Zuzana Sochova, Zuzi, is the author of a new book on the ScrumMasterWay. She is also the heart and soul of the Agile Prague Conference, which is where I had the great fortune to meet her several years ago. A beautiful lady in a beautiful city. As its name suggests, this is a guide book along the path, the way, for ScrumMasters and Agile Coaches.
The book covers a lot. You’ll find thumbnail sketches of many valuable approaches as well as useful examples based on hard-earned real experience. This makes this a good reference for techniques after you have been through the book.
Zuzi reads a lot. Her talks are entertaining and informative as she brings what she has read to the attention of the rest of the community. Zuzi also has the Agile Mindset and her message is to encourage readers to be the same. Take small steps, and even when discouraged, keep moving forward. This sounds a lot like the recommendations in Fearless Change and More Fearless Change! As I am deeply interested in change, I echo the approach Zuzi takes. Instead of the grand plans most organizations have for overnight upheaval and a deadline – we will be agile by the end of 2016 -- successful change is built around small steps and learning. In Fearless Change, we describe a “Learning Cycle.” Take a small step. Stop. Make time for reflection and learning. Based on small successes, take the next small step. Of course, we’d like to reach a tipping point, when the change takes on a life of its own and things begin to be easier, but we can’t count on that! The best approach is based on small experiments.
You will love the sketches in Zuzi’s book! Research shows we learn from images. In fact, words themselves are recognized by the brain as images. Zuzi’s imaginative drawings are the perfect addition to the material. The book offers a chance for reflection and evaluation of strengths and areas that need improvement—this is perhaps the most important part of the book. We know it’s difficult to understand ourselves. Without some planned time-outs, we have no hope of improvement. It won’t happen by accident. Research has shown that just a few minutes each day looking back on what worked well and what should be improved can show real benefit over time.
I really like her discussion of the Cynefin Framework. We need a better understanding of Dave Snowden’s work. In agile development we are dealing with complex adaptive systems. That means we can’t know in advance the effect of even a small change to our organizations, our teams, or ourselves. We can only test and then stop to reflect and based on our observation make plans for the next small change. It’s delusional to believe that we can plan every activity over a long timeline of years for any effort. I think you’ll enjoy this easy-to-read, informative little book. I know I did.
Co-author, with Mary Lynn Manns, Fearless Change and More Fearless Change