Does Scrum change the way you work or the way you think?

Unravelling the Connection Between Scrum, Work, and Thought

As an Agile and Scrum coach, I’ve often explored the relationship between our thinking and working processes in relation to Agile project management, and one question that continually intrigues me is – “Does Scrum change how I work or think?”

This is an interesting question as it alludes to a seeming separation. Yet, my Agile journey has taught me that there’s no discernible divide between action and thought within the context of Agile.

The deeper my immersion into the Agile world became, the more I grasped the core principles inherent to Agile coaching and Agile project management. This increased understanding has naturally led to a significant shift in my thought process, reflecting my commitment to embodying Agility.

Deciphering the Relationship Between Thoughts and Action

As I’ve embraced the Scrum and Agile core principles, I’ve experienced a profound shift in my thinking, significantly impacting my approach to Agile work project management processes.

My thoughts and actions have aligned more, reflecting an Agile and Scrum-centric working method.

In fact, sometimes my thinking has shifted because I’ve moved my way of working.

Cultivating a Culture of Change

Transforming an organisation’s culture is a complex process and isn’t as straightforward as it seems. It’s about nurturing and encouraging specific behaviours and actions until they become the dominant traits that define your culture. These traits then gradually reshape your organisation’s culture.

You can’t simply say, ‘Change the culture’.

Instead, it’s key to incentivise certain behaviours and actions so that these traits become, and remain, dominant, which become key indicators of your organisation’s culture.

When these traits and behaviours are endorsed and actioned, the organisation reaches a tipping point where everyone else within the company follows suit.

Therefore, a culture change within your organisation has been cultivated.

Navigating the Deadline Dilemma

We can absolutely change our thinking, but when the pressure piles on, we tend to revert to what has proved to work for us in the past.

Therefore, in high-pressure situations, it’s common to revert to familiar ways.

For example, consider a Project Manager who has always adopted a traditional phased approach stepping into a Scrum Master role, who supports the team and helps them strategise and understand processes.

So far, so good.

But then the deadline shifts.

When deadlines shift, pressure mounts and the need to deliver sooner than initially planned arises, the temptation to fall back on old ways can be overpowering, and most people inevitably fall back on the skills they know work.

A familiar thinking and working process brings certainty, and we all have an innate craving for certainty.

Then arises the question – ‘Do I stick with the known or switch to Agile coaching methodologies?’

Trusting the Process

I’ve witnessed people repeatedly fall back into their old way of working because the pressure is on, and they want to complete the project using a process they know works and are comfortable with.

Initial confidence in Scrum may be shaky. Still, with repeated successes, the Agile way of working fosters trust and gradually reshapes our thinking.

With time and repeated success, confidence develops with Scrum. Over time, this new-found trust in the tried and tested Scrum and Agile methodology reshapes our thinking.

But this transformation isn’t instantaneous.

It’s a gradual process where our thinking evolves as we learn that this new approach and process works.

As we grow more confident in embracing and actioning the methodologies of Agile and Scrum, these approaches become our default response, and again, we get to a ‘tipping point’ of understanding that things are more likely to work the new way better than their old, familiar way. Agile and Scrum became their default response.

Rewiring for Success

As we become more invested in this process and find more success with our new Agile and Scrum skills, our brains begin to rewire, and this is when we shift to a mindset where success with this new approach becomes increasingly plausible.

However, it’s not an either-or as we start understanding the relationship between thoughts and actions much better and learn what methods work and what doesn’t.

Our understanding of the interplay between thoughts and actions improves, and our working processes evolve in tandem with our thinking.

This transformation is Continuous.

As we continue in the world of Agile and Scrum and learn more, our understanding and application of these principles improve. Therefore, we have become increasingly adept at utilising this framework to achieve our objectives.

As I see it, introducing Scrum inevitably triggers a shift in our thinking. Over time, we stopped paying mere lip service to Scrum and started understanding its practical advantages.

Elevating Your Scrum Master Skills

As a Scrum-Alliance-approved Registered Education Provider (REP) based in London, Agile Centre UK is dedicated to helping companies and individuals succeed.

We teach them to be more adaptive and innovative through Scrum training and certification programmes. If this resonates with you, let’s continue this Agile journey together.

Whether a beginner or an advanced Scrum Master practitioner, there’s always room to amplify your knowledge.

As a certified Scrum Master, you set the rhythm of project management by implementing sound Scrum business practices and Agile methodologies. Your commitment to this journey may be the turning point in your career or organisation’s trajectory. Together, let’s transform the way we think and work.

If you are interested in becoming an agile coach and value mentored, coach-driven skills development in your journey to mastery, visit our Growing Agile Coaches page.

If you are inspired by the idea of an online apprenticeship for a scrum master, visit https://www.agilesuccess.academy/courses/growing-scrum-masters-advanced

If you like the idea of becoming a scrum master and want to achieve internationally recognised and certified accreditation as a scrum master, visit our Certified Scrum Master (CSM) course page.

If you are already a scrum master and want to upskill to a more advanced level of knowledge and agile coaching capability, visit our Advanced Certified Scrum Master (A-CSM) course page.

If you have several years’ experience as a scrum master and want to validate and certify your professional skills, visit our Certified Scrum Professional Scrum Master (CSP-SM) course page.

For more information on John McFadyen, visit https://www.growingscrummasters.com or connect with John on LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/johnmcfadyen/.

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Keywords: David Marque, Stephen Bungay, Agile Leadership, Influential Thought Leaders

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author avatar
John McFadyen Managing Partner
John McFadyen is an Executive and Enterprise Agile Coach with proven experience working on some of the UK and Europe’s largest, most complex Agile Transformations. As a Certified Scrum Trainer, John brings a wealth of experience as an Agile coach, Agile practitioner and software developer into each of the four core courses he provides. The war stories, the insights into successful Agile transformations and everything he has learned from coaching high-performance Agile teams combine to provide course delegates with a unique, compelling training experience that transforms as much as it empowers.

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