One of our senior consultants at ArgonDigital once gave me some sage advice. I had asked him what the secret was to being a great consultant, and without hesitation he said “correctly predicting the future”. We help our customers in all sorts of ways, but helping them chart a course from where they are to where they want to be is arguably our most valued assistance.
When embedded with Scrum teams, especially new teams, I’ll try to help them with the next steps they could/should take on their journey. Teams can easily get overwhelmed when they hear all the new ideas at once (the ideas are mostly old ideas that are in a new methodology). So even if a team has been trained in Scrum and they have a Certified Scrum Master (CSM) helping them along, they still benefit greatly from having someone to coach the team and the Product Owner (PO) as they learn new skills and put them into practice.
Scrum teams I’ve worked with as an embedded coach could tell you there are a bunch of sayings they’ve heard over and over from me. I’ve come to think of these as my “Scrumisms”. When I first say one, they might think, “sure, that makes sense”. Then we go about being agile for a while, and at some point they’ll come to know *from firsthand experience* what the Scrumism means, as applied in their world.
So why are Scrumisms useful? They are a short-hand for a topic and we can easily repeat them and nod our heads as the lesson is learned. For example, one Scrumism is “no surprises in the sprint review” (your team may say “demo”, or “show-and-tell”, whatever). It means that the team has kept the Product Owner and the other team members in the know as to what will be shown, and what is or isn’t working. A team I worked with had a rough review after one of their sprints – some things they thought had been done weren’t done and were going to take longer (and they told the POs this as we were going into the room), and there were bugs apparent in the demo that made it clear there was testing that hadn’t been thorough enough. In the retrospective, the team was in a humble and subdued mood, and we talked about things like how we could improve communications and what sorts of additional quality measures we could take. As we approached the next sprint, I heard more than one person say “no surprises in the review, right?” Lesson learned.