Don’t Be A Scrum Bag
Do you know Scrum? Do you use it? Combining Scrum with the right person in the right place at the right time is powerful for managing all of your projects.
Listen to the Podcast…
More information about Scrum and WHO-DO
What is Scrum? https://www.scrum.org/resources/what-is-scrum
WHO-DO™ Assessment: https://thepeoplecatalysts.com/who-do-assessment-welcome/
The Scrum Discussion…
Karla Nelson: And welcome to the People Catalyst podcast. My friend Allen Fahden.
Allen Fahden: Hello, Karla.
Karla Nelson: Hello. How was your day, sir?
Allen Fahden: It is a good day and as I always say, it’s an even better day now that we’re doing a podcast.
Karla Nelson: Yay. I always love podcast day. You know, it’s interesting doing this podcast, we initially launched it because we wanted to reach a broader audience with the WHO-DO Method, and it’s been interesting because I’ve learned just as much as I’ve wanted to teach other teachers.
There’s just a nonstop learning aspect right, of… And what we’re going to talk about today is really unique because a lot of people, if you’re not in the technology world, it’ll be interesting. Everybody’s sort of project management, but not everybody has heard of Agile, which is a methodology and specifically what we’re going to talk about today, Scrum.
Allen Fahden: Yes, absolutely. And it’s interesting, too, because one of the things about Agile and Scrum is that it introduces rules and roles. And the roles, and this is, we’re going to say, I’ll use the word, unfortunately now, it’s one of the things that’s missing is unfortunately the roles are based on pretty much traditional things when there’s so many more opportunities out there to do things faster.
Allen Fahden: But the rules can be very effective because they dictate that you spend less time on the project. You have shorter meetings, you have shorter time between meetings, you have dirt deliverables that come faster. And so it’s like the reverse of Parkinson’s Law, where work fills the time allotted to it and this way you have a much shorter time allotted to it. So you’ve got to just cram it all in there. Now of course, the downside of that is that you can move too fast and miss things and so the quality of your work can suffer and it might hurt you a lot later on down the line.
Karla Nelson: Yes. And we’ll get into a bit in a moment about how that overlays with WHO-DO. And I forgot, I should have mentioned the creator of Scrum, and most people wouldn’t even know this, was over 20 years ago when the first team was developed. And it was developed by a gentleman named Jeff Sutherland. He’s actually written a book, if you’re a curious about it, it’s number three in its space on Amazon. He was a West point fighter pilot, a biometrics expert, an early innovator of ATM technology and a whole bunch of other crazy stuff. So he’s definitely no slacker. And he was before his time, too, because he saw these challenges that teams were having in managing projects specific to technology.
Now here’s the thing it’s really a great project management of intangible products and all of us are now having to work in that intangible space. So think about project management from tangible to intangible when you’re making and creating a hard object versus now we’re constantly focused in the intangible. Even look at marketing. We used to print flyers and put them out places, right? So in the tangible, we’re really constrained by the materials and manufacturing, right? And so, but if you broaden the category of software out to include all intangibles, then you capture that idea that 80 to 90% of the economy is a service economy, right? And that many tangible products have services then that you can wrap around that intangible. That makes sense. You can-
Allen Fahden: Absolutely. In fact, a great example of that is if any of you have own a car where they’ll do all the maintenance free and they’ll come and pick you up and take you home and so forth. That’s a way to increase the value of the offering radically. And it’s an easy way to do it because again, tangibles have a lot of constraints. You’re constrained by the materials you’re using, the time it physically takes to do things. Once you’re in intangibles, then you don’t have those constraints anymore.
So and this always reminds me of one of my favorite books by Joe Pine and Doug Gilmore. It was called The Experience Economy. What they did, and I’ll just cut this short is they showed how you could take something that had almost no value and then there’s a predictable ladder of five steps. It can climb up and you can actually drastically increase the value dramatically. So, and the story they tell is a cup of coffee, so everybody though these numbers may not be perfect, but they’ll give you an idea. They’re pretty close. A cup of coffee you had this morning. If you get it down to the beans just a commodity freshly picked, but unroasted coffee beans, a cup of coffee cost about 6 cents beans only. So now if you want to increase the value of that cup of coffee, what you do is, and you know Folgers did this and there’s still, you can buy it in the store, is what you do is you’d roast the beans and you’d grind them and you put them in a package and ship them to a warehouse and they’d ship it to a store and or online or whatever. You get your ground coffee and then you could, at home, brew yourself a cup of coffee.
So the value of the offering triples, more than triples, from sixth sense as a commodity to let’s say 20 cents as a product. In other words, amortize that piece of your can of Folgers Coffee or whatever that you drink that morning.
So now, that’s a pretty good leap. But here’s a real big leap and that is the next step up. So there’s commodity product service, and this is why you should think about wrapping your products in a service. So instead of a brewing the coffee at home, instead you get in your car and you stop off at the nearest convenience store. Now you’re paying a buck and a quarter for a cup of coffee, right? You’re paying for what? They took the coffee and they brewed it for you and they provided a cup for you and had it ready hot. So you could just pick it up and leave.
So that’s a jump from 20 cents to $1.26 That’s more than six times the value. Just simply by making a service out of a product. And oftentimes these services can be intangibles. In this case it’s much more tangibles cause you’re heating the water and so forth. But there’s so many like the car coming to pick you up that can be intangible. Or let’s say at least a serve as wrap around it.
So now there are two more steps up. Imagine now you’re going into Starbucks or-
Karla Nelson: Oh yeah. We know that place pretty well.
Allen Fahden: Yes. And so now you walk in and that’s… So we’ve gone to commodity to product to service to experience. You walk into a place there’s wifi, there are people sitting around and the people talking. You can get yourself a, let’s see, how about a Venti cappuccino-
Karla Nelson: With almond milk and extra foam.
Allen Fahden: Yeah, like a half caff, half decaf with half and half or something like that.
And it’ll cost you say $3.75. So there’s another tripling of the value from $1.25 as a service up to a $3.75 as an experience, the place you can go and hang out and so forth. And so, but my favorite is the biggest value, which is priceless.
And that would be step five, the transformation. Imagine drinking a cup of coffee that would change your life and give you everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
Karla Nelson: You’d be rich.
Allen Fahden: It would be amazing what a life. Transformational cup of coffee.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. You always see the transformation leap into if you ever look online. We can change your life, right?
Allen Fahden: Oh, absolutely. Transformation is everywhere. They actually tried this way, way back like 30 40 years ago, there was a restaurant in Japan who offered a cup of coffee when coffee was only in a restaurant, maybe 20, 25 cents a cup. They offered a $10 cup of coffee and it was just a normal cup of coffee. They didn’t sell any, but you know what they sold out of?
Karla Nelson: Everything else?
Allen Fahden: $5 cups of coffee. They had a step back. And so people would go in to this restaurant and pay $5 for a cup of coffee, 20 times what they’d ordinarily pay in order to-
Karla Nelson: Simply because they juxtaposed it against the $10-
Allen Fahden: … They were going to see if some idiot walked in and paid $10 for a cup of coffee. So they sat there all day drinking $5 cups of coffee waiting for this idiot to come in so they could laugh at the idiot.
Karla Nelson: Oh my gosh, there is a great book on that. It’s The Upside Of Irrationality.
Allen Fahden: Oh yes.
Karla Nelson: And it talks about offering, how people are just, you have to understand the psychology of them buying.
So I love that story. That is such a good story to identify. And I think that’s twofold. We got into it. So we’re talking about Scrum applied to products, right? But when, Allen, getting in the intangible, I think it’s, you have to think about the intangible and the tangible. But for the purpose of today’s call, we’re actually separating the intangible from the tangible simply because Scrum and overlaying the WHO-DO method, which we’re going to talk about how to do that in a project management aspect because we really want to focus on the intangible projects that you have in your company.
Allen Fahden: Because the final product is code. I mean you can’t get much more intangible than that.
Karla Nelson: Yes. Or even today, like look how much strategy you can run through in doing a marketing plan and testing it that it’s still code, even if it’s code that some other platform used. It’s like even what used to be tangible has slowly shifted into that intangible space and I think that’s why more than ever having a process in order to do this quickly, and I’ll use the word Agile even though specifically we’re going to talk about Scrum because Scrum identifies the roles in which, and Allen you said it best, it identifies the roles and it has rules.
Karla Nelson: We’re going to go through each of those and we’ll probably put a link then to actual Scrum itself because there are two different teams kind of… Well it’s not team, it’s product owner, team, Scrum master and then processes that you go through and I don’t want to get into all the details from that because you can find that on a great YouTube video. I’ve watched a ton of them on Scrum in the past and books and all sorts of good stuff.
Karla Nelson: So we’ll put that in the link in the podcast notes so that you can check that out. However, what I want to talk about is is that we really like the rules of Scrum, but I think biggest thing that you could do it just to make a couple tweaks to really have this project management, and again you can use this for any intangible, it does not have to be just for developing technology, is the roles. Because the rules are clear, but the role, itself, is kind of can be kind of an issue. Like, for instance, the product owner I talked about that, that’s a key stakeholder. So this might be the person that’s hiring somebody to develop the software or the CTO that’s, at the end of the day, responsible for it.
Karla Nelson: So with the product owner, a challenge you can really run into because of the role is they may not accept the work of the team due to all sorts of stuff. A unconscious, personal bias, the fact that you didn’t run through a process, the WHO-DO method, in order to figure out what it is you wanted to accomplish and their approvers. So, okay, there’s still too much wrong with it. Right. So understanding that person’s core nature of work in the process, even though they can be any of the four core natures of work and having an understanding where they’re coming from in the part of the work that they’re doing, because that’s exactly what you’re asking them to do is own that space of being the product owner.
Allen Fahden: Yeah. And in fact, think about this. The product owner, you can look at your final output and say, no, that’s not it. We’ll never run with that. Okay, now you’ve just wasted all that time. Now, you’ve wasted time faster, but you’ve still wasted time.
Allen Fahden: One of the things, the solutions to this is that the team should know this product owner, because they’re the buyer, in a sense, of the team’s work. So if they know the product owner’s core nature, then they can relate correctly. If that person’s an early adopter, they can focus on certain things and make sure that it’s an innovative solution. If the person’s a later adopter, they might have to have a lot more safeguards built into that. And so that at least they’ll know what they need to do to get the idea to actually see the light of day.
Karla Nelson: Yes. And that’s the biggest challenge in any project management is people killing things and using position and power over process. Right.
Allen Fahden: Absolutely.
Karla Nelson: Remember Deming, 94% of failure is process failure-
Allen Fahden: Process failure.
Karla Nelson: … not people failure. And that’s the biggest breakdown that we get is we don’t depend on the process and then we shift and it becomes a… We want to point fingers, it is a people failure, but it’s because we did not use the process in the manner that it was intended.
And so we talked about the product under the next person that’s identified here in Scrum is the Scrum master, so this is the facilitator. So the Scrum master may actually slow the team down if they don’t have some type of coordinator. Again, process, you can use the WHO-DO method in that aspect, okay? Have the process so that it rises above the personal biases, right? To understand that person’s core nature of work and you likely, because their job is to make everything move fast, you’re going to look for a doer. And the two doers on the WHO-DO method that would work in this space the best would be a Oner that’s somebody who 1% of the population that can come up with the idea, pick the best idea, set of ideas, poke all the holes with it and do the day to day. They can own that space.
Allen Fahden: Equal.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. Taught and trained. There’s equal balances in their core natures of work, 1% of the population. Or a mover is likely going to be your absolute best core nature of work because they’re natural facilitators and doers. And so understanding who the Scrum master is and ensuring that the role matches the core nature of work and that they can own that role an overlaying and having the intervention or having the process that saves the core nature of work from killing the entire then Scrum process. That sounds funny, but did that make sense, Allen?
Allen Fahden: Absolutely.
Karla Nelson: So, and then of course you’ve got your team. So you’ve got the product owner, the team and the Scrum master are WHOs on the team and these are your roles. So with the team that just leans, again, back on straight on the WHO-DO method. But instead of ideation, the team is then going to jump over to implementation. And remember with implementation as the team is running and getting these tasks done throughout the day, your prover becomes your point guard.
And so that’s the other piece. It’s like they didn’t even put in it, they just said this is your team, five to nine people, and this is what probably their skills need to be, I’m sure. But looking at their core nature of work, you want to have a balanced team as you’re doing the day to day work and the day to day process and having that team if you really want to run fast. And I think, that’s the point of Scrum and Agile is to run fast.
But if you don’t understand the core natures of work, you can really, really run into some challenges because you could end up with a really crappy product even though you did it really fast. Right?
Allen Fahden: Absolutely.
Karla Nelson: So again, let me reiterate the three different, WHOs in Scrum are the product owner, the team, and the Scrum master. Okay. So we talked about them. And again, I wish we had more time to get it all the specific details of this. But if you look at the big picture of the team and then, or the role and the process in a video, you’ll be able to apply that very easily overlaying with the WHO-DO method in a project management focus of getting some intangible aspect of your company accomplished.
So let’s move then to the four meeting types here. So this is a of the process. I’m not going to go through all the different product backlog and the list and the sprints and all that stuff. We don’t have time to do that. What we want to talk about is there are four specific meeting types that are rules, are meetings that are… There’s rules by which when you have them and what you do in them.
And so the first meeting type is the sprint planning meeting. Okay. So this is where everybody else sits down and they talk about who is going to do what part of the process. And Allen, I know what you’re going to say where you can run into problems.
Allen Fahden: Yeah, yeah. This is already a giant red flag. This is like a whole squadron of red flags that go up here. Because what they do is they decide who does what, but how did they decide that? It’s usually arbitrarily, it’s like, okay-
Karla Nelson: Because you missed the meeting.
Allen Fahden: … you’re wearing a green shirt today. Or yeah, or you were late so you have to do this. You know how that goes. It’s just all random. And so what happens, like all of us we’re in our peak work, meaning what we do well and what we love to do, we do it really fast. And when we’re in our weak work as in weakness, then we do it really slow and plodding. And so what happens here is this is so critical because this determines how well people can actually do their work and deliver their deliverables. And so you’re planning a fast meeting. But if you send the wrong person off and they go to work in their weakness, they’re going to struggle and by the time it gets to the next checkpoint, they’re not done. They are trying to cover up, whatever it might be. This is probably the most critical piece that they miss, who does what.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, going quickly and the quality of the work. Right? Because if you’re asking somebody to do what, they absolutely stink at, the whole point of the Agile-
Allen Fahden: The work stinks.
Karla Nelson: … and doing… Yeah, exactly.
So the next meeting is a standup meeting. Okay. And this is a daily 15 minute meeting that they talk about is everything still going well? Are we still going to hit our deadline? Right? And so, and again, it happens every day for 15 minutes just so the team checks in with each other. So a challenge that they could run in here, too, I think, Allen, if you have a shaker on your team and they’re not helping pick the idea from the mover about what potential… I mean, if you don’t run the process, it just ends up being that same exact meeting where yeah, we’re on schedule and they…
And not only that, but gosh, this meeting wasn’t an open meeting about, can you imagine a prover in this meeting not being able to express their ideas freely because of some other unconscious bias that you’re talking about? So if the shaker’s not getting help from the mover, right, to pick what idea or what they’re running with because I think they, in the rules, it’s like you don’t pick more than five things in a day, and then the mover getting help from the shaker with ideas to solve, right, those obstacles, that’s why they’re having the standup meeting and you don’t allow the prover to say what’s going to go wrong. Right. And then have the maker, if they don’t get a chance to raise the issues on the implementation, what happens is, is that standard meeting probably can become a big bugger. And either it’s that same culture of sit quiet, don’t make any sudden moves. We have this 15 minute meeting every day anyway. Right.
Allen Fahden: It’s doomed to fail. It derails right away. People dread the meeting and then they go up and they go into it and they just try to… When people aren’t ready for something, sometimes they’ll start denigrating the whole process and you’re hanging on by a thread then.
Karla Nelson: This would be so interesting with working in a project management standpoint and always allowing the prover every day in that 15 minute meeting to tell you what’s going to go wrong.
Allen Fahden: Right. Never and never kill the idea.
Karla Nelson: And never kill the idea. Exactly. Because exactly. And you just keep on running that process every day. And I have a gut feeling that becomes… The standup meeting can become just a feedback meeting. Not really some… Because a prover is going to be the best one to say what’s going to go wrong and what we still haven’t thought of. You se what I’m saying?
Allen Fahden: Yeah. And if you want to have a great standup meeting, then what you do is you run a run a WHO-DO method during the time between meetings during that 24 hours or whatever. And so the shaker works with the mover and the mover works with the prover and so forth. So by the time the meeting comes, they’re ready to say, hey, things are going great. We did this and this and this and this and here’s our results as opposed to struggling and trying to figure out what went wrong and so forth.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. So you could add in another meeting in between or at least understand the methodology. So when the team of five to nine people are working together, they have a process by which they are being Agile within, using the WHO-DO method ,and being Agile within their team, implementing during a bigger picture, Scrum
Allen Fahden: You walk down the hall or get on the phone or whatever and you say, hey, I need help with this. Oh thanks. Okay, bye.
Karla Nelson: Yeah, yep. Exactly. That’s all it takes, right, when you understand the process.
And then there’s another meeting, it’s called a review meeting and this is where you deliver the results and you get feedback from it. So this could be a huge potential issue, Allen, I think, if you didn’t have a process around delivering results and getting feedback because there’s going to be all sorts of stuff going on if you’re not running a process on who gets the chance to knock something down on the results? How do you get the feedback, right? Because the feedback should just come in form of a process, not just willy nilly. Oh I think, I think there’s a problem with it here. No, I don’t think you’ve thought of this, right. Oh it just… to have those rules around those different meetings, right, instead of being in that same meeting that… And I’m sure there’s different teams that can manage this just based off of talent, but you want it to be based off of process. Because again, 94% of failure is process failures, not people failures. So if people are failing, then we need to look to the process. And I think the review meeting would be a challenging meeting without a process.
Allen Fahden: Yeah, absolutely. And again, this is something where if you have the right people doing the right thing at the right time and then you have the provers and the shakers not be in the room at the same time cause those are the ones who argue, then you’ve got a review that looks completely different. [crosstalk 00:24:37]
Karla Nelson: Yeah, that’s a good point. And it removes all those, the personality piece is when you do that.
Allen Fahden: That’s right. You don’t like my idea, you don’t like me. So instead you just see what’s going to go wrong and you generate ideas to solve the problems, run the process. It’s very fast. It’s forwarding for everybody. And then you have a successful review.
Karla Nelson: Yep. Yep. Yep. Awesome. All right, so the last meeting is called a sprint retrospective. I hate the name of that even though I know what it means, but I’m a retrospective meeting even though I love retrospective meetings as a mover, surprise, surprise. And this is why you talk then there’s this, when you talk about what went well, what you can do to improve the results next time. Right? And I think in this regard really giving people a different role, too, Allen makes a lot of sense, right? Instead of just saying, okay, what went well? Everybody writes down, what can we improve the next time? And then it’s over. Right? I think that giving people more specific, owning their core nature of work makes a lot more sense than just making it an open forum.
Allen Fahden: Yeah. For example, you’ve got the positive and the negative. So start off with the movers and they say what went well because they’ve got an overview of it and they’re always trying to move things ahead. So they want to see what went, really zoomed along and was a great outcome. They get to say that.
Then you can have the makers in the meeting record and what went well and seeing how to codify that, how to record it and install it as a default process for the next time. And then of course after you get all the positive stuff, you can have the provers say what went wrong and then ask the shakers to generate ideas to solve the problem. So boom, you’re right back into it, quick WHO-DO method and then you’re out of there and you’ve got a very nice positive yet corrective, retrospective to help you have it go even better next time.
Karla Nelson: Yeah. And you know, one of the things I love about running the method and identifying somebody’s core nature of work, they’re so much more likely to show up. And what I mean by that is as soon as you give people that space in what we call their lane and you don’t commingle the animals, you’ve got to stay in your lane, they own that lane. It’s a comfortable lane for them. And so if you’re working with the team and you’re asking for ideas on how next time you could fix that and make that better, shakers are going to own that lane very well. Right? And you’re going to get more activity in your meetings simply because if you’ve got two shakers on your team or three shakers on your team and you’re looking at them for that piece of the meetings, they’re just going to show up the same way all the other four core natures of work.
And I think that’s something across project management, and specifically we’re talking about Scrum today, we’re using it as an example is really critical because we’d like to call it all these names, culture, employee engagement. But if 94% of failure is process failure, not people failure, I would venture to say they’re just not using the right process. It doesn’t matter in regards to it who you have in that… It matters who, based off of your core nature of work, that you have in that room. But I think meetings across the board on not only project management, if you use the process, people own that space and you get that engagement. They want to be good at that and it’s natural to them and it’s easy for them. And I think that’s critical across all of those four different types of meetings in slightly different ways as we mentioned, because they have specific meanings for each of those four meetings.
So, and this is critically important. I know I just mentioned employee engagement. I know Gallup loves to use this and they’ve got tons of stats on this. You can look up until your heart’s content. They’ve been doing it for 50 years and there was a recent study that Gallup just came out with that says when employees are explicitly encouraged to use their talent in pursuit of a goal, so that means giving them something very specific, which I think Scrum does really well and it makes rules around it really well, that performance on your team is going to improve by eight to 18 percent. All right? I mean, and that’s incredible. Think about what that means mathematically to your bottom line and culture, all those things I just talked about employee engagement. Right.
Allen Fahden: And they also say that it leads to a 10 to 19% increased sales and 14 to 29% increased profit.
Karla Nelson: There you go. I forgot to do the second part of the study. So exactly.
Allen Fahden: You can always take that back to management. You take that back to management, and you say, this is the return you’re getting on your investment and that’s something management always wants to hear.
Karla Nelson: And here’s the other thing I think, Allen with, with Gallup in these studies. This is a study, but they’re not taking into consideration if they use the WHO-DO method. They’re just saying, hey, give them a goal. Think about how vanilla that is right? Now if you give them a Scrum, it’s going to be even better because it gives you a specific goal and some roles. But if you’re doing project management and you give them a goal, you give them the methods like Scrum and breaking up into these teams with intangible things to move. Need to be really quick and move really quick. And then you overlay the WHO-DO method on top of it, I mean you’re just like zooming, you’re putting gasoline and a match on that.
Allen Fahden: Yes, and that’s what we like to do.
Karla Nelson: Woohoo. Awesome.
Allen Fahden: One final thought on this, it just pervades all of this is a couple of things.
One is that you can take almost any one of these methodologies that people are promoting, whether it’s Agile and Scrum or whether it’s just general principles of project management. It can be Gallup strength finder and there’s always something missing. And if you can find that thing that’s missing that makes people work better, smarter and faster and put out more, then your numbers go way up.
And if there’s anything we would want to say, I think, to sum it up about the WHO method is, it’s just such a powerful way to take any process and make sure that you have the outcome that you want. You can actually meteorically increase your results. And we’ve shown it three to eight times better simply by getting the right parts of the work to the right at the right time.
Karla Nelson: Yes. I love that. And overlaying it because you don’t have to take away anything in any methodology that you’re already using, just overlay it and put gasoline and a match on what it is that you’re already doing.
Well thank you so much-
Allen Fahden: That’s why we call it the People Catalysts because it’s a catalyst for what you’re doing.
Karla Nelson: Love it, love it. And we are doing the beta test for our validation study for our assessment. So for the time being, you can go to The People Catalysts and that is plural because we need you all. We just don’t need you at the same time, dot com and you can take the first beta rounds in our validation study and you will get a access to the assessment when it is fully validated. Absolutely for free.
So with that, Allen, thank you so much for taking the time today. This was really interesting. I think very powerful for project management and explaining on how you can use the process you already know, but make it better by having a WHO to go to.