“So – you’re a ScrumMaster?” I’ve been often asked. “Maybe, but in the end it doesn’t matter”, I replied. Right now I’ve got an even more fancy role title in my organization: “Lean Delivery Agent”.
I don’t care.
I’m in the software business since more than ten years. And until now it was quite a ride. Back in 2008 I started with Scrum, implementing it in a SME in Berlin, when I was building up there development department with a team of eight developers and a Product Owner. Before and after this conscious entry into my “Agile career” I met quite some companies, and every had its own, unique culture. Some were great, some were painful – but I don’t regret anything. Because the awesome thing is: I learned from every culture. What made the great things great, why did failures happen, how good went similar stuff in different organizations.
For me it turned out that three things are crucial in the end:
It’s never about the process – it’s about trust. The less people trust each other, the bigger the demand for processes is. But every process is kind of waste. It doesn’t deliver value to the customer. The customer doesn’t care how sophisticated your processes are, how great your financial controlling works, how well documented your roles and responsibilities are in the company. He cares for your products and services, for their quality and how they ease his live. A trustful culture can much more focus on value than a culture based on control. Trust also fosters autonomy, mastery, and purpose, the three main drivers of human motivation, as Dan Pink wrapped it up.
To move ahead you need to break the rules. You have to find out which make sense and which don’t, and why. To do so you need courage. When there is no courage there will be no improvement, no innovation. If everybody is careful not to change, to break something, the organization will stick in the status quo. But the environment changes, regardless of the organization. The market changes, the customer changes, the technology changes, the people change. So also an organization has to change. But since there is no guaranteed road to success (or even survival) you need to find out what may work and learn from failure on your own. And therefore you need courage. The more courageous people you have, who are not afraid of sharing their opinions, challenging decisions, and just doing things a new way to prove their ideas, the higher the possibility for the success and survival of an organization is.
And again trust is helpful. When there is no trust in that people do their best, and if people have to fear failures, it will torpedo courage.
Go for greatness. As person as well as as an organization. Try to be good in everything you do. Try to learn, to always improve. Don’t be just mediocre. Don’t hire just good people. Hire great people! Don’t just provide the stuff your competitors have. Provide the better! Don’t just give your employees a job. Give them purpose! (And by the way: just making more money or please your shareholders is not a purpose, as little as just keeping your job). Don’t just do your job. Do the best job you can! Don’t just run a company. Create the greatest workplace ever! The more you accept mediocrity the more you will loose the ability to grow and evolve.
If you are unable to be great in the things you are doing, then maybe those are the wrong things for you. And what satisfaction will you find in the end for doing wrong stuff for long time?
So that are the things I care for in my job, I try to seed and grow, whatever my title may be: trust, courage, and greatness.