5 years of ‘Scrum in Actie’

June 2020 is the month that makes it 5 years ago since we launched the book Scrum in Actie. “We” are seven scrum and agile enthusiasts, all working outside of IT and wanted to write a book for people like us: looking for new, fast ways to achieve results together. We wanted to show that working agile with scrum is not complicated at all and works well in the practice of education, government, banks, and business service providers.

The sales figures prove that we have succeeded with this approach: we are currently printing the 9th edition. People also still tell me that the book explains matters very clearly and that it’s very easy to read and understand. These compliments are great, of course. But the just say we would get the opportunity to create an updated version… What would I add?

A New View of Work

First of all, of course, I would add new examples of how Scrum is applied outside of IT. Five years have passed and every industry out there has tried to experiment with Scrum at the least. In addition, I would reorganize the content of the book, starting from the first page on, in such a way that the main idea behind Scrum always takes the spotlight. Now the book focuses on the explanation of Scrum: the concepts, the events, the tools. That’s good because with Scrum, a whole new view of working flows into the organization, and if you take control of that you’re able to take a lot of people with you that change their ways of working as well.

Scrum Organizes Interaction

However, the idea behind the concepts, events, and tools is that we shape the interaction around work differently. Agile is a concept of interaction to achieve results together. Scrum is a framework that organizes that interaction. So instead of doing our own work behind our own desk, we will interact with others that work on the same solution a lot more. You remove your thoughts about the work from your mind and stick them onto the wall, so that teammates can see and supplement those thoughts. That big idea about streamlining interaction within the team could be reflected in the book in a stronger manner. And should immediately be supplemented with the invisible forces that act on the interaction: the undercurrent within a team that could cause everything to stay the old way. And of course ways to make sure that the undercurrent moves with you when you start working with Scrum.

Field of Communication

More and above all better interaction to achieve results in complex circumstances is the goal of Scrum. It is therefore very logical that the Communication field was one of the first disciplines outside IT to start working with Scrum. This was further stimulated by Betteke van Ruler, emeritus professor of Communication, who wrote a book about this and organized the first training courses for communication professionals.

Visible Application

Something that keeps my mind running around is that it’s difficult to get past the first visible application when it comes to working Agile within the communication field. Communication teams that work with Scrum have a scrum board, a daily or weekly start, and finish sprints and projects with a retrospective. But the connection that shows the role that communication has in introducing agile deeper into the organization, has not been established yet: teams help with conversations to make sure difficult issues are also brought to light, and they support the agile transformation process with a meaningful communication strategy.

Blind Spot

Communication can contribute so much here, which will really help to improve the agility within organizations. Because with the ever-increasing digitization of organizations, complexity is also  increasing. And complexity slows us down, unless we have ways to understand each other faster and better so that we can work on something together simultaneously. This is where Communication plays a decisive role. But this realization still hides in the blind spot of the communication profession: it is either not seen or not included in the work of communication professionals.

The Need for Agile Communication

Many IT teams know the secret of communication in order to achieve acceleration together, and therefore pay serious attention to it. Teams coming from business or primary processes start to emphasize the importance of communication hesitantly and, for example, ask for a workshop ‘How To Give Geedback’. This is often the very first signal that a team is open to having more difficult conversations with each other. It is time to meet this changing and increasing need for Agile communication within organizations. And this suits me well: I think it is great to develop resources, solutions, and approaches from the Communication field that fit into the world of digitized agile organizations.

Enough to work on for the next 5 years…