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The 'Why' of Scrum...A Brief Video Introduction

Adam Yuret

Scrum is the most popular agile development framework by far. As such It's also the most fanatically polarizing. 

One thing that is often used when teaching and coaching Scrum is Shu Ha Ri.

Shu Ha Ri is a model of instruction from martial arts, where students first master motions without understanding them, then learn why, and finally create their own method beyond that of the teacher.

I have a number of issues with applying this martial art technique to adult professionals who didn't sign up to learn Kung Fu and to whom we are not actually teaching Kung Fu. Coaches sometimes tell me I can't or shouldn't teach people new to agile, Scrum or Lean the principles and purpose of those things. 

There is an arrogant belief, reinforced by Shu Ha Ri, that you must force people to obey before they earn the right to question. I've benefitted from this common fallacy because when I train or consult these adult professionals who've already experienced Shu Ha Ri they are delighted to learn the reasons these frameworks and practices help them solve real problems.

They're also more receptive to being encouraged to question and challenge since they've so many questions and issues with the approaches they've been forced to adopt without context. 

If you don't teach people 'why', you limit their interest and passion for the subject. Adult professionals don't appreciate being told they're "beginners" and that they haven't "earned" the right to question teachings. Trainers are in a challenging position if they have to explain why something helps vs. just telling people not to question them and obey. 

I was honored to be asked to introduce the Scrum framework at Lean Agile Scotland 2016 in just 20 minutes. It gave me an opportunity to distill the framework into its core and prioritize the principles and the 'why' of the Scrum framework. I didn't go into detail about how to staff, or facilitate the parts of the system. I focused on why doing these things can be helpful. 

I've received great feedback from the session and people subsequently asked me if it had been recorded so they could share it but it had not.  In response to that request I've made a brief video of that introduction. I hope it helps and I am as always open to feedback and critique so feel free to let me know what you think. 

Do you want me to come present this at your organization or event? I provide speaking, training and consulting at all levels of organizations aspiring to improve their outcomes. Reach out to me at Adam.Yuret@ContextDrivenAgility.com