Debra Swersky
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Journal

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Um... Scrum?

Scrum sounds like a dirty word. It sounds like something that you would pick-up off the side of the street (be it an item or a person). But, it’s not. Scrum is a term used in rugby that defines a formation of players that put their heads together (literally) to try and gain possession of the ball. It’s short for “scrummage”... which sounds like “scrimmage” said with a British accent. Me, not knowing much about rugby, had to read a book on software development to understand why the team-formation was important. Yes, I said sports, rugby, and software development all in the same sentence. And apparently, I’m the one that’s late to the party… 

When I was deplaning the LevelUp rocketship almost two years ago, a mentor-friend of mine recommended that I read a book called “Agile Software Development with Scrum.” It was not the first time I had heard the term “Scrum,” but it was the first time that I was recommended to read up on it… especially if I wanted to be a Product Manager. Two-ish years later, I realized that I a) never read the book that I had purchased in hard copy b) didn’t actually want to be a Product Manager and c) should probably know what “Scrum” is before another person asks me if I have ever implemented “Scrum” as a method of project management.

Never being one to start a book without finishing it (it’s a curse), I’m reading it… and loving the concept!

In my very rough assessment, the concept of Agile Software Development with Scrum is very similar to the way that Entrepreneurs create businesses. You talk to a group of people to understand what their needs are. (In Scrum these people are your end users. As an entrepreneur these people are the community that you’re looking to serve.) You list out all of their needs and prioritize them. (For your end user these needs could be features. For a community the needs might be problems to solve.) With a prioritized list of needs, you go back to your team and assess the resources that you have to deliver against the needs of the people. Using your available resources, you deliver what you can. Then you go back to the people to get feedback and continue to build upon their prioritized needs. No fancy project plans. No bloated roadmaps.

Empiricism. Self-organization. Action. That’s Scrum - Agile Software Development.

Empiricism: Theory of observation or experience.
Self-organization: The team decides what is needed to reach the goal.
Action: Everyone puts their heads together to achieve the end-result.

Act. Learn. Build. That’s Entrepreneurship - Entrepreneurial Thought & Action. 

Act: The art of finding a problem and deciding to take action to solve it.
Learn: The team evaluates the initial action taken and learns in what direction to grow.
Build: Everyone puts their heads together to achieve the end-result. 

Now that I know more about Scrum (and rugby, apparently), I can understand why my mentor-friend suggested that I read up on the concept. It’s how I work!

Initiative. Resourcefulness. Enthusiasm. That’s me - Enterprising Energy.

Debra Swersky