When Mike Cohn says that the transition to agility with Scrum is difficult then he is referring to characteristics like: the desired end state is unpredictable, changes occur faster than ever, and transition is not always from up to down or from down to up. Scrum not only effects what people do, but also contradicts what they previously learned and considered to be good. Before Scrum testers had to check, if specifications were being met. Developers on the other hand were to start only after a problem had been thoroughly analyzed and a perfect programming solution had been found. How does this work with Scrum? Testers have to learn to understand the needs of the user and developers must learn that you can start without a perfect programming model. In other words, you must forget what you have already learned and instead trust your own ideas and negotiate. Scrum is definitely different.
- Once upon a time it was lineal-causal
People, who take on the role of reponsibility of ScrumMaster are not less concerned of being different or of becoming different, but just the opposite. A ScrumMaster must on the contary in his interactions be a guiding helper on a team without being authoritarian. This means the ScrumMaster’s authority is limited to only control of the process. Unlike a project manager he can not take the position ” You have to do this, because I say so.” In order to help the team use Scrum or to remove problems of any type, the ScrumMaster needs a tool to help him overcome this (apparent) deficit of not having this authority. In addition he must give up or forget his usual manners of negotiating. We are used to linear-causal thinking. B results from A and it is A’s fault that B was created. Linear-causal thinking is always based on the past and is oriented toward causes. That means there are concrete causes for certain effects and clearly verifiable people, who are held responsible for specific results. As verifiable as a result may be, this is also an attempt to simplify the complexity of a situation and to completely ignore other reciprocal influences.
Good ScrumMasters never search for causes or guilty persons, but instead analyze which “patterns of communication, relationships or actions in conjunction with other patterns led to these results.” (Radatz, 2000, p.67) i.e. they think systemically. Systemic thinking means thinking of consequences and as a result that no one is ever the only guilty one responsible for the creation of a specific situation, when others are/were also involved in a matter in some form or other. As a result it is totally insignificant, who caused something. A systemically thinking ScrumMaster doesn’t look back (at the problems), but instead looks ahead to the future (looking for solutions and goals).
"Problem talking creates problems. Solution talking creates solutions."
De Shazer would like to be understood above all, as the solution (the goal) never has anything to do with the problem. If you want to help a person to really solve a problem, then you need to know it does not help to discuss the problem and the causes endlessly.
Note: The problem has nothing to do with the solution.
Why why helps no one
Naturally systemic thinking does not exclude active confrontation with the past, but not in order to analyze the determination of cause or of unsuccesful action patterns. Instead of considering the past in a statical- analytical manner, the goal is to ask about future aspects, behavioral issues and goal oriented aspects in order to develop well-thought out solutions.
|Avoid these questions about problems
||and start asking these questions…
|What causes does the problem have?||What must be done differently in the future by who and when, so that the best result is achieved?|
|Who causes it?||What do you have to do first or what do we refrain from doing?|
|Who is most guilty?||What do you want to achieve with your changed behavior?|
|What was the worst part?||What should be different in the future?|
|What went wrong in the past?||What type of behavior would show others that you have reached your goal?|
If you want to to try out systemic questioning, then start with two things:
- Try, asking more open questions. Closed questions are decision-making questions, i.e. the person being asked can only answer yes or no. Naturally these type of questions must also be asked and are important. But if you want to promote communication, then closed questions do not ‘challenge’ the person being questioned. Closed questions are called closed, because they close communication.
- Replace questions that start with question words like “Why, how, wherefore” with other question words.
You are certainly asking: Why?
If you want to find out the reasons for something, then it helps little to ask why. People usually answer a why question with pre-conceived answers. And these hardly promote understanding of the situation. Who, what, why questions usually are connected with negative consequences and makes the defendant look more and more guilty, pulling him down to the problem.
How do you question, if you you do not want to ask why? You will be inspired if you read the story from the wizard’s workshop about ‘sensitive question marks’. Try it. And when do you notice that you have asked a good question? The longer the person asked needs to answer a question the more serious the question was.
One thing is definite: Whoever asks the right questions, does not have to give answers, because in many situations the questions are answered on their own, as the effect of a question is to give order to your own thoughts to help you structure and to look at things from another view point i.e. to get to the bottom of a matter.
Sonja Radatz (2000). Beratung ohne Ratschlag. Systemisches Coaching für Führungskräfte und BeraterInnen. VSM. (Advice without assessing. Systemic Coaching for managers and Consultants)
Alexa Mohl. Metaphern-Lernbuch: Geschichten und Anleitungen aus der Zauberwerkstatt. (Metaphors-study guide: Tales and Instructions form the Wizard’s Workshop) www.junfermann.de
Steve de Shazer (2010). Worte waren ursprünglich Zauber. Von der Problem zur Lösungssprache. (Words were originally magic: From the Problem to the Solution) Carl-Aue