In 2017 I set off to become a full-time Business Agility and Enterprise Scrum Coach. I remember traveling between New York and Chicago, where I participated in exciting workshops and surrounded myself with a select group of people. One of them was the Agile Manifesto and Enterprise Scrum co-author, Mike Beedle.
Mike was a visionary and a leader in many ways. He had the amazing ability to inspire great change. I have to admit, it’s been difficult to talk about Mike and his work since his sudden passing in 2018. However, as his former pupil and the first Spanish-speaking coach in Latin America, I felt talking about Enterprise Scrum was something I owed to the community.
Back in 2001, Mike Beedle and a group of 16 other software experts designed what we know today as the Agile Manifesto. In a time when many preferred to stick to more traditional business practices, Mike dared to defy the status-quo by proposing a new open-source framework focused on creative commons.
Enterprise Scrum was a new way of looking at organisational design. It introduced exciting ideas, like the implementation of decentralised business units over corporate silos, where teams collaborated amongst each other for wider client insight. Honestly, we could create a long, long list of ways it has revolutionised corporate culture, but for the purposes of this post I’d like to look at the three key elements of teamwork coined by the CEC Model from Enterprise Scrum: collaboration, engagement, and competence.
“A lone whistle does not a symphony make.”
I like to look at collaboration as the collective intelligence within a given social system. An example of collaboration is when a group of individuals who don’t necessarily share the same views or skill sets, trust and respect each other, acting like one single entity.
When this happens, its members not only recognise their peers, but themselves, as part of something greater. True collaboration doesn’t just happen by itself, it requires a deep understanding of how human relationships work and develop—not to mention a great deal of trust.
As an open-source framework, Enterprise Scrum represents a great opportunity for those seeking to contribute and develop better collaboration patterns within it.
“There is no known cure for incompetence.”
Competence refers to an individual’s skill to perform a certain task, like the ability of a software developer to master code, or the dexterity shown by a Scrum Master to facilitate interactions within a team as they reach their maximum potential. Even though Agility has proven to be a viable solution to a heap of problems within an organisation, incompetence is certainly not one of them.
In order to prevent your team from wasting precious efforts, each member should be committed to the job and hold accountability for their own actions. Your job, therefore, is to organise each team according to the competencies, i.e. individual skill sets within the team. You’ll achieve this only by having a broad understanding of the problem at hand, followed by a clear map of each member’s strengths and weaknesses, and how these could potentially affect your outputs.
From a competency point of view, I could make a long list of ideas for the Scrum community to work on, but these are two of the most important:
- Understanding each role’s maturity level. Which particular set of skills makes up a leader and how we can develop them.
- The criteria a team uses to measure internal collaboration through an individual’s competencies, and how we identify the patterns in a team that lead to efficiency and trust building.
“An employee’s experience of the workplace will be the sum of everything they experienced there.”
Self-motivation and genuine interest are the catalysts for engagement. That being said, we cannot obtain true engagement if we’re not willing to break the rules a little bit. As an Enterprise Scrum Coach, I know when to adapt the framework to make my team feel more at ease and increase their level of compromise. In order to achieve this, you need to be very careful when designing the balance between freedom and responsibility.
Your goal will always be to ensure that everyone adapts quickly to change in the best way possible through clear and measurable objectives. Once you’ve mastered that, you’ll find it easier to adequately meet not only your user’s needs, but your entire business’s needs as well.
We know now that, while it’s a simple framework for interaction, Scrum is also living proof of what happens when individuals join forces to work as one. The best results will always come from thoughtfully organised teams that learn, collaborate and grow together, while reacting quickly to any challenge.
Sometimes during his lessons, Mike would talk to his students about a book he had yet to finish writing. In that spirit, if you or anyone you know is interested in adding new and better ways of working together and would like to finish where he left off, I encourage you to reach out to us at PALO IT, or better yet, contact me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.