Scrum Alliance, Unscripted

Live from Menlo: Agile 2019, Agile Hiring & Empathy Toys

Creating a joyful network: A video chat with Howard and Melissa

Our co-leaders, Howard and Melissa, are live again on video, keeping the community up to date on what's happening inside the walls of Scrum Alliance--even when some of it isn't occurring inside our walls at all.

Video Tour Scrum Alliance Agile Coaching Corner

This month, our staff and leadership team spent a great deal of time away from the office, spreading the word and gaining new insights about agility and Scrum. Or as Melissa put it in the video, "creating a joyful network." The visit to Menlo Innovations was a chance to make those connections and see firsthand the working environment Richard Sheridan describes in Joy, Inc. Melissa went on to say, "It's one thing to tell a story on behalf of a company ... it's another to hear them speak about it themselves. (See 1:30 - 2:56 in the video for more.)

Scrum Alliance at Agile 2019

We also spent some time this month at Agile 2019. We hope that you were there as well, and were able to speak to our staff and leadership team. We proudly sponsor this event every year and enjoy meeting with new friends and old ones. "I spend most of my time in the coffee shop in meetings," Howard said, which is typical for him at most events. "So I didn't see a single session or keynote. ... But sometimes the best part of conferences happens in the hallways."

Melissa enjoyed the sessions about agile HR practices and organizational change. One in particular hit close to home: "They did a role-playing activity about what would happen if one day an organization decided to ... become a flat org," Melissa began. Howard immediately broke in, "Who in the world would do that? We would. We would," he exclaimed, raising his hand. Watch the whole discussion on Agile 2019 from 3:00 - 7:00.

Agile Hiring & Empathy Toys

We brought some new guests into our own building this month as well. We needed to hire a team member with customer support skills. We have been experimenting with agile hiring for our new ScrumMasters and product owners and wanted to see if the techniques worked as well for other roles in our organization. They do!

Melissa recapped that at agile hiring events, all of the candidates (guests) come in at the same time, "creating connection, creating community." At the latest event, we also added an empathy toy, an idea Melissa got at Agile 2019 from discussions with Zach Bonaker and Jason Kerney. It was a way, she said, of creating a scenario for demonstrating [the guests'] skills and for us to get an idea of what it was like to work with them.

Melissa explained that this empathy toy is a set of blocks. "We had [the two guests] sit back to back. One person has a [fully] built toy. The other person is trying to build a toy ...  they have all of the pieces that they need but they can't see [the toy they are trying to build]." The two people communicate without looking at each other to help the person with the blocks build a toy that looks just like the model. "It created some levity, some play, in our interviewing process," Melissa explained. Watch the exchange from 9:00 - 11:45.

Scrum Alliance at RSG Beijing

Howard was leaving the day after this video was filmed to travel to Beijing, China, for the Regional Scrum Gathering that Scrum Alliance sponsored there. (Sponsoring regional gatherings and local user groups is one of many ways we invest in building the agile community around the world.) While there, Howard spoke briefly about Scrum Alliance and spent a great deal of time connecting with the attendees and learning about their needs, obstacles, and successes. Howard said, "Every time I go somewhere else, I learn something more about what this community means to [the people there] and how it has changed their lives." (7:28 - 8:05)