📬 The Backlog

📬 The Backlog is Thomas van Zuijlen's weekly newsletter on practical agility, with annotated articles on Scrum, facilitation, collaboration, and (product) development.

16 January 2023

📬 The Backlog #194

An experience report on fluid Scrum, a list of facilitator qualities that modern leaders should have, and a compelling argument to skip everything until just before the bear eats you.

  1. In her article Fluid Scrum – an Experiment, Bettina Kuchenbuch describes a loose approach to team composition that is designed to facilitate her organisation’s demands that vary between maintenance and product development.

    Kuchenbuch details the hypotheses underlying the choices made by and for her group of 11 people. The particulars of what works for them, may not work for you (nor should they need to) but there is great value in Kuchenbuch’s general findings. My main takeaway is that if you want individuals to choose to form a team (around a goal), it is essential that they are motivated to advance the product. That can only happen through involvement. And as for choosing to work towards a Product or Sprint Goal: if those aren’t crystal clear, the whole setup collapses.

  2. Gustavo Razzetti published Great Leaders Are Facilitators: They Know How to Design Collaboration and Innovation. The text of the article feels just as long as the title does; lots of ground is covered in describing both leadership and facilitation.

    The good part starts about halfway through, at How Leaders Can Facilitate a Positive Culture, where Razzetti explains that “as facilitators of culture, leaders need to focus on the system – from removing an unnecessary obstacle to modeling the type of behavior and language they want others to bring to the conversation.”

    The subsequent seven-point list of typical facilitator qualities applied to leadership is eminently useful as a mirror to hold up to yourself, especially if your background isn’t smattered with facilitation practice.

    How are you… providing clarity and direction?

  3. Good advice from Wes Kao for your next meeting, pitch, or user story: Start right before you get eaten by the bear: Why you should avoid backstory scope creep.

    Cut out unnecessary stuff from your intro to create room for what you need from your peers. Kao: “To decide what parts to cut, figure out what question you want help with. Then ask yourself, ‘What’s the minimum amount of backstory person X needs in order to give me valuable advice?’”

    I recommend you click the article to see where the bear fits in to this.

Be brief and Scrum on,
Thomas van Zuijlen