Secret ingredient to mysterious potion of SCRUM

Despite being born an introvert, lately I found out I really like to get out of my comfort zone and go to meetings and events, meet new people and chat with them. That’s a surprise for me, believe me!

I try to always make place in my calendar (and always be quick&ready to snach the tickets) for WrotQA, now also for Women in Technology Wrocław or Geek Girls Carrots. It’s fun to go to new places, meet new people, listen to IT/QA talks and just have the feeling You generally fit in.

Last week was my first WiT Wrocław meeting, but surely not my last. For all of the who/what/when/why see I really like the idea – it is hard to be a woman in a technical environment. We have to prove our worth additionality,  work harder and know more. Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we all always oppressed. It’s more like old habits die hard. And guys are always welcomed on WiT – to listen and to share.

On the #41 WiT Wrocław, organized in a beautiful office of IT Kontrakt, on 21st floor of Sky Tower, I got to know why I’d never want to live in Ireland. Two facets, always raining, cold apartments – no amount of Galaxy chocolate can make me want to test in Dublin. The real reason I went there though, was the presentation made by Ewelina Wyspiańska, whom I met Wrocław Agile Day in September. Ewelina is an Agile enthusiast and spreader of knowledge. On that cold October Thursday she shared her thoughts on being Agile.


Ewelina concentrated on the things that are really important to me and are the reason I am so enthusiastic about Scrum. Scrum like a truly wonderful (though not mythical) creature it is, can’t have an even numer of pillars/ legs/tentacles and what not. It stands on five values, that in most talks about Scrum get lost between backlog, boards and retrospective. These five values are:
– focus
– openness
– respect
– courage
– commitment.

Focus is probably the easiest – we all know that we work better when we’re concentrated, it’s easier when we clearly know where are we heading and for what purpose. And don’t deny that awesome feeling you get when you cross off thinks from the TO-DO list (or mark tasks/bugs as resolved on JIRA board). In Scrum you don’t think about everything at once – you concentrate at here&now and only look as far as it is needed.

Openness, respect and courage come together holding hands with each other. Let’s be honest – it takes courage to propose new solutions, technologies and ideas and respect to create a space where those will be heard and discussed. We need courage and respect to admit to our mistakes and learn from them – when we are open about what we did wrong, we share the experience we gained. When we are open and respectful it is easier to admit to mistakes that could be otherwise hidden, pushed into a dark corner of code and crawl out much later, causing damage. And last, but not least – when the scrum team acts in accordance with these values it is just this much easier to communicate and enjoy working together.

Commitment might be the most tricky thing for some people. “I am doing my job to get my paycheck so I am committed to it”. Well… no. You are committed when you are active on your Scrum meetings – yes they may seem boring, but hey, maybe it’s because your team is still learning how to be agile, not just do agile. You are committed when you are respective, open and courageous – when you are admitting your  mistakes, when you are not offended when someone else finds them, when you are able to talk about someones’s mistakes in professional manner. You are committed when you try to do your best everyday, even when You are a have a bit of hangover or you’re sick or tired or having hellishly bad day. You are committed if you are a patient teacher to less experienced colleagues and thankful learner if You learn something new.

Ewelina’s talk had a name “Secret ingredient of Scrum”. I think people are the secret ingredient. After all Scrum is about empowered team, It’s us who make the values come to live, us who work by them and us who are Agile. Because just doing something ain’t good enough for us!


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