On the Road to Whole, Healthy Teams

Hello friends! I’m Melissa Boggs, Chief ScrumMaster at Scrum Alliance. Together with Howard Sublett, our Chief Product Owner, I am blazing a trail into new territory where we embrace the Scrum values deeply and widely, stepping into these new roles instead of the traditional CEO. Here at Scrum Alliance Unscripted, we want to share that journey with you. 

Here is my #failurebow for having been so absent from Unscripted, and I am so grateful to Howard for continuing to keep you all in the loop. I have sat down to write this blog dozens of times in the last several weeks, and each time I just stare at a blank page. It’s almost like staring up the mountain. Not because I don’t want to share with you what’s happening at Scrum Alliance, but because I DO. There is so much to share, and perhaps I am afraid I won’t do it justice. Here I am, ready to try. 

Howard is in Brazil this week, at Regional Scrum Gathering Rio #SGRIO19. He loves these Regional Gatherings, and the opportunity to meet “strangers who will become best friends” all over the world. I find myself so proud when tweets of him pop up on Twitter, and he is sharing our story in languages that even HE doesn’t speak! (Shout out to Gatherings Team Member Tanya Nasciemento who helped translate his PPT deck into Portuguese!) He is such a brilliant and dynamic evangelist for our mission because he is so full of love for the global community we serve. 

In our last post, Howard alluded to some of the changes we’ve made in the last 8+ weeks. Our new cross-functional teams, each focused on specific communities, just completed their first sprint. It wasn’t easy getting here, and we are far from declaring success. As with any transformational journey, we are experiencing some growing pains. I imagine you’ve probably experienced many of these pains too; shifting our perspective to delighting the customer, learning how to work together in a cross-functional way, and understanding how we individually fit in to this new type of team model. At our first all-org Sprint Review, it was so neat to hear team members talking about the work they did together, and with so much focus on the people we serve. 

On the road to whole, healthy teams.... We are hiring some additional ScrumMasters and Product Owners! Each of the six teams will have a full time Product Owner and a full time ScrumMaster. Some of those roles were filled by existing team members who are excited to embark on a new path, and we will be welcoming new team members to fill the remaining roles. I’m really excited that we will be following in the footsteps of Menlo Innovations Extreme Interviewing by doing ScrumMaster and Product Owner hiring events in the next couple weeks. If you haven’t heard of their unconventional but fun way of finding the right new team members, check out an INC magazine article about them here. Shout out to Richard Sheridan (@menloprez) and Menlo Innovations for breaking the mold of traditional interviewing. I’m excited to share our experience!   

After a major change like ours, there’s also the underlying fear of *more* change coming too. We continue to reassure our teams that change *IS* coming, but from now on, it will be much smaller and more incremental. It will be experimental, and with their fingerprint on it too. I know this is difficult for everyone in different ways and at varying degrees; we are all learning how to work in a completely new way. Some people are taking on more responsibility, and others are having to let go of things that they'd worked on for quite some time to make room for new, exciting work. 

As we continue building our teams and establishing who Scrum Alliance will be in the future, I often think about the many stories we hear about transformations gone wrong or stalled. Like any other leader, I’m wondering how we will make sure this sticks. As a Certified Enterprise Coach (shameless plug), I’ve sat with leaders in the past who were so frustrated because their organization had gone through so much change, only to fall back into old habits or to realize they’d never really broken those habits at all. It's not that I am intent on "winning" or checking off the Scrum boxes. It's that my greatest hope is that it's worth it- for all of us. I dream of a time when our team members to truly feel the magic of Scrum. I envision a day when our communities to feel heard and seen, and completely involved in our work. We are a small non-profit with a BIG mission, and we are going after it in a big way. 

I feel fortunate to be operating from more than just my own experience - but the experiences of my former clients, our coaches, and the Scrum community at large. With all that on our side, I really believe we can create a joyful, prosperous, sustainable workplace that serves our entire community with whole hearts and creative minds. 

We’d love to hear from youe experience too! Are you in the middle of a radical transformation too- as a coach or a leader? Are you in a brand new Scrum team and working through the crunchy bits? Or are you trying something new with interviewing? Leave a comment! 

Posted: 7/1/2019 8:01:35 AM by Melissa Boggs | with 2 comments

Andrew Rose
Thanks for taking the time to post, Melissa.
We are dealing with busy people and the messiness of all the things that go on in our organizations.
I like how you said falling back on hold habits that were never really broken. Getting people vulnerable enough to move into a growth mindset can be very challenging. Or lizard brains are wired to avoid all of that threatening stuff! Habit by habit, iteration by iteration, it will get there.

You have an immense knowledge asset base in the Scrum Alliance members! However, if you ask one question and get 64,000 questions back then the coaching thing is working!
7/4/2019 8:22:33 PM

Vernon Stinebaker
Hi Melissa,

I empathize with staring up the mountain. Thanks for taking the bold step to move forward, both with your initial Unscripted blog post and with the journey the broader Scrum Alliance team is embarking upon.

I've never been more excited about what's happening at the Scrum Alliance. Thanks to you, Howard, and the Scrum Alliance team for your vision and efforts in Transforming the World of Work!

Warmest regards,
7/1/2019 5:43:02 PM