2013-09-12

Find Your Good Life

I've been thinking about "the good life" a lot lately, inspired by reading John H. Bodley's textbook, Cultural Anthropology: Tribes, States, and the Global System. Bodley uses the term summum bonum in his discussion on the good life. He defines summum bonum as, "the maximum human good … as culturally defined".

Bodley writes:
... in addition to household well-being, individuals also need sociability, material prosperity, security, and the opportunity to enjoy expressive culture. These conditions ... are similar to Abraham Maslow’s “hierarchy of human needs.” In this regard, the “best” culture would maximize human freedom, happiness, and the general welfare and would sustain a just and moral society. Individual freedom can be defined positively as the realization of self-interest and negatively as freedom from interference.
...
Any culture’s moral worth could be its effectiveness in providing the universal good life measured by individual human health and well-being, human freedom, social stability, and the sustainability of the sociocultural system’s material base.
...
most people were best able to enjoy the good life in the tribal world, where individual freedom was the highest, and everyone was assured an irreducible minimum of material benefits and opportunities. The imperial world gave a few people a very good life, while exploiting and pushing down the majority. The commercial world accepts extreme levels of inequality, poverty, sickness, conflict, and environmental degradation, even as large numbers of people enjoy high levels of material prosperity.
...
health and well-being in the commercial world, as measured by life expectancy, have now been found to be improved more by social equality and social cohesion than by absolute increases in wealth.
Bodley's good life corresponds with my vision for myself: I do great things with great people. More broadly, it corresponds with my goal, to be happy now and in the future, inspired by Eli Goldratt's The Goal.

I've been living the good life for the last few months. Here are some examples from the past couple of days:
  • She beckoned me over to sign a petition. I took her hand, and we danced tango on the sidewalk.
  • Every break from work is guitar-singing practice. Every break from guitar-singing is work. And they're both fun!
  • Cuddling with a friend
  • Exploring Symphony Hall and helping friends produce the international squash tournament in Boston
  • Camping and hiking in the mountains with a friend
  • Late afternoon disc golf with a friend
  • Drinking coffee on the pond, watching the ducks, talking with a friend, gentle breeze across our faces; bonus points if it's sunset.
  • Waking up in the tent in the rain, singing and playing guitar to my friend for the morning
  • A jazz-reggae band opening for the Jimmy Cliff movie, two doors down from my apartment, with my son
  • Sunday midmorning breakfast with an old friend, discovering how aligned we are, and riding my bike to get there
  • A quick nap in the park in Harvard Square, gentle breeze across my skin, the guitarist over my shoulder sings a lullabye
  • Morning coffee with a new friend and potential employer, discovering his high self-awareness, emotional maturity, and overall goodness
  • Lying on our backs, the new moon amplifies the stars, we count meteors and satellites among them, the stars so bright and numerous we can barely make out the Big Dipper and North Star
  • Herbal tea and people watching in the park in Harvard Square after sunset
  • We make a wrong turn, and a baby bunny greets us
  • A strong lingering hug

For me, it's all about connecting with people and living artfully.

How do you define your "good life"? Are you living it? What would you do differently to start living the good life today?

2013-07-22

Business Transformation Coach, Agile Coach, and Open Space Facilitator

Who am I?
I do great things with great people.

I am a Business Transformation Coach, Agile Coach, and Open Space Facilitator. I help people, teams, and organizations understand what they have, discover and align around what they want, and transform from what they have to what they want.

What is a coach?
A coach is a person hired by a team, its owners, or its managers, to help the team get what they want. A coach combines deep understanding of the challenges faced by practitioners in the domain with a broad perspective that allows team members to access expertise from outside the organization, experience new ways of working, and transform from their current state of practice to a greatly improved state. As defined by the International Coaching Federation, “Coaching is partnering with clients in a thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize their personal and professional potential.”

Most teams want to improve their skills, abilities, and performance. I help teams do that.

How do I do it?
I use a four step coaching process to help you, the team, transform from what you currently have to what you really want:

1. Understand what you have
2. Discover and align with what you want
3. Transform from what you have to what you want
4. Repeat

1) Understand what you have
You need to understand what you have, where you’re starting from. Your transformation starts with your baseline. What do you have?  How are things going? What is your current state?

I use the best tools to help you understand the current state of your team, including:
These tools reveal the true state of what you have. I help you document and visualize your Existing Conditions in your Change Plan and ensure that it is visible to everyone involved.

2) Discover and align with what you want
If you don’t know what you want, you can’t get there. What do you want? What is your vision? What are your goals? What problems are you trying to solve?

I use the best tools to help your team discover what they really want--your future state--and align around it:
  • Open Space Technology
  • Agile training and other domain-specific training
  • The Core Protocols
  • Facilitated conversations using Non Violent Communication, Dialogue, and other methods
  • Artful Making techniques
  • Interviews and observation as a participant-observer, followed by presentation and discussion
If you’re not all aligned on the same vision, you won’t transform. These tools ensure that you create your vision together, align with it, and are prepared to transform. I help you document and visualize your Goal in your Change Plan and ensure it is visible to everyone involved.

3) Transform from what you have to what you want
Now that you know what you have and what you want--where you are and where you want to be--the transformation begins. How do you get from here to there? I help you build and execute a plan for transforming from what you have to what you want.

I use the best tools to help your team prepare a Tranformation Blueprint outlining how to transform from what you have to what you want.
  • Open Space Technology
  • Agile training and coaching, including Scrum, XP, Agile games, continuous delivery, and more
  • Domain specific training for your field of work
  • The Core Protocols
  • Facilitated conversations using Non Violent Communication, Dialogue, and other methods
  • Innovation Games
  • Artful Making techniques
  • Sociocracy
4) Repeat
After helping your team discover the tools to succeed, I check in periodically using Open Space Technology and other tools to re-evaluate what you have, rediscover, remind, and re-align with what you want, and update and reinforce your Change Plan.

Why does this work?
The Change Plan works because your team builds it and is responsible for executing it. You opt in. You do it because it’s what you want, not because someone forced it on you.

You build the Change Plan yourselves. You do the work to understand what you have--your Existing Conditions; to discover and align with what you want--your Goal; and to build and execute your transformation from what you have to what you want--your Transformation Blueprint.

I coach you through it.

Connect with me
I want to hear from you. Are you ready to transform from what you have to what you want? Are you ready to do great things with great people?

2013-05-30

The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Rebel's Illustrated Primer

This is a transcript of my presentation at Rebel Jam, a global 24-hour long conference on positively changing business, government, education, healthcare, and the world itself. You can find my slides here.

I do great things with great people

I’m Richard Kasperowski. My vision is that I do great things with great people. Everything I do and everyone I do it with derives from my vision. I don’t do mediocre things. I don’t do things with mediocre people. I strive to do great things with great people, to do amazing things with amazing people

I am an Agile transformation leader helping big and small organizations do amazing things. I use Agile and other transformation tools to do this. I recently worked for Nokia, a rather large company. I currently work independently, helping businesses transform themselves toward greatness, and helping a community group set a world record in West Haven, Connecticut, USA

I help people understand what they have and what they want. I use a bunch of practices related to movements like ours to help people know what they have and transform it to what they want.

I’m curious: What do you do? With whom do you do it? What is your vision for yourself? What do you have? What do you want?

Work hurts

I woke up one morning this spring with an epiphany: work hurts, and I think I understand why. Many of us do amazingly creative work. We love what we do. Our work fully engages our hearts and our minds. But it’s painful to do our work at work. It’s painful to do it at our workplaces. It’s painful to do it within the hierarchical command-and-control structures of the organizations that we work within. Work hurts.

How would you succeed in a world of limited resources?

I thought about why work hurts. Work hurts because we are doing creative work, “knowledge work,” but we’re doing it within industrial control structures. Industrial control structures, industrial management systems, industrialism in general: industrialism is a good thing. It makes sense. It makes sense in a world of limited resources. If you have limited resources, limited raw materials, and you want to transform them into something good, something valuable, you apply industrialism. Your limited resources are things like coal, metals, springs, bearings, cogs, power, people, money, and time. You get the most efficient output from your limited inputs. You efficiently transform your limited inputs into wonderful products that delight people, they give you money for your work, and you profit. That’s good.

What if there were no resource constraints?

What if you had no resource constraints? What if everything you created derived from the abundance that the universe offers us? Our era is different from the era of the industrialists. Much of what we do is mentally creative work, information work, sometimes called thought work or knowledge work.

In a world of software, we can have anything we can code. And this isn’t limited to soft things and computerized things: in a world of inexpensive 3D printers, we can produce any object we can code.

This conference shows that we don’t even have to be working together face to face, the way Henry Ford’s workers had to. We are no longer constrained by resources. We are not constrained by physical resources (we can code them and 3D-print them), by the availability of people in a particular place, by money (things are cheap).

We live in a world of unlimited resources.

If we can think it, we can have it. If we can dream it, we can have it. If we can code it, we can have it. Our only limit is our intellect, our dreams, our spirit.


Knowledge Work versus Industrialism?

I want to give a name to this new era of unlimited resources and possibilities, but I’m not sure what to call it. Industrialism is exactly the right name for our past. What do we call our future? “Post-industrialism” is accurate--it tells us where we came from--but it’s disappointing because it doesn’t describe our destination. “Post-scarcity economics” is another accurate term that people have begun using, but like post-industrialism, it only describes our past, not our future, so it dissatisfies.

People use the term “knowledge work” to contrast the creative work we do against the work done on the industrial factory floor. But I want to avoid the term knowledge work because it feels divisive. It implies that our industrialist predecessors were not engaged in knowledge work, not engaged in creative intellectual work, and that’s insulting. The industrialists solved the problems of their era amazingly well, perfectly, and they deserve credit for their contributions. They were knowledge workers.


#DiamondAge

The era that we are entering sounds like the world created by Neal Stephenson in his novel, The Diamond Age: Or, A Young Lady’s Illustrated Primer. The parallel between our world and the one in the novel is that physical goods, even food and basic shelter, are cheap--you can walk up to a vending machine in the street, press a button, and it manufactures physical goods for you out of carbon atoms. For free, anyone can have a bowl of ramen and a mylar blanket. And you can have anything else you want, if you stick some money in the machine. Vending machines in the street are augmented by machines in the home. Programmers who write the code for these matter compilers can produce anything they can dream up; if they can code it, they can have it.

In the novel, there are no physical resource constraints. If you can code it, you can have it. Write some code, and a machine creates it for you on the spot out of carbon atoms. That’s the Diamond Age.

It sounds a lot like the world we are close to living in. In our current and near-future world, if you can code it, you can have it. So my working name for our upcoming era is the Diamond Age. It’s not perfect, but it’s a good placeholder.

In the Diamond Age, industrialism doesn’t make sense. We are not constrained by limited resources. If we can code it, we can have it.

(The novel includes many other themes. This theme is the one that resonates with my epiphany that work hurts. I am intentionally ignoring the other themes in the novel when I borrow its title for this thought-piece.)


Diamond Age-do

That’s the background on why work hurts, and on where we’ve come from and where we’re headed.
A few weeks later, I had another epiphany. There are specific thought movements, specific collections of principles and practices, that are helping us make work hurt less; helping us do work that has no resource constraints, although we are still within control structures designed for a world of resource constraints; helping us do Diamond Age work even though we are operating within Industrialist control structures.

These movements are all roughly congruent. At their best, they all solve this problem: how to get an amazing outcome with a group of people--how to combine the collective intelligence of a group into a single mind--how to do great things with great people. These movements aren’t exactly the same as each other, they aren’t equivalent, but they are roughly congruent.

I have been introduced to these movements through the Agile software community, and especially through Agile Boston and Dan Mezick. I use these movements, these principles and practices in my work, doing great things with great people, helping people do amazing things together, helping people know what they have and transform it to what they want.

I collect a number of these movements here and I offer a brief description of each one of them. I call this collection Diamond Age-do, or The Way of the Diamond Age. These movements are toolsets that we can use to get amazing outcomes.

What do you have? What do you want? The Ways of the Diamond Age help you understand what you have and get what you want in the world of unlimited resources. The Ways of the Diamond Age are the tools I use to help people know what the have and transform it to what they want.

Agile

Agile software development is the first of the Ways of the Diamond Age. Software developers were one of the first groups of people who were unconstrained by resources--if they could code it, they could have it. Their work hurt, and still does. With no resource constraints, industrial era management doesn’t make sense.

In the mid-1990s, Agilists reacted by humanizing and simplifying their work. Agile is about people, getting people to be able to work together well to do great things together, to get amazing results. The various flavors of Agile do it in slightly different ways, but the values are the same: people working well together, producing a working product that they can show to other people who care about it, and easily adapting to the changing world around them.


Open Space Technology

Open Space Technology is another of the Ways of the Diamond Age. Open Space is about giving people emotional, intellectual, and physical space within which to explore and share their best ideas with each other. It is a tool to help people grieve, to be able to transform through chaos and pain from their past to a beautiful future.

In Open Space, we align around a theme, a thorny problem that no one knows how to solve, that the group hasn’t been able to deal with. We build a safe space for each other to explore. We embrace the moment. We make it OK to opt in and opt out--butterflies and bumblebees. We accept that the outcome we achieve is the only thing that could have happened, and we embrace self- and mutual-responsibility for achieving only the best outcome.

Artful Making

Artful Making is an important contribution to the Way of the Diamond Age from Lee Devin and Robert Austin. Artful Making is about ensemble. Ensemble is a group of people acting as one, making amazing art together.

Artful Making compares the best theater companies with the best technology companies. A theater company puts on a new show. They spend six weeks developing the show from a script, a crude guideline of what might happen on stage. They start as individuals, and build a space of trust. They discover ways to make the play amazing. They try new things, most of which don’t work. They support each other as they make mistakes--though they don’t use the word “mistake”--these beautiful accidents are the only way to discover the best ways to do the performance. They create art by creating ensemble. And they always get it done on time: when opening night arrives, they put on a great show on time.

Core Commitments & Core Protocols

Imagine that you know yourself really well. You have high self-awareness. You understand what you want, the one core virtue you seek that will help you reach amazing goals. That’s a great self.

Imagine that your friends have the same high self-awareness. Imagine sharing your vulnerabilities and goals with each other. Imagine committing to supporting each other in our deepest, most important goals in life. That’s a great team.

Imagine forming a vision together and aligning with it. Imagine working in an open, vulnerable, safe, high trust, high results environment, being great together, producing a great result together, and achieving your world changing vision. That’s greatness.

That’s the Core Commitments and Core Protocols, and the Core Bootcamp process. The Core Commitments are a set of affirmations we make to ourselves and to each other. The Core Protocols are a set of behaviors that help us get the best from ourselves and each other. Bootcamp is a way to discover who we are, discover what we want, discover our alignment and vision, and practice the commitments and protocols as we boot ourselves into an amazing team.

Nonviolent Communication

Nonviolent Communication is another Way of the Diamond Age for knowing yourself and your teammates. It opens space between people to listen to each other and to hear each other. It helps us communicate very clearly, with ultimate safety.

The core protocol of NVC is OFNR: Observation, Feeling, Need, Request. When you try to explore an idea or resolve a disagreement with someone, start by stating the facts. Then share your feelings about the facts. Then state what need of yours is unmet. Finally, very clearly, ask for what you want.

Dialogue

Imagine a group of people sharing one mind together. Exploring, inventing, creating new ideas, harnessing their collective intellectual power: a hive-mind, in a way. What if there were a way to achieve that collective mind? Bohm’s Dialogue is that Way. Open space together. Organically and spontaneously discover the thing you need to discuss and explore. Listen and explore until you’re done.

Sociocracy

To open space at large scale, we might need some semi-formal processes that ensure we get the best from ourselves. Sociocracy is a way to organize a group of people of any size so that they agree and align on their vision, mission, aims, and policies--what to do--and on their operation--how to do it. Sociocratic groups use consent-based decision making to ensure everyone is aligned and no one has a paramount objection to the group’s policies and operation.


Innovation Games

Imagine the people of a large city getting together to figure out what is important to them, to guide city policy and agree on how to spend their budget. Imagine that everyone’s voice is heard equally--business owners, wealthy people, poor people, recent immigrants, families, single people, men, women, everyone. Imagine that people listen to each other, get to know each other, build empathy for each other, leave having discovered their commonalities, that their differences matter but that their common wants and needs trump. That their community is vibrant and people care. Imagine that it works, that people leave satisfied with themselves and their city. This is the San Jose Budget Games, an application of Innovation Games.

Innovation Games are another way to get the best out of people, to open space, to elicit creativity and the group-mind. They are games that get work done, that help people discover real solutions to hard problems.

Stoos

Stoos is an important Way of the Diamond Age. It is a group of people who have discovered that we are in this Work Hurts transition period between Industrialism and the Diamond Age. They explore better ways to create community and work together.


Corporate Rebels United & Rebels at Work

Corporate Rebels United and Rebels at Work are important Ways of the Diamond Age. Working from within large organizations, we wish to change our ways of working from Industrialism toward Diamond Age.


Diamond Dinners

Those are the Ways of the Diamond Age.

I want to mention two important upcoming topics. The first is Diamond Dinners. Who are the 10 people you want to have dinner with, to spend some time with, to open space, talk about important things, relax, and enjoy each other? Elinor Slomba is an amazing woman with a great idea: twice a year, we should gather great people and have dinner together. Want to join us? Who would you invite? Who are your 10 dinner guests? Send me your list. Really. We’ll make it happen, in interesting places around the world, with amazing people.

Chalkville

Want to make amazing art? Set a world record? Create and enhance a vibrant community? You’ve probably made drawings on the sidewalk or on the street with colored chalk? Imagine making a chalk drawing that is 100,000 square feet (10,000 square meters) with 2000 friends. That’s Chalkville, another project led by Elinor Slomba. We are setting the world record for the largest pavement chalk drawing this July in West Haven, Connecticut, USA. I invite you to register and join us as a participant, or to donate money to our chalk budget. We use the Ways of the Diamond Age to dream up, organize, and execute our art.


I do great things with great people

That’s it for the Ways of the Diamond Age, the Diamond Age-do. Agile, Open Space, Artful Making, the Core Protocols, NVC, and more: these are the tools of our transition from Industrialism to post-industrialism, from management in the era of scarce resources to the era of possibilities. If you can code it you can have it. We can do amazing things together.

What do you have? What do you want? The Ways of the Diamond Age help you understand what you have and get what you want in the world of unlimited resources. The Ways of the Diamond Age are the tools I use to help people know what the have and transform it to what they want.

We can do great things together. Want to join me?

The #DiamondAge

I’m Richard Kasperowski. I want to connect with you. I want to meet you face-to-face in Boston, New York, New Haven, or anywhere else in the world. I want to video-chat with you, talk to you by voice, or through text. I want to explore the world of possibilities with you. Connect with me.

Resources


2013-03-18

The Perfect Job


What is the perfect job?  I'm playing Perfection Game with myself.  If I were to give my job a perfection rating, the criteria would be:
  • I do great things with great people--my personal vision. I'm not doing mediocre things, and I'm not doing things with mediocre people. Everything else derives from this vision. (My vision and a lot of the rest of this list are inspired by McCarthy BootCamp, Core Protocols, NVC, Open Space Technology, and more.)
  • We are aligned on our vision. Our work has purpose. We are aligned on our goals. We are passionate.
  • We bring our full selves to to work every day. We don't distinguish between "work self" and "home self."
  • We bring our best selves to each other every day. We always offer our best to each other, and we get the best from each other.
  • We feel. We accept that we are human and that humans feel emotion. We don't leave our emotions at home. We fully feel our emotions. We share what we feel with each other. We share what we feel despite cultural work pressure not to.
  • We have integrity. We don't drop our ideals under pressure. We do what's right, even when it's inconvenient, unpopular, or will get us fired. We do it because we want the best result, all the time. 
  • We are courageous. When we notice that we're not bringing our best, we call it out, no matter how afraid we are. When we don't know something, we say so. When we hear a scary idea for improvement, we try it, even though we look foolish.
  • We are bold and kind. We are honest and empathetic. We use different voices for different situations: angry voice when we're angry, gentle voice when we're nurturing.  (Inspired by Nicola Dourambeis)
  • It's OK to be a maverick or a rogue. We trust that you're aligned with us, and that you're helping us get the best result.
  • We support each other. When we share feelings or vulnerability, we listen.
  • We listen to each other and to our customers. We listen without judging. We make eye contact. We empathize. Only after fully listening do we offer help or make decisions.
  • We have fierce conversations. We are direct and kind.
  • We inspire.  We inspire each other to do our best all the time. We inspire our bosses and customers with our great results.
  • We are effective and efficient. We use Core Protocols to get the best results fastest.
  • We are masterful. We bring years of study and practice together to produce things of excellence.
  • We are well trained, follow great principles, and use great practices. Under pressure, our reflexes get us the best results.
  • We are proud of our work. We value our craft. We are artisans. When we produce something that we wouldn't be proud of, we fix it.
  • We experiment and explore. We make mistakes and learn. We always improve.
  • We are learning and getting paid for it. We love learning and we do it every day. (Inspired by Chad Holdorf)
  • I travel. I experience and explore new people, new places, and new cultures. In doing so, I explore and better understand myself.
  • There is variety in my work. I am never bored. If I'm bored, I find something else to do.
  • I lead people to get the best out of themselves. I teach and consult, guide and coach.
  • I have wide and deep influence. My actions have positive impact on a large number of people.
  • People value what I do. They express their value in different ways: emotional connection, money, gratitude, and more.
  • The positive consequences of my work are obvious. It's easy to connect what I do to people's success. In business, this means it's trivially easy to observe and measure my impact on the bottom line: I help bring money in, and I help keeps costs low.
  • I am responsible for great outcomes, and I have complete autonomy and self direction in how to achieve them.
  • When I ask for help, people help me. It's OK to express vulnerability. I don't get punished for not being master of everything.
  • My coworkers ask me for help, and appreciate the help I give them.
  • My coworkers tell me what I do well, and what I don't do well. They offer help on the things I don't do well, but they don't force help on me.  We play Perfection Game (a Core Protocol) often.
  • I get paid well. I get paid enough that I don't have to worry about money, and I can just do great work.
  • We love working together. It's fun. We are happy.
  • We make silly jokes and laugh together.
What would your perfect job look like? Want to join my team and create the perfect job together?

(Thanks to Elinor Slomba for inspiring and editing.)

2013-02-19

Cancel your sprint


Cancel your sprint.  You'll be glad you did.

I cancelled a sprint this week.  We had begun building a new software increment, and we were on track to get it done.  During the sprint, we discovered the limits of our approach, and shared what we learned with our customer.  Our customer shared with their customers, and we learned that what we were building was unacceptable to our customer's customers--it added friction to an important in-app purchase experience.  We explored an alternate approach, building a new prototype with our users, and discovered that the alternate was what they really wanted.  Cancel the sprint so we could get started on what our customer really wanted--that was the only thing that made sense.

Now that we knew exactly what to build, we got started right away.  The team swarmed on new product backlog items that matched what our customer really wanted, and we planned a new sprint the same day.  We'll deliver in two weeks. Impressive!

Thinking about it like an investor, I don't feel bad about the half-sprint of waste--it's simply not waste.  We invested salaries and tempo into learning what our customer really wants.  It took half a sprint to figure it out, and our customer and their customers will get what they want.  No problem.

In the context of the Agile Manifesto, I have mixed feelings about canceling our sprint.  We didn't complete the sprint--no Working Software--so no measurable progress.  Lots of Customer Collaboration, but I wish we could have learned what our customer wanted before the sprint began. Great Individuals and Interactions, displayed by the team's swarming to reset on a new sprint. Responding to Change: yep, that's where it's at.     

Have you cancelled a sprint?  Why?  What were your results?

2013-01-28

No, YOUR mom does Scrum!


If my mom asked me, "What's Scrum?," what would I tell her? Here's my answer.

Scrum is a way to take great ideas, turn them into a great product, and end up with happy people. Imagine a group of people doing something cool together, maybe inventing new tech product, or something else innovative that no one's ever done before. Imagine that they tell each other they want a great result--why wouldn't they want the best result?--and that they agree on a way of working together that helps make it happen.

It would probably be a good idea to agree on a vision of their goal, and to make a to do list that will get them there.  Maybe they'll prioritize their to do list, so they work on the most important things first.  What if they put their to do list somewhere where they could all see it, all the time?  And just to give it a name, they call it their Product Backlog, and the call the things on the to do list Product Backlog Items.

What if they got together and agreed on what to work on, as a team, for a week or two?  What if they put together a credible plan for getting the most important backlog items done on time?  What if they committed to each other that they would work together and get it done on time?  What if they put their plan on a wall in their office so they could all see their progress, all the time?  (They call the one or two weeks a Sprint, and that meeting is the Sprint Planning Meeting.  The list of things they commit to getting done is the Sprint Backlog.  They use the word Sprint on purpose--they're trying to go as fast as they can.)

Now imagine that they check in with each other every day.  They tell each other what they got done yesterday, what they'll get done today, and what's in their way--what's preventing them from meeting their Sprint goal.  They notice when someone needs help, and they offer it.  They coordinate with each other as a team and plan their day.  They call this meeting the Daily Scrum. Lots of great teams do this--you'll see doctors, nurses, and other staff do meetings like this in hospital emergency rooms when the shift changes; you'll see building cleaners meet at the beginning of their shift and plan their day.  It's they normal way good teams get stuff done.

What if they agreed on what "done" means, and show each other what they got done at the end of the one or two week Sprint, sort of as a way to make sure they're being honest with each other and their boss?  What if they discussed what went well and what didn't go so well?  What if they adjusted their to do list based on their actual result? What if they tried to figure out how to improve, how to get more stuff done in the next one or two week Sprint, and committed to the improvement plan?  They call these things their Definition of Done, their Sprint Review meeting, and their Sprint Retrospective.  The new improved product, including the sprint's-worth of stuff they just got done, is their product Increment.

And then they do it again.  They probably learned something new about their capabilities and what their customers want, and they adjust their Product to match.  They hold another Sprint Planning Meeting and start a new Sprint.  They repeat this every two weeks, or whatever they agree is the length of their Sprint.  They repeatedly build something great, and they deliver it to their boss or customer on time, every time, in small increments.  It helps them get feedback from their boss or customer so they can adapt and give him what he wants and make him happy every Sprint.

That's Scrum.  People who do it, and do it well, get great results.  I do it with the people I work with.  It works.

How would you describe Scrum to someone who has never heard of it?

Jargon source: Scrum Guide 2011

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