Invictus: What a real Scrum Master is like

2020-12-17 17:15:27
Renee Fey
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Invictus is a biographical film produced in 2009, directed by Clint Eastwood, and co-starred by Morgan Freeman, Matt Damon and Tony Kogorogi. The film tells the story of Nelson Mandela and Francois Pinar, the captain of the South Africa national rugby team, during the 1995 South African Rugby World Cup.

As the host of the 1995 Rugby World Cup, South Africa returned to this international sports family. However, the Springboks, South Africa's rugby team, the players of which are all white, is regarded by the blacks as racial discrimination. In order to break the barrier, Mandela ( Morgan Freeman) supported the Springboks to game with visiting teams. He talked to Piena (Matt Damon),  the Captain of the Springboks, and the two had a heart-to-heart conversation. In the end, Piena took the white players to visit all parts of South Africa, popularizing rugby to the South African and making rugby a bond between black and white.

The Origins of Scrum

A scrum, short for scrummage, is a method of restarting play in rugby football that involves players packing closely together with their heads down and attempting to gain possession of the ball. Depending on whether it is in rugby union or rugby league, the scrum is utilized either after an accidental infringement or when the ball has gone out of play. Scrums occur more often, and are now of greater importance, in union than in league. Starting play from the line of scrimmage in gridiron football is derived from the scrum. 1

Hirotaka Takeuchi and Ikujiro Nonaka published “The New New Product Development Game” in Harvard Business Review in 1986, attempting to describe how Product Development was evolving from the linear, phased approaches of the past to something new. It was the first time that scrum was used in development to describe progress towards iterative, incremental product development practices.

“The traditional sequential or “relay race” approach to product development […] may conflict with the goals of maximum speed and flexibility. Instead, a holistic or “rugby” approach — where a team tries to go the distance as a unit, passing the ball back and forth — may better serve today’s competitive requirements.”

The two researched how Japanese companies like Fuji-Xerox and Honda used this approach to build teams and their findings later greatly influenced  Jeff Sutherland, one of the authors of the Scrum Guide.

Scrum in software development means an agile framework for developing, delivering, and sustaining complex products, with an initial emphasis on software development. It is designed for smalll teams to break their work into goals that can be completed within a sprint, aka a  time-boxed iteration, most commonly two to four weeks. 

What a great Scrum Master do

The new Scrum Guide says the Scrum Master is accountable for the Scrum team's effectiveness. Jeff Sutherland thinks the intent is the same as the past. But as Jeff and Ken were beginning to put this guide together, Ken said that the biggest problem in Scrum is the word "Servant Leadership". Many people have been interpreted that as they do not need to enable the team to improve, and they are not responsible for that improvement. Now Scrum Masters are defined as leaders who serve. 

Although the definition changes, but the core responsibilities of the Scrum Master stay the same. According to Mountain Goat, the great Scrum Master should 

  • Never Commit the Team to Anything Without Consulting Them First
  • Remember You’re There to Help The Team Look Good
  • Don't Beat the Team over the Head with an Agile Rule Book
  • Nothing Is Permanent So Experiment with Your Process
  • Ensure Team Members and Stakeholders View Each Other as Peers
  • Protect the Team, Including in More Ways than You May Think
  • Banish Failure from Your Vocabulary
  • Praise Often But Always Sincerely
  • Encourage the Team to Take Over Your Job
  • Shut Up and Listen

Happy Scrum!






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