders).

Note. None of the above makes sense if no proper attention is given to technical excellence.

The new reality tells us we need to act in the moment more than we did before. Ever. Embracing uncertainty and unpredictability has a great potential too. Getting the most out of the possible thrives upon acceptance of the unwritten state of the future and what that future might bring. It reminds us that we are not alone in this, that each individual, no matter their function, level, position or silo, can contribute. Living the art of the possible against unpredicted outcomes has the potential benefit of engaging people as it shapes their future. Acceleration comes from vision, determination and dedication; from the courage to move away from following a plan or copying a model to continually shaping and re-shaping your future.

Regardless an organization’s past attempts and choices, the path of hard work is always a workable way out, a way to break the illusion of agility.

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(Thank you, Higher View, for your professional expertise in video creations and Jellylab for the graphics)