December 11, 2019

Crazy Scrimmage (with Quiz to Win!)

Quiz Question:

Can one person embody all the 3 Scrum roles (Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member) in a project?

The other day, I picked up my son from soccer and he had a huge smile on his face. I asked him how it was and he answered with an even bigger smile “Awesome!”. Of course I wanted to dig deeper and figure out what made this training session more special than the other ones before and he continued “We played crazy!”, “Crazy Scrimmage!”.

Crazy scrimmage is a concept where every player needs to play outside of their typical role on the field. The boys are just at that level where talent is being fit closer to the needs on the field as well as the team. The coach on the other side, still gives the players opportunities to explore other skills and positions in training sessions and plays crazy. Crazy means that the goalie ends up as striker, striker as defense and defense as offense and so forth. The kids obviously loved it.

Mapping the above soccer example to your professional world, a job description would be a soccer player and the role something like defense, center-mid, goalie etc. If a situation arises in a game that requires offensive players to help out in the defense, we would hope that the person wouldn’t walk off the field because it is not their “job”. I am not suggesting that this would happen in a software project, but I often hear team members refer to them as QA or UX rather than being a member of the “development team”. Playing crazy at work balances skills, learnings and innovation. I have seen team members change entire career paths as a result of this and it did not only benefit the employee but also the company. This is a win-win for HR departments, business units and employees. So why not playing crazy more often at work?

Roles vs job description is a typical topic among new Scrum team members, for example a question I often ask. Click below, to participate in the quiz:

Can one person embody all the 3 Scrum roles (Product Owner, Scrum Master and Development Team member) in a project?

If you answer this question before 12/20, you enter our raffle of a book “Software in 30 days” written and autographed by Ken Schwaber.

Ken Schwaber signing "Software in 30 days"

The answers also lead to a broader conversation about roles, for example the role of an agile leader or an agile transformation coach.  Something we can explore in a future blog entry.