Looking back at my agile experience, I’ve worked with many digital product and software teams.

I began life as a Business Analyst, and this is where my interest in Agile and Scrum was formed. So much so that I decided to follow more of a specific coaching career as a Scrum Master.

There have been things that I’ve been proud of, and then there have been some moments where I look back and cringe. Want to know my 3 biggest learnings in my coaching / Scrum Master journey so far…?

Don’t sugar coat a message if it’s one you believe in

There have been too many times where I had something…

Straight off the bat, here’s a tip…make sure you know the full story before you try and give a solution or answer.

Have you ever had a lightbulb moment where you feel like you’ve got the answer?

Then you let everyone know about your amazing idea and it falls flat?

Could it be that you didn’t explain it well enough?

Could it be that the team were not listening?

Did you feel like they were being stubborn by not accepting your answer?

That’s the point…it was YOUR answer. To a problem you probably haven’t taken the time to really understand.

Handwritten words on lined paper saying Let it Out
A handwritten reminder on a lined notepaper to Let It Out.

Over the years I have been working with teams in different organisations and industries. I’ve seemed to have built up my instincts and awareness to be able to predict how things could unfold a few moves down the road.

I sometimes like to refer to this as a superpower, even though I know how self-adulating that sounds.

I used a similar skill to ‘read the game’ when I was playing Sunday League football here in the UK, or Soccer as it’s known to our friends over the water in the US. It was a great tool to have, especially as…

Empty shelves in the UK

We are now operating in unknown times, people are behaving in a more and more un-human way which is most apparent with people flocking to the stores to panic buy and stockpile their food and essentials.

What does this mean for my story? Well, I’ll set the scene…

My wife and I were talking about what I should get from the store like we frequently do and we realised that we had no idea of these items were going to be available.

So I posed the question, what do we know right now?

Well, we know the outcomes that we…

To my dearest Product Owners, my Stakeholders, my Project and Programme Managers, Developers and teammates around the world…please believe me when I say that I’m sorry.

For not immediately accepting more work to the sprint.

When I don’t immediately say yes to adding more work to our current sprint, and challenge you on the need to do this, don’t assume that I’m being defensive, or un-helpful or even just rude.

There are many reasons for this;

I’d like to understand if this new work REALLY is that high of a priority that it needs to go in right away. Have you promised this to someone without talking to me…

Humans are built to pick up on the signals that we display, even if we don’t realise we’re doing it.

Some examples of this can be in the conscious — where we want to be seen to be doing the right thing and setting the right example. Like making sure you’re the first one to update a ‘whereabouts’ board that helps the team understand where we might be working from on any given day. This positive conscious action sets the benchmark for everyone to follow.

Other examples can fall into the unconscious — an easy one here will be your…

Worrying won’t help

Try to remember a time where worrying about something actually paid off…you can’t can you? Imagining a negative outcome will not help you on your cause.

Doing is better than hesitating

If you hesitate, or procrastinate, you will start to go against your gut instincts. You need this when you’re out in the field, and you should believe in yourself more. Just do it, and if it doesn’t work, try something else. At least you’ve learnt something.

Things will never be perfect

Don’t compare yourself, or your team to others. …

Gianni Sawyer

I am a UK based Scrum Master and Agile Coach. You can also find me at www.findyouragile.co.uk

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