When I worked for several years as a traditional project manager, I used to think I knew how to manage a project. I thought controlling everything was the best way to manage it. However, when my manager sent me to a Certified ScrumMaster®
workshop given by trainer Pete Deemer, my life changed. Both the training and trainer were amazing, making the experience an eye-opener for me. I learned about Agile and Scrum values, principles, and practices, which are simple to understand but difficult to master. I learned how to respect each individual's culture, which is extremely important when working together, particularly in a distributed and virtual environment. I learned how to experiment with new things in a project as well as in my personal life: Inspect to see if it works, and if it doesn't, adapt it.
Once I became a Certified ScrumMaster, I was assigned to a project and worked as a true Agile change agent. I focused on the outcome rather than the output, and I learned the art of asking powerful questions. I showed more respect toward my team members, clients, and each individual I come across daily. I focused on the most important work at the moment. I focused on work flow rather than worrying about whether everyone on the team was "loaded" properly. I stopped assigning work to my team. Now the team members create their tasks, calculate the estimation, provide commitment, and deliver the product. I am there if and when they require my help.
What I learned as a ScrumMaster
I learned the power of cooperation and collaboration. I learned that software is built for human beings and by human beings, so having a high regard of every human being is important. Be it a client or a team member, they need to be handled with the utmost care.
I also learned how to develop a high-performance team by motivating them and frequently thanking them for their achievement, be it small or big. Over the years, I have learned many Agile methods, such as Extreme Programming, Kanban, Lean, and scaling Agile, which have given me different perspectives on Agile. I learned how to apply Agile at a team level, program level, and then scaling it to the enterprise level.
I recently attended two more training sessions. The first one was a DevOps session from Accenture DevOps Academy; I learned distributed version control systems, continuous integration, build automation, infrastructure provisioning automation, cloud monitoring and logging, and various related tools such as Git, Gerrit, Sonar, Genkins, Chef, Docker, AWS CloudFormation, Amazon CloudWatch, and ELK. Next I'd like to learn how to use a few more similar tools such as Cucumber, Selenium, Puppet, and Nagios.
The second training session was a Certified Scrum Product Owner®
workshop by Leanpitch, in which I learned how to maximize values. I also learned exciting topics such as product discovery, story pampering, product canvas, impact mapping, persona templating, experience mapping, and story-splitting techniques.
A paradigm shift
As an individual, I realized I was changing my way of thinking. I became more disciplined, learned new things every day, and I walked every morning. Initially, I used to jump to a conclusion. Now, whenever there is conflict, I prefer to listen to both sides and try to understand the real reasons at the root. I have learned the art of listening, since many problems are solved if you only give the proper attention while listening. I also learned that it's OK to say no when you are sure you cannot do something, for whatever reason. Now I try to keep my life and work simple. I prioritize my work. I work on most important things first. At regular intervals, I check whether I am going in the right direction.
I have developed some pointers on how to achieve a happy life (which I try to follow myself):
- Always do some work, never become idle, and don't waste time. (Inspirational quotation: Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.)
- Do yoga and exercise to stay fit.
- Always learn new things, and visit new places to gain a new perspective on life or a new culture.
- Help others, which gives you ultimate happiness.
- Eat something every two hours. Don't wait until you're hungry and then overeat. Eat fruits and vegetables. Consume more fluids, less solids.
Agile is good, but being
Agile is my core belief. I also believe in the three stages of gaining knowledge: Shu
, and Ri
. The journey starts from an understanding of the basic concepts, mastering the topic and becoming an expert in that area, and finally thinking about how you can take it to next level.
As a person, I've improved dramatically since taking the Agile path, and I can say that this is my Agile journey so far.