See Ya Later Scrum Master 👻

Jan 26, 2024 3:28 pm

Happy Friday!

I heard enough feedback on my last newsletter that I made it a formal post on my blog. You can find the link below if you want to share it with folks.

I'm spending more time on LinkedIn lately than I'd like. I am not a social media person, but I consider it part of the job. So many posts are people out of work and folks screaming that agile is dead. These are the last two points I want to write about.

I don't believe agile is dead in any real sense of the clickbait title. What is there to object about when you distill it down to work together, inspect, and adapt? What you can object to is all the bullshit the industry created.

Yes, I get exhausted and suffer eye strain from how often I roll my eyes at this stuff.

So what is going on? Let me explain this with a metaphor of driving school. You see, you can go to a driving school to show people how to drive. At that school, you are taught that everything is good as long as everyone else does what they're supposed to. They're supposed to obey speed limits, pull over for emergency vehicles, pass on the left, fill their cars with diesel, and downshift when they brake. There are some other lessons, but hopefully, you get the idea.

These drive masters are sent out to places to help folks drive better. They show up and quickly begin telling everyone what they should do. Their drivers say, "But on the highway, there's a minimum speed, so how fast do we drive?" They also say, "Our vehicles don't use diesel. I don't think we should put that in the tanks."

The drive master wags their finger and proclaims they aren't driving well if they don't do what they say.

The drive master is asked for an example to help the drivers improve, but the drive master never learned to drive themselves. So they hop in a car, pop it into reverse, and back right into a trashcan. After getting out of the car and telling everyone to fix the car, they proclaim you shouldn't have trash cans so close to the road.

The drivers are all thinking this person is a fool.

This person will lose their job eventually. That is what is happening now. Scrum masters and coaches are losing their jobs because folks are tired of putting up with them.

They're tired of getting scolded for not doing things right by someone who can't do any of it. They're tired of feeling like things should be working but they never do.

An entire generation of folks started their career with this and are now in leadership positions, and they're at their limits. They know there's got to be something good in this agile stuff, but it's just too painful, and at the same time, there isn't anything so special these agile folks are yelling that they haven't heard a million times before.

So they're losing their jobs.

Over my entire career there are probably less than fifty folks I would recommend any company hire to help. Over a million certified folks are running around.

One thing I've always tried to be very intentional about is never to club anyone over the head with the whole agile thing. I think it's more important to find out what's important (Or, in agile-speak, valuable), try some things to make the important thing better, and do that with other folks. It doesn't really matter if we get to check some imaginary agile box off.

If you're feeling like you've got the driving instructors I've mentioned above and want to get some help on how to address that, let me know. There are ways to turn that around, and protect yourself.



Here's my weekly update for January 26th, 2024...

🗒️ The Quick and the Dead of Prioritization


I’ve often felt like one of my natural talents or superpowers is how I prioritize features for products.

Now, I know it is easy for anyone to feel that way, but there is a very sharp contrast between the backlogs I create and what most others create.

Click here to read more

🗒️ Agile Isn’t Dead, But Your Career Might Be


All over LinkedIn, my feed is full of people saying Agile is dead or that Scrum Masters and Agile Coaches aren’t needed.

I understand both the sentiment and the clickbait nature of this kind of headlines.

Though if it were clickbait, people would say the opposite of their title in what they write, but they don’t.

They continue to write that agile failed, and these roles and frameworks failed, too.

Click here to read more

🗒️ What the Greeks and Romans Can Teach Us About Design


In my last years of college, I took a lot of history classes, and I wound up loving them.

So much so that I thought I should have pursued a minor.

While this doesn’t make me an expert, I learned some things that stick out to me, and there is one I’m going to share about and draw a parallel to the software world’s approaches to design.

Click here to read more


Ryan Latta